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Battery Question.
Old 12-07-2005, 07:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi All,

I just bought a Vertical Grip/Battery Pack for my EOS 20D and I got two batteries to extend my shooting time and I need clarification on the care and feeding of the batteries. The batteries are the Canon BP-511 Li-Ion batteries and I understand that there are things that can be done that will vastly improve the life and performance of these batteries.

My first inclination (and maybe my inexperience is showing here but we all have to start somewhere) is to just hook them up to the charger and go from there but I don't think this is the right way to go to get the optimal life and performance from these 'expensive' batteries.

Can anyone out there share their battery experiences with me? Thanks.

PS: As a recent Nikon to Canon convert I just this past weekend did a Lingerie and Lace shoot and I was blown away by my new Canon. The image quality is great but what impressed me most is the layout of the camera and its controls and all of the thought that Canon has put into the features of the camera. It is as if they actually listened to the photographers who use the camera unlike the folks at brand 'N'. I will post some images in the next few days.
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Re: Battery Question.
Old 12-07-2005, 08:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There is really nothing special about the maintenance of the BP511 batteries. You should always fully charge the BP511 batteries before first use. If using the Canon charger, keep in mind that a full charge is not when the red charge light goes solid, but about 1 hour after than. See page 19 of the manual. Unlike older types of rechargables, these do not have a memory, but they do have a lifetime measured in number of full charges they will hold. Also keep in mind that when not in use they slowly lose their charge, so if they've been sitting around for several months, its always wise to put them back in the charger. Also keep in mind that the aftermarket BP511 batteries that you can buy for about $12 each are every bit as good as the Canon brand at $50 + per battery (at least that's been my experience using the ones from SterlingTech). I usually always carry 5 batteries with me when I go anywhere. Under average usage you can shoot from 200-400 shots per battery. I don't use the grip simply because it just makes the camera heavier and gives very little advantage. It only takes a few seconds to switch batteries. Also many of the grips have had problems, so keep that in mind.

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Re: Battery Question.
Old 12-07-2005, 09:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Pretty much what RFS said. Just use some common sense with them. In Phoenix, I'd say leaving them on your dashboard in August might not be good for them. They're pretty robust, I think I've only managed to wear one or two out. Also, I'm not positive, but the grip seems to draw from both batteries equally, rather than running one out then switching to the other. Not positive about that. At any rate, having a double charger is nice.
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Re: Battery Question.
Old 12-08-2005, 12:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hmmm..... don't know... I just sold mine... but for the years I owned the DSLR bodies that used those batteries,...I just placed them in the dual battery chargers (that came standard with the D30 bodies)..and one charged after the other.. I'd try not to let them sit there fully charged in the charger.. and I don't know of anything that would greatly increase the life of them.. However, with my 1Dmk2 bodies, they come with a charger that can slowly "discharge" the batteries..and then they recharge them after thay are fully discharged... apparently, there is some sort of "memory"..similar to Nikad,...apparently one is not suppose to charge a nearly charged battery for them.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] After learning this, I am now going to shoot the batteries till they are dead in the 5D body, so that they get a full charge with the BP-511A's that they use.. I don't know if it will make a difference or not, but it's worth a try.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Re: Battery Question.
Old 12-08-2005, 11:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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All batteries exhibit a "hysterisis effect" which means that constantly recharging them when they've only been partially discharged will reduce their effective charge capacity. However, modern Lithium-Ion batteries display minimal hysterisis effects. The whole thing about not recharing partially discharged batteries got its start in the NiCd era. Due to some peculiarities of their chemistry NiCd batteries deteriorate in performance much more quickly than most batteries do when put through multiple partial discharge cycles.

What I do with mine (my camera uses the same batteries) is swap them through in a constant cycle. I have one spare battery and two in the grip. After about every six hundred pictures (three to four photo shoots) I take the battery from the single-use compartment and put it in the charger, put the battery from the other compartment in the single-use compartment, and put the spare battery in the other compartment. I've been doing this with these three batteries (one Canon, one eFilm, and one no-name) for two years and I still get hours and hours of shooting before I get a partial-battery warning from the camera. I've NEVER run them dry.

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