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FYI: Phase One BP-9xx battery issues

bshigeta

New member
Would authentic Canon BP-915 batteries work in the IQ4? They are only 2200mAh compared to the Phase One 3400mAh, but I'm assuming the form factor is the same?
 

docholliday

Active member
Would authentic Canon BP-915 batteries work in the IQ4? They are only 2200mAh compared to the Phase One 3400mAh, but I'm assuming the form factor is the same?
Pretty much all of the Canon OEM batteries don't have enough current to drive any new(er) back properly. That includes the IQ2-3-4. At least 2500-2900mah min is recommended. Those old BP-915s are not only low at 1950-2250mah, but they have a different drain profile in the cells and are known for causing some backs to have issues.
 

paparazz0

New member
Wow, thanks for this excellent deep dive. This explains a lot of possible mysteries with digital backs acting up. I'm a small time guy and not a big studio, and definitely can't justify the price for the tc400-i or tc200-i. I only have 3 PhaseOne batteries, one at 3400~mah and the rest are lower. Are there comparable chargers to the Dolgin that can properly charge the batteries at a reasonable price?
 

docholliday

Active member
Wow, thanks for this excellent deep dive. This explains a lot of possible mysteries with digital backs acting up. I'm a small time guy and not a big studio, and definitely can't justify the price for the tc400-i or tc200-i. I only have 3 PhaseOne batteries, one at 3400~mah and the rest are lower. Are there comparable chargers to the Dolgin that can properly charge the batteries at a reasonable price?
Sadly, of the good, reliable chargers, the Dolgin is one of the cheapest. If you watch EBay, you can find the tc200 with Canon BP9xx plates sometimes for cheap. If you can solder, you can also get any of the models and order a set of Canon plates from Dolgin to solder yourself. It's easy, just a few screws and two wires per plate. They sell the plates so that the units can be "serviced" by the user quickly of a plate gets broken.
 

RLB

Member
Doc,

Great write up and diagnosis. I have multiple Hahnel chargers for my Phase batteries with adaptors for Canon. I have both the older Twin chargers and the newer Cube chargers.

Last year I purchased 5 brand new OEM canon BP900 batteries and after using them a few times with a new Hahnel Cube charger it bricked all of them. Yes, bricked as in it fried the IC dead man switch...$400. in batteries caput after 3 cycles. I've charged Canon batteries on the older Hahnel Twin charger for more than 7 years. This of course led to a dialog with Hanel and eventually with the CEO of the company. Their anwer: CANON has changed the threshold charge voltage in their IC and not told anyone...older batteries are fine newer ones should not be charged on the Hahnel chargers...Twin or Cube unless you are short on expensive paperweights. Hahnels solution: sent me 5 of the Hahnel orange BP900 look alikes for free. So far all is well. When I travel I like to take one charge with multiple plates...smaller, lighter, less overlap.

The other issues as has been mentioned with the new Cube charger is the contacts below the plates. Great idea, poor execution. Now we no longer have the cable to the battery adapters, we have spring loaded ball bearings. When one inserts a battery there is enough play to get that battery adaptor off kilter a fraction and now one side of the charge stops working. Solution? Tiny amount of Dielectric grease on those contacts under the plate....a very tiny amount be careful not to bridge contact with an adjacent one.

Robert
 

docholliday

Active member
Doc,

Great write up and diagnosis. I have multiple Hahnel chargers for my Phase batteries with adaptors for Canon. I have both the older Twin chargers and the newer Cube chargers.

Last year I purchased 5 brand new OEM canon BP900 batteries and after using them a few times with a new Hahnel Cube charger it bricked all of them. Yes, bricked as in it fried the IC dead man switch...$400. in batteries caput after 3 cycles. I've charged Canon batteries on the older Hahnel Twin charger for more than 7 years. This of course led to a dialog with Hanel and eventually with the CEO of the company. Their anwer: CANON has changed the threshold charge voltage in their IC and not told anyone...older batteries are fine newer ones should not be charged on the Hahnel chargers...Twin or Cube unless you are short on expensive paperweights. Hahnels solution: sent me 5 of the Hahnel orange BP900 look alikes for free. So far all is well. When I travel I like to take one charge with multiple plates...smaller, lighter, less overlap.

The other issues as has been mentioned with the new Cube charger is the contacts below the plates. Great idea, poor execution. Now we no longer have the cable to the battery adapters, we have spring loaded ball bearings. When one inserts a battery there is enough play to get that battery adaptor off kilter a fraction and now one side of the charge stops working. Solution? Tiny amount of Dielectric grease on those contacts under the plate....a very tiny amount be careful not to bridge contact with an adjacent one.

Robert
I can see Canon doing that with the new batteries in lieu of all the new paranoia about lithium cells catching fire. However, I don't/won't/can't use the OEM BP batteries as they are too low of a capacity to work with the new(er) backs. What most likely actually happened with your batteries is the semiconductor fuse between cells tripped. The Canon OEM batteries use a lower capacity cell, which have to charge at a lower rate (the "C" of chargers) than the higher capacity cells. Too high of a charge rate and it generates excessive heat, which in turn raises the current consumption of the cell and pops the protection fuse. Ideally, batteries want to be charged at .5C or so. The higher the rate, the faster the charge, but the more wear on the cell. So a modern 3200mah 18650 should ideally charge around 1600-1700mah. That same 1700mah on the older design 1950mah cells (even if they are new), would nuke the cells in a 1/3 of the time. It also would generate a massive amount of charge heat and the thermal fuse is usually taped between the cells, which would pop from the heat.

Even Dolgin's charger has the limitation. If using the lower capacity cells, the charger has to be reprogrammed by them to charge at a different rate and cutoff. Those Canon BP cells needs to stick with what they were designed for - older Canon camcorders.

I had one of the Cubes and I ripped out the ball contacts and soldered wires directly to the charge plates. All of those parts use plated metal, which will oxidize and cause problems when least expected. Good concept, but bad execution. Most exposed contacts like that need to be physically exercised to keep the oxidation down. With Canon flashes (and probably most other manufacturer nowadays), the contacts in the shoe are pointed so they can "scratch" the camera body contacts when attaching. The Canons with the slide lock also move the flash side contact pad when locking - to scrub the contacts each time.

I wouldn't use dielectric grease on anything - it's job is to *prevent* good contact, primarily to keep water and other contaminants out. The "di" in dielectric means it's an insulator. What you would want is an anti-oxidant or conduction enhancer, like DeOxit Red and then a sealant like Deoxit Shield. I've also used OxGard in a pinch, which is commonly used for power distribution panels and available at most hardware stores. You'd do best to clear that di-e off with some isopropanol and get one of the Deoxit "Cell phone" kits. It has small tubes of the Red for a decent price and you'd very sparingly apply it to the contacts on both sides.

You can bridge contacts all day with dielectric grease...it'll just keep those contacts from contacting the other side but will never short out between them - it can't! You can also be sloppy with the Deoxit, as it's not conductive. But, OxGard is - it's a paste that has suspended metal particles and will short out to nearby contacts.

The dielectric grease commonly used on automotive spark plugs is not to make good conduction to the plug - it's to keep moisture out of the boot and prevent high voltage corona escaping the plug to the block/head. A common problems is that people who change plugs don't realize this and fill the boot with di-e grease, which can keep the plug anode and boot contact from conducting, especially on high wear boots where the crimp ring is worn and not physically scrubbing the grease off the plug contact. The result is a random misfire/stumble at the engine.
 

RLB

Member
I've been educated...all this time I thought that Dielectric grease was a conduction enhancer! Thanks for info.

R
 

docholliday

Active member
I've been educated...all this time I thought that Dielectric grease was a conduction enhancer! Thanks for info.

R
Don't feel bad...there's a lot of people that confuse dielectric grease for conductive grease. It's more common than you'd think! I know a guy that slathered a bunch on to a wirewound pot (high power variable resistor) that was scratchy. He couldn't figure out why there was no volume afterwards. The most common is still the heavy loading of grease onto ignition coils and plug boots then experiencing rough idle, misfires, and even loss of ignition.

The best thing to buy is something like the Caig Technician Survival Kit. It comes with a little of everything and lasts a long time. I use their stuff on battery contacts, flash contacts, chargers, headphone plug/jacks, test equipment connectors, etc. to prevent contact issues since most contacts nowadays (even "gold plated" ones) are cheap, prone to oxidation, and sensitive to the effects of the oxidation resistance changes.

The key to using their stuff is to remember that the Red cleans oxidation, the Gold protects gold surfaces after cleaning, the Red protects non-gold surfaces, and the Blue (Shield) protects in harsh environments or really crappy metal contacts (like the PCB pad contacts in the older Hahnel Twin chargers). If the part number has a 100 in it, it's pure solution. If it has a 5 in the number, it's only 5% solution with a solvent for flushing away contaminants. The greases are for sealing things like automotive battery connections. Took me forever to figure out how their stuff was meant to be used. Once I did, though, I put it on everything and see almost no conductivity issues except for some extreme cases like direct water ingress.

I also use the Gold on all CF and SD contacts. The cheap gold plating on the cards are prone to oxidation too and can cause data dropouts. All my camera gear uses CF and I use tiny fiber optic swabs to polish and apply the solution to the pin camera side. I only use SD on audio devices, but they are much easier to apply to by adding to the card contact and "scrubbing" the card in/out of the socket a few times.

RAM and SATA/SAS connectors also has issues oxidizing and causing the effects of bad memory, especially in laptops that see a lot of temperature changes. I'm also the IT director for a few businesses and the fleets of laptops used to have random issues, especially in the summer going in and out of the AC. Careful inspection of the RAM showed a darkening of the gold contacts at the edge of the SODIMMS that would make the computer randomnly reboot or throw errors at power up. Since applying the Gold to each SODIMM and SATA/SAS port, the problems have gone away and I don't see the units back until end of lifecycle (or some idiot drops their laptop).
 
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