Appendix N Batteries

Practically every modern camera relies on some form of battery to power its auto exposure or focus systems, film wind-on, flash, etc. When a camera fails to operate, or functions in a sluggish way, the cause can almost always be pinned down to exhausted battery condition or poor contacts.

There are four main battery types. Relatively low cost alkaline batteries are common for powering small wind-on motors, flash and general camera circuitry. They are not rechargeable but have a good shelf life and are virtually leak proof. Tiny silver oxide batteries are often used for camera or hand-meters, and for light-emitting diode viewfinder displays. They provide constant voltage over a long life. Nickel cadmium ('Ni-Cad') batteries are rechargeable, and together with their recharging gear are more expensive than other battery types. They are most often used in accessory flashguns. One problem with Ni-Cad is 'memory fatigue', meaning that a battery will not charge to full capacity as it gets older, and therefore needs recharging more often. Lithium type batteries are increasingly used in modern equipment designed for this power source. They have a long powered-up storage life but to avoid any danger of leaking always remove a lithium battery from your equipment immediately it is exhausted.

In general, remember that batteries are affected by temperature. Low temperatures slow down their chemical reaction, resulting in erratic or sluggish camera operation. On the other hand, batteries stored bagged in a refrigerator have a greatly extended shelf life. Make sure batteries are inserted with the polarity (+ or -) marked on their contacts matching the terminals in your equipment.

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