Digital Camera Battery Tips:
How to Care for Your Battery!

Digital Camera Battery Tips

Digital camera battery tips... Your camcorder or digital camera battery is one of the most important components of your device... Here are some tips that will help you get long-lasting, reliable and trouble-free operation from your camera battery!


Here are some helpful digital camera battery tips!

Camera Battery Tip #1:
Digital Camera Battery Tips... Two Important Camera Battery Specifications You Should Know…

Digital camera battery specifications

 When buying a new battery ... There are two important terms to consider in reading and understanding a battery pack’s specificationsThey are...

 #1. The voltage (V) of the camera battery packThe voltage is how much power the battery will generate. The voltage rating of the new battery pack should always match the voltage of the original battery or your camera can be damaged.

 #2. The battery capacity rating in terms of Ampere-hours (Ah) or, more commonly, milliamp-hours (mAh). This is a measure of how long the battery will power your device.

The higher the Ah or mAh capacity rating of the battery pack means longer camera runtime and does not mean there will be any incompatibilities with your model camera as long as you using a battery with the recommended voltage rating. 

* Most new battery packs for your camera will normally have higher Ah or mAh readings than the original, and will be manufactured up to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) standards.


Camera Battery Tip #2:
Camera Battery Conditioning... Charging Your Battery for the First Time...

NiCad battery

 A new camcorder or digital camera battery normally comes in a partially discharged condition and must be charged before use.

 "Conditioning" (The process of fully discharging the battery and then fully charging it again) is necessary so as to maintain the optimum performance of a battery pack, and is recommended at least once a month particularly for NiCad and NiMH batteries. 

Failure to do so could result in reduced charge capacity and can significantly shorten the battery pack’s useful life. Doing this with a new battery will ensure that you get the most runtime for your digital device per charge. 

* "Conditioning" is an important process for most types of rechargeable batteries but... Lithium Ion batteries do not normally require such conditioning. Always refer to the user manual of your electronic equipment for charging instructions.  


Camera Battery Tip #3:
Battery Self-Discharging... What Happens When Your Camera Battery Is Not in Use?

Camera battery self discharging

 An important digital camera battery tip is ... Almost all camera batteries will undergo a degree of self-discharging when left unused.

When you're putting them back in your camera to get it ready for use be sure to check the state of charge of your batteries. 

The discharge rate goes approximately like this...

Lithium-ion

Alkaline

Lead-acid

Nickel-based

5% – 24 hours. (1% – 2% per month after)

2-3 % per year. (7-10 year shelf life)

5% per month

10-15% – 24 hours. (10-15% per month after)

* You don't want to take your camera out on a shoot and then be surprised when the battery light comes on after shooting just a very short time!


Camera Battery Tip #4:
Proper Battery Transportation and Storage ...

Digital camera battery transportation and storage

Don't store your camera batteries with other metal parts that may touch the terminals and cause a short circuit of the battery. At the very least this can discharge your battery, and the worst case is that it could possibly destroy it.

 A good method for storing camera batteries is using storage cases that are specifically designed to help preserve their charge by keeping the batteries cool and dry.

These types of battery cases are especially handy when you're traveling and want a good way to keep your camera batteries from being damaged. There are also some portable battery chargers that double as storage 

* When you're storing or transporting your digital camera batteries keep in mind that putting them in their original packaging or, even better, using a camera battery storage bag or belt is your best option! 


Camera Battery Tip #5:
Using Your Camera or Camcorder As the Battery Charger...

Using your camera to charge your battery

When charging the battery using your camcorder as the charger... Don’t continually connect and disconnect the camcorder.

* An irregular charging of the battery may occur which can damage the battery and may lead to a much shorter battery life!


Camera Battery #6:
Batteries and Heat... Caring for Your Camera Batteries...

Digital camera batteries and heat

 Camera batteries tend to self-discharge quicker when it’s hot.

One of the most basic of digital camera battery tips is: Don’t leave a camcorder or digital camera in a hot car or in direct sunlight. If your camcorder or digital camera will not be in use for a month or longer, it is recommended that the batteries be removed from the device and stored in a cool, dry, clean place.

* Just remember, the refrigerator is cool, but not dry... :-).


Camera Battery Tip #7:
Battery Storage... How Much Charge Should They Have...

How much charge should your battery have when being stored

 Another  basic of digital camera battery tips is always store rechargeable nickel at approximately 100% charge and lithium based batteries at approximately 40% charge .

It's not critical that you be exact as far as a percentage but, storing the battery with some charge minimizes the capacity loss of the battery which comes along with age and keeps the battery in good operational condition even though they'll be some self discharge over time.

* Again... The amount of charge present when the battery is stored is not as critical as that... it does have some  charge! The battery can be damaged if it goes to 0% charge and is also subjected to unstable conditions while in storage such as extreme heat or cold.


Camera Battery Tip #8:
Digital Camera Battery Tips... Using Stand-Alone Battery Chargers...

Using standalone camera battery chargers

 Invest in a good stand-alone battery charger for your camera so you can charge your spare batteries while you are using your camcorder or digital camera. Make sure that the battery charger you get has good reviews, is well-made and most importantly, is compatible with the type of batteries you're using.

Chargers with micro-controller chips that ensure that you don't overcharge your battery are usually the best choice.

 One other little tip is... Be sure to use the right type of battery charger for the batteries you are charging...NiMH batteries should not be charged in a NiCad charger, unless the charger is specifically made for both types of batteries. Using the wrong type of charger can result in battery damage such as overheating and destruction of battery cells.

* Standalone battery chargers can come in very handy especially when you're out in the field shooting your video and you need to have extra batteries charging just in case you need more power!


Camera Battery Tip #9:
Don't Discharge Your Battery too Deeply...

Don't discharge your battery to deeply

 Sometimes you want to discharge your battery for storage or transportation purposes...Be careful not to discharge your camera battery too deeply (to less than 1v), as discharging to absolute zero is stressful for a battery to recover from and can quickly make your batteries useless.

* What's the easiest way to discharge your battery for storage? Just turn on your camera (especially the viewfinder) and let it sit for a while! Just be sure to watch the battery indicator in your viewfinder and note what percentage of charge the device still has. Once he gets to that he desired percentage (for example: 40%)...Well... You have it!


Camera Battery Tip #10:
Safety Tip... Non-Rechargeable Batteries...

Safety tip for nonrechargeable batteries

A digital camera battery tip for your safety! Never attempt to charge non-rechargeable (alkaline type) batteries.They can explode!!

* Also… Be sure to dispose of your non-rechargeable batteries in a safe way. Old dead batteries can be very toxic to the environment!


Camera Battery Tip #11:
Be Sure to Read the Instructions That Come with the Product...

Digital camera battery instructions

Here is an important digital camera battery tip that sometimes is overlooked ... Be sure to read the instructions that come with the camera, charger and battery. The manufacturer instructions will give you the correct way to handle and use your equipment.

* You may not want to do it but... Always take the time to read the instructions ... your equipment usually costs a bundle of money and you don't want to damage it or void any warranties through misuse!


Camera Battery Tip #12:
Digital Camera Battery Tips... When to Replace Your Camera Battery...

When to replace your digital camera battery

 Camera battery manufacturers generally consider a rechargeable battery to have reached its useful life when it can provide only about half of its original power output.

For instance, if your battery could originally provide an hour's worth of power, you should replace it when it can now only provide a half-hour's worth of power.

* Monitor this closely as once the battery has reached the end of its life... it can die on you very quickly!


Camera Battery Tip #13:
Charging Your New Battery for the First Time...

 When charging your new camera battery for the first time - your equipment may report a fully charged condition in as short as 10 to 15 minutes. This is a phenomenon that happens occasionally when you are newly charging a camera battery, especially for Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cad) and Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) batteries due to fluctuations in heat.

* An important camera battery tip is... if this happens to you, remove the battery pack and let it cool down for about fifteen minutes then continue the charging procedure to charge the battery fully.


I hope these digital camera battery tips will be helpful to you the next time you buy a battery or when you're out on a shoot in need all the camera battery power you can get!


Have fun...!  Dan (Editor)

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