The GetDPI Photography Forum

Great to see you here. Join our insightful photographic forum today and start tapping into a huge wealth of photographic knowledge. Completing our simple registration process will allow you to gain access to exclusive content, add your own topics and posts, share your work and connect with other members through your own private inbox! And don’t forget to say hi!

Hasselblad H battery rebuild and upgrade...at a fraction of the cost

docholliday

Active member
TL;DR: Hasselblad 2900/3200 H batteries can be easily upgraded to 3500mah for around $50 per pack (plus a $37 hazmat fee per order)...

I'm not sure how many H shooters are here, but hopefully this helps somebody and saves them some money.

For a while now, I've been looking for a replacement cell/pack to update the 2900/3200mah Hasselblad H5/H6 batteries. These batteries don't have anything special to them, containing only a pair of 18650 lithium cells, a cell balance board, and a charge controller board. So to me, the high cost of a new retail pack at ~$300 is not cost effective. And, of course, buying used packs is a shot in the dark, since one doesn't know how badly the pack was treated, how many charge cycles that pack has already been through, and the true remaining capacity of the cells. Well, at least without taking one apart and placing the cell pack on an analyzer. And, which can only occur after buying the pack, so I didn't want the headache of having to go returning it.

Here's my notes on how I did mine, in case somebody else out there wants to get "new" packs for a fraction of the cost. Two packs with shipping/tax/class 9 fee ended up slightly less than $150. I've fixed/upgraded two packs for 1/2 the cost of a new OEM pack!

Most lithium pre-made packs have their charge balance board applied axially to the end of the pack, so it's too tall to fit into the grip. These balance boards are laterally installed. The max length that the pack can be is 66mm+/-.5mm. The axially boarded packs are usually 68mm.
IMG_20200720_2320122.jpg

The original 2900mah packs were custom made for Hasselblad/Fuji and contained two Panasonic NCR18650A cells, with a nominal capacity of 3100mah. This allowed the packs to seem to have a higher than normal battery life by underrating. By the time the cells wore down to 2900mah capacity, they'd be "normal" if tested.
IMG_20200817_2257048.jpg

After looking at cells and balance boards, the cost to make my own packs was fairly high for the few assemblies I'd end up making. So it didn't make sense to buy a spot welder for the batteries and soldering the cells is a very touchy operation, as the slightest overheating can ruin the lithium matrix. I sought out different manufacturers to create a pack and most are in China with minimum orders of over 500 pieces. Plus, I also wanted to be sure the packs were made with a quality/authentic cell, not some knockoff.

So, I've been working with AA Portable Power out of California and over a few weeks of sending them specs and pics, they said they could create the packs one piece at a time. After some more requests, such as side exit wiring, a larger protector circuit, and a slightly higher current capability, as well as a laterally mounted balance board, they've added the custom pack to their catalog to make the custom order easier. The new pack uses a set of LG INR18650 MJ1 cells, which are rated nominally for 3500mah and my analyzer reports a capacity of 3610mah new. The nominal voltage is also a hair higher of .035v per cell, but since a fully charged 2s1p cell pack is around 8.45v, won't make a difference.

The new cells have been installed in my packs and they are working great. The camera actually operates a bit smoother and of course, lasts quite a bit longer.

In case somebody wants to upgrade their own packs, here's the details:
1. The packs are $45.45 each, but for each shipment, you have to pay a class 9 hazmat fee of $37 (doesn't matter if it's 1 or 10+ packs) and the usual tax/shipping. Takes about a week to custom make the packs, and then another few days as class 9 can only be shipped ground. Packs: https://www.batteryspace.com/custom...3-5ah-25-44wh-4-2a-rate-2s-s-inr18650mj1.aspx

The new pack is at the top, the old at the bottom:
IMG_20200817_2243494.jpg

2. The connector on the end is a standard "BEC" or JST/RCY connector, common for drone battery packs. I ordered mine without the connector, as I have tools and parts to crimp my own. For an additional $2-3 dollars a pack, they will add the connector onto the end for you, making the pack plug-n-play. You'll need to have them add a BEC/JST-RCY connector, female, with pin 1 positive. Keep the leads short, somewhere around 2-3" from the pack. Here's their page on the connector: https://www.batteryspace.com/connectoradaptor2pcsbecfemaleconnector6long22awg.aspx

Measure yours and add to your order notes the length you'd like. Here's what the connector (and components) look like:
IMG_20200817_2309097.jpgIMG_20200817_2249082.jpg

And here's the process:
1. Open the grip by using a spatula, guitar pick, or butter knife to slide under the top inlay. Don't go too deep. There's a bit of glue along the long edge so you may have to slide around a bit to break the glue. You can see the glue ridge also in the last picture on this post...
IMG_20200817_2241422.jpg

2. Slide out the insert and remove the battery. Unplug the JST connector. BE CAREFUL that you don't break the connector wire to the board, or you'll have to resolder it! The battery is held into the casing by a thin layer of silicone caulk on the bottom. Use a pencil or wooden dowel to rock the battery a bit and it'll come out. Then, use something to scrape the remaining caulk out and blow out with some canned air or a compressor to ensure that you'll have all the possible space for the new, higher capacity cells.
IMG_20200817_2246111.jpg

3. I found a crack one of my grip casings...inspect and see if you find any. I fixed this with a layer of UV adhesive, which is as hard as glass. You can also use some epoxy or fiberglass to fix cracks. The liquid runoff you see is Loctite 770...nothing to worry about.
IMG_20200817_2330041.jpg

4. Reassemble the pack. Be careful not to stress the male side (white connector) where it solders to the little charge control board. The insert may have a set of ridges underneath the top contacts that keep the insert from sliding all the way down. I had to use a scalpel and shave a bit of these two "ribs" off.
IMG_20200817_2335237.jpg

5. Perform a two button reset on the pack, then charge overnight using the "newer" charger! It will take longer than normal as the capacity is higher. LiOn terminates the charge based on current and the cells will top off correctly, just takes longer to do so. The autofocus on my camera is snappier, the AF illuminator is crisper, and the camera lasts longer.
 
Last edited:

docholliday

Active member
Here's a few more pics:

This is the original pack sizing compared to the standard/hobbyist/DIY battery with an axial balance board. The balance board is under the heat shrink "bulge" at the right where the leads come out:
IMG_20200818_0118371.jpg

Here's the underside of the insert (under the battery contacts). You can see the ridge that I trimmed at the top to get the pack to fit. Don't cut it too low, as the contact can fall out or you can crack the insert around the contact. On this one, I used a set of nippers to just bite off a few chunks:
IMG_20200818_0120189.jpg

Here's the lateral balance board from the OEM pack. The yellow square device is a semiconductor "fuse":
IMG_20200804_1750508.jpg
 

citizin

Active member
I've done all my Batteries.

Three of the larger grips with 2x Panasonic 3600mah 18650 cells.
Five of the smaller grips. replaced the CGA14500 with 2x Panasonic 2040mah 18500 cells.
 
Last edited:

docholliday

Active member
I've done all my Batteries.

Three of the larger grips with 2x Panasonic 2500mah 18650 cells.
Five of the smaller grips. replaced the CGA14500 with 2x Panasonic 2000mah 18500 cells.
Only 2500mah on the large grips? You actually went to less capacity?
 

docholliday

Active member
Checked the order form in the email they were 3600mah. Edited my post and my memory.
Ah, that makes more sense! Must be the Panasonic NCR18650G cells. I had tested those cells and they only tested out to 3495mah but showed a much higher/quicker wear rate than the LG MJ1. I set my analyzer to cycle a set of cells 20 times and then measured the average capacity throughout. I usually am a huge fan of Panasonic/Sanyo cells, but those didn't impress me very much.

I originally planned to use the NCR18650GA cells, but they were .25mm longer average and I wanted to keep the pack as tight as possible.

As for the older/smaller packs, I didn't even bother to upgrade them as I don't like the tiny feel of the grip with those packs on.
 

citizin

Active member
Yeah These are the 18650's I went for.

I had ordered three of the larger grips to replace the 5 smaller ones. When it came time to replace their cells, I decided to add on these 18500's since it didn't raise the price of shipping and it made the the total cost per unit seem more reasonable.

The larger grips see way more use since there's also a RRS plate on the camera, but it's nice to have a cache of fully charged smaller grips if needed for for not even $40 more.
 
Top