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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:28 am 
I'm considering buying a SX40 HS, but the biggest reason I don't want to is the lack of AA batteries. I am just an average consumer, shooting pics of my travels, family and hobby.

Does anyone know if I can make my own AA holder for this camera? I'm thinking if I get the correct plug and 5 AA holder (most likely cobble one myself), will it work in a pinch if the factory battery pack goes flat?

If I'm traveling and my battery pack dies, I can usually find AA batteries (usually at a high price, but it's better than not being able to shoot anything!).

The rechargeable AA's I use in my A540 are 2500mA and suit my shooting well enough. I'm not expecting great battery life if I make my own, just wondering if it will have any ill-effects on the SX40 from mismatched voltage or other reasons I'm not aware of.

Thank you for your advice and expertise!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:20 am 
I assume the battery pack that is in there is lithium ion. These require quite sophisticated electronics to ensure the both discharge and charge correctly. If they are not tightly regulated the chemical reaction that generates the electricity can run away with itself rush lying in a lot of heat and nasty fumes

This means that often manufacturers chip the batteries so the camera can identify its correct so that nastiness is prevented

The charge as discharge profiles for non chargeable and rechargeable AA batteries are quite different. Non rechargeable tend to start with a higher than stated voltage out put and slowly decline over their life eventually petering out where as rechargeables give a consistent output slightly lower than the rated 1.5V that suddenly dies at the end

So you've got a number of problems even if battery I'd is not a problem. 5 new duracells could be generating a potentally damaging extra 10% voltage when out of the packet. NiMh might not generate enough in the first place for the cameras electronics

The only way to find out is to try

When I've seen adaptions like this made they have sometimes used an original style (cheap chinese copy) battery pack as the adaptor.

If you have a volt meter I would test the voltage coming off the original camera battery when fully charged, when it is half used and when it it about to die. This will give you the range the camera will work with

Then test the out put of 5 new duracells and 5 of your rechargeables. This will give you the maximum voltage they will produce. You've then got info to make some decisions without damaging your camera

Hope this helps a bit

Ian


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:10 am 
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I think the cost of buying a spare battery pack would be less than the cost to the potential damage to the camera and also the time it would take. Really in this day and age the canon batteries charge so quickly, you could almost go and get a coffee and charge the battery to half.
I tend to get about a week on one charge of my canon battery, unless you take more photos than you can possibly need i don't think you need more than one battery.
If your really worried take an old backup camera witch runs on AA's

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:03 am 
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I think this whole fascination with using AA is overrated, but then I have had that argument with my brother he insists on it. I have go a spare battery for my S95 and I can easily keep both charged, its too easy :) :P

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:58 pm 
Delraypyro - As far as I know, there's only 1 camera designed to use Li-Ion OR a 4-pack of AAs - Pentax's K-R DSLR.

And that only happened because when Pentax originally announced the K-R - with a "trendy" little Li-Ion for about 400 shots - where the then K-X does up to 1,000 (no flash or video) on 4 x AA-Eneloops - there was a rage of protest from entry-level Pentaxers used to 4 x AAs waaay-back through K-X, K-M, K200D, K100D, so on.

Pentax seems to have re-arranged the camera to take a slightly bigger Li-Ion, claiming about 600 shots with that - though I see over the last months on the related Forum, that most K-R users do buy the adaptor ($60.00 Pentax, $20.00 for very good 'clones') - as it does twice as many on AA-Eneloops - and 1,800+ on a set of AA-lithiums...!

The Anti-AAs folk just don't get it, do they. Of course - the day I could buy 3 x 600-shot K-R Li-Ions, ready-charged - at a remote country general-store on a Sunday, for the same price as a set of 1,800-shot AA-lithiums - $22.00 - I might start agreeing with them.... :shock:

Fuji's getting into the act, too - one reason I bought my HS10, and not the then SX30, was because the HS10 runs on 4 x AAs...

But with their new "Premium Bridge Camera", the X-S1, that uses the larger X-series sensor, but still manages a 26x zoom - they're making it "more DSLR-like" (as if a 950-gram / 2-pound, P&S needed it) - by powering it with a "large" Li-Ion that Previews claim will give 350 shots...

Really? That's 50 more than my HS10 on "el-cheapo card" - 10 for $2.00 - Alkalines - 100 less than the HS10 on AA-Eneloops....

Pay $800.00 for such a crock? Not from my wallet...

Regards, Dave.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:35 am 
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Oldwarbler, the external battery grip for the 7D and probably other models, comes with a carrier which allows six AAs to be used instead of the two expensive battery packs.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:24 am 
Brian Harmer - That's a good feature, as even higher-end DSLR folk who carry bags or backpacks of lenses - and spare charged Li-Ions - around with them, must occasionally find themselves in situations where they've used-up their Li-Ions, and either aren't in places where they can charge them, or don't have time to - and can grab some packets of AAs to keep going with.

And, of course, there must be P&S folk who might not go on country trips, or use their cameras - particularly on HD-Video - very much during the day - and so won't see the advantages of P&S cameras on AAs.

I'm on disability, and use public transport - including trains for trips up and down the coast from Sydney. I take a pack, a Slik F740 basic tripod, and two cameras - Canon SX10 and Fuji HS10. The SX10 because it does better (Superfine) JPEGs than the HS10, and the HS10 because it does RAW, Continuous up to 12fps, and HD video.

The SX10 - even with some VGA video - usually gets through the day on a set of 4 AA-Eneloops - stills only, it does 550-600 shots. However, the HS10, which only does 450 JPEGs on a set - comes down to 350 on RAW+JPEG - and on HD-Video is a really bad battery-hog. When I only had 4 sets of Eneloops, so 2 spare with me - on a long day up the coast I could run out. And could buy Alkalines - usually put those in the SX10, and the Eneloops from the SX10 into the Fuji, as they last longer.

I've been with friends who have Li-Ion P&S cameras that do HD-video - and of course like making clips of much they see. The poor little Li-Ions don't last long on such video - and even with a spare along - I've seen them run out, several times...

Then it's camera into their bag - and make comments about whatever silly things I'm doing the rest of the day.... Or I put the SX10 on Program, spare card in it, and they bang-away with that... And I retrieve the card the next weekend...

They do get the point about AAs - particularly the Eneloops - and 3 of 5 friends have bought "next" cameras with AAs. One of them was about to buy a Canon SX40, thinking it was a "later model" of my SX10, and was saying at dinner one evening, that he "won't get stuck again - I'm getting the new Canon SX40 - and the Canons use those AA-Eneloops..."

I said, if he can find an SX40 that uses Eneloops - I'll sell my HS10 to buy it! He was somewhat disillusioned... He ended up buying a Fuji S4000 - more or less the same as my godson's S1800 - but with the HS-series' 30x lens. The S4000, as a camera, couldn't hold a candle to an SX40 - but - "it has lots of zoom and runs on AAs" - he just leaves it on Program, sets the Auto-ISO range and fires-away... With the HD/720 video, he's quite happy with it.

Including my HS10 - just in our bunch of friends here - that's 2 SX30, 1 SX40, sales Canon has lost to Fuji's "4-Eneloopers" - and 1 P100 sale Nikon lost to an S1600 Fuji... My godson's S1800 the Christmas before last didn't replace a bridgie - it replaced his old 'inherited' 4Mix Coolpix.

Obviously - camera makers want "after sales accessory sales" from buyers - and get plenty from DSLR owners. But not much from their P&S buyers. So if they can make cameras with expensive Li-Ions that don't do many shots - or die in 18-20 minutes on HD-video - they assume that they'll sell each of millions of buyers 2 or 3 expensive Li-Ions..

So our Chinese friends cleverly "spring" them on that - by getting in with "replacement" Li-Ions at a fraction of the Brand-Name price...

To which the Makers are now applying a sort-of "camera-DRM-ing" by "chipping" their expensive proprietary Li-Ion spares... So the "clones" won't work in the cameras...

I can see why, with the recent craze for even midrange P&S cameras to be so small they can't be handled easily - particularly as almost none now have viewfinders, so are even harder to hold steady at arm's length - that if they can't run adequately on 2 x AAs - a tiny Li-Ion with 300 or so shots has to be used.

But where the camera is larger, particularly in the bridge-style ones with a substantial hand-grip - as the SX40, FZ150, etc, have - there is space there to have the "standard" Li-Ion - or - optionally replace that with 4 x AAs in a holder.

Just as Pentax had to do with the K-R. And Pentax cleverly made the optional holder so expensive - $67.00 here in Sydney - that "within days", it almost seemed - very well-made 'clones' were available for $29.00 - they're now $24.00.

So it'll be interesting to see if the K-R replacement reverts to AAs, as many are demanding - or if the Pentax-made AA-holder is finally included in the box with the camera - as many have been asking them to do with later shipments of the K-R.

They might as well include it - and put the price up the $20.00 it probably costs them to have the holders mass-produced.

What Pentax seems to have missed - is that having the K100D, K200D, K-M and K-X all run on AAs - greatly suiting users stepping up from AA powered P&S - was a "feature" of the Entry-level Pentaxes.

But perhaps Camera Corporations are just so huge and self-important these days - that they don't really need the folk who chose their cameras because at least one of their desirable features was using AAs...

Regards, Dave.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:20 am 
Great info everyone. What got me thinking it would work was seeing the AC adapter that was available, the little black box reminded me of an AA pack (I know it's not but it got me thinking). I agree, I'd rather not experiment with a $400 camera. I'd err on the safe side and buy a spare pack; I'm most concerned with camping trips, or extended periods away from an AC source for the recharger, maybe get an inverter for a car 12v socket will help too.

It's a little sad to see companies motivated by profit (counting on accessory sales), but that's why they sell cameras and not give them away. I wish there were more battery options but am happy overall with the performance (as long as the packs keep holding their charge for years). I remember early batteries that only worked well for a few dozen charge/recharge cycles then you had to buy expensive replacements; I wasn't aware of Canon 'chipping' their packs...tricky indeed!

I'm still interested in buying the Canon and will save my pennies for a replacement(or second) pack!lol

Thanks again for all the info; I've learned quite a few things...what a great site! Professional but not over-the-top technical.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:21 am 
Delraypyro - Please note that what I said re power-pack chipping was:

- "To which the Makers are now applying a sort-of "camera-DRM-ing" by "chipping" their expensive proprietary Li-Ion spares... So the "clones" won't work in the cameras..."

Not that "Canon" was chipping its power-packs. As far as I know there are still off-brand 'clone' packs for Canon Li-Ion powered cameras, though how well they work compared to the brand-name ones, I don't know. There are probably people here using them, who can tell you.

Whether the situation will improve when the makers designing cameras for Li-Ion packs change to the new, much higher capacity for size Lithium-Polymer power-packs is yet to be seen.

Those might cost - the "Brand-Originals" - rather more than Li-Ion packs, so owners would be even more inclined to buy much cheaper 'clone' versions. After the changeover the camera makers would likely continue to produce Li-Ions, at least for their more recent models, for quite some time.

If they didn't for more than a couple of years, as there'd be a market for quite some time, the clone makers could fill the demand. In the case of chipped-power-pack cameras, there might be a "firmware hack" (for cameras out of Warranty) to enable them to use the clone versions.

Regards, Dave.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:00 am 
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I maybe be wrong here, but my take on the "chips" build into the battery is so that you can register each battery with the camera body. The body can show via the menu, how much charge there is and how many photos you can take.
I have a mix of cheaper copies and original for the 7D and the S95 and they both appear to work equally well.

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