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Very strange battery problem


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Since I bought my Leica, my battery is giving me trouble.

A fully loaded battery, and yes it is the official Leica battery, is empty after 2 to 3 days with a camera that is not used and switched off.

So the moment I need the camera, the battery is always empty.

When the battery is full, the info display indeed reports the battery as being 100% charged.


When checking the battery charge every 12 hours, the charge indicator gradually drops to 90%, no lower, and there the battery gives up.

Charging the battery takes the full 3,5 hours, from which the green led flashes the first 2,5 hours. So the battery is as empty as it could be.

The Leica battery from my M8, that is working without any trouble in the M8, was also empty after 3 days in the M9. So the battery did not seem to be the problem.


The camera was sent to Solms with a description of this problem. It took 7 weeks to get the camera back just with a new battery, that was empty on arrival, no further repair had been done....

My direct fear became true, everything was as before, and a full battery was empty after 3 days in a non used camera with the top switch in the off position.


And now something strange happened. As a last minute decision, I took my empty battery M9 to an open air Opera, with the intention to have the battery loaded in my car with the Leica charger connected to the cigarette lighter, something I had never done before.

I had a diner in advance, so I left the battery connected to the charger for almost 3 hours.


When I started taking pictures, the charge indicator gave me 90% charge, so with my experience sofar, I thought that the battery was short before giving up, but it didn't.


The charge indicator went further down to 80 and 70%, values that I had never seen before.

In the days after, the charge indicator went all the way to 0% before the battery finally gave up after 3 days.


Then I charged again with the Leica charger connected to the mains, and everything was back as before starting at 100% and being empty after 3 days at 90%.


So in both cases of charging, the battery is empty after 3 days of non use, but having the battery charged over the mains shows a battery charge that goes from 100% to 90% before it gives up, and having charged the battery with my cars cigarette lighter shoes a charge that goes from 90% to 0%.



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Reading this, its seems pointing in the direction of the charger with the 220 cord as input. It may be that the charger does not charge your battery sufficiently when charged with the 220 cord, but it does with the car power cord. Presumably the charger has some current control chip, that may not be working properly. So that may mean that you have to try another charger or stick a 12 volt power source ( 220 AC to 12 DC with the correct polarity!) in the charger to see how it works.


The battery has some chip that talks to your camera and perhaps this chip is fooled by the charger to think it is charged, but it is not.

Edited by Lindolfi
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You could reset this by pushing the set button when you get the batteryempty message and carry on using the camera until it is completely drained. That will calibrate the battery state readout and the battery.

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Where are you? I can lend you a old brick charger to try out if it is a charger problem. And did you try a second battery?




Yes, as mentioned in my posting, I tried the battery from my M8, with no difference at all, and the battery I now have is the new one from Leica after 7 weeks Solms.

Because three batteries in a row are behaving the same, the battery can be excluded as cause.


So indeed the charger is not unlikely to be the source of the problem.

In the meantime I have sold my M8, so I cannot try that charger anymore.

I will be glad to accept your offer to lend an old charger, I will send you an email with details.



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The battery has some chip that talks to your camera and perhaps this chip is fooled by the charger to think it is charged, but it is not.

That would be my assumption, too. I guess the problem is neither the battery nor the camera but the charger. I'd suggest to send that item to Leica for a fix or a replacement.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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I did some more test and also used a charger that jaapv was so kind to lend me.

At the end the conclusion can only be that the M9 is causing the problem.

With 3 Leica Batteries and two Leica chargers the problem stays as it is, which is that the non used camera with the power switch in the off position drains a fully charged battery empty in 3 days.

I have measured the current which is between 22 mA and 24 mA depending on the remaining capacity of the battery. Since it is a 1800mAh battery, a 23 mA current needs 1800/23 = 78 hours to empty the battery, exactly the 3 days that I have experienced all the time.


The other thing is that the capacity indicator is behaving quite strange. I have loaded an empty battery in steps of 15 minutes to complete full, and have measured the battery voltage between each steps.

This give the blue line in the underlying graph. Horizontaly is the battery voltage and vertically is the value on the Info charge indicator of the M9 at that voltage.


The red line indicates what happens when the battery discharges. Over a period of 3 days I looked every now and then at the charge indicator, took out the battery, measured the voltage and inserted the battery back in the camera.


For some very strange reason, the camera indicates different charge levels in the loading phase then it does in the discharging phase, some kind of hysteris.


3,85 Volt is 45% full in the loading phase and 80% full in the discharging phase.

The battery reaches its empty state very rapidly after having been discharged to 3,8 Volt.


The charger itself is nothing magic. It has 3 pins connected to the battery.

2 pins are for - and +, and the 3rd pin in the battery has a resistor of 10,8 Kohm to the minus probably to tell the charger that a proper battery has been connected.

This 3rd pin is not used in the camera, so it is exclusively there for the charger.

When the battery has been charged to 4,18 Volt it is full, that is all there is to the charger.




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Hans, the camera measures the percentage while current is drawn, while you measure the voltage when no current is flowing with a high impedance volt meter presumably. May that be responsible for the hysteresis you see?


This may perhaps be tested: given that you know the current that is drawn from the battery by the camera, you may perhaps let the same current flow through a resistor and measure the voltage during that current flow in the up- and down path of charging/discharging.

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Thanks for your response.


The blue and the red line where taken in exactly the same circumstances, capacity in the camera and voltage outside the camera.

But, the graph was just an extra piece of information and not the cause of my problem.


What really is wrong is that the camera draws continuously a measured average current of 23 mA when switched off. This caused the battery to be empty in 3 days.

So may be the on off switch is not working properly.



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Hans, I did understand how the voltage and percentage data were measured. I'm just saying that the fact that current is drawn in the camera while you are reading percentage and not while you measure the voltage may be of influence: a voltage history effect me be active here.

Also I agree that it is not good that the camera draws that much current when it is switched off.

Edited by Lindolfi
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Leave the off on switch on and let the M9 go into sleep mode and measure the sleep current.


Suggest you then email Solms, they should be aware of the off and sleep currents, Your off switch may be kaput.




Edited by Xmas
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