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Troubleshooting Batteries

Use These Tips to Fix Problems With Your Camera's Battery

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The rechargeable batteries found in most digital cameras seem to work in a straightforward manner. Charge the battery. Place the battery in the camera. Use the camera until the battery is drained. Repeat the process.

However, batteries do occasionally suffer problems. Here are a few tricks and tips you can follow to make them work better.

  • Check the brand. It sounds simple, but make sure the battery matches the camera. Many of today's camera batteries are of a similar size and shape, and, if you have multiple cameras, you might inadvertently swap the batteries, leaving the camera inoperable.

  • Stick with the correct charger. By the same token, only use the battery in a battery charger for which it is approved. Do not try to charge the battery in another model's charger.

  • Avoid heat. Do not expose the battery to excessive heat or an open flame. Such items can permanently damage the battery, cause the battery to fail, or cause an explosion. The battery might be warm to the touch after a recharge, but this does not indicate a problem.

  • Avoid touching metal. Avoid touching the battery's metal contacts with other metal objects, such as keys. The battery could short out and become inoperable.

  • Avoid leaks. If you will not be using the camera for a couple of weeks or more, remove the battery from the camera and store it in a safe place. The battery could leak if left in the camera unused for an extended period of time.

  • Discharge before storing. If the camera will be placed in storage for a long time, more than a few months, it's best to discharge the battery before storing it -- in other words, let the battery drain down to the last bar on the power guide, which will be about 10% to 20% power, depending on the battery and the camera. You’ll also want to remove the battery from the camera before storing them. Then, once you're ready to use the battery again, fully charge it.

  • Use it regularly. Try to charge and discharge the battery at least once per quarter to keep it in working order.

  • Keep it clean. Finally, if the battery simply doesn't seem to charge or hold a charge, you may have a few different problems. First, make sure the battery's metal contact areas are free of grime. You can clean the contacts with a pencil eraser or a clean, dry cloth. Make sure no stray particles are interfering with the ability of the battery's metal contacts to connect with the charger's contacts or the camera's contacts. Make sure the battery is not physically damaged in any way. Finally, if the battery is old, it's possible that the battery has simply reached the end of its lifespan. Rechargeable batteries often gradually lose the ability to hold a full charge as they age.
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