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03-12-2010, 06:38 PM   #1
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Batteries problem with K200D

Hi!
After a long leave from serious photography, better described as "from 13x18 (cm.!) to digital compact" and with "from great travels to no travels at all", i decided to finally stop waiting for a Pentax full frame camera and buy two Pentax digital SRL bodies to use all the great Pentax lenses i still own.
So i got a K10D and a K200D from fleabay, one for me and one for my wife.
My K10D works well, or maybe i should say that i "think" is working well, because i haven't tried the vast majority of its option.
But the K200D is hsowing a werid behaviour:
when i wanted to test the camera before giving a positive feedback, i found myself short of good alkaline batteries, and as i could not go out cause of very long snowstorm (1mt. of snow in front of my door!), i tried with all the options i had at home:
with rechargeable Ni-Mh AA's, all the batteries i tried gave me was a flashing battery icon, or a totally dead camera.
So went for all the alkalines i had at home, two new and two already partly depleted (i got them from a keyboard): the camera was finally working!
Yesterday i went to the supermarket and, being no AA lithium batteries available, i purchased a set of eight alkalines, the best ones specifically advertised for digital SRL's.
When i tried them on the camera i got no sign of life!
I took them out, tried to slightly bend the contacts, and put them in place: no life again!
I took back the other batteries i have tried (two so-and-so new ones and two partly depleted, as reported before) and everything was back again!
Very odd!
I tried again the new batteries and this time they worked!
It's a complete mistery to me.
Did it happen to anybody else?
The strange thing is that if the batteries work, they work again when you swich off and on again the camera as many time as you like. If they don't work the first time, no success in trying to switch back and forth the camera switch.
Its' very strange, because i put the battery inside, and closed the door, the same way every time, and the result varies a great deal from one time to another!
I could try to clean all the contacts with nail polish, but somehow i suspect that the problem lies elsewhere. A dirty contact can't cut the power one time, and give fully charged batteries the next try.

I am sorry if the subject has already been discussed, i did a search, but i understand now that probably i didn't use the best keywords... but i am not of english mother language. after all

have fun


CJ

03-12-2010, 07:13 PM   #2
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Before you draw any conclusions about the camera, battery connections etc etc, buy some brand-new quality batteries like genuine Energizer Lithiums and then see if the camera works correctly with those.

If yes, then you just need to keep feeding the K200D with quality batteries.

The Energizer Lithiums are expensive but they do last forever in the K200D. Another good reliable option is Sanyo eneloop NiMh rechargable batteries charged with a Sanyo eneloop battery charger. Alkaline batteries however are not recommended - you'll almost always get poor performance and problems out of them.
03-13-2010, 08:20 AM   #3
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Sanyo eneloop gets my vote two sets are great to have. works in my K200 fine.
03-13-2010, 10:24 AM   #4
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"flebay" as in used? It's tough call as we don't know it's history but as a K200D user, premium paid (or ripped off whatever you like...lol) i've only had cold temp working problems but that is the same with all batteries hence spares inside the pockets.

03-13-2010, 11:20 AM   #5
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Search these forums for the dozens of previous discussions of AA batteries (including the sticky thread at the very top of this forum). Bottom line: it says right there in the manual alkalines aren't supported, so don't waste your time with those. Lithium work great if you're made of money; older NiMH cells can be unreliable, but Eneloops and other low self-discharge cells are the way to go, as hundreds of people attest in all the earlier threads.
03-13-2010, 01:00 PM   #6
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Original Poster
I am trying to find a repeatable pattern, but i can't find one!
Apparently, if the camera works with a given set of batteries, it will continue to work, even if you open and close the battery compartment lid a few times.
But its' a very strange thing that the same set of fresh Energizer Ultimate that i am using now, didn't work at all after i loaded my camera with four old Ni-Mh rechargeables!
I think i have an answer for the failure with the rechargeables:
at least one, if not all, of those batteries were left on charge for a long time, inside an old charger that has no switch-off circuit (the leds stay red for all the time you keep it powered).
I suppose that a good part of all my 2400mAh (i have many of them) were "burned" by that bad charger, and that it's very likely that in a set of four there is at least one that would not output the right voltage under load.
I think it's difficult to tell the good ones from the bad ones, at least without a proper battery tester, because AFAIK a cheap "generic" tester can't be used to check a battery, the voltage reading is practically with no load applied (very low current, but the notions from my school days are so deeply buried that i could be wrong!).
So my rechargeables are very likely to yeld not enough voltage for a power hungry digital SRL camera. That is common sense i think.
But why i encounteered a total failure with a set of alkalines that were perfectly working a few minutes later on?
The only thing that comes to my mind is that the camera has some kind of "memory", and that the first set of batteries that gets installed after a set of nearly dead rechargeables, for some strange reason would fail!
But if you install another set afterwards, ven a not-so-good one, it will work!
And if you try again with the good batteries that have just failed a minute before, you'll see that now they work with no problems at all.
If i am right this strange behaviour is not very likely to be caused by some strange camera failure, because all the other options work very well.
And when you have the camera correctly responding to the power-on switch, no matter how many time you try to cycle power-on and power-off, and how many times you open and close the battery lid, it will continue to work ;-)
On the other hand i must admit that it's very strange that nobody on this forum has had the same problem. That makes me a little nervous, as there is at least a chance that my camera has a very specific malfunction, that apparently does not affect in any way the performance of the camera. If it starts, then it's all right!

Some have tried to help with their answers, i thank everybody for their kindness, but probably my long post was too boring, and they didn't read it well.
It's not a problem of HOW LONG the batteries last, it is about the very strange behaviour that i have reported, and i hope clarified a little more on this post.

I will try to email Pentax support, with the hope that they would admit it, if by chance is a know problem.
Sorry for going a little off topic on my own thread, but have you seen that on the Pentax support site, if you choose the K200D, and you check ALL the options, you get NOTHING?
No firmware, OK, but no other documents, no software, and even no manual!
All the other cameras show some result.
To download the K200D manual i had to follow a link found on some other site, and of course that URL (pointing to the Pentax support site) was perfectly working...
Apparently the K200D was born perfect, because no firmware update was released, while very recent cameras have got already at least one firmware update.

If you got any clue about my batteries problem, or about the absence of a K200D firmware, please share your thoughts

have fun

CJ

Last edited by cyberjunkie; 03-13-2010 at 01:23 PM.
03-13-2010, 01:21 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
and that it's very likely that in a set of four there is at least one that would not output the right voltage under load.
AFAIK a cheap tester can't be used to check a battery, cause the voltage that is read is practically with no load applied (very low current, but the notions from my school days are so deeply buried that i could be wrong!).
My guess is that you may have some batteries that are marginal.

Since you understand load and no-load voltages -
you might want to check out Post #23 in K200D Battery Meter Problem -
where dmessing measured actual voltage and current draw of his K200D in operation.

Basically the K200D draws 1.296 Amps at start up, and the peak current demand is 1.480A.

The threshold voltage for the K200D was 4.59V total (~=1.15V per cell if they are exactly matched)

So to test the viability of your cells - use a resistor load of 1 ohm (and at least 3watt rating) - which would draw in theory 1.5A for alkalines and 1.2A for NiMH, and approx 1.65A for lithium AA - this is close enough to the start-up and perhaps the max current draws.

Under this load measure the battery voltage, if the cell is below 1.15V then it probably is not capable of powering up the K200D (or if in series the other cells will have to compensate/support it).

Use only cells that pass this criteria, and see if your camera behaves any better.
03-13-2010, 09:48 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
Some have tried to help with their answers, i thank everybody for their kindness, but probably my long post was too boring, and they didn't read it well.
It's not a problem of HOW LONG the batteries last, it is about the very strange behaviour that i have reported, and i hope clarified a little more on this post.
Virtually everything you have described is exactly as would be expected when using unsupported batteries (eg, alkalines) or batteries at the end of their useful life (either too old, or fried by a charger). Rather than waste time trying to figure out why batteries that really should not be working at all happen to work strangely, just get some Eneloops and be done with it. there's no point worrying about why your alkalines don't work well - as I said, they're not *supposed* to work well.

03-13-2010, 10:38 PM   #9
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I have had good success with Energizer Lithium batteries in my K200d as well as Kodak NiMH. However, I have a couple of other brand NiMH that while they run a flash, they don't support my K200d. As several people have already stated, the only way to verify the camera operation definitively is to use a fresh set of Lithium batteries.
03-13-2010, 11:43 PM   #10
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I vote for the energizer lithuim's, i get over 600 shots from them.
03-14-2010, 12:24 AM   #11
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I used NiZn batteries with my K200D before using them in my K-X. It worked good with them.
03-14-2010, 08:38 AM   #12
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Use lithiumos or Eneloops and you'll be happy. I have the k200d. Regular alkalines don't last long at on in the k200d while the otherones do.
03-14-2010, 10:11 AM   #13
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I can confirm what others said here. I have a K200D and experienced unreliable performance from brand new alkalines, and never have been able to use regular rechargeables (they won't even let me turn the camera on). I used Energizer lithiums for a year before taking the advice to invest in eneloop rechargeable batteries and the eneloop recharger. Now I carry fresh lithium batteries as backup and shoot with eneloops, which last a long time. They're worth the extra cost.
03-14-2010, 11:07 AM   #14
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I'll echo the same that most others have suggested. Use lithiums or eneloops.
I have a K200d and after the eneloops ran their course, I tried alkaline because that was all that was available around where I live. Big mistake, the camera started acting up and the battery display showed the new batteries were already depleted within a few dozen shots. It was frustrating to say the least.
Invest in a good battery charger and some eneloops or their equivalent and you can't go wrong. I did and haven't looked back.
03-15-2010, 07:00 AM   #15
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another vote for K200D running very smoothly with Sanyo Eneloops ...
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