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Old June 27th, 2010, 09:59 AM   #1
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Refreshing camcorder batteries.

Anyone know if it's possible to refresh camcorder batteries? It's my way to be green.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 02:41 PM   #2
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By "refresh" I am assuming you are not meaning recharge. Beyond that I am not sure what it means to refresh a battery. I will assume that you mean to get new life from a battery that is old and will only drive your camcorder for a fraction of the time it did when new.

The easy answer is absolutely "No." Li-Ion batteries have a shelf life. If you buy one new and never use it, it will probably not be chargable after ten years. After five years you will probably get half of its original usefulness. Determining what its original usefulness is, however, is a little up in the air as I will note below.

The second life robber for Li-Ion batteires is the same life robber that affected NiCad batteries. You can only recharge them about a thousand times. Every time you recharge them you lose a little more ability to hold a charge. To get maximum life you will want to completely use up a charge before recharging. There is a practical side to this, though. You don't want to show up at a shoot with a half-charged battery or have a half-charged battery mixed with fully charged batteries. It's just too hard to keep track of partially charged batteries so what I do is just simply recharge a set of batteries a day or two before a shoot topping each off. A fully charged battery that has been sitting a few weeks unused has lost a little charge and could be topped off.

But how do you determine the original usefulness of a given battery? Camcorder batteries are not dumb like the old NiCads. Today's batteries have electronics buried in them do do things like shut them off when the charge reaches a manufacturer determined low state. This maximizes the life of the battery by preventing its deep discharge.

But what other sorts of things do the battery electronics do? Looking at the automotive industry hybrid vehicles which use Li-Ion technology they have the same limitations we have with camcorders. What the automotive industry has done is to hide the batteries constantly declining ability to hold a charge from the consumer. Let's say a given hybrid car will travel fifty miles on the battery when new. It would look bad to the consumer if six months after ownership the car could only drive forty-five miles and then later only forty miles. So what they did in the automotive industry was to hide all of the energy held by the battery and release it with time. When new the electonics will only rlease maybe 75% of the available charge. After one year maybe it will be releasing 80%, after two years maybe 85%, and so on until after five years the electronics begin releasing all of the energy that the battery will give. It is at that point that the owner will be able to notice that his car doesn't travel as far on a charge.

Sony may be doing this same thing with camcorder batteries. Maybe not.

Once a battery's physical ability to hold a charge has declined there is no way to rejuvinate it. The chemicals have been spent.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 04:43 PM   #3
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Thanks Wesley

Yes, refresh, that's what one of my other chargers call it. I currently have one of my batteries that fully charges and then I get 10 minutes out of it.

I know that some of my batteries such as my Frezzi batteries people claim to be able to 'refresh', so I wanted to ask. Thanks for all the great information on the battery anatomy, it was very helpful. I've ordered replacements for the ones that seem to be not holding a charge. Thanks again.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 06:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Cardone View Post
The second life robber for Li-Ion batteires is the same life robber that affected NiCad batteries. You can only recharge them about a thousand times. Every time you recharge them you lose a little more ability to hold a charge. To get maximum life you will want to completely use up a charge before recharging.
I always thought the best way to use Li-ion batteries was to NOT discharge them all the way, and never let them drain completely.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 08:42 PM   #5
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Recycling the batteries properly is about the the best you can do Green wise. Even if you could crack the case and recell the batteries you still have to dispose of the used cells.
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Old July 27th, 2010, 09:30 AM   #6
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recelling can be done. I don't know for smaller cells how cost effective it will be.
For bigger battery's it will be cost effective. I have (years ago) recelled my Anton Bauer trimpac's for about 70 euro. unfortunately it are nicad's and since they are harder to get, I have some problems recelling the current ones.
I might try a set of nimh, but i am a bit unshure about the ' on board electronics ' of the anton bauers.
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Old July 27th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #7
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I recelled some Ni Cads earlier this year, so it can still be done.
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Old July 27th, 2010, 04:12 PM   #8
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Lithium batteries apparently are best kept partially charged. Full charge over long periods can cause dendrites to build up and short out cells and too much discharge can kill the cell completely. The camera won't likely fully discharge a battery, but if a dead battery is left for long it might go too low. I charge my batteries up a bit after use and top them off just before an event.
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Old July 27th, 2010, 05:03 PM   #9
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Yeah, the reason I asked this question was one of my Sony batteries would fully charge, then be dead in less than 20 minutes of use. Soooo, I ended up buying more batteries. I'll probably recycle the bad ones.
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