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Perhaps a silly question...but one regarding the Hasselblad 2900 mAh battery on the H3D body

P. Chong

Well-known member
I do not seem to be able to get the battery to 100% charge. I am using the original charger which came with my ancient H3D-39. The original battery is 1850 mAh, and charges to full, as shown in the battery status on the body. While charging the 2900 mAh battery on the same charger, I can only manage to get it to 75% charge. I understand the charger should be able to bring the battery to 100%, though taking longer than the 1850 mAh. Any insights?
 

fjablo

Member
I‘m no expert on these things so can’t answer your question unfortunately. Seems weird but possible to me (maybe the old charger doesn’t deliver quite enough oomph and battery gets „harder“ to charge towards max capacity)

However, unless you need the extra battery power in the field it’s actually a good thing to only charge the battery to 75%. It will last much longer this way as the cells won’t degrade as quickly.
 

docholliday

Active member
There could be three issues. One is that the 2900 has excessive wear and that the 75% is what the cells are actually topping out at. The second is that the H3/H4 bodies had to have a specific upgraded firmware to use the newer packs accurately. And the third is that battery monitor board in the 2900 pack needs reset as it's remembering a different level.

There's no reason to charge 75% for the "preservation of cell life" as these packs are already underrated for the cells used to give good battery life. The 2900 packs typically have a 3100 cell set and the 3200 packs have 3400mah cells in them. They're a consumable and should be treated as such. Modern Li-ion packs aren't as delicate as the old, low capacity cells and undercharging is only really reasonable on devices that sit on a charger 24/7 constantly at 100%. As long as cells are cycling, they'll wear no matter how high (or low) you charge them.

I'd check to be sure the firmware is the newest on the H3, do a full charge on the battery for 12-24 hours, and reset the battery monitor on the camera. If it still showed low, you could always change the cell pack in the grip. I've moved all my 2900 packs to 3500 cells. There's a thread on here where I got a company to make plug-n-play packs for me to swap.
 

P. Chong

Well-known member
thanks fjablo. I actually am ok w the 75%. But am wondering why it’s this way. From other reports, it just takes longer for the older charger to get the higher capability battery to fill.

Thanks Doc. done all that. Firmware is latest for H3. Reset battery after first 24 hours. When I received the used battery which I had bought from a forum member, it showed 100% on my H3. But after depleting the battery to 5%, I put it on the charger. And 75% was as high as it can go. And the charger led goes into fast blink, indicating an error. I have left it on the charger for 48+ hours.

My old 1850 grip charges to 100% on the same charger. No problems.
 
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docholliday

Active member
Fast blink is usually a shorted cell, excessive current draw, or cell resistance out of range during initial test. There were multiple versions of the older "square block" charger. Which one do you have?

There was the 3053564 where the output was 12v @ 500ma, which if I recall, was for the NiMH style packs, not Li-ion.
There was the 3053568 with an output of 7.4v @ 800ma, that was for the early Li-ion packs
And the 3053572 which outputs 8.4v @ 1300ma, which is the current charger

The first charger would destroy the pack - wrong voltage. The second would charge, but probably never top off as the voltage is too low (a full 2 cell Li-ion grip is around 8.4v). The last charger is the current H5-H6 charger, but obviously designed for the 2900 batteries as the charge rate (the "C") is typically 1/2 of the cell rating so it was created around the 2600-2900 era. It'll still charge the 3200 battery to full as the voltage is correct, but would take an extra hour or two. The "7.2v" rating for the pack is a nominal rating, as the charge is a range from full to dead.

It sounds like you have the second charger (I hope it's not the first). Measuring one of my 3500 packs when I first upgraded them showed the following:
100% charge - 8.35v
75% charge - 7.90v
50% charge - 7.25v
25% charge - 7.05v
10% charge ("dead") - 6.65v

These measurements were with a brand new, first cycle pack. After some usage, they'll change a bit, but I haven't had time to re-measure the packs as it takes forever to do so. I just wanted a reference for future testing of the battery should something weird occur. If there was some wear on your pack, that 75% charge with the older Li-ion charger would probably be correct.
 

P. Chong

Well-known member
Thanks Doc...bingo! Mine is 3053568, the second one. And that's why its spot on at 75%. So I guess this is normal then.

Fast blink is usually a shorted cell, excessive current draw, or cell resistance out of range during initial test. There were multiple versions of the older "square block" charger. Which one do you have?

There was the 3053564 where the output was 12v @ 500ma, which if I recall, was for the NiMH style packs, not Li-ion.
There was the 3053568 with an output of 7.4v @ 800ma, that was for the early Li-ion packs
And the 3053572 which outputs 8.4v @ 1300ma, which is the current charger

The first charger would destroy the pack - wrong voltage. The second would charge, but probably never top off as the voltage is too low (a full 2 cell Li-ion grip is around 8.4v). The last charger is the current H5-H6 charger, but obviously designed for the 2900 batteries as the charge rate (the "C") is typically 1/2 of the cell rating so it was created around the 2600-2900 era. It'll still charge the 3200 battery to full as the voltage is correct, but would take an extra hour or two. The "7.2v" rating for the pack is a nominal rating, as the charge is a range from full to dead.

It sounds like you have the second charger (I hope it's not the first). Measuring one of my 3500 packs when I first upgraded them showed the following:
100% charge - 8.35v
75% charge - 7.90v
50% charge - 7.25v
25% charge - 7.05v
10% charge ("dead") - 6.65v

These measurements were with a brand new, first cycle pack. After some usage, they'll change a bit, but I haven't had time to re-measure the packs as it takes forever to do so. I just wanted a reference for future testing of the battery should something weird occur. If there was some wear on your pack, that 75% charge with the older Li-ion charger would probably be correct.
 

docholliday

Active member
Thanks Doc...bingo! Mine is 3053568, the second one. And that's why its spot on at 75%. So I guess this is normal then.
Great! Glad that got figured out! It'll definitely be "better" for the battery, but would probably become annoying with the new batteries not fulfilling their max capability. It's ridiculous the price they want for the new charger, considering it's just an AC adapter with nothing really special inside it.
 

citizin

Active member
Great! Glad that got figured out! It'll definitely be "better" for the battery, but would probably become annoying with the new batteries not fulfilling their max capability. It's ridiculous the price they want for the new charger, considering it's just an AC adapter with nothing really special inside it.
That's true! I'm tinkering with recreating it with cheaper parts. I've got the a/c parts all ready to go, I just keep ordering the wrong barrel jacks from digikey. Third times the charm! I'll make a post once I figure it all out.
 

docholliday

Active member
That's true! I'm tinkering with recreating it with cheaper parts. I've got the a/c parts all ready to go, I just keep ordering the wrong barrel jacks from digikey. Third times the charm! I'll make a post once I figure it all out.
I cheated... since I already have a Dolgin charger for the P1 batteries, I just made a slug out of an old battery to a barrel that I have in my parts bin. That way, I can plug my H batteries into the Dolgin to charge without having to recreate the wheel. The P1 batteries are the same voltage and capacity, so they charge nicely...and I get feedback from the Dolgin on charge capacity.
 

P. Chong

Well-known member
What are current best practices for Lithium Ion batteries? Keep full or close to full as much as possible? Let it deplete to cut off every time?
 

fjablo

Member
Thanks Doc...bingo! Mine is 3053568, the second one. And that's why its spot on at 75%. So I guess this is normal then.
I'm positively surprised my gut-feeling-based response wasn't so wrong after all :D I have the same charger model for my H3Dii - helpful to know what to expect should I ever need to replace the battery with a new one from Hasselblad.
 
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docholliday

Active member
What are current best practices for Lithium Ion batteries? Keep full or close to full as much as possible? Let it deplete to cut off every time?
The most damaging things to Li-ion are:
1) draining too low (draining to <20% too often)
2) keeping charged at full constantly (>80% and kept on charger)
3) charging at too high or low of a rate (0.5C is the ideal charge rate)
4) charging at a high/low ambient temperature (don't charge "frozen" cells or ones that are still hot from draining)
5) long term storage over or under charged (keep between 30-70% charge during long term storage)

The best thing to do is to "just use the batteries", topping off often, but not keeping it constantly charged at 100%. Early cell designs/chemistry and old packs that have poor charge regulation (or no regulation) tend to experience more damage than modern batteries. I tag my batteries with an ID and rotate them in usage to keep from having one pack that gets over-cycled while others are barely used. I try not to let them drain all the way to cutoff, but sometimes it just can't be helped in the craziness of a shoot. I'll just charge them up first chance I get.

With the H packs, the battery is underrated based on the cells used to construct them by a few hundred milliamp/hour. That tells me that the designer probably intended the charge regulation board to also cutoff slightly early, which in turn makes for better battery longevity. Since the price on these packs are so high, but seem to have a good and consistent life, it would stand to reason that these weren't designed as "throw-aways".

When I first got the camera, I was worried due to the difficulty in getting replacement cells. The only real option if a pack was destroyed was to get a new pack. I also didn't want to invest in the gear to weld cells and create packs, just to someday have to make new batteries. Once I found a company that would make packs to spec, I was less caring about the batteries and "just used them". Here's the thread where I rebuild a 2900 into a 3500 with links to order the packs: https://www.getdpi.com/forum/index....d-and-upgrade-at-a-fraction-of-the-cost.69130
 

P. Chong

Well-known member
Just re-read the post. Great stuff. I have one of those grips with CR123. Is it possible to retrofit those? Also what do you think of using 2x NCA103450.

finally, any suggestions to replace the charger? Does the DC grip power supply able to work as a charger?

The most damaging things to Li-ion are:


When I first got the camera, I was worried due to the difficulty in getting replacement cells. The only real option if a pack was destroyed was to get a new pack. I also didn't want to invest in the gear to weld cells and create packs, just to someday have to make new batteries. Once I found a company that would make packs to spec, I was less caring about the batteries and "just used them". Here's the thread where I rebuild a 2900 into a 3500 with links to order the packs: https://www.getdpi.com/forum/index....d-and-upgrade-at-a-fraction-of-the-cost.69130
 
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docholliday

Active member
Just re-read the post. Great stuff. I have one of those grips with CR123. Is it possible to retrofit those? Also what do you think of using 2x NCA103450.

finally, any suggestions to replace the charger?
The problem with the CR123 grips is that they're too short (old style), so to get a decent battery in them, you'd have to cut out the bottom of the casing. Better to just rebuild a 2900 or newer grip since the size is "right". The NCA packs are too low in capacity, plus, being a prismatic pack, you'd have to charge them carefully or they'll outgass and expand. The 18650 MJ1 cells are pretty much the highest capacity cells that you can use right now. That's what AA Power did...they re-created the packs as I asked with the MJ1 cells. The problem with using "standard" packs is that the regulator boards are on the end whereas the "special" packs in these have the regulator board embedded into the body of the pack. Standard packs are just too tall by a few mm to allow the grip to close back up.

If you order the packs from AA Power with the BEC connector, you can directly just open up a 2900/3500, unplug the old pack and insert the new. The only thing you'll have to do is scrape out the foamy like double-sided tape from inside the case as the new cells are a hair larger than the original (due to capacity).

As far as the charger goes, if you can get your hands on a 2900/3500 charger, that'd be the easiest. Otherwise, it's a gamble to get a reliable source. I also have Phase One stuff, so I have a Dolgin charger. I've made a slug that is a hollowed Canon battery with leads to a barrel that plug into my H batteries so that the Dolgin can charge them. It's a bit of work and not very portable (I have the Dolgin 4x TC400 rapid charger). Since there's no charge regulation inside the batteries themselves, you want the "correct" charger or you'll risk destroying the cells.
 

citizin

Active member
Just re-read the post. Great stuff. I have one of those grips with CR123. Is it possible to retrofit those? Also what do you think of using 2x NCA103450.

finally, any suggestions to replace the charger? Does the DC grip power supply able to work as a charger?
The problem with the CR123 grips is that they're too short (old style), so to get a decent battery in them, you'd have to cut out the bottom of the casing. Better to just rebuild a 2900 or newer grip since the size is "right". The NCA packs are too low in capacity, plus, being a prismatic pack, you'd have to charge them carefully or they'll outgass and expand. The 18650 MJ1 cells are pretty much the highest capacity cells that you can use right now. That's what AA Power did...they re-created the packs as I asked with the MJ1 cells. The problem with using "standard" packs is that the regulator boards are on the end whereas the "special" packs in these have the regulator board embedded into the body of the pack. Standard packs are just too tall by a few mm to allow the grip to close back up.

If you order the packs from AA Power with the BEC connector, you can directly just open up a 2900/3500, unplug the old pack and insert the new. The only thing you'll have to do is scrape out the foamy like double-sided tape from inside the case as the new cells are a hair larger than the original (due to capacity).

I was able to put a pair of Panasonic 18600's in my older packs instead of the older flat cells. It's been about a year and they're still holding up strong.
 

docholliday

Active member
I was able to put a pair of Panasonic 18600's in my older packs instead of the older flat cells. It's been about a year and they're still holding up strong.
I'm assuming you mean 18500? If so, those would be lower capacity than the originals as most are 1500-1600mah.
 

docholliday

Active member
Nice! I have a pile of 8.4v and 9.6v craptastic adapters in a box, but with the Dolgin and 3 Agilent bench supplies, there's more than enough here.

I did make one before with an adapter that looks almost exactly like the one you have. I added a 1.5A fast-blow in line for safety as one of the 9.6v I have that look like that (with the same suspicious LED) shorted out, blew the LED out of the case, and threw > 50v out the cable end (that's why there's a pile of them in a box). I also suspect that the "UL" and "CE" cert stickers on the adapter are very counterfeit. ;)
 
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