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FYI: Phase One BP-9xx battery issues

docholliday

Active member
TL;DR/Lesson of the story: Buying a good charger makes the difference; Watson (and Hahnel to a less extreme) chargers suck.

Over the last two weeks, I've been exploring battery issues with the Canon style BP-9xx cells used by Phase One in their digital backs. The primary issue was random weird effects such as new batteries unusually short battery life and very old batteries showing good life. Some of the old batteries are 8-10 year old 2900mah batteries and they were outlasting both new Phase One "OEM" 3400mah batteries as well as the Capture Integration Certified "non-OEM" 3500mah batteries.

An email conversation with P1 support yielded not much help other than hearing "we don't recommend those CI non-OEM batteries" which is a absolutely ridiculous thing to say as these are non-smart batteries (they don't have monitor chips). But, just to be sure, I purchased a brand new, official P1 battery and it suffered from the same problems. So, I decided to do my own testing and diags. Having both a Hahnel Twin-V and Cube charger, as well as a Watson, I was looking at battery charge levels as a possible cause. I also have a LiON cell analyzer, electronic load, and other test equipment, so it made sense to not trust other's diagnosis of the issue.

I noticed that the battery levels shown on the back and on each of the different chargers were rarely the same. Off by a bit is understandable, as again, these aren't smart batteries that have a monitor IC on the battery to store the data. Each device had it's own way of determining the charge level. One thing I noticed consistently was that when the back would show a dead battery (at the point of shutting off), the Hahnels would show a dead battery, but the Watson would show 20-30%. Further investigation showed even crazier discrepancies. I tried each the new P1, one of the CI-Certifed, and one of the old 2900mah batteries in the back after a full charge (100% on display + another 30-45 mins) and then leaving the back on until it showed 70%. Putting the batteries into each charger showed: 70 or 80% on the Hahnels and 100% on the Watson.

The LiON analyzer showed that all the batteries were fairly similar in performance. Measurements were fairly similar between the new P1, CI, and old battery. Each battery fully charged showed around 8.2-8.4v, which is correct. The 7.2/7.4v marking is a nominal rating, and these batteries can run as low as 6.4v when drained. Most of these batteries are constructed of 18650 or 18500 cells in series, but without a tap on the center link, a cell analyzer can't do much to check the cell balance or per-cell performance.

I ended up resolving the issue by purchasing a Dolgin Engineer TC400 charger for the Canon BP-900 batteries. Their charger can rapid charge 4 batteries simultaneously but more importantly, uses it's own charging algorithm and also has both a charge-discharge-charge "TDM" capacity test mode and a display of the total charge pushed into the battery upon completion.

I started by cycling each of the batteries on the TDM test mode. Each battery reached its expected nominal level or slightly exceeded it except for the old battery which, as expected, had wear but still took 2600mah of charge. Those are some robust cells! This confirmed that the batteries were fine, even the non-OEM ones. The new P1 battery was cycled a half dozen times to form the cells before I started testing.

As a side note, the biggest problem with the Twin-V wasn't with the charger electronics, but the design of the removable plate. The contacts are simply solder coated and over time, oxidation makes the contact between the charger and battery plate fail. Cleaning and coating with DeOxit D100L + Shield fixes the issue of the charger not recognizing the battery. Or in my case, I simply took the charger apart, ripped the spring contacts out of the charger and soldered wires (with non-RoHS compliant leaded solder) directly from the board to the plate. But, it was still causing inconsistent charges, albeit not as poorly as the garbage Watson charger. I have a feeling the Cube will suffer eventually from the same problem as it uses a removable plate system too.

A "fully" charged battery on the Hahnel ("fully" is in this case, waiting for 100% to appear on the display and giving another 30-45 mins) would show 80-90% (and occasionally 100%) on the Dolgin. Here's the new P1 OEM battery after fully charging:
IMG_20200716_1959426.jpg

Transferring that battery over to the Dolgin showed the following:
IMG_20200716_1958596.jpg

The back would show 100% for a few minutes which rapidly dropped to 90%. Even worse, a fully charged battery from the Watson showed 70-80% on the TC400. With these batteries, letting the TC400 top off the battery until it read "Completed" resulted in a battery that held its charge more accurately. Using the Dolgin to charge depleted batteries exclusively has resolved the issue. All the batteries now perform in a linear, predictable fashion. It's also a bonus to see how much the battery took during charging and to be able to cycle the batteries to determine wear. The Hahnels will probably get put in a drawer as backups. And that Watson has a nice date with a burn pit or 12 gauge...
 
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darr

Well-known member
Thank you for taking the time to test and post your results.

I have had similar experiences with the Hahnel Twin-V and Sony batteries for my CFV-50c. I went and purchased new batteries and saw the sudden drop to 70-60% after a few shots into a shoot and thought it might be the charger since the Hahnel read 100% when the batteries were placed in the back. I do not think I will purchase a Dolgin charger because the amount of use my digital back gets does not justify the cost, but just the same, I sincerely appreciate all your work and detailed post explaining the initial problem, procedure for testing, and outcome.

Kind regards,
Darr
 

docholliday

Active member
Thank you for taking the time to test and post your results.

I have had similar experiences with the Hahnel Twin-V and Sony batteries for my CFV-50c. I went and purchased new batteries and saw the sudden drop to 70-60% after a few shots into a shoot and thought it might be the charger since the Hahnel read 100% when the batteries were placed in the back. I do not think I will purchase a Dolgin charger because the amount of use my digital back gets does not justify the cost, but just the same, I sincerely appreciate all your work and detailed post explaining the initial problem, procedure for testing, and outcome.

Kind regards,
Darr
It was odd to me since Hahnel usually makes really good products. I use their remote triggers and the build quality, features, and performance was excellent. Unlike most of the Chinese off-brand junk that mysteriously had a dead battery every time I went to use them.

Look for the Dolgin chargers used on Ebay (there's quite a few for Sony pinout). They are very industrial and heavy-duty. The electronics quality is very good and they use higher grade parts, as well as better solder technique than other companies (yes, I took mine apart to inspect). I agree that their cost new is very expensive and as I understand it, they are very popular in the video/motion picture industry. I've also heard that a lot of rental houses use their chargers exclusively as they are fast *and* reliable. They do have a 2-position charger that is much more affordable than the 4, but I came across a 4 at a very good price and couldn't pass it up. It was worth it for the peace of mind knowing that when I take a "freshly/fully charged" battery with me into the field that it was truly charged. Also that I could test my battery at any time to get a read on how the battery was performing and that I knew at each charge how much the battery actually took.

On the other hand, that Watson joke isn't worth the cost of cardboard box it was shipped in. I also suspect those single battery generic chargers are probably just as bad or worse.

This also now confirms to me that the CI-certified non-OEM batteries are just as good, if not better, than the P1 OEM batteries as it's all about the quality of the cells used to construct the battery. The CI cells are made in China vs the Japanese made OEM ones, but unlike most of the Chinese cells that overstate the true ratings, these actually test to the listed nominal capacity with an actual charger.
 
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docholliday

Active member
BTW, thanks for that info. I was told when I first mentioned my suspicions that (they) hadn't had any complaints about battery inconsistencies. Makes me wonder how many other people out there have questioned their charger in the back of their mind but was driven to go buy new batteries instead.
 

docholliday

Active member
Another experiment to verify my test results...

I decided to take the new P1 battery and let it die from full (until back shutdown) with the back in idle, auto-shutoff disabled, screen brightness 80%, and screen timeout disabled. I first tested using a fully charged battery (100% + 30mins) from the Hahnel and then recharging the battery on the Dolgin (until the charger read "Completed"). I also then repeated the test using the one of the CI batteries.

The Dolgin charged battery averaged between 15-30 mins more idle time! So it is definitely the charger that is under-charging the batteries. Most likely because the charger was designed for the Canon BP-915 1900-2200mah batteries and the detection/cutoff circuit is prematurely reading full on the cells since LiON chargers detected full charge based on charge current at a specific voltage (CC-CV charge).

The knockoff Watson was probably based on a very old design, when the Canon BP-915 batteries were only 1500mah, so it's cutoff is even more sensitive and premature.
 
This is great information, Doc.

Not surprising either - I always told people that the Hahnel chargers were "quirky", with batteries either not showing at all, or the numbers not adding up. Our tech support has lost track of how many times someone would contact us about an issue with Hahnel chargers.

We do have another dual charger that we use in house, and include with our certified pre-owned kits - we haven't put it through this degree of testing yet, Doc, but might be a good idea to do so.

I'm glad that you included testing on our CI battery and that it performed well. As some know, we did try a battery some years back (silver) that definitely had issues (among others, Paul Caldwell notably pointed them out) and we stopped carrying those. We have not had any real issues with these at all. Interesting (but not surprising) also that Phase One would not recommend. Despite being one of the largest Phase One dealers in the world, we do not feel that Phase One should be allowed to dictate to us what accessories we can sell with their solutions (and we don't allow them to). If we find an accessory that performs as well or better than their version, it almost always costs much less, and we have no problem offering it.


Steve Hendrix/CI
 
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docholliday

Active member
This is great information, Doc.

Not surprising either - I always told people that the Hahnel chargers were "quirky", with batteries either not showing at all, or the numbers not adding up. Our tech support has lost track of how many times someone would contact us about an issue with Hahnel chargers.

We do have another dual charger that we use in house, and include with our certified pre-owned kits - we haven't put it through this degree of testing yet, Doc, but might be a good idea to do so.

I'm glad that you included testing on our CI battery and that it performed well. As some know, we did try a battery some years back (silver) that definitely had issues (among others, Paul Caldwell notably pointed them out) and we stopped carrying those. We have not had any real issues with these at all. Interesting (but not surprising) also that Phase One would not recommend. Despite being one of the largest Phase One dealers in the world, we do not feel that Phase One should be allowed to dictate to us what accessories we can sell with their solutions (and we don't allow them to). If we find an accessory that performs as well or better than their version, it almost always costs much less, and we have no problem offering it.


Steve Hendrix/CI
Hi Steve, I had just sent/replied to an email to you before I checked this thread. I also had an email conversation with Dave and Brad a few weeks ago about batteries and what P1 had said to me. You might let them know about this posting.

The no-detect issue on the Hahnels is definitely due to the replaceable plate design of the charger. The charger side is fine, with the spring loaded contacts. It's the plate side that sucks with the solder plated PCB contact pads. The oxidation makes enough resistance that the charger doesn't see the battery existing. Reseating the battery would sometimes jiggle the plate just enough to scratch the oxidation and make a contact for a few times. Simply cleaning with Deoxit solves the issue for a longer while. Adding Shield to the contacts makes it hold better in humid atmospheres. Ripping out the contacts and "permanently" attaching the plate solved the issue altogether.

Would the other dual charger (that you include with pre-owned kits) happen to look like this one?
IMG_20200720_0008435.jpg

I also acquired one of these and I dropped it out of testing early. It was just as bad as the Watson (or worse). The battery read 100%
on it when the Hahnel showed 70-80%. Pulling the battery off of it and putting it back on would sometimes make it show 90%, but most times, it stayed at 100%. I don't know the make of this charger, but it is definitely an aftermarket POS.
 
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Tibor

Member
Just to add my solution to the problem. I use a Hawk Woods (a company based in the UK) DV-MC2A 2-Channel Canon BP Battery Charger for a good year now without any problem.
 

docholliday

Active member
Just to add my solution to the problem. I use a Hawk Woods (a company based in the UK) DV-MC2A 2-Channel Canon BP Battery Charger for a good year now without any problem.
Thanks for the additional info! I was looking at the Hawk-Woods too originally, but they are hard to get in the US. Dolgin is much more accessible here. The extra features on the Dolgin are also a bonus over the Hawk-Woods!

I'm sure any industrial/professional grade charger would fit the bill in this case. I wouldn't wish those Watson chargers, though, onto a beginner with a $5 budget.
 

ShaunQ

New member
I had 4 new batteries supplied with my Phase One system purchased just over a year ago from CI, along with the Hahnel charger. Have always had a problem with one of the batteries going flat while stored in the camera. When I put that battery into the charger I get a bunch of dashes that flash rather than a percentage reading, this will last a few hours before it eventually starts charging and shows a percentage. The battery will then charge to 100% shown on the charger, however the battery either won’t last long in use, or will go flat if stored for a week or two.

Starting to think it is the Hahnel charger, so thanks Doc for starting this thread, interesting reading and might look into alternative charging methods. 7.2v seems to be a common battery voltage across many hobbies, and some of those other hobbies have much more advanced and cheaper chargers available, like radio control cars for example. Will look into a way of connecting an RC battery charger to a BP 915 battery holder.


.
 
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docholliday

Active member
I had 4 new batteries supplied with my Phase One system purchased just over a year ago from CI, along with the Hahnel charger. Have always had a problem with one of the batteries going flat while stored in the camera. When I put that battery into the charger I get a bunch of dashes that flash rather than a percentage reading, this will last a few hours before it eventually starts charging and shows a percentage. The battery will then charge to 100% shown on the charger, however the battery either won’t last long in use, or will go flat if stored for a week or two.

Starting to think it is the Hahnel charger, so thanks Doc for starting this thread, interesting reading and might look into alternative charging methods. 7.2v seems to be a common battery voltage across many hobbies, and some of those other hobbies have much more advanced and cheaper chargers available, like radio control cars for example. Will look into a way of connecting an RC battery charger to a BP 915 battery holder.
The battery you have that is dying on its own probably has a shorted/weak cell. That's usually the cause of LiON cells that self-discharge. More appropriately, it's that the cell's chemistry has changed where it can't hold a charge appropriately throughout the matrix and "fills up" the limited space it has quickly so it seems to read as charged. Sometimes that's an effect of bad manufacturing, but mostly it's because of excessive deep discharge or temperature extremes (which isn't always the users fault).

The flashing dashes means that the battery is down near the 6.4-6.8v range and hasn't reached what it considers to be 10%. LiON charges via a ramping voltage until a certain point is reached. It then switches to a ramping current until it starts to fill up. That drop in current is how chargers detect near-full and finally termination of the charge.

Though many other chargers do 7.2v/7.4/9.6 (drones, RC, vape, etc), be careful when charging these BP-9xx batteries. Most of the RC style chargers have multiple pins to balance the cells. Those pins are actually tap points between each cell and give feedback to which cells are the most charged vs the lowest and optimize the charge accordingly. The BP-9xx series don't have the tap point(s) (it'd be a third/fourth/etc contact on the battery) like some of the Sony similar looking batteries have. Charging using those chargers can actually cause more damage to the battery by overcharging one cell when the other cell is actually way out of shape.

One hypothesis could be that the fairly new battery where you have weirdness going on is actually dying and the cause was the insufficient charge from the Hahnel. Some of these batteries I have are 8-10 years old. There's one that's from 2009 and it still works great, albeit a bit short in capacity. Even with this battery, when fully charged, it will still be 90%+ in 2 weeks time sitting in a bag.

Another interesting point is the "self-drain" while in the back. I had that issue initially with this back and I finally fixed it by hard-resetting and re-updating the firmware, twice. The first time, it still had the same drain where the battery would drop around 10% per day or two. After the second hard reset and re-flash, it has stopped. I had a freshly charged battery that I left in it for almost a week and the battery was still 100%. Actually, it was hard reset by holding the buttons and inserting a battery. Then, access the menu and reset to defaults and pull the battery. Finally, re-insert battery, re-flash and reset to defaults again. Twice.

Either way, a good charger, which the Dolgin and Hawk-Woods (if you can find them) are the only ones I'd consider candidates, will give your current and future batteries a better chance of having many happy years of service. Did I mention that I like the Dolgin's extra features? Knowing exactly how much a charge was taken by the battery gives me a nice view of how a battery is performing. I've actually now printed little stickers with the initial test capacity and date to put on the bottom end of the battery (never the sides as it can get the battery stuck). That way, I can see after each charge quickly what to expect from the battery. I'll probably change those stickers once a year to the full TDM cycled capacity at that time.

I really miss my old V-system with film. Never having to worry about a single battery and always ready to shoot. But, since these modern critters depend on a steady meal of electrons, the cost of the charger is nothing compared to the irritation of having a dead battery when you need it (been there too many times...I"m looking at you, my old Rollei 6008s and Contax 645s).
 

docholliday

Active member
BTW, I'd searched high-n-low to see if anybody on the internet had been discussing batteries and found none before I started this experiment with chargers. I was also looking for a "proper" way to carry these batteries, and found no mention anywhere. So, I'll add this info to this FYI as it pertains to the batteries...

I've since tested and found that the Thinktank Pro DSLR Battery Holder works great for holding 4 of these batteries. I also have a 1DX Canon system, so I figured if they didn't work, I'd use them on those batteries. Well, they work great. As a bonus, the pouches can fold for stuffing into a backpack slot and fold all the way down to cover the batteries well.

Ignore the battery labels as they were my old way of labeling. The new labels are much nicer and I don't need the colored dots/hearts to indicate my guess on battery wear as the new labels actually record the date placed in service and the inital TDM test capacity. Bonus is that I put them label out when freshly charged (and the Dolgin does 4 at a time!) and flip them when depleted so that the contacts are facing outward.

IMG_20200617_1057469.jpg

That's the 4 on the left. The 2x LP-E4Ns are in the one on the right with a Hasselblad H battery on top.
 

ShaunQ

New member
After a bit of browsing found this which looks like a well priced option, although currently only available for Sony batteries...

ISDT Charger

They've have been making chargers for the RC hobby world for a while and design/quality seems pretty good, they're also available in Australia. Seems like the charger for Sony batteries has only been recently released so maybe there's hope they might release them for other battery types in the future.
 

docholliday

Active member
After a bit of browsing found this which looks like a well priced option, although currently only available for Sony batteries...

ISDT Charger

They've have been making chargers for the RC hobby world for a while and design/quality seems pretty good, they're also available in Australia. Seems like the charger for Sony batteries has only been recently released so maybe there's hope they might release them for other battery types in the future.
I'm familiar with ISDT chargers! It seems that a lot of these companies make chargers for Sony because that's whats popular in the video/drone world. It's easy to find chargers for any of the Sony NP series batteries as it seems to be the "generic" standard. I'd searched high-and-low for the BP chargers and they just aren't as popular as they once were.

I'm waiting for Nitecore to put out one here in the US. They just released one of their own chargers that use USB QC2.0/3.0 for a bunch of different camera batteries including the Canon LP-E4/N and Hasselblad X batteries. These chargers can do both batteries in parallel instead of series charging, which helps a lot during a production shoot.

I use Nitecore chargers for all of my 18650/21700/RCR123A batteries and they work great. They are all reasonably priced as well. Maybe they'll make one for the BP-9xx series batteries next!
 

earburner

Member
Just thought I would mention that lithium batteries are charged using constant current. This is where the maximum current is set and the shut off voltage is set, so as the cell voltage increases as it charges the current falls until it gets to shut off voltage where the current will be zero. This is where contact resistance can cause the cell not to be fully charged. This is because the voltage at the cell is lower than at the charging regulator, aka the charging stops before its charged :) There are other factors that effect battery life like, depth of discharge, speed of discharge, speed of charging, temp, has it been frozen etc
 

docholliday

Active member
Just thought I would mention that lithium batteries are charged using constant current. This is where the maximum current is set and the shut off voltage is set, so as the cell voltage increases as it charges the current falls until it gets to shut off voltage where the current will be zero. This is where contact resistance can cause the cell not to be fully charged. This is because the voltage at the cell is lower than at the charging regulator, aka the charging stops before its charged :) There are other factors that effect battery life like, depth of discharge, speed of discharge, speed of charging, temp, has it been frozen etc
Yes, I mention that above. But, it's actually not simple constant current, but rather constant current-constant voltage (CC-CV). There is a constant current until a certain cell voltage is reached, then it's constant voltage as the current falls. Once the charging current reaches a certain (low) level, cut off occurs due to detection by the charge regulator. That is one of the reasons that batteries need to charged at a decently rapid pace. A lithium charged too slow (<0.2C) can actually prematurely cutoff because the regulator can see the slow charge as reaching peak as soon as the voltage plateau is reached.

In this case, there is very little to no contact resistance (<0.01Ω). The discussion about poor contacts has nothing to do with the undercharge in this case. It has to do with oxides preventing the contact of charger-to-adapter plate from allowing detection of the battery upon insertion.

The charge control chip, which is usually embedded into a smart battery, would be programmed for the battery it's installed into and matched to the cell's capacity. However, since these batteries are dumb and simply cells in series, any charge control would be in the charger. Older charge ICs were more simplistic than modern ones and simply monitored the voltage/current combo. Newer designs can extrapolate curves to determine the truer state of cell charge and incorporate cell resistance into the calculation as well.

Some chips even have ridiculous features...like the Hasselblad H grip battery's Maxim DS2438A chip. Those batteries use 2x 18650 cells. The 2438 has a TIME clock on the IC that constantly runs (the "A" part of the chip) to determine how long it's been off charge and extrapolate self-discharge. Interestingly, in the process of re-celling my batteries, I noticed that the battery reads 2900mAh on the grip battery label, but is under-charged intentionally as the cells are 3100mAh. This is obviously to give the battery more longevity. Yet, leaving one off the charger and not used for a while will make the battery go stupid and not read right. That's when you have to hold down the two buttons, insert the battery, and "reset" the charge controller.

I had a grip that kept reading "Replace Battery" that had been fully charged about a month ago. I pulled it apart and analyzed the cells (since I could reach those easily) and they were showing 65% full - they shouldn't have been "dead" according to the camera. While the cells were out, I charged them in a dedicated analyzer/charger and they took around 3000mAh cycled. So the cells are good. Put it back into the grip and it still read "Replace Battery" on the camera. A two-button reset and it read 100% again. So the 2438 was ignoring the battery levels and artifically reporting depleted because of it's firmware programming and clock circuit.
 
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BTW, I'd searched high-n-low to see if anybody on the internet had been discussing batteries and found none before I started this experiment with chargers. I was also looking for a "proper" way to carry these batteries, and found no mention anywhere. So, I'll add this info to this FYI as it pertains to the batteries...

I've since tested and found that the Thinktank Pro DSLR Battery Holder works great for holding 4 of these batteries. I also have a 1DX Canon system, so I figured if they didn't work, I'd use them on those batteries. Well, they work great. As a bonus, the pouches can fold for stuffing into a backpack slot and fold all the way down to cover the batteries well.

Ignore the battery labels as they were my old way of labeling. The new labels are much nicer and I don't need the colored dots/hearts to indicate my guess on battery wear as the new labels actually record the date placed in service and the inital TDM test capacity. Bonus is that I put them label out when freshly charged (and the Dolgin does 4 at a time!) and flip them when depleted so that the contacts are facing outward.

View attachment 150602

That's the 4 on the left. The 2x LP-E4Ns are in the one on the right with a Hasselblad H battery on top.
These are the same holders I've been using and concur that they work well.
 
TL;DR/Lesson of the story: Buying a good charger makes the difference; Watson (and Hahnel to a less extreme) chargers suck.

Over the last two weeks, I've been exploring battery issues with the Canon style BP-9xx cells used by Phase One in their digital backs. The primary issue was random weird effects such as new batteries unusually short battery life and very old batteries showing good life. Some of the old batteries are 8-10 year old 2900mah batteries and they were outlasting both new Phase One "OEM" 3400mah batteries as well as the Capture Integration Certified "non-OEM" 3500mah batteries.

An email conversation with P1 support yielded not much help other than hearing "we don't recommend those CI non-OEM batteries" which is a absolutely ridiculous thing to say as these are non-smart batteries (they don't have monitor chips). But, just to be sure, I purchased a brand new, official P1 battery and it suffered from the same problems. So, I decided to do my own testing and diags. Having both a Hahnel Twin-V and Cube charger, as well as a Watson, I was looking at battery charge levels as a possible cause. I also have a LiON cell analyzer, electronic load, and other test equipment, so it made sense to not trust other's diagnosis of the issue.

I noticed that the battery levels shown on the back and on each of the different chargers were rarely the same. Off by a bit is understandable, as again, these aren't smart batteries that have a monitor IC on the battery to store the data. Each device had it's own way of determining the charge level. One thing I noticed consistently was that when the back would show a dead battery (at the point of shutting off), the Hahnels would show a dead battery, but the Watson would show 20-30%. Further investigation showed even crazier discrepancies. I tried each the new P1, one of the CI-Certifed, and one of the old 2900mah batteries in the back after a full charge (100% on display + another 30-45 mins) and then leaving the back on until it showed 70%. Putting the batteries into each charger showed: 70 or 80% on the Hahnels and 100% on the Watson.

The LiON analyzer showed that all the batteries were fairly similar in performance. Measurements were fairly similar between the new P1, CI, and old battery. Each battery fully charged showed around 8.2-8.4v, which is correct. The 7.2/7.4v marking is a nominal rating, and these batteries can run as low as 6.4v when drained. Most of these batteries are constructed of 18650 or 18500 cells in series, but without a tap on the center link, a cell analyzer can't do much to check the cell balance or per-cell performance.

I ended up resolving the issue by purchasing a Dolgin Engineer TC400 charger for the Canon BP-900 batteries. Their charger can rapid charge 4 batteries simultaneously but more importantly, uses it's own charging algorithm and also has both a charge-discharge-charge "TDM" capacity test mode and a display of the total charge pushed into the battery upon completion.

I started by cycling each of the batteries on the TDM test mode. Each battery reached its expected nominal level or slightly exceeded it except for the old battery which, as expected, had wear but still took 2600mah of charge. Those are some robust cells! This confirmed that the batteries were fine, even the non-OEM ones. The new P1 battery was cycled a half dozen times to form the cells before I started testing.

As a side note, the biggest problem with the Twin-V wasn't with the charger electronics, but the design of the removable plate. The contacts are simply solder coated and over time, oxidation makes the contact between the charger and battery plate fail. Cleaning and coating with DeOxit D100L + Shield fixes the issue of the charger not recognizing the battery. Or in my case, I simply took the charger apart, ripped the spring contacts out of the charger and soldered wires (with non-RoHS compliant leaded solder) directly from the board to the plate. But, it was still causing inconsistent charges, albeit not as poorly as the garbage Watson charger. I have a feeling the Cube will suffer eventually from the same problem as it uses a removable plate system too.

A "fully" charged battery on the Hahnel ("fully" is in this case, waiting for 100% to appear on the display and giving another 30-45 mins) would show 80-90% (and occasionally 100%) on the Dolgin. Here's the new P1 OEM battery after fully charging:
View attachment 150575

Transferring that battery over to the Dolgin showed the following:
View attachment 150574

The back would show 100% for a few minutes which rapidly dropped to 90%. Even worse, a fully charged battery from the Watson showed 70-80% on the TC400. With these batteries, letting the TC400 top off the battery until it read "Completed" resulted in a battery that held its charge more accurately. Using the Dolgin to charge depleted batteries exclusively has resolved the issue. All the batteries now perform in a linear, predictable fashion. It's also a bonus to see how much the battery took during charging and to be able to cycle the batteries to determine wear. The Hahnels will probably get put in a drawer as backups. And that Watson has a nice date with a burn pit or 12 gauge...
Seeing this thread, I decided to get a Dolgin charger and second these findings. Routinely batteries that were "fully" charged on the Hahnel charger would show being only 80% charged on the Dolgin. Although I haven't done any formal testing, now that I use the Dolgin charger, I'm having to change my batteries in the IQ4 and XF somewhat less often.

Thank you very much for posting this information.

Jacob
 

docholliday

Active member
Seeing this thread, I decided to get a Dolgin charger and second these findings. Routinely batteries that were "fully" charged on the Hahnel charger would show being only 80% charged on the Dolgin. Although I haven't done any formal testing, now that I use the Dolgin charger, I'm having to change my batteries in the IQ4 and XF somewhat less often.

Thank you very much for posting this information.

Jacob
Thank Jacob for the feedback! Glad to hear that the work I went through helped somebody else out!

It's interesting how noticeable the difference is, and how "cheap" the Hahnel charger feels after handling the Dolgin. Did you get your Dolgin with the TDM module for cycling/testing the batteries?
 
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Thank Jacob for the feedback! Glad to hear that the work I went through helped somebody else out!

It's interesting how noticeable the difference is, and how "cheap" the Hahnel charger feels after handling the Dolgin. Did you get your Dolgin with the TDM module for cycling/testing the batteries?
I did, but I must admit I've haven't used it yet. I do have one battery that has been misbehaving I think, so now I have a good reason to use it!
 
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