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Panasonic HC Series Camcorders
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Old September 4th, 2021, 10:11 AM   #1
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This battery cannot be used

Hi ladies and gentlemen!
I have a Panasonic HC-WXF 991 camcorder and recently I received an error on my lens/screen saying "This battery cannot be used" then the camera shuts off. Can anyone tell me the issue and is there a quick fix? I have 4 batteries and i have used all 4 in the past with no issues. 2 of the batteries are model number VBT190, and the other 2 are replacement batteries, Power2000, replacements for the VW-VBT380.
After maybe 50 tries the camera will turn on and run ok as long as I don't shut it down.
Thanks for the help.
Deon
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Old September 6th, 2021, 08:20 AM   #2
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Re: This battery cannot be used

Usually indicates that one cell has gone low and is telling the camera that the battery is outside of its programmed tolerances.

I've had a similar experience with a Sony NP series battery. At that time someone suggested not to chuck out the battery but that it may have developed a memory on one of its cells and was not allowing the Sony charger to go past a certain charge level. I was a bit sceptical when this chap suggested try charging the battery on a cheap knock off copy Sony charger. Thinking I had nothing to lose I gave it a go with a cheap aftermarket charger. Amazingly it then charged fine. I charged it a few more times on the el-cheapo charger and it kept going fine. I then started to charge it on the genuine Sony BP charger and lo and behold it ran fine. It ran for a few more years after that with no issues.

Following this up I discovered that the el-cheapo chargers don't employ a sophisticated battery monitoring system which the genuine chargers do. The genuine chargers will bail out if they detect performance charge characteristics outside of their programmed parameters. The el-cheapo appears to have ignored the battery's internal resistance to charge and blew through its "memory" effect and the battery then accepted a charge. And continued to do so. Maybe worth trying to find an aftermarket charger to see if you can jolt the battery back.

Chris Young
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Old September 6th, 2021, 07:49 PM   #3
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Re: This battery cannot be used

Christopher Young
Thanks for the reply, but I have 3 batteries and I get the same error with either one I use, and I also have a second camera, and the batteries work fine on that one. Maybe I should drain them all dead with my second camera and recharge them on a knock-off charger as you suggested, but honestly, I'm scared it's something to do with the camera, even though the camera works fine with the power cord.
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Old September 6th, 2021, 11:34 PM   #4
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Re: This battery cannot be used

Deon.

From what you have just said I would suggest if ALL batteries are failing on ONE camera then the chances are 99% that that particular camera is at fault. Needs to go in for servicing I would suggest. I think that is the only way you are going to reach a definitive answer.

Chris Young
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Old September 7th, 2021, 03:47 AM   #5
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Re: This battery cannot be used

Christopher,I'm afraid you are right. If only i lived close to a camcorder servicing facility!
This will sadly take months, and i need my camera now!
Thanks again for your suggestions
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Old September 7th, 2021, 08:55 AM   #6
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Re: This battery cannot be used

I hear you. I noticed you said the camera works fine off the mains power cord. Looking at the manual for the HC-WXF 991 I see it uses a USB power source. That USB power source is rated at the normal USB voltage of 5 volts. In the case of the HC-WXF 991 its USB mains power supply is current rated 1.8 Amps.

Look as a get out of jail solution you could consider doing the following. You should be able to get a USB Power Bank that is used for charging phones iPads etc from your local office/electrical store/phone store supplier for not too many dollars. A lot of the power banks have dual USB power ports. Just make sure one of them is rated at 2 to 3 Amps. A 2.0 Amp power output should drive the camera without any difficulty. That should keep you running until such time as you can get the camera checked. Just stick the Power Bank in a pocket and use the USB lead that came with the camera.

The bigger the Power Bank the longer the camera will run. I see the standard WV-VBT190 is rated at 1940mAh. I guess in that case the bigger battery the WV-VB380 would be rated somewhere around 3800mAh. Using for example a 10,000mAh Power Bank you will have about 5 x the power capacity of the standard battery. Not saying you'll get five times the run-time but you should get a substantial increase in run-time by at least about 4 x.

Just one further thing comes to mind and I've seen this before, dirty contacts. So try this first before buying a Power Bank. Just ensure that the contacts on all the batteries AND the camera are super clean. The Panasonic cameras and batteries have a number of very small thin electrical contacts that can get dust fluff and corrosion forming in and around them. Just get a good old used soft toothbrush and some electrical contact cleaner/lubricant fluid and give the contacts in the back of the camera and the batteries a good clean. I use electrical contact cleaner/lubricant out of a spray can that I buy from a local electronics hobby store. I just spray some into the lid of the aerosol can and dip the toothbrush into that. After cleaning the cleaner fluid will normally evaporate and dry off on its own after a minute or so as most of them use a plastic safe solvent base that evaporates pretty quickly.

One set of contacts made between the camera and the battery is a sensing line that monitors the voltage and current flow from the battery to the camera. If that sensing contact set is corroded or dirty and good contact isn't made between battery and camera then the camera has no idea what is powering it and for safety sake will power down. I have a sneaking suspicion this might be the case. I've seen it before.

Good luck Deon!

Chris Young
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Old September 7th, 2021, 09:29 AM   #7
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Re: This battery cannot be used

Hi Chris
That's exciting news!! I have a power bank here its rather huge but thats the least of my worries, its output is 5V 2.1A you think i should give that one a try?
Deon
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Old September 7th, 2021, 10:01 AM   #8
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Re: This battery cannot be used

That should do it. Its output is well within what the owners manual specs state. As always with all recommendations. "All care but no responsibility taken." should anything go astray. If it was me I would feel totally safe to do so.

In fact, I've already done this with one of my smaller Sony cameras, a Z90. Not for the reason you had, a camera shutting down but just to have greatly increased run times for long conferences, live performance and streaming video productions. In my case, the camera required 8.4 volts at 1.7 Amps. I purchased a USB 5-volt to 8.4-volt setup up converter and run it off a 15,000mAh Power Bank and it works a treat.

Chris Young
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Old September 7th, 2021, 10:14 AM   #9
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Re: This battery cannot be used

AWESOME!!! WORKS GREAT!!
If you are a hunter let me know, I film and create DVDs and I also a youtube channel you can enjoy. I will send you my best hunting dvd if you are into that kinda stuff!
Deon
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Old September 8th, 2021, 01:17 AM   #10
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Re: This battery cannot be used

Good one!

Thanks, Deon, but my hunting days are over. All my shooting is now with a camera.

I grew up in India for the first seventeen years of my life. We used to hunt for deer, antelope and jungle fowl every Saturday night. Shooting using spotlights from the back of jeeps deep in the Indian forests. My father and I and a couple of other English families did this every weekend to supply meat to the local ex-pat European community in Mysore, now Tamil Nadu in south India. Why? Because south India is 99% Hindu. Hindus are vegetarians. No butchers shops anywhere in remote India. Spent many a day/night with my .240 Weatherby Magnum and my .375 Butterknife bolt Mannlicher Schönauer for the larger animals like the Sambar deer that average around 400lbs.

Glad the camera is running on the battery bank. Try cleaning those contacts. May solve your problems.

Stay well!

Chris Young
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