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Li-on battery life in storage


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#1 of 6 Patrick Sun

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Posted May 28 2011 - 07:53 AM

So, my dSLR journey started with a starter Canon XSi dSLR that I used for about a year, and then I upgraded to something else last fall.  Well, I decided to check and see if my XSi was still operational, and I was pretty surrprised to find out that the Li-on batteries were still good-to-go after 8 months of non-use.  I even tried re-charging them, and they were green on the charger, and the camera also showed full charge for the crude battery life indicator.


As you can tell, I'm not quite used to Li-on batteries retaining their charge over such a long lay-off.  I was told that they had a long shelf life, just didn't have a chance to see that characteristic confirmed until just now.  I'm used to the NiMH AA rechargeables that required charging up after a month of storage (though some of the newer NiMH batteries I've bought have a longer shelf life now, as I tend to only use them for the flash unit these days, and a point-n-shoot camera). 

Did some reading on Li-on battery technology, and they recommend a 40% charge capacity if you intend on letting them sit on a shelf, but unless you have a fancy schmancy charger, it's hard to tell how much charge a battery has in it.  Plus, how would you discharge a Li-on battery to get down to such levels if you don't intend on using the dSLR camera to shoot photos/videos (and burning up actuations on the shutter or the sensor)?  Storing them in fully charged state can cause internal corrosion, and if their charge is depleted, it can render them un-rechargeable.  The flip side, at least the batteries aren't super-expensive, and if they start to perform unreliably after being on the shelf, just get new ones.




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#2 of 6 dmiller68

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Posted May 28 2011 - 08:15 AM

I have been pretty amazed by the battery life in cameras as well. My Rebel seems to always have battery no matter how long it is laying around.


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#3 of 6 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted May 28 2011 - 09:47 AM

It helps that you don't need to use the LCD for shooting on a DSLR, especially if you're not the type to chimp all the time.


But yeah, recent lithium rechargeable tech do work great, especially compared to the old pre-lithium days.  A large part of that seems to be smarter built-in recharging tech rather than just the lithium cells themselves -- a former coworker of mine, who was very familiar w/ that stuff, told me they've been doing things like smarter distribution of cell recharge wear to handle cases where people tend to recharge too soon and might otherwise wear out the same cell or two (kinda like the display phosphor burn-in effect).


OTOH, since the tech has matured so well by now, you can always find affordably priced "knockoffs" to replace dying/dead batteries when the need arises.


I haven't fired up my Nikon D70 in ages now -- and should probably pass it to my daughter this summer.  Wonder if there's any charge (or recharge life) left at all in its batteries -- guess she can always just use my D200 batteries since they're backwards compatible... Posted Image


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#4 of 6 Scott Merryfield

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Posted May 31 2011 - 04:57 AM

The battery for my Canon 7D holds a charge for such a long time that I sometimes forget I need to charge it. When in use I can get 1,000 shots out of it, and as Patrick observed, it does not drain much when not in use. The battery stays charged through about twice as many exposures as the battery for my previous Canon 40D -- which I already thought was excellent.


The third party battery I bought as a backup does not seem to last as long, but it was about 1/4th the cost. I usually buy additional batteries from Sterlingtek, but they did not carry any for the 7D at the time, as Canon had completely redesigned the battery system for the 5DMKii and 7D.



#5 of 6 Patrick Sun

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Posted May 31 2011 - 05:50 AM

I think I've been killing my battery life by leaving the LCD screen on the info display (not chimping), instead of simply a "blank" screen.  In fact, I didn't realize you could toggle it to the "blank" screen mode until I tried cycling through the different display modes.  Doh.

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#6 of 6 Patrick Sun

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Posted June 07 2011 - 09:33 AM

After 3.5 days of using my dSLR without turning on the LCD on info mode, my battery life was definitely better.  I started relying on the top side info panel for the settings info, so it was all good.


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