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Old February 5th, 2006, 11:09 AM   #1
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Battery Quality

I see there are lots of camera batteries for sale out there from various Internet stores and eBay for much much less money than the OEM models.

For example, I am looking to purchase additional batteries for a GL2 and from Canon they run over $100. I can pick up compatible batteries for $20 from a variety of different places.

My question is there a difference? Would it be a waste of the $20? Is there a general rule you use when buying batteries? I was thinking I could buy 5 for the price of one!

I know you get waht you pay for so that is why I post this question, is there a huge difference?
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Old February 5th, 2006, 12:04 PM   #2
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Many people here will advice you to only use official batteries to run no risk.

I have to admit: I bought 2 batteries for my XL1s on ebay, and they still work like a charm. Costed me 50 euros instead of what would have been 500 euros.
So no problems for me.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 12:10 PM   #3
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Buying off brands can be a mixed bag. Some brands, like LENMAR are well known and have a good reputation with resellers. They are less than the Manufacturer's batt price, but still higher than the Cheapo Brand x you can find on Ebay.

You should note, that Canon's official policy is that useing off brand batts will void the warranty. Some people on the board, have sent in their cameras with problems, with an off brand battery attached, and Canon has seized on this as a reason to void their warranty.

Some people have bought the cheapo brands, and found that they don't deliver the length of charge they say... and when actually WEIGHED against the same Cannon Batts, actually weigh less... so clearly the cells inside don't measure up.

My personal choice, is to buy the Lenmar's at a good savings,(I find they are equal or better than Canon's in charge rate) but stay away from the 'ten dollar' batteries.

It's your call.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 05:15 PM   #4
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I have some BP-945 knockoffs that I use. $40 each. I don't know how long they are supposed to last, but they last a very long time and they have not exploded. So I'm satisfied.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 09:07 PM   #5
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How fast do these generic batteries charge? Charging my Z1's stock battery for 45 minutes gets it about an hour of battery life. For whatever reason, I've always thought that generic batteries take longer to charge.

Does anyone know if this is true?
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Old February 5th, 2006, 09:40 PM   #6
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no problemos

I too have purchased several no name brands off E-Bay and they have performed well so far. Sometimes they dont give accurate readings as far as charge time or minutes left but for the amount of money I saved they're certainly worth it.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 11:15 PM   #7
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I've posted on this before, but it bears repeating. Although I haven't bought the batteries you are looking at, I have a pair of generic Li-Ion V-mount 95 Wh batteries which I've used for two years with an IDX VL-2 Plus charger and pro Sony gear. If you go to B&H and look under Pro Video, Batteries & Power, On-Camera Batteries, then All+Sony V-mount+Li-Ion+All, and you'll find them right at the top of the list as Bescor BPLI-95s. Exactly the same thing. I mean that literally. EXACTLY the same. Okay, one difference: the price for the Bescors is more than twice what they go for elsewhere, and they don't even put their name on them. Where's the pride?

Failures? Zaps? Kablooeys? None. Drove the camcorder through several days of single-digit weather, and that was on one battery. I've never taken a charger on the road. Whatever for? The only things that were a bit odd is that the charger never fully charges them in one go. Press the built-in test button, and only four of the five LEDs light. Also, the camcorder (a Sony DSR-1 DVCAM unit) was a bit optimistic on the battery level, showing better than half charge before abruptly shutting down. To be fair, it does show voltage on startup, however briefly.

What you really pay for is snob factor. Given a choice between about $91 for generic, $295 for Bescor (same thing), $300 or $550 for Sony, $330 for IDX, $350 or $400 for Switronix (who?), or (holy @$!*#!) $550 or $750 for PAG, all batteries with the same specs, what would you go for?

Manufacturers routinely put their name on subcontracted products without divulging the source. They buy down to a price, then gouge, gouge, gouge. What you buy today might not have been made by the same contractor a year ago, or a year from now. Do your homework, and try them out. Don't listen to the ditto-heads who haven't got anything to back up their assertions. Yes, sadly, there are those who repeat hearsay and conjecture and think they are helping. This comes from a diet rich in Faux News. Just listen to those who have used the products in question.

When I sold everything else in favor of an XL-2 outfit, I kept these batteries and the charger. I need to call Adorama tomorrow and ask why they haven't shipped my IDX adapter for the XL-2 yet. Either they cross town to B&H and get one, or I cancel the order and get one from B&H. Either of these batteries should power the XL-2 for over twelve hours.

Granted, the batteries I cited are quite a bit different than what you are considering, but I think the comparison is still valid. Only you can decide if $20 is a risk. I can spend that on any number of things, and that's just at the supermarket! I say, try it, and test head-to-head as fairly as you can. Whatever the results, post a detailed report. We'd all appreciate it.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 12:03 PM   #8
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I just ordered one of these "BP-945" 6000 mAh batteries off eBay. We'll see how it does.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 04:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Boze
I just ordered one of these "BP-945" 6000 mAh batteries off eBay. We'll see how it does.
Update: that battery is all Chinese, and I'v ordered another that boasts Panasonic cells. When I get them I'll run a battery of tests on them. So to speak.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 09:34 PM   #10
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I bought a couple of batteries on eBay from a guy in Hong Kong for my Sony cam. Supposedly the specs were identical.

Big mistake. I'm lucky if I get two hours out of what's supposed to be a 4.5 hour battery.

Randy
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Old February 11th, 2006, 03:59 AM   #11
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Initial test results

I got the thoroughly Chinese generic battery today, with a label rating of 6000 mAh. The other battery should be here next week. An update will follow.

B1 = Canon BP-930, a label-rated 3000 mAh battery that comes with the Canon XL-2.
B2 = Generic Chinese battery, label-rated at 6000 mAh.
B3 = Generic battery with Panasonic cells, label-rated at 6000 mAh.

Initial test results and comments:

Weight:
B1 = 188g
B2 = 280g
B3 =

B2 is distinctly larger, so some of the extra weight is simply plastic. There is no way of knowing how much of the battery's weight is in the case, but clearly, the 6000 mAh battery in no way weighs twice that of the stock B1 battery. Other dimensional differences will be added later.

Run-time tests:

These were conducted after charging both batteries on the Canon CA-920 charger until the steady LED indication of full charge. The tapes were virgin Sony PHDVM-63DM Digital Masters. The XL-2 was set at 30p, Auto, 16:9, 20x lens with OIS and AF on, and external mic with phantom power supplied. However, for consistency's sake, I recorded bars and tone only. The tapes were recorded to the end, whereupon the XL-2 was switched to VCR mode and the tape rewound. A new tape followed, and so on. All tests at room temperature. For reference, the BP-930 is rated at 90 minutes (90').

Total run time tests:
B1 = 150' or 2:30
B2 = 263' or 4:23
B3 =

This was the total time the camera was on, including recording, rewinding and tape ejection and loading. If I were actually using the camera to record a scene in the normal sense, the run time would almost certainly be less.

Tape run time test:
B1 = 139' or 2:19
B2 = 248' or 4:08
B3 =

This is the actual recording time. The tapes have an observed capacity about 65' or 1:05 each.

Voltage at discharge:
B1 = 6.38 VDC
B2 = 6.64 VDC
B3 =

Batteries were removed from the camera when the camera shut off automatically, not on the "change battery pack" indication. Battery charge times from flat will be included later.

Charge times from dead (or flat, if you prefer.)
B1 = 127' or 2:07
B2 = 250' or 4:10
B3 =

Batteries were allowed to cool a minimum of four (4) hours before recharging. Recharging a hot (just used) battery will shorten its life permanently.

Approximate indicated battery levels and times:
B1 = 75% at about 1 hour; 50% at about 1:30 hours; 25% at about 1:35 hours.
B2 = 75% at about 1:00 hour; 50% at about 1:43 hours; 25% at about 3:10 hours.
B3 =

Please note that these times are only approximate. Clearly B2 has a long third quarter, and a very short fourth, whereas B1 has a very short third.

Conclusion:
B1: rated at 3000 mAh, lasted 2:30. Baseline for comparision.
B2: rated at 6000 mAh, lasted 4:23. Adjusted rating: 5260 mAh.
B3: rated at 6000 mAh, lasted

Street price (exclusive of shipping or tax):
B1 = 74.99
B2 = 16.59
B3 = 13.59

Comments:
I'm sure Canon is quite conservative with their battery rating. Using it, as we must, as a baseline, clearly the B2 battery was optimistically rated. Still, for bang for the buck, it clearly wins hands-down. I will update this when I get the other generic battery (B3) next week, which claims to have Panasonic cells.
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Last edited by Doug Boze; February 11th, 2006 at 09:24 PM.
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Old February 15th, 2006, 09:09 PM   #12
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Generic battery test results

I've finished testing two generic batteries and the results are interesting. There is considerable difference in the performance quality between them.

Batteries compared:
B1 = Canon BP-930, 7.2V 3000mAh Li-Ion, made in Japan.
B2 = Generic BP941/945, 7.2V 6000mAh, made in China.
B3 = Generic BP941/945, 7.4V 6600mAh, made in Taiwan with Panasonic cells.

Tape run times in Canon XL-2 (minutes and h:mm) and disharged voltage:
B1 = 139' or 2:19; 6.38V
B2 = 248' or 4:08; 6.64V
B3 = 336' or 5:36; 6.33V

Adjusted mAh ratings (using B1 = 3000mAh as baseline):
B2 = 5353mAh (89% or label rating)
B3 = 7252mAh (110% of label rating)

Time to charge in Canon CA-920 and charged voltage:
B1 = 127' or 2:07; 8.38V
B2 = 250' or 4:10; 8.23V
B3 = 306' or 5:06; 8.32V

Weight and depth of battery:
B1 = 188g, 39mm
B2 = 280g, 58mm
B3 = 284g, 58mm

Comments:
Clearly B2, the Chinese generic with Chinese cells didn't perform up to spec. It's high discharged voltage and low charged voltage shows a low current capacity of its cells. The Taiwanese generic, B3, with Panasonic cells clearly exceeds its rating of 6600mAh. It was also cheaper than B2. Note, too, how the charge times vs. run times compare. B1 and B3 charge in slightly less time than they operated, whereas B2 took longer.

B2 is still a good value, at least initially, but I'd not get another. On the other hand, I would not hesitate to purchase more of B3, especially at a price of less than $15 a piece.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 10:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Boze
Update: that battery is all Chinese, and I'v ordered another that boasts Panasonic cells. When I get them I'll run a battery of tests on them. So to speak.
There are two major cell vendors out their - Panasonic and Sanyo. They both deliver consistent quality cells, and stand behind the spec numbers. Then, there are a variety of Chinese cells, they can be all over the place in their quality and consistency. When a pack vendor makes a pack, it can be made with the brand name cells (Pan, Sanyo) or off brand. The Sanyo and Panasonic cells are more expensive, making the packs more expensive. Lesser quality cells can deliver good capacity first, but after a few cycles they will start to deteriorate. All this general information is well known among the pack manufacturers, real life results can vary...
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Old February 19th, 2006, 04:34 PM   #14
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Is there a risk of damaging your camcorder with the chinese made batteries?
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Old February 19th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #15
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Ye, if they blow up inside of it:-(
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