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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old July 6th, 2005, 10:55 PM   #1
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battery problem

Can someone tell me what happend. I used my fx1 over the weekend. Firday night I charged my battery to probably 80%. Used it on saturday. Had like about 95 min left. Used it again on the forth to capture fireworks. 3 minutes into recording I flipped the LCD screen open. Prior to that it read 93 min remaining in the viewfinder. With the LCD open it said low battery!!! I had switch to a new battery. I had this battery since 2000. I used it before on the fx1 with no problems. I was pretty close to the fireworks say a good 5000ft from the rack. Could it be from the vibration of the fireworks?
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Old July 6th, 2005, 11:32 PM   #2
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Time to buy another battery!!!

It is not uncommon for an old battery to read about that many minutes and then suddenly make your camera power off. I don't trust any battery new or used when it goes under 100 minutes.

The thing to remember is that the camera is just giving you the time based on the amperage of the battery. It cannot really tell you the voltage performance unless you have a voltmeter. If the voltage drops below a certain minimum required to keep the camera running, it does not matter any more how much amperage you have left in the battery. Old batteries tend to drop the voltage much faster than new ones.

If you had it since 2000 and it is giving you this problem, this is an indication that you need to buy another battery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Foronda
Can someone tell me what happend. I used my fx1 over the weekend. Firday night I charged my battery to probably 80%. Used it on saturday. Had like about 95 min left. Used it again on the forth to capture fireworks. 3 minutes into recording I flipped the LCD screen open. Prior to that it read 93 min remaining in the viewfinder. With the LCD open it said low battery!!! I had switch to a new battery. I had this battery since 2000. I used it before on the fx1 with no problems. I was pretty close to the fireworks say a good 5000ft from the rack. Could it be from the vibration of the fireworks?
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Old July 7th, 2005, 01:55 AM   #3
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This may sound a little strange, but you want to think of batteries like fruit -- because they will eventually go bad. All batteries are rated for a certain number of charge cycles before they come to an end in their ability to hold a significant charge. Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries do better when they are recharged frequently after a partial discharge. So, if you recharge your batteries once they get to 50% or even 70%, this will allow lithium-ion batteries to last longer. Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel cadmium (NiCad) do better when fully discharged before recharging. Each chemistry has their own benefit for a particular application, but that's another topic. In any case, it may be that your battery has come to the end of its life and can no longer hold a charge. I don't know how many charge/discharge cycles Sony rates their batteries for, but you would have had to have kept track of the number of times you recharged this battery if you wanted to work with that information. What you might try doing is charging the battery, and then discharging it entirely by leaving it in the camera in standby mode, and doing this three or four times in a row. This may not help for the lithium-ion chemistry (but it can help or the NiMH in the NiCad). There are sophisticated battery analyzers out there, but some of them cost as much as an FX1. Most often with older batteries, replacement is the only good solution.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 02:09 AM   #4
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WOW,

Both of these replies were super illuminating. I just love this site.
Batteries are such a simple but incredibly important component of our work. Thank you so much for your intelligent insights.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 04:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Redford
Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries do better when they are recharged frequently after a partial discharge. So, if you recharge your batteries once they get to 50% or even 70%, this will allow lithium-ion batteries to last longer.
I always thought you let the Li-Ion drain before you re-charge to full to let it last longer. On a side note since we are on this topic. How or what is the best way to store your battries if you are not gonna use them for quite some time. Fully charge? or low? Right now I fully charged the battery that went bad on me and used it...so far its behaving good. Holding up the charge. I'm thinking its an isolated incidient to what had occured that evening.

Do any of you use other brands of Li-Ion battery aside than sony cause this video thing is getting coslty.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 05:27 AM   #6
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I've also read that Lithium Ion batteries have a finite life whether you charge and use them just once or the full thousand (or whatever) cycles.

I've found the Sony batteries to offer incredible performance to price.

All the best,

Nigel
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Old July 7th, 2005, 05:44 PM   #7
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Nigel - you are no doubt following this thread regarding non-Sony batteries:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=47262

Fred - there is an online book on batteries (http://www.buchmann.ca/) and this resource is written by the owner of Cadex (http://www.cadex.com/). I have followed his thoughts more closely than others because I trust this group's skill in the field. Cadex also makes some very high-end battery analyzers which would be helpful if you have a large investment in batteries.

** With respect to shallow charge/discharge cycles for Li-Ion batteries: **
Quote Below is From: http://www.buchmann.ca/Chap5-page3.asp
"Similar to the lead acid battery, the Li-ion battery prefers shallow over repetitive deep discharge cycles. Up to 1000 cycles can be achieved if the battery is only partially discharged. Besides cycling, the performance of the Li-ion is also affected by aging."

Lithium-ion batteries are included a lot of cell phones, computers and these camcorders because their powered to weight ratio is excellent, but they are likewise very expensive. However, the shallow charge/discharge cycle is also helpful for cell phone users who frequently want to recharge their cell phone to have it at full power.

** With respect to storing Li-Ion batteries: **
I have followed the advice below for a couple of Toshiba Li-Ion computer batteries and the batteries are performing fine. What I did was reduce the charge to 40% and then stored them in the *refrigerator* in a 'freezer bag' to keep moisture away. Though my refrigerator is colder than 59, this seemed to work well. I have NOT tried freezing them, but if anyone has frozen a Sony battery (or any other Li-Ion), I'd be curious if that worked. Since batteries are like fruit (e.g. perishable over time), it makes sense the freezing would allow for the longest storage time if that does not damage the battery. Just be absolutely sure to allow the battery a lot of time to come to room temperature before using it again and make sure there is not a moisture issue. *IF* I were removing a battery from a freezer, I would put it in the refrigerator for a few days to reduce thermal shock and then use it.

Quote Below if From: http://www.buchmann.ca/Chap15-page2.asp
"The recommended storage temperature of a lithium-based battery is 15C (59F) or less. A charge level of 40 percent allows for some self-discharge that naturally occurs; and 15C is a practical and economical storage temperature that can be achieved without expensive climate control systems. While most rechargeable batteries cannot be stored at freezing temperatures, some newer commercial Li-ion batteries can be kept at temperatures of -40C without apparent side effects. Such temperature tolerances enable long and cost-effective storage in the arctic."

An interesting modification to the lithium-ion battery has recently been made by Milwaukee Tool Co. They have added some sort of microprocessor that maintains a constant voltage throughout the battery's use so that a lithium-ion battery can be used with their V.28 power tools (note: most power tools use NiCad batteries because they can be recharge so often and draw power so quickly). This technology may have benefit for extending the life of lithium-ion batteries as it is integrated into camcorders and computers.

For NiMH and NiCad here are some helpful sites:
http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/BATTS/BATTS.HTM
http://home.att.net/~mikemelni1/battery.html
http://www.calpoly.edu/~cm/studpage/eking/recharge.htm
http://www.mahaenergy.com/
(NOTE: Maha/Powerex batteries are most often touted as the very best NiMH AA batteries, but the Maha 401FS charger is the real key - these can be purchased online at http://www.thomasdistributing.com/)

I have no affiliation with ANY of these companies. Hope this is helpful, Shawn
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Old July 7th, 2005, 07:26 PM   #8
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thanks all for the responses they are very informative and helpful.
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