Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to Resolve the K-x Battery Problem?

Last time I talked about the features and performances of different models and designs of AA battery chargers. However, I still see that K-x users are yet asking (me or not) that how to completely resolve/eliminate the K-x battery problem. So, I would write more about my own solution in this blog entry.

First, you need to update the firmware, to version 1.01. It is better (actually less buggy and more tolerable) but it does NOT eliminate the problem(s) totally!

So, what's the problem actually? What's the cause? Well, if I have to tell you, the fault and source of problem is PENTAX! It is just because they chose the wrong battery solution for an actually power hungry device and application! So, it is just a battery issue more than a camera body issue, if I have to say..

Their stubbornness is actually unexplainable. IF they disregarded the AA batteries in the K-x, the K-x will perform better, more reliable, be made smaller and be considerably lighter when it is loaded and ready to shoot! WHY NOT?

After all, my advice to the final "solution" to the battery problem faced by many K-x users are as follows:-

1. Use *Traditional Type* high-capacity NiMH AAs from renowned brands: Renowned brand products like Energizer and Panasonic do have better quality, usually. The country of origin does also matter, say, my experience is that batteries made in Japan are better than batteries that made in China, even for the same brand.

And yes, I am saying choosing Traditional Type over those LSD (Low Self-Discharge) Type! LSD batteries like Eneloop etc. have more memory effect than Traditional ones and they do have lower overall capacity, although their charge can be kept a bit longer.

2. Use Intelligent Battery Chargers: Don't use timer control chargers as K-x will not satisfy with the batteries charged by those chargers! And, usually when K-x thinks that the batteries are depleted, they are actually only less than half-depleted for the total charge inside them. So, to recharge those batteries, intelligent chargers are essential.

3. Charge Twice, Not Just Once: More intelligent chargers still do not charge batteries to full capacity with one charging cycle, say, only less than 90% something for the first charge. Charge twice and you would probably get a 95% fully charged batteries and you will have more chance to get a green indicator shown in the the K-x for longer!

4. Decreasing the charging current by stages if your battery charger is allowed to do so: I set my Maha charger to Fast Charge for the first cycle. I often do not need the quick charge regarding the time required. But I do need its ability to eliminate the memory effect better - so I still opted Quick Charge for the first charge. Then, I switch my Maha charger to Slow Charge, re-insert my batteries and let it complete the charge with a smaller current and then finally entering into trickle charging (automatically). So, for my above charging procedure, the charging current is changed from 1000mA to 300mA and then to 50mA, in three stages. The best result is achieved.

5. Last but not least, recharge the batteries with small current when you are going to shoot for longer and after you have put aside your camera/batteries for a period of time: Unlike Lithium rechargeables, no matter you use Traditional type or LSD batteries, they do discharge somehow after a week or so anyway. As the K-x is so sensitive to the voltage and the fullness of the batteries, it does still help to re-charge. However, since memory effect does exist, slow charging with small current should be a better practice (in particular if your battery charger does not have the "re-freshing" function) and Not using LSD type is preferred.

But, still, I just wish to ask again: For all these Troubles, WHY STILL AA? Pentax, answer us, please! (And, Are You Actually Listening??)

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