The smaller SONY Cameras ( as well as Nikon and Canon and now Fuji ) all have one similar problem, its like owning a HumVee (8 MPG) or an electric only car knowing where the gas or charging stations are located is a valuable piece of information.  And as these miniature digital marvels added more and more features the power demands are the same and in some cases not all the batteries have been sufficient.  But not for me, I’m not one for changing batteries mid stream.   

Here are a couple of work arounds.   I am designing these for some customers and friends who have specific needs and most include greater battery power for their cameras and flashes.  I’m not new at this. I have  been doing it for fifty years but these smaller guys ( isn’t miniaturization great) do and can rely on parts available off the shelf for small run items.


These are simple off the counter devices to basically test batteries.  I customized some of the testers and devices so I may be able to make sure the systems are up to par, in volume and in consistency.  When you do one or two it’s not important, but I do a lot in volume and these gadgets make it quick and avoid problems on the job. I also have a load tester for capacity but I don’t expect many to have the inclination to need one or use one. 

This is how I maintain my batteries - I use a standard test meter, you can get them free at Harbor Freight at times with purchase and coupon or…   Spend 15-30 dollars and get a good GF, or a base KLEIN, many available on Amazon. 

So you need the following and you can use it on all camera batteries and a million other things.  READ the manual that comes with the meter. 

  1. Meter - Your Choice
  2. Find extra cables with the ends as shown.   Cables for each module we’ll build, also find them on the web. They are called banana plugs, wired and cheap.
  3. A battery charging module from one that went bad or a spare you don’t trust. They are on the web and cheap. Usually they came with the battery eg,  Wasabi. See two SONY types in the photo.
  4. Send me the mess with return postage.  It’s a freebie.  I’ll test it, disassemble it, solder the leads,  and then mail it back to you.
  5. The purpose is safety and accuracy for this tool. It’s too easy to cross the wires and short the battery plus getting a good connection for accuracy is really important.
  6. It will work on Nikon and Canon stuff too, I have modules for most Nikon, SONY, Canon, Fuji, batteries to test with units from friends, customers, my students and associates so I made a test module for all of those brands from the supplier. It’s the same bottom, the contacts are different.
  7. I can check twenty batteries in two minutes.


  1. The Mark One Eyeball just doesn’t cut it.  I use a simple Digital Caliper and measure them. Just make sure you Zero it before measuring. 
  2. I use a thin Sanford marker and mark the battery with the number. If it’s going bad, you can’t remember this stuff, not at my age. And not with twenty plus batteries.   
  3. Next time I check it tells me where we are going.  I use a marker on the battery with voltage and thickness to monitor condition
  4. A good SONY, factory battery, relatively new measures 1840mm in thickness.  The swollen WASABI measured 1971 mm.  
  5. That will almost jam in the camera. I used to use the old Mark TWO Finger grip but the inexpensive digital works a lot better and doesn’t fool you. 
  6. Also they make them fairly cheap in plastic,  if you do a lot of batteries, like AA’s and AAA’s keep one handy when doing length, so you don’t short yourself out using a metal one. ON


The Tenergy Lithium battery charger is excellent for topping of all Lithium cells within it range limits.  I built several ends pieces as all are not the same for all sizes of SONY’S.  It also took a few cells that needed a little refreshing back.  

Some of the aftermarket cells in a SONY, those promising more power give false readings in the SONY not showing 100 percent.  The TENERGY solves that by insuring it’s a true 100%. but in SONY and others, bigger capacities of newer versions of the batteries were not fed into the algorithms,  it will only show 76% but it’s 100.

The Watson, Flashpoint, Ravpower, Dot and Wasabi batteries look like they are the same battery but with different labels. The Sony has a embedded halo-logo. The others have slight differing mold cuts.  Most are from the same factory actually we found with some powerful microscope glass identical mold marks.  All use the similar knock off molds and batteries are what available at the battery makers “food court” thus even identical batteries from a manufacturer can be different in capacity and quality.

One way to find out.  You weigh them.  Do not cut them open. That will tell you more than guessing,  heavier batteries might have more mash and power reserve.  And the labels mean nothing about MAH.  Untruths prevail... lot more than you think.  I use a very good gram postal scale, very accurate.

Because the OEM batteries last longer, they are more economical if you shoot a lot. If you shoot sparingly you might find the Wasabi and others to be adequate.  

It’s basically a crap shoot with these batteries and no specific other than those by the manufacturer have any credence with me.

The factory SONY charger plate after I modify it both charges the SONY and tests the SONY using the Tenergy set up


The 6000, 6300, 6500  and all SONY E cameras use the FW50 series which is LITHIUM,  That limits what we can do and work with, as they need a free flow of power, thats  what Lithium provides, we just want to increase the reserve capacity.

So the solution was to find a higher compatible Lithium battery and that is the 8700 series which is for the SONY Cam-Corders and readily available and about seven times the capacity and in some cases interchangeable with a little rigging is quite possible.

It’s OK ( the deal with the charger and the two batteries)  for most users, I have more varied needs and trust the TENERGY with my custom modules for what I do working with five kinds of cameras and flashes for customers.  It can peak larger batteries easier.

Since I use A5100’s, A6000’s A6300’s and A6500’s in my slide operations for slide to digital, the longer run time is essential for the operation of massive conversions.  The camera module (below) also connects to the AC adapter included so you get the best of both worlds.

Some of the cheaper chargers cap at lower limits and may not charge these big boys. Thats why I use the Tenergy.

Another point, due to the fact I use Lithium cells in other products with varying voltages,  the TENERGY cares less and is Universal. It has bailed me out more than once when I get a weird battery or reduced European eight volt batteries and other strange things used in medical with mods.  Some medical gear from Europe was eight volts and upgrades to Lithium came with some weird specs and under powered.

There are only three or four parts to this entire program all readily available on the Amazon and Internet market and no wiring soldering or nuclear clearances required.  The Batteries w/ Charger  AMAZON, all from China , Pot luck, some greedier than others. The 8700 are all probably coming from the same distributor with the exception of the native SONY, excellent but not cheap.

  1. The TENERGY is from (OPTIONAL) Good people.
  2. The module from the Battery holder to fit inside the camera.  Comes from also good peopleNeewer on Amazon makes a similar adapter to the Best Batt one shown.  The BestBatt t is shown on the right,   SONY AC PW20 AM at $16.50
  3.  We will be using both parts, the AC adapter if you are running indoors and don’t want to use the battery at all and just the module for portability.
  4. In actual battery use,  simply connect the SONY fake battery module, to the cable supplied and to the cable from the next part the battery holder and start shooting.
  5. Voila!  All the power you need in a small package.
  6. Some of you using cages and other gizmos can adapt, it has the mounts and 1/4 by 20 threading and totally adaptable to some of the craziest setups i have seen since I’m in the business 50 plus years.
  7. THE BATTERY HOLDER - The  holder for the battery comes with a few needed parts.  See Description on Amazon site.  Comes with various attachment points and cable to cable which puts the whole thing together in a lightweight package.  No soldering or complex wiring needed, this is simple.  
  8. The Battery Plate fits for SONY F 970,  F 550 and following batteries if you got them floating around doing nothing from a previous life experience or what we call product exorcism.
  9. When the battery is loaded, a green light comes on and is telling you it is ready, the reason we liked this plate is that the button locks the battery in place.

And from all the gizmos available,  I simply added a Belt Clip and tab from my Black Box parts and it’s small powerful and lightweight. There are several other accessories I have such as an in line cutoff switch. In stock.  All connect easily, I used shrink tube after cleaning connections with Isopropyl alcohol 93 grade ( not rubbing)  and that makes sure the cables won’t part.  

To operate, connect supplied cable from Holder, (Small rig calls it a Charger but it’s not)  to the fake battery module.  Turn on camera.  You can add any accessories you want such as the off on option and the quick clip for the belt. Have fun. 

SMALL RIG BATTERY PLATE SONY 970/ 550 / DC CABLE 752  Price 13.80