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Thread: Which batteries to get for an external flash?

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    Ausphotography Veteran tandeejay's Avatar
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    Which batteries to get for an external flash?

    I have a Triopo Speed Light TR-980N (one of these: https://www.giftsngadgets.com.au/pro...0&cat=5&page=2 ), which takes 4 x AA batteries. I initially just grabbed 4 alkaline Energizers out of the cupboard and it worked really well for maybe 20 or 30 photos, but now when I turn it on, it takes longer to become ready than the auto-off time of the flash, so the only way I can use it is to operate the buttons on the back while waiting for the red light to come on.

    So when I was down at Woolies today, I was having a look at the batteries available and nearly bought some 2300mAh NiMH batteries, but then thought it might be wise to ask here for advice to make sure I get the most appropriate batteries.

    I also noticed there are Lithium batteries available which say (among other things) "do not recharge"... why can we re-charge the Lithium batteries in our cameras, but not the AA ones??

    Regards,
    John
    John Blackburn

    "Life is like a camera! Focus on what is important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don't work out take another shot."


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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Possibly because they are NOT Li-ion rechargeables but just Li batteries that are usually made for
    high-drain devices like cameras.

    A variety of images here:
    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=l...w=1903&bih=916
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    found this article on rechargables in flashes: https://www.slrlounge.com/best-recha...h-photography/

    Went looking on ebay for the eneloop xx, and there appears to be Sanyo ones and "Panasonic (replace Sanyo)" ones. Has any one had any experience with those panasonic ones? and how to they rate compared to the Sanyo ones?

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    I ordered a set of Panasonic (eneloop pro) BK-3HCCE Ni-MH 2450 mAh off Ebay. I have shot a few club evenings over 100 shots each without issue.
    Filter


    EOS 7D Mark II - 70D - Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, 17 - 55 2.8 Lenses

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    I understand that Panasonic acquired the Sanyo Eneloops technology and I have the (old) Sanyo white Eneloops (2000mAh) and the (new) Panasonic Pro (black) Eneloops (2450mAh).

    I have found them to be very reliable and I understand that when charged up, they retain up to 85% of the charge even when stored for 12 months.

    In the bad old days of NiCad’s, I used to find that fully charged batteries just drained down to empty after storing for 3 or 4 weeks and so these Eneloops are just fantastic.

    Cheers

    Dennis

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Agree with nardes. Get some eneloops.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I was sort of going to do a short(Haha!) writeup (soon) of some new batteries I just purchased.

    I thought of going down the Enerloop route myself too, but I use the flash so sporadically, my biggest concern is self dishcarge.
    Flash sits in bag for 99% of the time, and I have it there simply for those times when it's just needed .. rather than I use it regularly.

    Have a look at some Li-ion AA's instead.

    Am is right, the Lithiums you get at the 'supermarket'(generic term for regular shops that all manner of stuff) are all non rechargeable Lithiums 3volt batteries.

    Li-ion are 3.6(or 3.7) volts per cell, so many Li-ion batteries will be multiples of that(eg. your camera battery is probably 7.4v(2x 3.7).

    If you're interested(and I had to do a bit of research for it), but AA Li-ion batteries are not called AAs as such, but use the international numbering system for batteries.

    one of the most common cell types you find on places like ebay is the good old 18650 type Li-ion cell. I have a couple of these for some torches and the difference they give in terms of power output is massive, compared to regular AA and AAA NiMH batteries.
    These 18650 types are almost certainly used inside the batter of your cordless power tools and suchlike. They have great capacity and endurance.

    For AA Li-ion batteries(ie. rechargeable lithiums!) you want to search for 14500, and if you want to look for AAA sized cells you want to search for 10440 types.

    I haven't fully tested them yet in my SB-800, as I've only had them for a week.
    Charged them up in a new much better quality charger than the garbage Powerex I got years ago .. and them put them into the SB-800 hoping that they won't blow it up.
    Only one way to figure this out and that was to take that leap of faith.
    Remember these 14500's (as all Li-ion are) are 3.6-3.7v.
    I know that the SB-800 can accept a Li-ion power source which is external, but had no idea if you could do that internally too.
    Anyhow, worked perfectly . I did about a hundred dummy flashes using the manual flash button.
    OK, may not have been exactly 100 flashes, but 50 -100 or so .. and did two runs of about 10-20 flashes as quickly as I could to test their recycle time.

    SB-800 is not the best for recycle time when using 4 hydrides, and comes with a 5th external battery compartment that replaces the lid .. and a PITA to have and use and store(easy to lose).

    Using 4 hydrides you easily reach it's recycle time limit after a few flashes.
    Using the 5th compartment door, this is 'fixed' ... so far so good.
    Using 4 Lithium(ie. expensive but strong throw away types) . 4 batteries and never hit the recycle limit.
    Now with the Li-ions in, I reckon I did at least two 20 manual flashes runs in succession(ie, 40 flashes in about 30 sec or so), and no problem at all. Flashed every time I hit the flash button at the moment I hit it.
    I now have them just sitting in the flash and want to check out their self discharge rate .. without having recharged them again yet.

    Main benefit I'm looking for is the super low weight compared to 4 or 5 hydrides on the flash, which is exaggerated when in a flash sitting on top of the camera!(pendulum effect).
    Lithiums are super light weight by comparison.
    Li-ion are similarly light weight.

    Problems tho! Some devices just won't work with the excessive 3.6v supply.
    I really wanted to use them in my mouse too, but it refuses to work with them.
    Lithiums are no problem, and I 'thought'(hoped) that the extra 0.6v may not be an issue .. obviously is.
    Weight is a major reason why I use Lithiums in my mouse .. the difference is huge in the mouse that weighs in at nothing than you place two NiMH's that weigh 5x as much and the mouse feels like a massive thumping subwoofer to use(by comparison).

    So far, with only 5 or so days of experience with these 14500's(or any type of Li-ion cell) is very good to excellent comparing to many types and brands of hydrides.

    Remember to take into account the device you want to power(eg. my mouse doesn't work with them). Most devices have a circuit that will prevent excessive power input, so it's hard to destroy a device that simply can't use the extra voltage.
    One reason these 14500's and 10440's aren't common is that not many devices are made to use the 3.6v supply with this form factor.
    I'll bet my last dollar that the most commonly use cell in many camera batteries will be the 14500 type(another reason I wanted to try them), and some types look like they might use the 10440 type.
    I have an old Nikon EN-EL3 to pull apart to see if I can 'revive it' with a couple of fresh 14500's one day.
    I've already revived an old drill battery that used C type hydride batteries. Pulled it apart(with a few small cracks in the body .. but who cares!) .. and it repowered the drill(for my father) where a battery replacement cost close to $150!) .. for a fraction of that price .. got it going for him

    Finally if you are interested in these 14500/10440 types, you will need a charger for them too. They don't cost much, I highly discourage the use of so called high end Powerex brand chargers.
    Supposedly good, but I reckon I disposed of too many good hydride batteries because of it's incompetence.
    I've stopped using it completely now.
    I've had a 10 gang NiMH charger for a good 10 or so years, it charges hydrides perfectly every time. has a discharge button if one ever gives the irrits, but charges them up always.
    if it doesn't, I then know this battery is dead .. so gets respectfully treated in kind.
    Plugged many batteries into the Powerex and it told of dead batteries. Being the idiot that I am, I ignorantly obliged it's analysis and dutifully stopped using them, put them into a small plastic box and used others that were good instead.
    Out of curiosity, I had 5 of them to be disposed of and thought .. put them into my trusty 10 yo basic charger and see what will happen.
    After a day, they all charged up. Being sus on them tho(due to the Powerex charger) .. I thought yeah right .. put them into all manner of devices(SB-500 being one) .. and bingo .. all bright and powerful again!
    I've done this now for the past 3 or so years, and the conclusion is that the Powerex is a POS. All show and no brains!
    The new charger I also got with a few 18650's seems good so far. Charges all and sundry without any obvious issues(yet).

    But it's needed. Mainly for the 18650 cell type and for the ability to charge Li-ions too.

    I recently tried to nut out a problem for my brother this past month or so. He bought an LED headlight torch. Uses this 18650 cell type. I needed some 18650's myself so I took up the offer.
    Torch was a rechargeable type. Didnt' work from the day he got it. for $10 I told him it's not worth the effort to send it back .. etc, etc.
    I'll take a look. The recharging system shut itself down when the two batteries it came with were inserted, so thinking it was a problem with the recharge system(board or wall plugpack)
    Tested this that and the other, then put the batteries he got with the torch into my new charger, and it came up null(= battery failure!).
    AHhh! .. I thought. We were getting somewhere now.
    Used two of my 18650s and all is ok on his torch's recharge system now
    So .. so far the new charger is shaping up well .. and it also charges NiMH batteries that the stupid Powerex can't!

    FWIW: not really a recommendation(yet) .. but the charger is a Vapcell(4 ganged) charger. Until I can fault it experience with it so far is good.

    sorry for the long reply and I was going to do a writeup of it one day soon, after some more testing was completed.
    But I thought the info could be handy for you or any other member looking at battery info, and not sure which way to go.

    ONE LAST NOTE!!!
    It's important too. If you do look for these 14500 type AA Li-ion batteries, don't compare their power rating to those of the hydride type. The milliamp/hour mAh rating they respectfully use is different.
    So you may see 3.6v Li-ion batteries at 1200mAh and some uber beaut NiMH rated at 3000mAh .. but the hydride is not more than 2x as long lasting!
    Most likely it'll be the other way around.
    The last proper endurance test I did for batteries was with my old battery killing GPS(Magellan Colour) many years ago.(when I originally purchased all my 2500mAh hydrides)
    The expensive (use once)Lithiums would keep the GPS turned on for at least 30hours, sometimes longer continuously. ie. I gave up long before the lithiums would.
    The 2500mAh hydrides would all fail after about 8-10 hours continuous, and could give an extra few mins after a short break.
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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    I use the Sanyo Eneloops in both my flashes, the SB700 and the Yongnuo, and have never had a problem.

    As a matter of fact I use Eneloops in everything that needs AA or AAA batteries. Recommended.
    Cheers
    Kev

    D800 & GAS

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    Perpetually Bewildered fillum's Avatar
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    Canon recommend NOT using lithium batteries in their speedlites. I'd think the same would apply to Nikon (although I dunno if there is a service advisory about it).

    FWIW I use Maha Imedion AA's in my speedlights, but I don't use flash very often. They seem to hold a charge (when not used) for a long time. (I use Maha Powerex AA's in my battery grip and they've been very reliable). Batteries and Powerex charger have worked faultlessly for 4½ years. (All purchased from site sponsor Protog).

    Eneloops seem to be the 'go to' choice...



    Cheers.
    Phil.

    Some Nikon stuff. I shoot Mirrorless and Mirrorlessless.


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    I have been using Enelope rechargeable batteries for years AA in my Canon Twinlite, Canon speedlite, Olympus Flash all used often for shooting Macro.
    They also power our very old Uniden Cordless phone, and two clocks..
    AAA in Remotes six of them could be more, they power kitchen scales, bathroom scales and head lamps.
    I have two Battery chargers a Enelope Super fast one about 1½ hours ? and a slower Energizer one 5 hours.
    I use the slower one most of the time, as I have plenty of spares and I read somewhere that charging them slower they last longer
    Don't know if its true though I have not had to throw any away in the years I have been using them.
    I bought the first 2 packets of Enelope Panasonic made batteries last year, for my Olympus Flash they dont seem any different to the Sanyo ones.
    They get the from me too.
    Last edited by Mary Anne; 12-06-2016 at 12:39pm. Reason: typo
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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I use a mix of Eneloop and Maha Powerex batteries. I find they are pretty much on a par.

    I think MAHA has better chargers, their 8 bay chargers are awesome.
    Fuji XT-2, Fuji VPB-XT2, Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8, Fujinon 50-140 f/2.8, Fujinon 23 f/2, Fujinon 35 f2, Fujinon 90 f/2, Yongnuo YN560 IV, Yongnuo YN560 TX, Benro C3580T
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    Thankyou all for your responses. Will go out and pick up some eneloops.

    Is it best to pull the batteries out of the speed lite when it is not in use? or does leaving them in not cause a noticeable drain?

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I should learn to read more carefully!

    MAHA is the brand name of the charger I have. 4 x 2700mAh batteries and the 4 slot charger MH-C9000 .. I don't like.
    Powerex must be the model name or whatever.
    Anyhow .. threw out batteries that were most likely still good .. simply because it didn't like them. Now I don't like it, and so have removed it from my battery of battery chargers

    Just noted Phil's reply re lithiums.
    For the SB-800's(Nikon) does say non rechargeable lithiums are fine, but with a note about overheating when long bursts of repeated flashing is used.
    The batteries could overheat and the temperature protection circuits will shut down if this happens and the flash will not flash .. until temps have dropped to safe levels.

    There's also an almost cryptic reference to high powered manganese batteries not being recommended.
    1st question: What the 'ell are high powered manganese batteries? .. took a bit of searching, but it seems they are basically Li-ion batteries!
    Lithium-Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt(LiNiMnCo, NMC or NCM) ... OOPS!

    The way I'm reading this tho is that they aren't specifically on a do not use blacklist or whatever .. but now I'm worried about my Li-ion's in there.
    For the moment, the way I'm seeing this is that, if they're using temperature protection sensing, I'm guessing that they should be OK ... ish!

    I suppose the next test I'll try (with baited breath) is a long continuous strobe/modelling light test to see if it cuts itself out or catches fire in my hands as I ......

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    Found a site where pople compared the eneloops with the powerex and the eneloops come out on top because of their low self discharge (LSD). The powerex have a higher mAH rating, but the eneloop's will still have 85% charge after sitting on the shelf for 1 year. But the Powerex self discharge at a rate of about 1% - 2% per day... As I'm not using my flash on a regular basis, the LSD is probably important to me... so I'll go for the Eneloops

    Now to find a good brand of charger to match the eneloops...

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandeejay View Post
    Found a site where pople compared the eneloops with the powerex and the eneloops come out on top because of their low self discharge (LSD). The powerex have a higher mAH rating, but the eneloop's will still have 85% charge after sitting on the shelf for 1 year. But the Powerex self discharge at a rate of about 1% - 2% per day... As I'm not using my flash on a regular basis, the LSD is probably important to me... so I'll go for the Eneloops

    Now to find a good brand of charger to match the eneloops...
    Probably an old review. The new powerex are rated to have 85% after a year


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    Ausphotography Veteran
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    Probably an old review. The new powerex are rated to have 85% after a year
    Hmm... yeah... 2011...

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    Haven't read all the replies here, and sorry Arthur, I just scrolled past your dissertation

    Get yourself some Eneloop batteries,
    Since changing to them I have been rather impressed, with out being able to give you any specif comparison's

    I leave mine in my speedlight, but then I do use them a lot
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I'm back! .. already, and with sore fingers now.

    quick test confirms my previous testing with the Li-ions.
    Massive power to burn(oops! I shouldn't have said that!)

    with the 4 2700mAh MAHAs, I can get about 3 or 4 modelling light burst of what seems like about 3 sec or so.
    (the modelling light only works for that duration continuously .. maybe 2.9 or 3.1 sec with a rough counting method for accuracy)
    After those 4 bursts, the duration of the modelling light's ability decreases exponetially once you've depleted the batteries ability a little.
    They simply need time to recover. my test involved continuous testing of the modelling light, so that as soon as it stops, I do it again immediately.
    The duration of the modelling light with the MAHAs basically grinds down to barely a blip .01s or so, if that! . after about 10 uses, one after the other.
    After the modelling light test(that died a tragic death), I then did a few manual flash testing attempts.
    It sort of has some flash ability after this(as in manual flashing using the manual button), but you can hear it has no real power. There is a delay in the action of the manual flash button.
    I'd say it misses 2 shots in five presses(or something like that).
    They simply need time to recover.


    This is for all intents and purposes unrealistic use of a flash tho. I can't imagine doing a 5 min burst of images at 8fps continuously.
    So take this as a test of endurance only .. not something that you'd actually do.
    The positive side of the MAHAs tho(and the other brand of hydrides I have that the MAHA charger told me were no good! ) .. they never get hot!

    The Li-ions on the other hand just go .. and go and go and on and on. Just like you heard about on those inane Duracell ads!
    I can't stop them, and I gave up in the end.
    On the modelling light test, they just keep on powering on. After about 20 bursts(of the same 3 or so secs for each burst) ... they just kept on going. I gave up thinking the testing was more one of futility on my part as I'd never have the time(this late) to deplete these batteries.
    After the modelling light test, they still had the power to pop at what sounded like full power .. for another 20 or so repeated bursts. No delay in the action of the manual flash button.
    Again, I gave up well before I reckon these things will.
    To summarise these Li-ions ability is simply 'powerful' .. they feel about 5 - 10 x more powerful ... or more accurately is their endurance ability.

    BUT! they did get hot(actually warm). Pulled them immediately after the test and they were warm to hold.
    By comnparison(on this cold night) the MAHAs were metallic cold. The Li-ions were plastic warm by way of comparison. Not hot. You could feel heat in them if you held them tight(as in made a strong fist).
    If I were to estimate the temperatures. I'd say the MAHAs were about 15°C, the Li-ions maybe 22°C-ish. If I clenched my fist with the Li-ions, they felt hotter(again) .. more like 30°C-ish.
    Flash never cut out tho .. other than dying due to a lack of power with the MAHAs.
    I was kind of hoping that the flash would cut out, to satisfy my curiosity that the SB-800's over temp circuit would work as intended, but it wasn't to be.(maybe I need warmer weather).

    All batteries are now out and waiting charge.
    The Li-ions have barely moved from their charged state.
    In less than the time it's taken me to write this up, they have recharged again(about 5-10 mins) and the status indicator on the charger showed barely 1 bar of 5 required to charge them fully.
    By comparison tho the MAHA's(those Powerexes) only show 1 bar of 5 of power remaining .. they'll need a while to charge up again.

    FWIW tho, I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything here: Only writing up my observations of the testing I've done/am doing.
    I've just convinced myself that hydrides are the past, and Li-ions(where usable) are the way forward from here.
    But with the cautionary note that I'll be careful in what device I'll use them in too.
    They do heat up under load, so be very careful what you use them in if you intend to try them too.

    If you use your flash as per normal folks do, I don't think heat build up will be an issue. Their advantage is that they have endurance, but also don't discharge as heavily as hydrides do.
    So the advantage is that you will be recharging them less frequently and they are about 1/3 or less the weight of the hydrides(important with a pendulum swinging off the top of the camera!)

    Where I'll be more cautious is in using them in heavier duty uses such as motor drives under heavy load and stuff like that(where there is almost certainly no overheat protection).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkChap View Post
    ..... and sorry Arthur, I just scrolled past your dissertation ..
    LOL Mark .. I expected most folks will.

    Quick short summary of the above .. Li-ions are about 5 - 10x as powerful in both raw power and endurance.
    They can heat up, but I'm not seeing this as a normal users concern.

    ... Get yourself some Eneloop batteries,
    Since changing to them I have been rather impressed, ....
    I'm guessing that they'll be the same as the MAHA's that everyone used to rave on about years back too .. by comparison(to the Li-ions) they won't be as impressive.
    But as long as they do the job for 'ya(ie, you don't have any need for out of the ordinary uses for them) .. they're fine.

  19. #19
    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandeejay View Post
    Now to find a good brand of charger to match the eneloops...
    When I switched to Eneloops I came across some discussions about pirated versions.

    Just get the genuine Eneloop charger like this one http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Panasonic...gAAOSw9mFWNWbZ

    I've bought all my Eneloops from this eBay seller. Only sells stuff sourced from Panasonic Australia with a fair dinkum warranty.

    PS: It also charges AAA's.
    Last edited by Cage; 13-06-2016 at 10:19am.

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