December 4, 2022

Fotograpiya

Capturing Magic Moments

Is your RED Komodo REDVOLT BP or other battery not charging? Here’s how to fix it

3 min read

With everything going battery powered these days and as many of them being produced as there are today, it’s inevitable that some will turn up dead on arrival. This is what Tyler Edwards experienced with his REDVOLT BP batteries for his RED Komodo camera. You put it on the camera, plug it in to charge and nothing. But Tyler thinks he found a solution to fix his DOA batteries.

In this video he walks us through his process which basically consists of disconnecting and reconnecting the batteries from the power source about 20-30 times until they suddenly come back to life and start charging normally. It seems like a bit of a strange solution, but it seems to work. I think I have an idea why.

I’ve seen DOA batteries on products I’ve received myself a few times over the past few years. And it’s also a problem I’ve experienced with products with built-in, non-replaceable batteries – I look to you gimbal makers!

Lithium-ion cells, found in most batteries and devices today, have a “safe” voltage range. While they are typically rated for 3.7V nominal, they generally offer 4.2V when fully charged. When they are used, their voltage drops. Typically you don’t want them to go below about 3.2V. At this voltage, approximately 95% of the battery capacity is used. Some cells can handle lower voltages, but 3.2V is a good rule of thumb.

The problem is, when such batteries and devices are not used, they simply discharge naturally. This can take several weeks or months, but it will happen eventually. How many times have you charged a battery for something, didn’t use it for a few weeks, and then found it dead when you actually need it? It’s a problem that many Flash users have experienced during the pandemic as they haven’t used their gear and batteries have sat unused on the shelf (and not regularly serviced and charged) for a year or two.

Most batteries and devices contain charging circuitry to prevent batteries from exceeding their maximum voltage of 4.2V, but many will also not charge a battery if its voltage falls below what is considered a “safe” range. It’s the same circuit that lights up the little LEDs to show you how much charge is left in the battery – based on the voltage of the cells. I think what happens to the batteries in Tyler’s video (and probably all other DOA batteries and devices) is that they’ve been sitting around on a storage rack for so long since they were made, waiting to be used, that the voltage just dropped so low that the circuit refuses to charge it.

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My guess is that when he first plugs in the power, the short little burst gets through to the battery very briefly before the under-voltage protection kicks in and stops charging. After doing this the 20-30 times he mentions, during these small bursts, enough charge has been injected into the battery to bring it up to the minimum required voltage through the battery protection circuitry, and then it can be charged.

I hadn’t considered that many short bursts might be enough to get it up to a high enough voltage for regular charging to take effect. I usually disassemble them and just connect the cells directly to my RC lipo charger, but I have a few devices here that I haven’t disassembled yet. Must see if this process works with them!

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