Cheap D1x battery solution

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Ashley_Pomeroy
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Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by Ashley_Pomeroy » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:31 pm

I'm not sure if this has been posted before, but there's an auction on eBay.co.uk for a D1x with a modified battery pack, that now takes a pair of 18650 battery laptop-style batteries. The auction has a link to this page, which shows how it is done, although in French:
http://vincenttrepanier.com/pack_d1/

At least I think it shows how it's done. It seems to be missing a second part. There's a more thorough PDF here:
http://www.jknights.plus.com/transfer/C ... __2010.pdf

The D1x in the auction itself looks grim and I imagine this kind of thing will destroy the used value, but on the other hand D1 chargers are expensive. Has this been posted already?

Stan Disbrow
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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:11 pm

Hi,

Looks like both links are for the same procedure. It's just the French (first) one is missing about half the instructions contained within the English (second) one.

The end result is the same. The old Nikon pack is now a cell holder for two LiIon cells.

One thing that isn't as clear as it could be, one needs to buy an external LiIon charger that accepts the two replacement cells. You no longer can use the original Nikon charger with this scheme.

That's actually a good thing, as it would allow you to have several sets of LiIon cells on hand, with one set in the charger when the another is in the camera. ;)

Also, the LiIon cells will provide longer run time with lighter weight. Handy!

later!

Stan
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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by nikonnl » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:26 am

Hi friends,
interesting 'manual' to modify a Nikon EN-4. But why? Have a look at ebay.de (German ebay site) and you'll find hundreds of EN-4 replacement batteries from 18 euro that can be used with the standard Nikon charger. I've bought a few long ago and they are still great (and even more powerful). I have both a D1X with and without upgrade and the cheaper batteries last longer than any original.
Regards,
Nico

www.nicovandijk.net
D1/D1X/D1H/D2H/D2X etc.

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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by Ashley_Pomeroy » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:48 pm

In this case the person selling the camera doesn't have a Nikon charger - 18650 battery chargers sell for about $12 or so on Amazon.com, whereas Nikon MH-16s seem to sell for about $99.

Stan Disbrow
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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by Stan Disbrow » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:00 pm

Hi,

Then, there is the whole 'more juice with less weight' aspect of LiIon over NiMH. Plus, re-celling as-is means welding cells in place. I can do this but most folks cannot. Once the D1 pack is modded for LiIon, then it's drop-in, and pull-out, the cells. Much easier. :)

Personally, I always liked it better when things used AA cell holders for packs and then I can easily re-cell the packs with zero effort. Plus, there is then a choice of just which battery chemistry one wishes to use. I still prefer to us NiCd for most applications whenever I'm allowed to (by having AA cell holders instead of custom battery packs).

However, using a cell holder means a higher production cost than for a pack case since you have to mold in the springs, contacts and intercell wiring. Plus, with a custom pack the maker gets to sell replacement packs for years before some aftermarket outfit thinks there's enough business to be had to make replacements.

Look how long it took for someone other than Nikon to offer a replacement pack for the D-series. And, I think that occurred more quickly than normal because Nikon had some real problems with their NiMH cells in the D1 early on coupled with a higher than normal sales rate. There was a lot of chatter at one time about the issues with the D1 batteries, and that caught the attention of the aftermarket pack makers. That was good for us, but bad for Nikon.

Finally, AA cell holders means folks can maintain their stuff for much longer. As in, try and get a new pack from anywhere for an E-series Nikon. You can't. Re-celling is the only option. One day it will be that way for the D-series cameras as well. If the E-series used AA cells in a holder one could go to Radio Shack and repair a failing battery pack at will.

The ironic part is that when the F5 was king, it had an AA cell holder. You'll always be able to get a new battery for an F5, just about anytime, anywhere, in the world. :)

Later!

Stan
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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by nikonnl » Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:03 am

Hi Stan & others!
I've forgotten to tell that besides cheap replacement batteries on ebay the people at the NPS here in Holland told me that it is possible (and they've done this with my cameras) to modify the software in the camera which indicates low power on the upper lcd screen. So it seems possible to 'tell' the camera to indicate a low power at a later state, resulting in a longer use of the battery. Since Stan seems to be a software expert (in any case having much more knowhow than me) please tell me if this can be true.
Thanks,
Nico

www.nicovandijk.net
D1/D1X/D1H/D2H/D2X etc.

Stan Disbrow
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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by Stan Disbrow » Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:20 am

Hi,

Well, I don't know about 'expert'. let's see. 'X' is an unknown and 'Spurt' is a drip under pressure! :P

Yes, that can be done. There has to be a power control chip in there, and all the ones I've worked with contain a section that measures battery voltage, in millivolts.

So, the chip sends that data out to the processor chip which would compare the reading to a value loaded into a EEPROM. When the reading gets to the stored value, you get a 'low batt' indication. Actually, there are several stored values and these are used to drive the segments of the battery meter and, finally, shut the thing down when it gets too low.

So, to change this, all one needs to do is alter those stored values in the EEPROM to something lower than the factory did.

Of course, one needs to know how to read and write that EEPROM and also needs to know the locations in memory of the values for the battery meter. For someone trained to service these cameras, they probably were either told (in the service documents, or perhaps in a technical service bulletin) directly, or this kind of information made it's way thru the grapevine, as it were.

Later!

Stan
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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by Webmaster » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:01 am

Personally, I wouldn't bother to modify an old battery pack like this (unless I really had to). But it's a bit strange that no one have ever made a AA battery holder for the old D1-series cameras. Or later models, for that matter.

Jarle

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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by Stan Disbrow » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:27 am

Hi,

Since I no longer have a D1 series camera, or any of the packs, I have to go by my wetware here and may not recall the data correctly.... :P

But, IIRC the cells used are shorter than an AA cell. Fatter but shorter. Not that I can recall exactly which cell is used now, but I *think* I recall they were 2/3AF cells. But, that might be some other pack for another camera.

Anyway, the exact cell type isn't important to the main point here. If the AA cells are longer, then there's no way to fit them into a holder that will then fit into the camera. Well, yes, you could, but the end of the cell holder would have to stick out from the side of the camera a bit. Anyone want one of those?

I don't know if one could do that anyway, given the battery pack latch scheme used on the D1 series. I don't think you could slip the cells around the mechanism.

I suspect this is why there aren't any AA cell holders out there. It's a design consideration mainly meant to preclude such an aftermarket accessory. In my experience, makers actually have engineering teams that sit down and think of ways to thwart the accessory aftermarket as accessory sales are a large profit center.

And, yes, we always thought of batteries as an accessory even though a battery is an essential part of the product because we knew we'd sell at least one replacement for each unit we sold....

The main reason I see for hacking up a D1 battery pack in this manner is to get a higher capacity pack that also has lighter weight.

The secondary reason I see is that LiIon is 'greener' than NiMH, although that argument loses somewhat if one thinks 'recycle' for NiMH. There are a lot of not-so-green aspects to the production of any battery chemistry, and LiIon has it's own set of byproducts to deal with.

Once one thinks of those things, then the 'green' argument would really have to revolve around what happens when old cells get dumped into the trash instead of recycled. No one trashes old cells these days, right? Not when it's so easy to recycle them. Around here every store that sells cordless tools has an old battery recycling bin. You don't have to go to a dedicated battery store to recycle any cell chemistry.

Later!

Stan
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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by nikonnl » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:07 pm

Stan, if you allow me, let me ask you another question:
Nikon has offered several DB-'s battery packs with AA-batteries and to put in your pocket (e.g. in winter) If we open a Nikon EN-4 battery, why not place or solder a cable connected at the other end to a 'home made' battery pack holding 2, 4, 6 or whatever number of AA-batteries? I am too clumsy to undertake that exercise but would that (making an external battery pack with worldwide accessible batteries) be possible?
I'll grant you the patent :) BTW: It's getting hot out here. Stannico would be a nice name for that battery pack, wouldn't it?
Regards,
Nico
D1/D1X/D1H/D2H/D2X etc.

Stan Disbrow
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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by Stan Disbrow » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:25 pm

Hi,

Yes, that would work. Heck, it's been done for the D1 back when it was new. Quantum was the name of the thing, I think. Anyway, it's not hard to do.

You can even opt for running the external pack at a higher voltage and use a regulator to bring it down to what the camera wants to see. That gives you a longer run time out of AA cells without running into the issues associated with a series-parallel battery construction.

What I mean is you make up more than one pack with the proper number of cells in series to provide the correct device voltage, and then parallel those multiple packs to provide a higher capacity while still using the small AA cells.

I've used series-parallel for homemade packs quite often, but they do require that one monitor the capacity of the cells used in the pack on a regular basis. If one cell gets weaker than the others, then there will be a fight between the paralleled packs and the battery winds up killing itself in a rather short period.

The other option for an external pack is to just use larger cells, like C or D cells. I think that's what Quantum used - D cells.

Anyway, It's a matter of providing a cord with strain relief on the gutted camera pack and then hooking the other end to whatever one wanted to make up by way of the external battery.

Oh, and I always use 'KQY Electronics' for my stuff, that being the suffix of my ham radio callsign. That's a time-honored tradition amongst hams to use the callsign suffix like that. ;)

later!

Stan
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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by cosmicnode » Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:01 am

I have modified a old pack to take these batteries for a D1x, the reason I did this is that the replacement battery packs were not very good and mine failed after a very short time. These replacement batteries will have been on the shelf for almost as long as the camera has been out of production, I bought a superb condition D1h very cheap on e-bay and decided to make a pack for it, using one of these 3rd party battery packs a piece of pcb board and a cheap aa holder from Maplin for the negative spring contacts plus 2 small bolts for the positive contacts. I made the pack fitted 2 batteries chacked the voltage on the contacts and slid it into the camera, Nothing happened !, there is small prong moulded into the front of the Nikon battery which fits into a hole in the body with what looks like a metal contact , perhaps a crude switch that tells the body a battery is in place. I replaced the short prong on the 3rd party pack with a small bolt and got a short activation of the body then nothing. I then cut up a old Nikon pack and inserted batteries, it worked first time. Its a easy mod well worth doing but like everything use a genuine Nikon battery pack to get results, the chargers are available on ebay very cheaply, use protected batteries, apparently fully discharging the unprotected batteries damages them, and the protected ones prevent full discharge.
Mike

Stan Disbrow
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Re: Cheap D1x battery solution

Post by Stan Disbrow » Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:51 pm

Hi,

Li Ion packs are made already ionized. If you don't have the Li Ion microprocessor based controller, either in the pack or in the device, then you are likely to drop the ionization in the pack below the minimum....at which time it will de-ionize and that will be the end of it.

You also need the controller present while charging to critically control the cut-off, or a -poof- is likely to result. So, the usual method is to incorporate the controller inside the packs for devices which use Li Ion batteries.

Li Ion is light weight, high capacity, evironmentally friendly (compared to other battery types), and has a really nice discharge curve. But, they have to be precisely handled to survive, hence the need for a controller. And, plenty of them go -poof- anyway.... :(

I will stick with NiCd, thanks. ;)

Stan
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