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Thread: Could this be the A6000's Ultimate (hopefully "FINAL") poor battery life solution..??

  1. #1

    Could this be the A6000's Ultimate (hopefully "FINAL") poor battery life solution..??

    I have posted many posts in this and other forums, in the vain hopes that I would cure the unacceptably poor life of the A6000's (and I guess the A6300 + A6500) FW50 7.2v 1080 mah battery. Even though a couple of attempts showed promising signs, the net results have not made any impacting change worth bragging about, well at least maybe up until now.. Fingers crossed, although I'm very sure things will "improve"..

    I am currently trying the "iFootage Electric Ray E1" - wow, what a mouthful. It sounds more like a Death Ray, that Darth Vader should be blasting his enemy's home planet(s) away with around the galaxy. It fits into the hot-shoe and allows the use of a USB 5 volt Powerbank to power the camera. It consists of the following - a 'Dummy Battery' with a cord/plug,, which plugs into a 'Voltage Converter' which converts from 5 volts to the required 7.2 volts for the A6xxx series,, a silicon 'Rubber Adjustable Strap' to hold almost any Powerbank you choose,, and a 'Hot-shoe Adaptor' which holds it all in place and of course you mount on the (I'll give you one guess where)...!!! From there you strap your Powerbank (not supplied) onto the voltage regulator, connect electrical cables and away you go. I am using a high quality Xiaomi 16000 mah powerbank and have taken quite a few photos and the 4 LED indicators on it have not yet moved, indicating that there is between 75 - 100% of the available charge left. By now with the normal batteries, it would have definitely flattened at least one, maybe two of them. So far I have a slight grin on my face but it's early days, and with this camera I have learned to wait for a while before judging these fixes, but early signs are definitely the best to date. Some may consider it to be an eyesore sitting there atop the camera, but when you consider all the attachments you can use with a camera, I see it as "just another" fitting. I'll have to use ordinary batteries if I wish to use a the Metz 44AF flash I got for it a couple of years back but hey, I can live with that as I now have a total 5 normal batteries all up. I also have a couple of 20,000 mah Powerbanks but they are a bigger, and bigger means heavier, and I don't want to put too much stress on that hot-shoe. This 16,000 mah setup feels quite good and solid and should have plenty of power on hand. No need to go overboard just yet..

    I guess I just refused to sell this camera because it produces such great photos - while it's got power going into it. It has spent most of its life in the wardrobe but hopefully it's now time to come out of the closet - hahahaha...!!! The Nikon D600 and D750 can take a break for a while, if this works out.. This setup is by far the best fix to date but the real question now is - by how much..??

    Edit a bit later - Cost was - direct currency exchange rate = $60 NZ which translates to approx $39 US,, or equivalent spending power (what you can buy per dollar) of about $30 US..
    AlSony
    Last edited by AlSony; Sep 12 2018 at 06:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Update a handful of days later,,

    Since my last post, I was going to get another smaller Xiaomi 10,000mah powerbank because it is a lot smaller and much 'lighter'. I felt that the larger 16,000mah one was a little on the heavy side and with its extra length it tended to put a bit much leverage on the hot-shoe.. Some newer and updated Xiaomi series' are smaller and lighter as they are now using lithium-polymer as opposed to lithium-ion, especially in the smaller 10,000mah unit, and they are not necessarily cylindrical cells. Many of them now use more cuboid shaped cells and can be packed into spaces a lot more efficiently than cylindrical ones. The 10,00mah battery looked like it was just made fore the job, but I thought about it for a while and decided to modify what I had so I could carry the 16,000 mah, and even a couple of 20,000mah units I had sitting around waiting purpose to belong to. I bought a couple of 1.3mm DC power plugs and a socket (I could only get ahold of one chassis mount socket but beggars can't be choosers) and made an extension lead that fits between the dummy battery lead plug and the iFootage voltage converter and, Voila..!! Now I can carry any powerbank I wish to use, in my pocket or bag or whatever. Right now I am still using the 16,000mah I originally started using and even after this time, the A6000 just yesterday started showing 99% of charge left in it but went back to 100% this morning. This is definitely surpassing my expectations, and by a long-shot too. I only have one piece of advice at this stage.. If you don't use the camera for an hour or two and switch it off, unplug the powerbank as both the voltage converter and the powerbank get a little warm, and I mean "only a little" (maybe only body temperature or slightly higher) but remain stone cold while actually in use.

    Just this morning, a further 'nice' surprise popped up and bit me.. About a year ago I bought a dummy battery in the hopes of trying something along the same lines but eventually gave it up as a bad joke. I put the dummy battery in its box and filed it away, somewhere. Do you think I could find that thing all this week..?? Well, I woke up this very morning and jumped out of bed at about 5:30am and went straight to it. It just came to me in an instant as I woke up - strange..!! A few hours ago I unsoldered the existing lead from it and soldered in a dedicated extension lead with the needed 1.3mm plug on. Now I can have the best of both worlds..

    Testing battery life still goes on...

    AlSony

  3. #3
    Surely it hasn't been over 10 days since I first tried this - surely..!!

    Why am I so amazed..?? Because the 16,000 mah powerbank battery I am using is 'STILL' on 99 - 100%.. Sure I haven't been using it 24/7 but I have taken many many photos and played around with settings so much now that if I was using standard batteries, I would have flattened maybe 4 or 5 by now at least. I took it with me on a good walk around on Sunday and took about 70 photos over a couple of hours, thinking this would surely take the power out of it, but no, it went momentarily down to 99% and the next time I looked down at the A6000 it had gone into sleep mode (set for approx 2 mins) but as soon as I woke it back up, it was back at 100%. This is very 'strange days' for me. I also messed around with many menu options over those couple of hours, taking a total of maybe 20 mins all up, and this is a known battery killer for me, and I also turned up the brightness of the LCD screen to Sunny day (or whatever it is) and opened up a few other settings I was afraid to use previously, for power saving reasons, and when I got back in the car to head home, I was so amazed that it was still on 100%. This is so unbelievable.. For the A6000, this is the most positive spirit lifting accessory - EVER.. I have two big Nikon DSLR's (D600 and D750) and for the time being, they can spend a little time in the closet instead of the A6000. It takes some mighty impressive shots, even with the kit 16-50mm & 55-210mm lenses.. The one thing that you should take note of with this set up is that if you turn the camera off and leave iFootage Electric Ray plugged in to the battery,, it warms up a little. It still warms up while in use but not as much.. When I say "warms up a little", I mean only slightly noticeable, a little warmer than body temperature, probably nothing to ever get worried over.. Apart from that, all you have to do is to just find a spare pocket or pouch for the battery and away you go. Talk about plain sailing...

    I can sum this investment up in just one word - Yippee...!!!

    AlSony

  4. #4
    A slight twist in the tail/tale,,

    Yesterday, I had a club outing to attend to, an organized club event that I always take photos for, so I left the bigger Nikons at home this time and took the A6000, knowing I had a good run of battery life that should easily get me through it.. Well, with the Xiaomi 16000 mah battery all charged up again I decided to give it death. I got out of the van and shortly after I went over some menu settings to make sure I had the best of all worlds, they started the event and I began clicking away happily at them , one being my brother. After about half an hour or so, I looked down, for the first time, at the battery indicator and saw 99% - huh, what the heck, that's was quick.? Five minutes later 98%, 97%, 96% and so on. It hadn't even been one whole hour and it was down to 93%, so I went into the menu and set some of the more power saving settings back in position, and went on clicking away. By the time I had taken about 30 - 40 shots and about 1 & 1/2 hours into it, the indicator was now at 88%, and I was totally stumped. I went back to the van and had a think and was truly lost for an answer.. I could only try one more thing..!! You see, a few weeks ago I found a spare dummy battery I already had for the A6000, which came as part of a mains power supply set up for indoor use,, so I undid the battery, unsoldered the existing cord and soldered in a longer cord and plug that fitted the iFootage Electric Ray unit. Now I had a much longer cord than the shorter standard curly cord one that came with it,, and that was the one I chose to use yesterday. Last weekend, I found the one small thing I could grizzle at was this "almost too short cord", although it was acceptable, considering that it was not made to be used in the manner I chose to use it. It was actually supposed to be all mounted "ON" the camera hot-shoe (with a much smaller battery), hence its shorter length. Anyway, I put the standard cord & dummy battery back into the A6000 and voila, the camera immediately started reading 100% again, so I went back out and resumed photo shooting again and although at one point I saw 99% briefly after setting the menu back to best settings, it went back to 100% after a brief pause between shots, while the the competitors took a 5 min break for a progress update. It stayed at 100% for the next almost one hour til the end of the event. When I got home I opened up the suspect dummy battery and looked at the internals. It has small circuit board where I soldered the wires to, and I had assumed at the time that this was just a small 7.4v regulator circuit, but now I am not so sure. I charged up the battery when I got home and it took only a short time to peak and quit charging compared to last weeks charge.
    Guess I'll just have to use the standard cord from now on,, no problem..!!

    AlSony

  5. #5
    Final word on this "fix/cure",,
    I have now set this camera to it's maximum or what I term as "luxury" settings for my style of shooting. At last I can take the photo's I've always been wanting to with the A6000, and I can take my sweet time doing it. I now feel totally at peace with it and I no longer have to treat taking photos with it, like a military exercise - spot target, identify, power on, shoot, turn off. The camera is turned on and stays on for maybe up to 3 hours, just like with the Nikon DSLR's I also own, and the best thing is that in all that time, I "might" see the battery level indicator go down to maybe 99% by the end of the days shoot,, but turn the camera off, go home and turn it on again to transfer photos to PC and guess what, it's back on 100% - Wowwww...!!!

    I was considering buying an A7-III in the near future but just the other day I decided to shout myself another lens for the meantime and explore the A6000's potential a bit more before I move to the A7, so I went out and bought an all-rounder for stills and possibly for video, even though video is not my thing with a still photography camera.. I bought the 18-105mm F4 G OSS. I know this is not the sweetest lens if you want to get serious, but at that price I could not go past it - $797 NZ = $520 US (new of course) and I suppose it could also be used on a F/F A7-III, if only in crop mode, so I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. It's also a bit better than the kit lenses - 16-50mm & 55-210mm - and even though I enjoy those two, the 18-105mm covers the middle ground between them both and seems very usable.
    Right now, life with the A6000 is sweet and easy - at last...

    Edit in a few minutes later,,
    I forgot to mention that - in the past few weeks I have been watching every A6000/6300/6500 tutorial and/or "settings" video I could on YT and other sites that actually explain settings etc, and the first thing I focus on at the start of them is the battery life indicator, especially on the long studio type tutorials etc and especially going through the settings menus. I know you can't make sweeping assumptions, but on those which are done sort of non-stop start to finish in one place (studio type), even though they may be edited later, I notice just how quickly the battery levels drop and it seems like many or all of these cameras have the same issue, even though you still get many living in denial, maintaining they can get double or even triple the life that I could out of one battery. My brother also knows full-well of the horrible battery life of the 6xxx series, with his A6300. It's not just a bad dream, it's very real...
    AlSony
    Last edited by AlSony; Oct 14 2018 at 05:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Panza's Avatar
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    Perhaps the new A7000 or rumored pro-spec APS-C camera will use the new FZ100 battery. The FW50 has 1020mAh vs the FZ100's 2280. The FW50 only lasts me about 3-4 hours of shooting. The FZ100 lasts 6-8 hours in comparison which is a significant upgrade.
    (Insert list of camera gear that lets others know how much money you have here.)

  7. #7
    Thanks for the continued updates Al I'm glad you finally got the battery situation worked out to your liking!!

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony Nex-6, 18-55mm, 55-210mm OSS Lens, 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  8. #8
    Cheers Jay,
    I too am super happy that things are finally "working" the way I want them to, even if I have to carry an extra battery to get it.. I see a few A6300's and 6500's second hand now going for some almost reasonable prices, some with an entire collection of E-mount lenses too. Me thinks they might just be heading in the same direction I want to go. I don't really see the point in updating to one of these for my style of taking pics, but a 6500 would be nice if I did though,, and as Panza says, that new A7000 (if/when it happens) might also enter the future list of choices. I was thinking of updating to the A7-III before Xmas but right now, this A6000 seems to have taken my fancy. I'll just have to wait and see what the future holds in store for me, won't I (with a sly smile on my face)...!!!
    Cheers guys..
    AlSony

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