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10-27-2009, 08:24 AM   #1
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K-x owners: NiMH batteries results please

There is a new firmware for K-x that should address battery issues.
Latest K-x Firmware Update : Software Downloads : PENTAX

With this update, my 5+ year old energizer 2650 batteries are red in auto mode but can take pictures, use LV, and video fine while staying red. When in NiMH mode, they are green.

The rest of this post is now defunct.



"Tricks":
- Use AUTO mode if NiMH doesn't work well
- Look for a red light in the IR receiver when closing the battery compartment
- Wait 10+ seconds after inserting batteries
- Flip the AF switch to MF and back (before and after turning on).
- Have the camera in video mode
- Start up the camera with no lens attached, a manual aperture lens, or a lens slightly rotated and not locked fully in to get the select focal length screen.

A pentax employee has hinted that Pentax will be addressing the problem soon. The above tricks are not fun, but can be used until it is addressed.



Also try cleaning the battery contacts with an eraser, and then wiping on some clothes.

A number of people are being turned off of this camera because of the very vocal reported issues on DPR with NiMH batteries. In a number of threads here, many don't report the issue with lithiums, but said they will try it out with NiMH LSD/Hybrid/Pre-charged such as eneloop and report back, but I haven't seen any yet.

The reports are something along the lines of it working mostly fine and normal until using LiveView or Video. Post how many shots you get with NiMH with LiveView, or if the red indicator comes on soon. Please post the first 8 or so digits of your serial number regardless of whether you have problems or not, in order to find out if it is a certain batch.

For some people, setting battery to NiMH helps, while others, auto actually works better. Generally waiting after inserting batteries seems to help, as well as closing the battery cover quickly so the batteries contact around the same time.

Here is the president of Pentax Imaging US's post about it:
NED BUNNELL: K-x Battery Notes

Interesting bit about eneloops being bundled with K-x:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/793908-post16.html

Also, in case anyone wanted a good cheap smart independent channel charger - check out the soshine sc-c3:

Soshine SC-C3 Intelligent Rapid Charger - CandlePowerForums

$14 shipped (will take a while to get here):
DealExtreme: $13.98 Soshine Hi-Tech LCD NiMH / NiCD Super Quick Charger

Please read the top of this post for a possible fix and post your results.

Problem Units:
34339031XXXXXX Canada, Ontario (Henrys, Allan Brown)
34340081XXXXXX Canada, Ontario (Henrys, Allan Brown)
34340451XXXXXX Canada, Toronto ( , kevs0001)*
34346XXXXXXXXX United States, New York? (not positive) (Circuit City, Dino G)
343551XXXXXXXX Canada, Ontario (Henrys, AronG)
34356XXXXXXXXX Italy, Verona ( , noou)
3435XXXXXXXXXX Canada, Ontario ( , SamTruax)
3437XXXXXXXXXX United States, California ( , wll)
3438XXXXXXXXXX United States, California ( , wll)
34388XXXXXXXXX United States, ( , marathoncamera)
34494XXXXXXXXX United States, Michigan ( , wmich)
345592XXXXXXXX Finland ( , jtanska)
346038XXXXXXXX United States, California ( , alrascal11)

Working Units:
3422XXXXXXXXXX Switzerland ( , hans_ch)
34300XXXXXXXXX Netherlands ( , tomtor)
343025XXXXXXXX United States, Missouri ( , pti-andy)
34314XXXXXXXXX Canada, Toronto ( , AMBIVALENCE)* Moved, appears to be working with eneloops
3431XXXXXXXXXX United States, New Jersey ( , GeneU)
34345XXXXXXXX United States, Texas ( , OutOfFocus)
34352XXXXXXXXX Czech Republic ( , jerrymouse)
3435XXXXXXXXXX United States, Oregon ( , tiny)
343793XXXXXXXX Unknokwn ( , junyo)
343XXXXXXXXXXX Czech Republic ( , jerrymouse's 2nd)
343XXXXXXXXXXX Czech Republic ( , jerrymouse's friend)
343XXXXXXXXXXX Greece, Korinth ( , pkaliaf)
343XXXXXXXXXXX United States ( , jup)
343XXXXXXXXXXX United States ( , Bruce Norikane)
343XXXXXXXXXXX United States ( , SuperBee)
343XXXXXXXXXXX United States, Arizona ( , mead76)
343XXXXXXXXXXX Canada, Toronto ( , jcespite)
3438804XXXXXXX Viet Nam, HCM City ( , Vinh Pham Le)* Moved, appears to be working.
3440110XXXXXXX Japan, Kobe ( , zxaar)
344XXXXXXXXXXX Australia, Perth ( , mcjm78)
344XXXXXXXXXXX Australia ( , Owen Marshall)
345XXXXXXXXXXX Unknown ( , Shub S)
346547XXXXXXXX Unknown ( , nicholas621)
346610XXXXXXXX United States, Maryland ( , Eruditass)
346XXXXXXXXXXX United States, California ( , caseyr6s)
3474XXXXXXXXXX United States, California ( , lesdit)
347XXXXXXXXXXX United States, New York ( , Danbee46)
347XXXXXXXXXXX United States, Indiana ( , DoninIndy)
6XXXXXXXXXXXXX United States ( , pxpaulx) (white)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Canada, Toronto ( , kevs0001)* Returned and got a working one.
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Munich, Germany ( , falconeye)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX France, Vannes ( , XavierP56 )
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Australia ( , rawr)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Australia ( , neil holmes)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Australia ( , ozdean)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Canada, Alberta ( , blu3ness)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Canada ( , Daemos)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Canada, Nova Scotia ( , Aristophanes)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX United States( , wallyb)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX United States( , joeoptics)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX United States( , jesusislord)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX United States ( , pxpaulx) (black)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX United States, NJ ( , dapharmer)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX United States, North Carolina ( , kwaalude)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX United States, Connecticut ( , trna)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX United States, Louisiana ( , Gris Gris Man)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Portugal, Lisbon ( , Nuno Botelho Pereira)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Romania , ( , sorinat)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Sweden, ( , Fred Arne)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Belgium, Brussels ( , Bich)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Belgium, Brussels ( , Belgium, Brussels)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Ireland ( , Stephen OKane)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX India ( , MrClick)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Finland, Helsinki ( , PolarHki)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Malaysia, Penang ( , fskhoo)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Unknown ( , Catalana)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Unknown ( , Ice999)
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Unknown ( , Finger)

PM the first 6 or so digits of your serial number regardless of whether you have problems or not, in order to find out if it is a certain batch.

Please read the top of this post for a possible fix and post your results.



Last edited by Eruditass; 12-03-2009 at 09:05 PM.
10-27-2009, 09:59 AM   #2
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I think most DSLR users don't use liveview to shoot all the time. If you were talking about battery life with liveview, i don't think it's the issue with the AA batteries. liveview on the K20D also used more battery.

Anyway, I currently use a K2000 with Durcell NiMH rechargeable AA, i am satisfy with the battery life. I think Pentax use AA on the K-x or K2000 is to save cost. because in the Pentax lineup, all consumer-level models (ist DL to K-x) all use AA battery. only the higher model like the K10-K7 used proprietary rechargeable battery.
10-27-2009, 10:45 AM   #3
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winglik, the problem is people report it giving a battery depletion warning with new batteries in liveview or shutting off. Sure, most DSLR users won't use this feature much but to only take a couple shots max with new batteries is absurd and a problem. It seems like not everyone is having this experience, but it is certainly turning off prospective buyers.

Personally, I prefer AA's in my cameras for various reasons.
10-27-2009, 12:49 PM   #4
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I can't speak of Ni-Mh's yet, since I am still running on the supplied lithiums, after taking over 1000 RAW+ images so far and about 20 mins of video using them... But when these batteries finally die, I'll switch to my eneloop Ni-Mh's and report in.

One useful point to note re the K-x AA usage:

QuoteQuote:
The use of AAs does have its advantages though. Firstly, Pentax claims that four rechargeable Ni-MH batteries will be enough for 1,100 shots with 50 per cent flash use, which far outstrips the Canon 500D's lithium-ion battery (400 shots) or the Nikon D5000's (510).
Pentax K-x review from TechRadar UK's expert reviews of Digital SLRs

10-27-2009, 01:01 PM   #5
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I did the test on eneloop, only if you take out the "Old" batteries and wait for couple of mins ,then put the new ones in, the indicatation of life of batteries show full green, or else it displays yellow warning (half life indicate)
10-27-2009, 01:22 PM   #6
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Can you do some LiveView test shots and see whether or not it instantly goes to half or dead?
10-27-2009, 01:26 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dreamnet Quote
I did the test on eneloop, only if you take out the "Old" batteries and wait for couple of mins ,then put the new ones in, the indicatation of life of batteries show full green, or else it displays yellow warning (half life indicate)
I think when the camera does a 'cold reboot', it seems to take some time to test/identify what battery type is installed (Lithium/NimH/AA) bfore you get a successful restart.

I noticed this a few times by just removing - waiting for a few minutes - then reinserting my lithiums. Twice nothing happened on the first re-start - the camera still seemed to be doing some thinking. Then I turned the on/off switch once more and it booted instantly, and restarted OK 100% of the time from then on. Power showed green all the time with the lithiums.

Maybe the autosensing circuitry that is in the camera takes time to (a) identify and then (b) adjust to the different voltage levels of the three different types of batteries it can use.
10-27-2009, 01:32 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
Can you do some LiveView test shots and see whether or not it instantly goes to half or dead?
I did like 60 jewelry shots in LV (pretty long time in LV) and it still shows full (Eneloops).

10-27-2009, 01:40 PM   #9
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OK, I just put in some eneloops and did some LiveView shots.

When I inserted the batteries the status screen battery meter showed red and LiveView battery meter showed red too. Then I went into the menu, told the camera the battery type was NimH, and turned the camera on/off.

Now the battery meter shows green on the status screen and in LiveView. Fired off 20 shots in LiveView. Battery meter still green.

All seems OK. The camera clearly needs to have a good idea of what type of batteries it has in it, since the electrical profile of each battery type is different.

Note to self: Ugh. Using LiveView is awkward for taking normal photos. The viewfinder is MUCH more efficient. And probably more energy efficient too.
10-27-2009, 02:58 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
I think when the camera does a 'cold reboot', it seems to take some time to test/identify what battery type is installed (Lithium/NimH/AA) bfore you get a successful restart.

I noticed this a few times by just removing - waiting for a few minutes - then reinserting my lithiums. Twice nothing happened on the first re-start - the camera still seemed to be doing some thinking. Then I turned the on/off switch once more and it booted instantly, and restarted OK 100% of the time from then on. Power showed green all the time with the lithiums.

Maybe the autosensing circuitry that is in the camera takes time to (a) identify and then (b) adjust to the different voltage levels of the three different types of batteries it can use.
I can confirm this happened to me as well.

I was using stock lithium batteries and then took 2~3 HDR photos, the batteries turned to ORANGE, I was alarmed and turned off the camera, took out the batteries and checked for the battery contacts, seems to be clean. Put it back, tried to turn on the camera, no response, 2nd try did it, the battery bar went to green again.

If anything, I suspect the issue with the whole K-X "battery" problem is only because some functions on the camera requires high amp draw from the battery, which might lower the voltage reading or whatever that is used to measure battery capacity. I will do further testing with NiMh batteries when I get them.
10-27-2009, 03:14 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by blu3ness Quote
I can confirm this happened to me as well.
I was using stock lithium batteries and then took 2~3 HDR photos, the batteries turned to ORANGE, I was alarmed and turned off the camera, took out the batteries and checked for the battery contacts, seems to be clean. Put it back, tried to turn on the camera, no response, 2nd try did it, the battery bar went to green again.
If anything, I suspect the issue with the whole K-X "battery" problem is only because some functions on the camera requires high amp draw from the battery, which might lower the voltage reading or whatever that is used to measure battery capacity. I will do further testing with NiMh batteries when I get them.
Many thanks for that input.

Your suspicions seem to be about right.

High current draws will tend to knock down the operating voltage of the batteries and therefore cause low battery signals - it takes a little time for the battery chemistry to recover.

Lithium batteries are supposed to be very good at maintaining their (operating) voltage - so I am a bit concerned with your report.

NiMH probably would be worse - as most of them start at a nominal 1.2V as opposed to nearly 1.7V each of primary Lithium AA's.

The only NiMH based rechargeable battery that has show a good track record of operating voltage maintenance has been the eneloop.

Be very interested in your findings.

Thank you,
10-27-2009, 03:25 PM   #12
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Just as I suspected. A lot of these 'issues' are a result of the camera doing battery detection and adjustments at boot up...

Worth reposting from a DPR thread comment by 'arthur' on the same subject:

QuoteQuote:
Pentax support now confirms what someone in this thread already discovered: You need to wait a few seconds after loading new batteries, or at least new battery types, before you attempt to turn on the camera. You are waiting for the camera to detect the flavor of the AA batteries. How many seconds??? Some number between 3 and 20 seconds, not stated. I suspect this is only true for the lower voltage Ni MH and eneloop batteries (1.2v).

Pentax will not officially commit on the safety of using battery types not explicitly in their printed manual - such as the Super Z (Ni Zn) batteries which are 1.6 v, although many including reviewers state they have used these with much success.

Unofficially they say the eneloops work well, with the caveat that after you first load the batteries you wait a few seconds before turning on the camera to give it a chance to detect the battery type.
K-x battery problem [Page 4]: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
10-27-2009, 03:28 PM   #13
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There are a couple of people in that thread that report having it set to NiMH and waiting 30+ seconds after inserting them and still having problems.
10-27-2009, 03:30 PM   #14
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I see one replying many times and his camera is going to be replaced.
10-27-2009, 03:36 PM   #15
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That's actually his second camera that has had problems:

Re: K-x battery problem: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

Perhaps he should try new batteries to isolate the problem.

johnnl2 seems to be reporting similar problems with his eneloops based on his last post - only with LiveView
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