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Thread: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

  1. #1
    sarangiman
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    PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    I recently bought a Phase One 645AF (Mamiya AFD III) from Capture Integration.

    I use a HM401 film back with it.

    I noticed from the beginning that battery life was dismal. Often a set of newly charged AA batteries (2400mAH Maha Imedions or 2700mAH Maha Powerexes) would only power a few rolls. In the cold weather, often the camera would die after one roll. When left *off*, the batteries would be dead within 2 days.

    So I did some testing with my multimeter. I put my ammeter in series with my Phase One 645AF + batteries & found a 27mA continuous draw when the film back is in place. 0mA draw when the film back is detached. Removing the battery from the film back has no effect.

    27mA! That's crazy! Assuming linearity, if you have a set of 2700mA-hrs AA batteries in there (pretty much the highest capacity AA you can find), that means they'd all be *fully* drained in 100 hours! Half-drained in 50 hours (2 days)! And since half-drain is enough to lower the voltage so as to fall well below 9v, it's no surprise that my camera dies within a day or two even when off!

    I hear tons of mixed reports -- some people reporting similar issues, others reporting no issues when batteries are left in there for months, even with the film back on.

    Could people report back with their experiences? I find it hard to believe that a company would release a Mark III version of a product that has a continuous drain of 27mA!

    If anyone else wants to try with their body, all you have to do is connect a multimeter in current mode in series; i.e., connect a wire from the + terminal in camera to + terminal on battery holder (top of exposed AA battery), then connect - terminal on battery holder (bottom of exposed AA battery) to + terminal on multimeter, then connect - terminal on multimeter to - terminal in camera (alligator clips or leads do the trick just fine). Leave camera in 'locked' position.

    Cheers,
    Rishi

  2. #2
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    Just for some public disclosure you emailed me at 7:35pm ET last night and I replied to your email at 9:15am ET saying that we would be effecting an inspection/repair in NY for you, pending receipt of for your serial and current return shipping address. Since it was 4:30pm ET when you replied with that info it was not possible to complete the proper paperwork to have that repair cleared (important to insure the process is properly tracked and the notes for your body are provided to the repair technician). Despite being on vacation tomorrow I will make sure your paperwork is completed in the repair system tomorrow morning so that you can send your body in.

    There is a drain on a properly functioning AFD3 when a back is left on it. In general we recommend ejecting the battery while it sits on the shelf - a very simple and practical operation. However, I believe the amount of drain you are experiencing is out of the ordinary and by all means an inspection on a repair bench seems in-order.

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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  3. #3
    sarangiman
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    No need to get defensive Doug; I appreciate your prompt attention to the matter.

    I'm just soliciting opinions from other members. Especially because in my back-and-forth communication with Phase One (not Capture Integration), I was told this was likely normal & there's probably nothing they can do about it. Upon further insistence, they said I can send it in anyway 'to remove any doubt'.

    So I'm curious what other people's experience is.

    -Rishi

  4. #4
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    The AFD III was good on battery life but the DF seems to be much better. This is not measured in any way on my part but just from experience. As Doug mentioned though yours could be having a issue. Worth getting it checked for sure.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  5. #5
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    Now if we want a really entertaining discussion we could move on to battery drain and performance of the DF/AFD series in the cold ...

    To summarize that potential thread, buy at least one spare battery holder (211-744) and/or external battery case PE401 (211-751), both of which CI can fix you up with.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

  6. #6
    Member nightfire's Avatar
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    Does this supposed drain only happen with a film back attached? I've been shooting with my new 645AF and a digital back for 1-2 weeks now and I'm still running on my first set of alkalines.

  7. #7
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    I too have one of the CI 645AFs and I don't see the battery drain with an Aptus II-7 connected. Admittedly I do remove the battery from the Aptus before I store it, if I don't actually put the back into it's Pelican case.

  8. #8
    sarangiman
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    Well, I pinpointed the problem.

    I rented an old film back for the 645 AF/AFD, & the camera shows no current draw when off when this back is attached. Attach my HM401 (modified), & I again see the 27mA constant draw.

    At this point I have nothing to do but wish myself good luck in dealing with MAC group. Because I'm gonna need it.

    Seriously, just my luck to find a combo that can actually take photos without dropping 90% resolution in the middle on every 2nd frame of film, but then have to deal with some stupid problem like this. This system has been nothing but trouble & I regret the day I decided to invest this much $$ & time into such an incorrigible product.

    But hey when it works the slides are just gorgeous!

    Thanks to everyone for their help.

    Good grief,
    Rishi

  9. #9
    sarangiman
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    Oh, wait a minute, I guess I forgot to tell people that the film back I use is a modified HM401 from Mamiya. It was, as I understand it, a quiet upgrade to the original 645 film back because the original one grossly bent the film & placed the bent film over the exposure field. You can read more about it, & see the gross effects of it, in my tests on this photo.net thread:

    http://photo.net/medium-format-photo...0YUob?start=72

    So either this is a dud film back or the newer HM401s have this problem.

    FYI the newer HM401 *does* solve the film flatness problem.

    *sigh*

    -Rishi

  10. #10
    sarangiman
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    When on, the respective current drain is:

    645AF back: 100mA
    HM401 modified back: 150mA

    Suddenly, it's no longer surprising my batteries barely last me one roll sometimes. Unacceptable, Mamiya, unacceptable.

    -Rishi

  11. #11
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    I found there is a battery drain in the AF body if I leave the batteries in, so I just remove them if the camera is not in use and they then survive quite awhile with the digital backs (P45+ and IQ180). The DF body doesn't seem to drain them so much on the shelf, but it's easy to take out the batteries so I still do it anyway.

  12. #12
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    Agreed, the DF has far better battery life. With all the AFD bodies, I removed the battery pack when not shooting.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  13. #13
    sarangiman
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    Re: PhaseOne 645AF Battery Drain

    But the point is there's no drain with the original film back. So there'd be no need to remove the batteries. It's most likely a design flaw, since my 'modified' film back doesn't do anything special other than advance the film more in between exposures.

    Additionally, given the extra 50mA of current draw when on, this reduces the effective battery life of the camera to 2/3 what it should be when on & shooting. Also unacceptable.

    Why do you guys put up with stuff like this? Canon/Nikon could never get away with something like this & it's my opinion that Mamiya is allowed to do so b/c the market is so small & so therefore there aren't enough people to complain.

    -Rishi

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