THE BATTERY CLONE WARS

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TRUTH - THE BATTERY CLONE WARS

NON-BRANDED CAMERA BATTERIES
CLONES, DISCARDS, JUNK, eBAY DRECK

For fifty years I have been involved in batteries in one form or another.  As a supplier, and being in the camera business has taught me a few things.  Learning by time, age, experience and few short circuits and afire taught me a few things

  1. Caution is one
  2. Repairs from lack of caution are expensive
  3. Manufacturers and vendors lie
  4. Batteries are like tools and they are Good, Better, Best
  5. Missing categories not mentioned are scams and rejects
  6. Whats a four letter word for a Chinese Ship?     JUNK
  7. Generally you get what you pay for and many don’t believe that.
  8. If you saw it on TV and not available in stores it is direct ship from China and in two months they’ll be gone and so will your warrantee.  I still believe in touch, feel, measure good, pass on bad in anything I buy and oh, my gal friends too.

  

CAUTION and VARIABLES - YOU GET WHAT YOU PAID FOR
CHEAPER THIRD PARTY BATTERIES

  1. Leakage, lithium is bad stuff and a poison, dangerous
  2. Swelling causing difficulty inserting or removing
  3. Shorter useful life than OEM equivalent 
  4. Incompatibility with camera and/or OEM charger 
  5. Incompatibility due to firmware updates
  6. Voiding your camera’s warranty


Thanks to www. John Sherman.com who compared Watson, took (black label, light green cells) and Wasabi (white labels dark green cells) EN-EL15 and broke them open.  the are sonically sealed in most cases. The circuit boards are identical, but the actual cells are indeed different.  Because each of these units will work with various batteries from suppliers.

•    So supplier “A “  has a bunch of leftovers from something else close to the amperage and voltage that retailer on eBay uses.  Makes him an offer he can’t refuse.  He goes to the plastics guy, most likely  Yung-nuo and buys shells and makes a run.  He already made the fake labels.

•   Rule one: This is China, goes on all the time, and just like Forrest Gump says, its like a box of Chocolates, you never know whats on the inside.

•   Rule two: Never believe the labels... Photoshop works wonders when it comes to increasing numbers and values 

•   From China, nothing is wasted, any and I mean any cells of dubious voltage, amperage and parentage, might get dumped into a plastic shell or cloned plastic shell and some number made up and dumped on the market.  

•   Nothing personal, just tacky business ethics they are known for.  So they buy up all the cells they get cheap, and you don’t really know what you are getting unless you open them up. 

•   One or two plastic plants make all the outside modules and circuit boards, knockoffs of knockoffs  and independent entrepreneurs add the loose available cells and make retail battery packs.

•   Ever wonder why fifty guys are selling these packs on eBay.  Did you really think there are fifty plants in China.  Addition to the weight differences, the mAh rating of the batteries differs. In theory, a battery rated at higher milliamp-hours should give more shots per charge all else being equal. 

•   Most batteries have a chip in them. This communicates charge info to the camera. It also communicates if it is an OEM battery or not.   

•   Both Canon and Nikon have been known to issue firmware updates for their cameras that have disabled third party batteries (the charge meter no longer shows and perhaps other issues). 


Truth About Chargers
•  There is no standard in the industry, so manufacturers can use the terms in different ways.  The selling point is the amount of time it takes to charge a battery is dependent on the capacity of the battery being charged and the mah the charger can produce.  

•  How long will it take  to charge batteries?   Simple math - simply divide the capacity of the battery by the charge rate of the charger, then increase the amount of time by about 20% to allow for a certain amount of inefficiency.  
As an example, a battery with a capacity of 1600 mah will require about 4 hours to be fully charged by a charger with a charge rate of 500 ma.  
The most common cause of premature battery failure is overcharging.  the type of chargers most likely to cause overcharging are the 5 or 8 hour so-called  “rapid chargers” that they really don’t have a charge control mechanism.  these are chargers that are not smart and simply deliver a charge for a period of time rather than reading the battery.  
Problem:  if the  charge cycle is interrupted part way through the charge and re-established the cycle starts over and you cook the battery.  the easiest way to avoid these scenarios is to use a smart charger, a charger with microprocessor control. 

•  What is a trickle charger?  A trickle charge is a charge rate that is high enough to keep a battery fully charged, but low enough to avoid overcharging. Maintenance charge is another way to describe trickle charge.
Although most  manufacturers do not recommend that you leave a battery in the charger for long periods of time, many people leave their batteries in the charger on trickle charge for days or weeks to keep their batteries "ready to use". 
If you know the rate of trickle charge that your charger puts out and it is around one-tenth of the battery capacity or less, then you should be alright if you are just going to do this occasionally. Generally speaking, though you do not want to leave a battery charger plugged in unattended for long periods of time.

•  Is trickle charging harmful to batteries?

Many battery manufacturers do not recommend long term ( months at a time) trickle charging.  If trickle charging is used then the charge rate should be very low or only intermittent.  The best smart chargers will only send an occasional pulse charge to the battery once it is charged.  

•  Does rapid charging reduce the life of batteries?  Using a properly designed smart charger, most NiMH batteries can be recharged in about an hour without any damage or significant reduction in their life.  However, NiMH batteries must only be rapid charged with a charger specifically designed for charging NiMH batteries.  

•  What’s the difference between a NiMH battery charger and a NiCD battery charger.   Many of the inexpensive NiMH battery chargers are simply NiCd chargers that have been modified slightly.  Typically a 5 hour NiCD charger has a switch that allows the charge time to be increased from five hours to eight hours.  

•  What makes a charger a “smart charger”?  Any charger that uses a computer chip to control various aspects of the charging process can be considered a smart charger.   Technically even a charger that can detect and adjust the charge rate based on the battery inserted into the charge station can be considered a smart charger, but anything that is either manual (steady charge rate as long as it is plugged in) or uses a timer to manage the charging process, we do not consider a true smart charger. There are even various levels of smart chargers. 

•  Different features that work together,  a battery charger is a smart charger  and has a common charging feature known as negative delta v. negative delta v.  It is basically a technical method for a charger to know when a battery has reached its charge capacity and then shut the charging off, or sometimes change to trickle charge mode. 

•  Other features that contribute to a battery chargers “ smart” status are: battery rescue (implemented in various ways to attempt to “ ump start" an overly discharged battery - i.e. less than 1.0 or 0.9 volts - so that it will take a charge), temperature sensors, discharge and conditioning features, battery test features and even timers to limit the total length of the charge so even if you leave it plugged in, it turns itself off after a preset time.