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08-03-2008, 01:41 PM   #16
Ash
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Wow Bryan,
Great explanation.
I suppose then the technology is not available for rechargeable batteries to run at 1.5V with their rated mAh until near dead. That's a bummer.

I've been caught recently having two sets of fully charged NiMH AAs (which are about a year old but have definitely been charged for less than 1000 times) and only been able to draw a total of 10 flashes between them at 1/2 power.

08-03-2008, 02:57 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Wow Bryan,
Great explanation.
I suppose then the technology is not available for rechargeable batteries to run at 1.5V with their rated mAh until near dead.
Impossible. Unlike other materials, which are little more than the chemical, Lithium designs have internal, regulatory microelectronic circuits. They just "die" when the charge drops enough. That's why Lithium battery technology is so well trusted, because it's either providing virtually all of the rated current, or it doesn't work at all.

In the case of Lithium-Ion (rechargeable Lithium) technology, the Lithium-Ion cells typically die at 2.9-3.0V. So the cut-off is typically several tenths of a volt higher. Why? Because the microelectronic regulatory circuits themselves pull current, so to protect the longevity of the cells, they "cut-off" well before dropping near 3.0V. Li-Ion batteries should be charged yearly, if not every six (6) months. It's best not to "deep cycle" (discharge-charge) Li-Ion, and keep them at least 30% full (if not 50%+).

LiMg is the non-rechargeable compound in CR-V3 batteries. It is 3.0V nominal. LiFe is the non-rechargeable compound in Energizer's proprietary e2 Photo Lithium. It is 1.5V nominal. There is no 3.0V nominal Li-Ion, they are all 3.6-3.7V+. There is no rechargeable regulation circuits to maximize cell longevity in LiMg/LiFe, because they are 1-time use. There are only overload and other circuits, to prevent against combustion in the case of polarity reversal. They don't use power, and have a very long shelf-life (10+ years) as a result.

Many Rechargeable CR-V3 (RCR-V3) claim 3.0V, but it is impossible for them to provide such natively. I have no idea what kind of loads and/or transforms they are using, but they will vary and be non-standard. Use at your own risk. A few of the allegedly "tolerable" RCR-V3s that always stay below 3.3V (so they should be 6.5V or less in pairs) use a third terminal for charging, because charging of Li-Ion is 4.2-4.3V (long story). That greatly reduces the risk of having a transient greater than nominal, unlike those that charge over the same terminals they provide output on.

In any case, while NiMH has higher current-time ratings of 2000-2000mAh, and Lithium battery technologies are typically only 1500mAh or so, the latter is "better" for high real-time current applications of 1A (1000mA) plus, whereas the latter is adversely affected as charge drops. I.e., the actual "charge" you get out of NiMH depends on if you're sucking up 100mA or 1A (1000mA) plus. If you're only sucking 100mA, you'll get that full 2000-2500mA (20+ hours). Even 500mA might come close (3-4 hours). But if you're sucking 1A+, forget it, you're not going to get the equivalent (maybe not even 1 hour). Energizer's NiMH charts show how actual duration exponentially decreases with real-time load, not linearly.

Lithium battery technologies, on the other hand, either provide the current they are rated at, at the voltage they are rated at, or their regulatory logic prevents it. Energizer e2 Photo Lithium provides up to 2.6A at 1.5V. You'll get close to the same duration whether you're pulling 100mA or 2A. If you try to put more than 2.6A, unlike a NiMH chemical battery which will "work, but drop voltage," it most likely will not at all, as the regulatory logic kicks in (possibly even killing its cells). This is so the battery does not combust.

Alkaline, NiCD, NiMH and other battery technologies melt. They do not support combustion in our N-O environment. Lithium combusts. It doesn't quite "explode," but the effects can look like it.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
I've been caught recently having two sets of fully charged NiMH AAs (which are about a year old but have definitely been charged for less than 1000 times) and only been able to draw a total of 10 flashes between them at 1/2 power.
NiCD was used for higher-current applications in the past, but they have serious memory effect and other issues. NiMH became far more commonplace because most applications -- such as AA -- are only 100-500mA loads. NiMH also has much longer charges in current-time than NiCD. Now that we're doing 1A+ in cameras, NiMH doesn't cut it as well. Virtually any brand other than Energizer or Sanyo Enelope is "half battery" (or worse) when I put them in, because they are not providing adequate current, and voltage is dropping.

Energizer and Sanyo use over-charged designs to provide more real-time current. Energizer rates theirs as 2500mAh and I've measured them to provide over 1.5A at as high as 1.3V (1.2V is nominal), as does Energizer's own charges (see their site). Unfortunately the over-charge seems to "wear off" in a month, and the current-time drops to 1700mA and I'm getting 1A or less. Sanyo uses a more sustainable approach in their 2000mAh current-time designs, which drops less over time, but still provides 1.5A+

Unfortunately, NiMH is only 1.2V, so in a set of four (4), that's only 4.8V -- maybe 5.2V if you're getting 1.3V/unit at full charge (as both the Energizer NiMH charts show, and I have personally experienced). Your auto-focus motors and flash output is going to be far less at sub-5V versus the full 6V you'd get with 2x LiMg (CR-V3) or 4x LiFe (e2 Photo Lithium). There have even been reports of "cut out" when people use NiMH because the K100D/K200D voltage regulator doesn't like anything less than 5V. Normally a K100D/K200D should operate with 4.5-6.5V. Such cameras that can't work with 4.8V using Energizer/Sanyo NiMH fully charged should be returned to Pentax.

BTW, I always drain'n charge my NiMH batteries, to measure the exact current-time. There is no way to measure "charge" otherwise, and the voltage output is only an "indicator," not exacting. And even then I still get a "mis-charge" in one (1) out of ten (10) NiMH batteries. All it takes is just one NiMH battery in the series circuit to be providing inadequate current for the entire set to drop voltage. All batteries in a series circuit must provide the adequate current/voltage or they all suffer.

Regardless of what you use, just make sure the circuit never outputs more than 6.5V or you can damage the microelectronics. I have seen many, many posts on many forums were people gleefully talk about "how good" their AF motors are, but they have an occasional "issue" with the shutter, menu, etc... which means the microelectronics are being over-volted and the regulator can't deal with it. Pentax's regulator is only designed for 6.5V, and (seemingly, I haven't verified this though), a 4.5V cut-off. The latter won't damage the camera, it just won't power up. The former can easily damage the regulator and cause the unit to fail, and often will in order to protect the microelectronics.

I.e., when I've designs boards, I design the regulator to fry before the microelectronics behind it -- especially if the regulator is on a different PCB or can otherwise be replaced easier than the "brains" behind it. I find paying $19 for twelve (12) Energizer e2 Photo Lithium batteries at Costco and Sam's Club is the "best buy" -- in my time, money and piece'of mind. That's for myself and my K100D. I honestly got tired of the "housekeeping" with NiMH, and carrying 3-5 sets. I found the AF.C mode at sporting/action events really drained them (AF.S was otherwise fine though).

As I mentioned, I've designed microelectronic circuits myself. While I don't consider myself a "power" type of EE, I don't really care to risk my K100D to RCR-V3s which have an inherit compound that is almost a full volt over the maximum rated voltage on the K100D's regulator. Others may have a different opinion and swear by the aftermarket options they've chosen. Again, there is a reason why all Li-Ion batteries designed for all microelectronics are proprietary, and never use generic RCR-V3 (unlike non-rechargeable CR-V3s, which are LiMg, not Li-Ion).

Then again, I'm the type that pays almost $40/each for the Pentax branded 7.2V/1600mAh Di50 batteries and the Pentax branded BK50 charger for the K10D/K20D. When it comes to Li-Ion, and the great variations, I just don't trust aftermarket. Statistics do show that even cheap Li-Ion batteries will, to an almost certainty, kill their own cells before combusting. But it's the little operational variations that I don't want damaging my K20D microelectronics over time, and I don't like to leave something to the smallest chance. But I used to work in aerospace, so I could be "overly anal."

Last edited by bjsmith; 08-03-2008 at 03:17 PM.
08-05-2008, 03:04 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by bjsmith Quote
As someone who has designed microelectronics myself, there is a reason no electronics manufacturer designs products to use RCR-V3,
Well some small players have been making regulated 3V RCRV3 though i.e. Juice, Lanmar, Delkin, Moby, POWERPLUS......Pentax does not make that.
And a big player Samsung does.
The only thing I do agree is that the trend is towards more proprietary batteries like K10D & K20D .


Some report (well in 05 ) with interesting test results
















The Samsung regulated ones with 4 contacts









It measures 3.27V on the supply side to the camera












It measures over 4.15 V on the input side of the Samsung RCRV3





Even though it was in Chinese and in 2005 , it is just as relevant as today if only we can find in N Am the same Samsung crv3 batt + charger.


[??] RCR-V3??? - ??SBC-1103 - Pentax Fans Club



I believe the one that I have (Juice brand and Moby all have 4 contacts and giving out around 3.1V) are variants of what Samsung has. They are all regulated ones.






Daniel , Toronto
08-05-2008, 06:15 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
Well some small players have been making regulated 3V RCRV3 though i.e. Juice, Lanmar, Delkin, Moby, POWERPLUS......
Again, please read my actual statement ...

"there is a reason no electronics manufacturer designs products to use RCR-V3"

Again, please point me to devices that have microelectronics, such as CMOS microcontrollers, CCDs, etc... that use RCR-V3s?

No one has yet. I'm still waiting. In fact, not only do they not make 3V devices, but even 3.6-3.7V devices (Li-Ion's normal voltage under load) do not. That was my point.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
Pentax does not make that. And a big player Samsung does.
The only thing I do agree is that the trend is towards more proprietary batteries like K10D & K20D.
Every, single, complex device with CMOS microelectronics, CCDs, etc.... on the market that takes Li-Ion always uses their own, proprietary 3.6-3.7V, 7.2-7.4V, 14.4-14.8V, etc... batteries.
I'm still waiting for anyone to point me to a device that uses a standard RCR-V3 -- let alone multiple!
The variance is absolutely too great.

There is not a Li-Ion battery available with cells that output 3V, period.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
It measures 3.27V on the supply side to the camera
Considering the K100D/K200D are 6.5V "max," that's already working the regulator beyond what it's designed for.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
I believe the one that I have (Juice brand and Moby all have 4 contacts and giving out around 3.1V) are variants of what Samsung has. They are all regulated ones.
All Li-Ion batteries are "regulated." How they are regulated, and how they use the Li-Ion cells is of interest.

Many of these "nearing 3V" designs drastically reduce the current-time, as well as reduce the "safety" on the cell (that prevents them from reaching the "dead" voltage threshhold) and other issues.

I'm not making this stuff up. If you use RCR-V3, you deserve the issues you get. There have been many, many people who talk about the AF being fast, but "the most they have to do is turn off the camera and turn it back on again." The root cause is transconductance in the microelectronics due to over-voltage. Even if you don't fry it, you reduce the longevity of the microelectronics -- let alone the regulator.

08-06-2008, 01:24 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by bjsmith Quote
I'm not making this stuff up. If you use RCR-V3, you deserve the issues you get.
Yup. I deserve that . My DL is still going strong after 15K of shots for a year . And because that is my second body, I always forget switching the pair of RCRV3 there. I have to remind myself that I should not leave the batt there too long. Just never ever fail at all. To me the batt seem last forever.
As a trial and safety measure, I have in my main body a K100D eneelopes which is you know barely ok. Because I listen and I can afford to lose my 2nd body I use DL as the guinea pig.
RCRV3 have been extensively used in Taiwan, China and of course Korea. I am used to be one of the overclockers when overclocking cpu was feasible.

Daniel
08-06-2008, 11:26 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
I am used to be one of the overclockers when overclocking cpu was feasible.
Over-volting microelectronics always reduces microelectronics lifespan, absolutely, 10 out of 10 times. As I said, you deserve what you get. Even if you get a decent lifespan, it means you could have gotten far longer without over-volting.

I just use inexpensive LiFe (Energizer e2 Photo Lithium) batteries instead. The resulting 6V is far better than 4.8V of NiMH (maybe 5.2V when the NiMHs are fully charged), making AF.C most excellent, without over-volting past the 6.5V max the K100D/K200D is rated for.

As long as you understand the trade-offs, it's your camera. I've still never seen a manufacturer create an user device for RCR-V3, and you still have not presented me with a single microelectronics user product that takes one by design (only stating who makes the batteries).

The "proprietary Li-Ion" reality of the world isn't a "trend," it's the reality as no vendor is going to certify their products for the great variances in Li-Ion implementations. There is no standard Li-Ion reference at all, and that's why.
08-06-2008, 06:44 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by bjsmith Quote
I just use inexpensive LiFe (Energizer e2 Photo Lithium) batteries instead. The resulting 6V is far better than 4.8V of NiMH (maybe 5.2V when the NiMHs are fully charged), making AF.C most excellent, without over-volting past the 6.5V max the K100D/K200D is rated for.
At least you accept that the NiMH tech is pathetic at best.
The one that I am using is 3.2vx2 - well within the 10% generally accepted voltage tolerance level .


QuoteQuote:
I've still never seen a manufacturer create an user device for RCR-V3, and you still have not presented me with a single microelectronics user product that takes one by design (only stating who makes the batteries).
The RCRV3 is the renewable substitute of the not quite environmentally friendly CRV3. A device (and there are many) designed for CRV3 or 2AA batt can also be powered by RCRV3. I have to agree that the voltage variance (of some fly by night vendors without an industry wide standard ) may not be acceptable . That was at least the case prior to the launching of regulated RCRV3.

QuoteQuote:

The "proprietary Li-Ion" reality of the world isn't a "trend," it's the reality as no vendor is going to certify their products for the great variances in Li-Ion implementations. There is no standard Li-Ion reference at all, and that's why.
There may be a reality or trend . Whatever. But it does not alter the fact there are a lot of users worldwide prefering an insignificant overvoltage (under 10%) than a major undervoltage ( 6V cf 4.8V).

Oops. My apology to the OP as we seem to have hijacked this thread


Daniel
08-07-2008, 12:28 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
At least you accept that the NiMH tech is pathetic at best.
NiMH is only 1.2V nominal ,and it's difficult to get batteries to provide much more than 1-1.5A of current when fully charged. Pentax should have designed the system for 5 x NiMH instead (6V), although that means putting in 5 x Alkaline or 5 x LiFe (e2 Lithium) would over-volt the system.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
The one that I am using is 3.2vx2 - well within the 10% generally accepted voltage tolerance level.
As an electrical engineer who has designed microelectronics, that is not an "accepted voltage tolerance." 10% is guaranteed transconductance. Don't confuse TTL, motor and other systems with microelectronics.

The Pentax K100D/K200D are designed with a regulator that takes 4.8-6.0V nominal. 10% of those would be 4.3-6.6V. The cut-off seems to be 4.5V and the maximum is 6.5V. So what you're suggesting is already at the limits of the absolute maximum input voltage for the regulator.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
The RCRV3 is the renewable substitute of the not quite environmentally friendly CRV3.
Doesn't mean it's correct.

Just like the "more environmentally friendly" sealant changed in 1985 on the STS' SRB O-rings drastically reduced it's tolerance to weather and the 1997 change to CFC-free insulator increased the number of break-offs of insulation from the STS' SFT that struck the STS' Orbitor a full order of magnitude (from over 10 to over 100). Yes, both were "environmentally mandated" material changes (most people don't know that, and the media heavily under-reported these facts).

Engineering 101: When you design a system to work with specific materials, anytime you change the material to one it was not designed for, you have exponentially increased risk.

The original O-ring design on the STS was risk mitigated, using the original sealant material. That changed in 1985, when the replacement sealant did not insulate against the weather like it insulated against moisture. Not surprising, the next four (4) cold weather launches saw a massive strike in O-ring breaks. Same deal on the change to CFC-less insulation that took effect in 1997. You went from only about 10-12 break-offs to over 100 on every single launch due to the tensile strength reduction in the new RF type.

Li-Ion (RCR-V3) is not LiMg (CR-V3)

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
A device (and there are many) designed for CRV3 or 2AA batt can also be powered by RCRV3.
"Can" is the word here. I've yet to see a single vendor certify RCR-V3 or use in their CR-V3 powered devices. The characteristics of Li-Ion are radically different than LiMg. Li-Ion is regulated very, very different, and each vendor has varying tolerances and requirements.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
I have to agree that the voltage variance (of some fly by night vendors without an industry wide standard ) may not be acceptable . That was at least the case prior to the launching of regulated RCRV3.
All Li-Ion is "regulated." This myth that Li-Ion batteries exist that are not regulated is just that, a myth. It is chemically impossible for a Li-Ion cell to operate at 3V without being damaged.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
There may be a reality or trend.
There is no industry or certified accepted Li-Ion "standard" with any end-user device manufacturer. You are violating the engineering specified and certified operations of a device when you use RCR-V3, period. I'm not making this up, it's not "trend," it's reality.

CR-V3 is LiMg, not Li-Ion.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
Whatever. But it does not alter the fact there are a lot of users worldwide prefering an insignificant overvoltage (under 10%)
Users, yes. Engineers, no.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
than a major undervoltage ( 6V cf 4.8V).
The K100D/K200D are designed to operate at 4.8-6V. I've personally measured a "cut-off" voltage of 4.4V on my K100D.

Just because the AF motors are "not as peppy" doesn't mean it's an under-volt. It's regulator was designed for that input voltage.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
Oops. My apology to the OP as we seem to have hijacked this thread
We're talking about battery issues that may contribute to malfunction. I've designed microelectronic circuits, and I would never put in a voltage that my regulator was not designed for. 6.5V max is the absolute maximum.

And to get 3.2V out of a Li-Ion material, you're getting dangerously close to the voltage where Li-Ion cells die. That's fact. It's also why RCR-V3 can never be a replacement for CR-V3, despite the marketing. LiMg is nothing like Li-Ion.

Your "environmentally friendly" argument is as futile as people who argue we shouldn't use CFC-based insulation in aerospace applications for "environmental reasons." Thank God our US military stopped using that junk on some of our arsenal, as I've professilonally seen it nearly cause a failure during a launch.

Engineers design systems to mitigate risk, they can never fully eliminate it. I've seen how over-voltage causes transconductance and radically reduces semiconductor lifespan (when it doesn't destroy it immediately). Your solution is not accepted by 1 single manufacturer of end-user devices that utilize CR-V3, period, fact, end-of-story, no "trend," just 100% industry reality.

07-11-2009, 09:01 AM   #24
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Similar AF-540FGZ problems

I've joined Pentax forums after finding this thread. I am also frustrated having previously owned a K100D that worked much better, and need to voice my opinion.

Symptoms I can report:
- in P mode and indoor conditions (around the house... 8 ft ceiling, subject within 10-20 feet) this flash should have tons of power to allow ideal exposure settings, and the camera should take full advantage of that. Instead it will pick, say, ISO 800 as if it were not using the flash.

- if the ISO is forced to a more desirable setting in Sv mode or by limiting the range of ISO settings, a wide-open f-stop is used, again as if the camera is first using no-flash settings and then perhaps ony adjusting shutter speed to expose.

I've tried every flash setting and nothing seems to make a difference. It is simply an exposure algorithm issue that I think needs to be corrected in firmware.


btw I am also an electrical engineer but sorry, I don't think my issue has to do with batteries. It's software. The lengthy discussion here on batteries is very interesting though!
07-11-2009, 04:20 PM   #25
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I find that (for me) the best way to use flash with K100D bounce is to use Av mode and dial in +1 on the flash and +2 on the camera. Bounce P-TTL at 0 compensation never worked for me (K100D and AF360)... Perhaps you have a special copy of K100D?

SV works fine too as long as exposure compensation is dialed like in Av.
07-15-2009, 07:05 PM   #26
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Hmmm...

This thread is both enlightening, and disturbing.

I have a K100D and a 540FGZ flash, which I love, and this combination works great together.

I mainly use P-TTL for fill flash outdoors, and mostly use the auto setting when indoors.

I'm thinking of upgrading to a K20D, but I'm 100% satisfied with the results my K100D and 540FGZ flash are giving me. If there are problems with the K20D and the AF540FGZ, all I can say is

I don't enlarge anything bigger than A4 size, and since I've been using the 540FGZ, people who know nothing about photography have been asking me if I bought a new camera. They say my recent pictures look better, brighter and snappier. I think it's the fill flash outdoors.

Here are a few examples:
K100D & 540FGZ flash & Pentax 16-45 lens. P-TTL mode for fill flash. I think the exposure of the faces is just about perfect.

Same combo on auto flash. I vignetted the edges.



Are the problems really that bad?

Mike
07-15-2009, 09:33 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Bokeh Quote

Are the problems really that bad?

Mike
P-TTL is fine when you don't bounce... when you bounce on the other hand
07-16-2009, 07:32 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
P-TTL is fine when you don't bounce... when you bounce on the other hand
Thanks, Andi Lo.

When I think about it, I really don't bouce my flash at all, but I do use my Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce for indoor candid portraits, but only closeups, and with low ceilings.

I guess that might count as partial bouncing.

Mike
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