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02-03-2007, 03:14 PM   #1
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K100D - "Low-Battery" Problem

Hi All,

I've been using the K100D for a few months now with Sanyo 2100 mAh and Tenergy 2300 mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries. I used to get over 400 shots (with mixed flash usage) in a single day shoot, or about 250 shots over a couple of weeks before the battery icons went to empty. Overall I was pretty satisfied with the battery performance.

But since the last couple of weeks, the "low-battery" warning started popping-up frequently. Even when I thought that the batteries were good. So when it happened again a few days back, I decided to test it out.

First, I took out the batteries and tested their voltage - all four measured 1.31V, meaning they still had quite a bit of charge left in them. But to be sure I recharged them again (I use LaCrosse BC-900 chargers) with a 200mA slow charge to ensure that they are properly topped up overnight.

Then I put in the freshly charged batteries in the K100D (battery icon shows full) and shot about 25 pics around the house. Then left the camera in the closet over night.

The next day I took it out it still showed full charge. I took a couple of test shots and the battery icon fell to a half-charge. Took them out and tested the voltage - 1.33V. Put them back in and left the camera in the closet.

In the evening the same day, I turned on the camera again, The camera didn't turn on and got the blinking empty battery icon. Tried off and on a few times and suddenly the battery icon shows a FULL battery and the camera starts working normally. Took a dozen or so pics with flash and the battery icon still shows FULL. So I turn off the camera for a few mins and turn it back on now the battery indicator is half-full.

One thing for sure is I am not getting more than a 100 shots per set of NiMH over 3 or 4 days, whereas till last month I was getting at least 250 easy over a couple of weeks. I know it is not the batteries, I tested them in other gadgets and I also used a new set of NiMHs in the K100D and it still has the erratic battery indicator.

So anyone know what is happening with my K100D? I wouldn't mind it so much if the camera didn't shut down whenever the battery indicator turned empty. I tried to search on these symptoms and found a couple of posts over at DPReview. Possible suggested causes:

- The cold temp effects the K100D battery usage significantly (well, it has been really cold here in Illinois for the past couple of weeks).

- The new 1.02 firmware somehow messed up the battery sensor and made it erratic. (But I was facing this problem with my K100D even before I upgraded to the 1.02 firmware).

- A few early batches of K100D have a bad battery calibration circuit and have to be sent in for servicing. (But mine was working fine with no problems till last month.)

I am leaving for a month long trip to India next week - was really looking forward to it. But this battery problem has me worried My backup is a Minolta DiMAGE A2. I will call-up Pentax on Monday and see if the problem is known and they have a fix. But I don't think they will fix it in time for my trip.

If anyone one has had this problem, then please post your experiences here - especially if you talked to Pentax about it.

Thanks
Teja

02-03-2007, 03:35 PM   #2
Ed in GA
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If you're going out of town for a couple of weeks and plan to return well in time for Pentax to service your camera under warranty, grab a couple of pair of CRV-3s to take along with you.

That's the great thing about the K100, or at least I think so, it uses AA batteries which can be found everywhere.

Even if your battery life has dropped in half, the AAs or CRV-3s can get you through your trip and you can take care of the warranty problem after you return.
02-03-2007, 03:36 PM   #3
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testing voltage under no load dosnt mean much.. while powering up the camera puts a heavy load on the batteries.. all it needs is one poor cell out of four and it fails..

how about your batteries wearing out over time.. NiMH batteries have a voltage close to the camera shut off point.. a small under load voltage drop and the camera turns off..

new batteries.. ???

trog
02-03-2007, 03:39 PM   #4
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Links to DPReview posts

Here are some links to discussions on this topic at DPReview:
K100D: Battery gets depleted
Pentax Benelux on K100D 'battery low' defect
Battery life K100D
K100D eats batteries.

02-03-2007, 03:44 PM   #5
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Yep new batteries - about six months old. And the set I used to test the problem brand new, just bought last month.

And I am not new to NiMH, have been using them for years now. Also, the LaCrosse charger can identify a bad cell in a set as it has four independent charging circuits.

My guess is that the prob is with the camera itself. Will have to wait and see what Pentax USA has to say about it.

Teja

QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
testing voltage under no load dosnt mean much.. while powering up the camera puts a heavy load on the batteries.. all it needs is one poor cell out of four and it fails..

how about your batteries wearing out over time.. NiMH batteries have a voltage close to the camera shut off point.. a small under load voltage drop and the camera turns off..

new batteries.. ???

trog
02-03-2007, 04:14 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Teja Quote
Yep new batteries - about six months old. And the set I used to test the problem brand new, just bought last month.

And I am not new to NiMH, have been using them for years now. Also, the LaCrosse charger can identify a bad cell in a set as it has four independent charging circuits.

My guess is that the prob is with the camera itself. Will have to wait and see what Pentax USA has to say about it.

Teja
I have a set of sanyo rechargeables and if they sit long without being used, they go empty. It is over a couple of weeks though, not as fast as yours.
Is it possible that it is the charger instead of the batteries? they might indicate full charge on a volt meter, but it is possible that they are barely charged, not fully charged.
another outside shot it to try to reset ALL of your functions back to default. another thing that will kill batteries quick is using the pop up flash all the time. when you get the k100, the flash automatically goes off every shot. If you put the flash in manual, then it won't pop up automatically. when you need the flash just hit the button to pop up the flash.

does the batteries last a long time in other devices?

just some outside ideas....

good luck with it

randy
02-03-2007, 04:25 PM   #7
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i had to throw a dozen of my newest ones away.. i still go for batteres being the problem.. i would certainly try more before blaming the camera.. i also think the largest capacity ones are the least reliable..

i have some three year old 1800 mah ones that work perfectly.. some 2500 mah six month old ones that dont work at all.. not in my k100 at least..

by not work i mean fail after just few shots or refuse to let the camera turn on at all.. age dosnt seem to play a part..

trog
02-03-2007, 05:12 PM   #8
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I use lithium batteries. I think I put my current set in in October or November, still going strong. No more recharging for me.

02-03-2007, 05:45 PM   #9
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Teja,
try the new sonny eneloop batteries or the new Raovac Hybrid I have found these to be a great help when it comes to this problem. I have a DL and I have the same problem as you. My 2500 and 2700 MAH batteries are useless after 3 or 4 recharges and I don't know why. I have tried a new charger and have had the camera checked out and it's not the camera. try the eneloop batteries I think they are 1800mah or even 2100 and they work well even in the K100. Try the Raovac MAH rating is 2100. these batteries are charged and ready to go. When they show dead in the camera you can recharge them on any charger that will take up to 2500 MAH batteries.

Good luck I hope this helps.
02-03-2007, 06:01 PM   #10
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If going on holiday I used to use CRVs single use batteries as I was pretty certain to get through my holiday without having to think about batteries..

Otherwise I would also suggest Eneloops as they hold their charge well when sittinng on the shelf...
02-03-2007, 06:13 PM   #11
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I'll second the suggestion to get CRV3 lithiums. They last forever. I put two Walgreen's (U.S. drugstore chain) brand CRV3s into my K100D before my trip at Thanksgiving. I've gone over 1200 shots and my camera still shows full. The other plus is that they're lighter than typical AA's. Just stick 4 more in your luggage and you're set for at least 5000 shots, I'd bet. If you're really worried, put six in your luggage. They should take up the space/weight of your DA50-200 lens.
02-03-2007, 09:58 PM   #12
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W/o checking the above posts. I know I've read at least two other posts that describe the same problem. For the upcoming trip, I would go with lithium CRV3's, and bring the backup camera too.

If you have one of the Wolf Camera chain stores nearby, they should carry Eneloops. You could try bring those too. In fact, they come charged and you'll know right away if they will work.
02-03-2007, 10:04 PM   #13
Ed in GA
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Teja, there appears to be a consensus here.

Buy yourself a couple of pair CRV-3 Lithiums to take with you on your trip.
02-03-2007, 10:43 PM   #14
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Yeah, it does appear to be the best option for me. I think 3 sets of CR-V3s should be more than enough as I don't expect to shoot more than 1500 pics in the one month. I will update this post if Pentax USA gives any new information about this problem on Monday.

Thanks for all your inputs.

Cheers
Teja


QuoteOriginally posted by EddyinGA Quote
Teja, there appears to be a consensus here.

Buy yourself a couple of pair CRV-3 Lithiums to take with you on your trip.
02-03-2007, 10:47 PM   #15
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I've been considering this option. I have a $5 off coupon for Rayovac Hybrids. I will pickup a set the next time I am in Target or Walmart and see if that helps the situation. I am heavily invested into NiMHs (about four chargers around the house and at least 15 sets of AAs, and it'd be so convenient if I could use them reliably with the K100D.

Teja

QuoteOriginally posted by Photo Tramp Quote
Teja,
try the new sonny eneloop batteries or the new Raovac Hybrid I have found these to be a great help when it comes to this problem. I have a DL and I have the same problem as you. My 2500 and 2700 MAH batteries are useless after 3 or 4 recharges and I don't know why. I have tried a new charger and have had the camera checked out and it's not the camera. try the eneloop batteries I think they are 1800mah or even 2100 and they work well even in the K100. Try the Raovac MAH rating is 2100. these batteries are charged and ready to go. When they show dead in the camera you can recharge them on any charger that will take up to 2500 MAH batteries.

Good luck I hope this helps.
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