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02-21-2010, 12:14 PM   #1
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K-x battery followup

After having K-x for a few months now, and after my first major vacation which ended in disappointing battery life, I decided to run a test. But, first a brief background.

I went on a three week vacation, bringing three sets of Ni-MH's - two MAHA Imedion packs and one Eneloop pack, all fully charged. First set of Imedion's died on me (hitting red battery indicator) after less than 200 shots. Eneloop died after less than 300. Imedion's were a few years old while Eneloops were brand new. I'm glad I had a third set with me, but those lasted just over 200 shots, if that many.

After returning home, I recharged the Imedions and started shooting randomly at objects around me. I took over 900 shots and the battery indicator is still orange (it turns from green to orange in less than 100 shots, but then it stays that way and provides sufficient juice). I did try to avoid shooting at the same object all the time, since I wanted to put the A/F to work and put additional strain on the battery. There were a couple of major differences, however, between the real life shoot and this experimental one:

1. Since I'm a DSLR novice (although I had many SLR Pentax's over the years), on many shots, I spent quite a bit of time composing, focusing (A/F), then reviewing each image after it was taken (magnify/scroll), deleting the ones I didn't like. In other words, activities that drain the juice. I seldom used flash and even less often LV, not my favorite feature.

2. During the experimental shoot at home, most of the time I did allow the camera to display the image on LCD for 3sec (my default setting), but haven't done much with the images other than that except deleting the whole folder after every 200 shots (which is more than likely insignificant in terms of battery consumption). I used the flash more than I use it in real life, since in real life I prefer shots w/o flash, even in low light conditions (K-x truly shines here).

In conclusion, I believe that most of the new users having issues with batteries, probably have similar shooting habits like myself, and have caused extra battery drain by doing so. I cannot talk about issues before and after firmware update, since I installed v1.01 the day I got the camera.

As far as battery types, I don't think that there is a significant difference btw. Imedion and Eneloop. Meanwhile, I also purchased two sets of Powerex 2700 (as recommended by Pentax cust. svc.) and will test them on my upcoming trip. With all said in mind, I will try to adjust my behavior while shooting, and hope to get no less than 400 shots from a single charge, perhaps more. I will be very happy if that turns out to be the case.

Hope this adds to the discussion, or at least helps the new owners have a better understanding of what to expect.

02-21-2010, 12:50 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxmagnum Quote
In conclusion, I believe that most of the new users having issues with batteries, probably have similar shooting habits like myself, and have caused extra battery drain by doing so. I cannot talk about issues before and after firmware update, since I installed v1.01 the day I got the camera.

As far as battery types, I don't think that there is a significant difference btw. Imedion and Eneloop. Meanwhile, I also purchased two sets of Powerex 2700 (as recommended by Pentax cust. svc.) and will test them on my upcoming trip. With all said in mind, I will try to adjust my behavior while shooting, and hope to get no less than 400 shots from a single charge, perhaps more. I will be very happy if that turns out to be the case.
Here are my battery life as in shot count in then K-x using eneloops and/or "DuraLoops" (Duracell Pre-Charged with white top and made in Japan - these are confirmed re-badged eneloops - hence the unofficial nickname)

620 - first time usage so lots of review, playing around etc.
1,295
1,252 (after upgrade to firmware 1.01.00.05)
1,102
1,074 (after upgrade to firmware 1.01.00.07)
1,303

So on average (discounting the first usage playing around count) I get more than 1,100 shots per charge with eneloops.

A word about the Powerex 2700 - they are very high capacity - probably one of the highest capacity available. The problem with high capacity NiMH is that they have thinner materials to be able to cram all that capacity into the limited volume - so are more prone to being damaged - pretty soon they develop high self-discharge - some self-discharging even within days....

The overwhelming recommendation here from experienced users is to use what you have already eneloops, as first choice, and then any other reputable brand LSD (Low Self-Discharge) NiMH batteries - such as the Immedion which you again have already.

Just charge them properly at 0.5C - which is at the default charge current of 1000mA on the Maha C9000 - and when the charger indicates "Done" leave them in the charger for another 2 hours....

Why?
- one has to read the Maha C9000 manual carefully to understand this -
the Maha C9000 is a very "safe" charger -
as such it uses multiple detection strategies to determine when batteries are charged/done - the one that's relevant/activated mostly with NiMH in good condition is voltage peak threshold - the cutoff is at just over 1.47V - this is good and safe for eneloops and other LSDs - BUT it does not charge them completely fully - it is about 90% full -
the remaining 2 hours in the charger is a "top off" charge at 100mA - this slowly and "safely" squeezes the last 10% of charge into the batteries. After 2 hours the charge then drops into a maintenance mode of 10mA.

Mostly it's OK just to use the batteries when the charger says "Done" - since that will be at about 90% capacity - but one want to squeeze every last drop of charge into the batteries safely, then leave them in the charger for another 2 hours.......

Last edited by UnknownVT; 02-21-2010 at 01:18 PM.
02-21-2010, 01:30 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
1,252 (after upgrade to firmware 1.01.00.05)
1,102
1,074 (after upgrade to firmware 1.01.00.07)
1,303

Why?
- one has to read the Maha C9000 manual carefully to understand this -
the Maha C9000 is a very "safe" charger -
as such it uses multiple detection strategies to determine when batteries are charged/done - the one that's relevant/activated mostly with NiMH in good condition is voltage peak threshold - the cutoff is at just over 1.47V - this is good and safe for eneloops and other LSDs - BUT it does not charge them completely fully - it is about 90% full -
the remaining 2 hours in the charger is a "top off" charge at 100mA - this slowly and "safely" squeezes the last 10% of charge into the batteries. After 2 hours the charge then drops into a maintenance mode of 10mA.

Mostly it's OK just to use the batteries when the charger says "Done" - since that will be at about 90% capacity - but one want to squeeze every last drop of charge into the batteries safely, then leave them in the charger for another 2 hours.......
Where do you see the last two digits of the firmware version (x.o5 and x.07)? My camera only shows 1.01 and the software package, as well as Pentax web site show the same thing. There is only one version of bin file dated 11/25/2009. Please, elaborate.

Thanks for the MHC9000 explanation, very helpful! I wish the manual was a little better written.
02-21-2010, 01:36 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxmagnum Quote
Where do you see the last two digits of the firmware version (x.o5 and x.07)? My camera only shows 1.01 and the software package, as well as Pentax web site show the same thing. There is only one version of bin file dated 11/25/2009. Please, elaborate.
Download PhotoMe

Use it to open any photo file that you have recently taken with the K-x.

Use the Find function (Control-F shortcut)
type in "firmware" in the box (in fact firm is enough) -
PhotoMe displays the firmware version.

02-21-2010, 01:36 PM   #5
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Another battery question

The MAHA MHC9000 manual talks about break-in cycle for all new batteries. I've never done it since all batteries came advertised as fully charged, ready to use, so I assumed it would be redundant.

Now that I've used them and charged them, some more than once, should I still run the break-in cycle at all or perhaps just refresh/analyze (which I already did and got satisfactory values)?

Also, is there any difference in terms of battery life when using "Auto" vs "Ni-MH" setting on battery type option?
02-21-2010, 01:47 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
Download PhotoMe

Use it to open any photo file that you have recently taken with the K-x.

Use the Find function (Control-F shortcut)
type in "firmware" in the box (in fact firm is enough) -
PhotoMe displays the firmware version.
OK, found it but it shows x.05. Where did you get x.07? There is only one version on Pentax site and that is the one I downloaded some two months ago and installed.
02-21-2010, 01:49 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxmagnum Quote
Now that I've used them and charged them, some more than once, should I still run the break-in cycle at all or perhaps just refresh/analyze (which I already did and got satisfactory values)?

Also, is there any difference in terms of battery life when using "Auto" vs "Ni-MH" setting on battery type option?

I have never used the break-in function it takes way too long....
takes 39-45 hours according to the manual.
But battery experts do use it -
so by definition I am not an expert

All LSD batteries come partially charged at only about 70% out of the packet -
and we don not know how long the batteries have been on the shelf before purchase -
this could account for lower shot count if used straight out of the pack.

RTFM -
read the section on Refresh & Analyze - I do this manually - at every complete usage of a set - I manually discharge the batteries at 0.2C (=400mA for eneloops, and read the remaining capacity - mostly in the mid-20 mAh) - then allow the batteries to rest/cool for at least 2 hours then charge at the default rate of 1000mAh - since I have more than 1 set I can afford to leave the batteries for the additional 2 hours after "Done" is shown to top off for the remaining 10%.

I assume you are talking about the K-x setting in your last question?
In theory there should not be -
but since I use eneloops or DuraLoops exclusively I set my K-x to NiMH.
02-21-2010, 01:51 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxmagnum Quote
OK, found it but it shows x.05. Where did you get x.07? There is only one version on Pentax site and that is the one I downloaded some two months ago and installed.
Please see Post #6 in KX FIRMWARE UPDATE

02-21-2010, 01:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
Please see Post #6 in KX FIRMWARE UPDATE
Thank you so much! It is Pentax's faux pas, the software should NEVER EVER be labeled like that. Ambiguity is the mother of confusion.
02-21-2010, 02:00 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxmagnum Quote
Thank you so much! It is Pentax's faux pas, the software should NEVER EVER be labeled like that. Ambiguity is the mother of confusion.
yeah right...
one can complain about how the world should be -
or accept it as-is.

Granted some things are worth fighting for -
others just sound like whining.
02-21-2010, 02:18 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxmagnum Quote
Now that I've used them and charged them, some more than once, should I still run the break-in cycle at all
It helps non-LSD batteries get up to full capacity more quickly, but I don't think it would help LSD batteries (such as Eneloops) much, especially if you've already used them a few times.

Occasionally it's worthwhile doing a complete discharge on the C9000 after you've exhausted them in the camera and before you recharge. I would do one soon if you haven't already, and then again maybe every six months or a year. No need to get too excited about it though.
02-21-2010, 02:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
yeah right...
one can complain about how the world should be -
or accept it as-is.

Granted some things are worth fighting for -
others just sound like whining.
Thank you Sir, for showing me the errors of my ways
02-21-2010, 02:32 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
Please see Post #6 in KX FIRMWARE UPDATE
Mission accomplished!
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