Is difference in voltage and pins an issue with replacement batteries andd chargers?
March 2, 2009 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Are third party chargers and batteries OK for Canon digital cameras?

I have a Canon PowerShot SD850 IS, and I've lost my charger. I bought an Empire Scientific multi-battery charger and a Rayovac battery that were labeled as being suitable for my camera. On getting them home, I noticed that the charger had 2 prongs instead of 3, touching the two ends but not the middle space (see this generic battery). What is the middle prong for?

The replacement battery is 3.6v 750mAh, while the original is 3.7v 1120 mAh (both Li-ion). I know mAh doesn't matter (except for life-span of the charge), but is the difference between voltages an issue?
posted by filthy light thief to Technology (9 answers total)
I'm no expert and I can only offer anecdotal advice, but here's what I got for you:

From what I know, the 3rd prong doesn't indicate that the 2 chargers are incompatible. The 3rd prong is just to ground the plug. That said, I'm not saying the two are compatible, I don't know enough about... electricity, really.

Also, I used a generic battery for my old Canon SD110, but it died pretty quickly. It didn't explode or anything, but after using it a few weeks, it just stopped working.
posted by carpyful at 8:43 PM on March 2, 2009

I bought a generic Hong Kong charger and NB-5L battery once. After a few months, the battery would no longer hold a charge, and the flimsy charger actually shattered for some reason. I probably won't repeat the experience.
posted by grouse at 8:44 PM on March 2, 2009

Response by poster: Additional info: I purchased these at a Batteries Plus store. I'm looking at other generics because they're much cheaper ($35 USD for the battery, $45 USD for the charger), and I could probably find one that holds more charge. But given these two points of anecdotal information, maybe it was worth it. An actual Canon replacement battery sells for $40 USD on Amazon, after almost $20 off MSRP.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:51 PM on March 2, 2009

I always go to eBay and buy the Asian version batteries for my tech equipment. I have 2 Asian (sorry, I'm not sure what country they came from) batteries for my Canon SD1000 and 2 Asian batteries as well as 2 other off brand batteries that came with my battery grip for my Rebel XT. I also have had good luck with cell phone batteries of the same variety. I've noticed no difference in quality in the last year and a half with any of the aforementioned batteries, and they cost about $3 shipped from their country of origin.

Here's a link to eBay and 2 batteries shipped for $8.99

I've never used an after market charger, so I can't help you there. Good luck, I hope it works out for you.
posted by whiskey point at 9:28 PM on March 2, 2009

Response by poster: After reading through DP Review forums, it seems some 3rd party batteries are reliable. I think I might try out Sterling Tech, who have a decent rating, and return the items I bought.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:58 AM on March 3, 2009

Best answer: I'm still using the 3.6v battery, and I charged it with the Empire Scientific charger. Nothing caught fire yet, and the camera works with the recharged battery. Apparently my concerns were for nothing (yet =), though I think 750mAh is pretty low. I'll be picking up some 3rd party batteries from Sterling Tech, because they have a more reliable presence than Suntekstore (review link, though possibly not associated with the ebay store). Thanks for the link though, whiskey point.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:12 PM on March 9, 2009

Hey, if you wouldn't mind, filthy light thief (great username for a photographer), could you please post an update in a few months and let us know how things work out? It would be useful information. I'm sure the original manufacturer's batteries are always ridiculously overpriced, yet I have little data to help me make a decision on which third-party batteries are good.
posted by grouse at 2:08 PM on March 9, 2009

Response by poster: grouse - I've taken a liking to this name, too =)

So far, the after-market battery and charger are working well, after a month of fairly constant use of the battery, and a few charges from the after-market charger. The charger has an indication light, and I haven't left the charger on too much time beyond the time required to fully recharge the battery, so I can't speak to the trickle-charge capabilities of either the battery or charger. I haven't charged the original battery with the 3rd party charger, for fear of losing the only battery I wholly trust, but I will try it after a few more charges of the 3rd party battery.

I'll probably pick up the 3rd party battery from Sterling Tech for the longer battery life, and for the relatively low price. I'll keep posting as I use these, thanks for the idea.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:26 PM on April 2, 2009

Response by poster: My 3rd party battery is unreliable in regards to the amount of charge the camera thinks it has. I've received a low battery warning, even to the point of the camera shutting down and saying "use a new battery," only to take out the battery and rub the connectors on my pants, blow into the battery socket, put it all back together, and have things run fine for another day or two. It's functional, but not something I'd want to rely on in a pinch.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:32 AM on June 16, 2009

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