03-13-2019 06:19 PM
Most manufacturers of devices made that utilize lithium/lithium-ion batteries suggest that batteries remain in their charger for longevity, or to leave the device plugged into an AC source.
What about Canon’s LP-E6N? Should I leave them in the charger, or once charged remove them and put them in my kit?
I’ve asked Canon Professional Services this question and usually get “uhhhhh...” for an answer.
What’s your recommendation?
03-13-2019 07:36 PM - edited 03-13-2019 07:37 PM
I have LP-E6N's as old as 5 years and they are all still serviceable. I charge them up, then write in my notebook when they were charged (I have 7 of them so I want to keep track). I then use them in the order charged (each has their serial number on the bottom). I have one battery (not the oldest) that seems not to reach full charge when the charger indicates 100% as it is not good for as many "clicks" as the others, but it is still about 90%. Mine don't sit unused for longer than about 2-3 weeks and then they are used in a camera till they are at least 50% discharged. So far I have been very happy with the service life.
03-13-2019 09:01 PM
Thanks for the reply.
I’ve been rotating mine by date of purchase. Haven’t noticed any decrease in life yet, but I’m trying to find out what is optimum.
03-14-2019 09:07 AM
Lithium Ion batteries don't like being stored fully charged or fully discharged.
I tend to shoot a lot of images with my Canon DSLR bodies and in my experience about 3 years of battery life is about it for me before they are degraded too far. I keep 3 in rotation for each body and for the most part they are not being stored unused for any period of time. I will typically run them down to around 25% capacity and then recharge them but they don't sit around unused for any period of time.
The biggest maintenance action to maximize LiOn battery life is not to store them for a long period of time either fully charged or fully discharged because either will significantly reduce service life. If you plan to leave one sitting for a long period of time, either charge or discharge to around 50% as appropriate and then if it is not being used for months periodically check the battery level and bring it up to around 50% charge before storing it. Note that different battery technologies have different needs so if you are using older gear with NiCad packs the use and maintenance is very different.
I would not store LiOn batteries either in their charger or in the device for an extended period of time. it will reduce battery service life and keep in mind that if something goes wrong these batteries can source extremely high current for a short period of time which is the reason why this type of battery (NOT specifically Canon camera batteries) have been responsible for a number of fires so you don't want a device failure causing a battery fire or a battery failure to cook the device and that includes a charger that malfunctions while you are away. LiOn batteries that are about the same size/weight as larger DSLR batteries are used in car "jump" packs and can provide over 300 amps of peak current to start the car.
These batteries are quite safe when used properly but never forget the amount of power they can produce and USE those protective terminal covers when the battery isn't in the camera or charger. They both protect the contacts and act as a safety device to prevent the battery from being shorted by an external item. The connectors are designed to be safe but the covers are needed when not in use. An electrician who should have known better suffered significant burns when he put an unprotected battery pack in his pocket and some loose strands of wire created a short between fairly well protected terminals. Back when NiCad batteries were still the norm, a police officer was signifcantly but not fatally injured when he put loose ammunition and a spare battery for his communications radio in his uniform pocket and when the shell shorted across the battery terminals it cooked off the explosive charge. Incidents like these are reasons why terminals are designed to not easily be shorted in normal use. Companies are making these products more fool-proof but society continues to produce more advanced fools
03-16-2019 08:49 AM
Given the number of notebook computer and tablet (with lithium batteries) fires caused by leaving the charger plugged in, I would only charge lithium batteries when I am present to keep an eye on the charger.
Not long before I retired from an IT position several years ago, one of the iPads we had assigned to a manager caught fire in his home, and nearly burned his house down. They had left the iPad on an ottoman with the charger plugged in, and then went out. The ottoman kept the fire from spreading further, but it was destroyed, and the livingroom had heavy smoke damage.
I've seen photos of other such fires, and will never leave a battery in a charger now if I'm not here to keep an eye on it.
03-16-2019 09:56 AM
Excellent point Albert!
An iPad battery is of fairly small/low capacity compared to a lot of the LiOn batteries we use so imagine what a big battery pack can do when something goes wrong-or you don't have to imagine but just take a look at the videos of some EV fires that are difficult to put out and keep out after their very large battery systems catch on fire.
LiOn packs are the most power dense of any readily available rechargeable battery system and the separator between individual cells in the pack is very thin and easily compromised and one way to do this is via overcharging which can happen if the charger fails. When this separator is breached, a fire is the likely result.
I suspect the Canon system charger included with our DSLR bodies is built far better (higher reliability plus better fail-safe features) than a lot of aftermarket systems but even so I wouldn't leave the pack charging when I wasn't around. It is also a good idea not to store all of your packs together because if one fails and starts to burn it will spread to the others.
This isn't meant to scare you away from using packs because millions of them are in use every day and a lot of them are abused in ways they should not be but still survive. I have them in test equipment, power tools, smart devices, and of course still and video cameras and don't worry about them creating an inferno. But having done many years of risk management consulting I like to manage easily controllable risks and the risk from leaving unattended battery packs on charge is a risk that is easily managed at no real cost. And car chargers are some of the worst with many of them having only the bare minimum of circuitry to charge a pack with no real safety features to protect things in case of failure. One of these that caused a vehicle fire depended upon the user to disconnect the charger before the battery became overcharged and its only protective system was relying upon the car fuse that fed the lighter/accessory plug socket. Charging a lithium pack in a hot environment is a very bad idea and you don't want to store them there either; cars quickly become ovens in hot weather.
Even when there are applicable regulatory safety standards they are often not enforced in the world of online retailing where gray market imports and counterfeit items are as common as the genuine market focused products in some product categories. This is another reason to be careful buying very low cost replacement battery packs instead of OEM; they may be OK or they may be more prone to catastrophic failure than the more expensive OEM packs. There is no doubt that Canon makes a decent margin on replacement battery packs but that cost differential over third party items isn't all profit-some of it is component and build quality.
03-22-2019 12:07 AM
I like these batteries. I purchased six of them. The cost, particularly, was a help when I unexpectedly needed to buy an overrated, $90 Canon-marked battery from a neighborhood camera shop when I lost my unparalleled production line 60D battery on a paid shoot one day.
Yet, they've picked up a notoriety among my group. On a long shoot, we're continually moving LP-E6 batteries on-and-off the chargers and dispersing them to three distinct shooters. When I get "hit with a Wasabi" I murmur in a little measure of irritation, since they're not as tough or as exact (at life expectation) as my pricier Canons. All things considered, we more often than not pre-charge a pack of Wasabis and hurl them in a Ziploc named 'charged' before a shoot, and let the Canon batteries, which hold up much better, do the rounds on the charger.
08-26-2019 12:12 AM
08-26-2019 08:04 AM
I went through 3 LP-E6N batteries today before I found one that had kept its charge in the couple of months these had not been used (were just sitting in camera bag with bottom plate on, allegedly fully charged, but all of them fully discharged). Also the top "cap/lid" on one of my batteries has come loose on one side, and Canon has no answer about whether or not these are repairable by them. Anyone else have an issue with an LP-E6N top coming unglued from the bottom on one side? Of course, I am not using it, not charging it, not trying to repair it myself. Thanks
I don't know how much this contributes to the discussion, which I haven't really been following. But yesterday I had occasion to pull out my wife's 7D2 and was annoyed to discover that although the camera was turned off, its LP-E6N was flat out dead. (Which reminds me: I'd better go take it off the charger.)
08-26-2019 08:43 AM
Lithium Ion batteries will self-discharge but at a slower rate than many other battery technologies so they will "hold" a charge for a long time. But even with the power turned off, there is some minuscule current draw from the battery pack by the camera body because the on/off switch is a command rather than an absolute physical switch that interrupts power; note how the camera will finish tasks with the power switch off and will show signs of activity when a battery pack is installed with the switch off. Some very low level circuitry in the camera is kept alive and this is no different than the behavior of the battery supply in a modern auto or keyless entry fob which is always in a very low power mode when not actively working
For absolute best life of batteries, store them outside the camera with a moderate charge (neither fully charged nor completely discharged). ALWAYS put the safety cover on unused batteries, these batteries can source an amazing level of short term current and will easily start a fire if the output is shorted. Avoid going directly from just completed full charge to heavy use in the camera (i.e. video) because they are already hot from the charger and the additional heat from high current discharge will cause further internal heating thus reducing battery life. Don't leave batteries sitting in a hot car and never charge batteries that are still hot from heavy use. Don't charge them in a location with high ambient temperature. Avoid severe physical shocks, Li-ion are extremely power dense and use very thin separators between cells in the battery which is what can get electric vehicle manufacturers in trouble with battery fires if QC isn't perfect; with smaller packs damage can result in a fire from internal shorts but usually just damage that kills the pack. Although not nearly as expensive as camera body and lenses, batteries don't like being dropped either. If you are really worried about fire risk, don't store all of your Li-ion batteries together because if one cooks off it will ignite the others but the odds of a battery fire from a camera pack just being stored is very low.
With multiple batteries, rotate them to equalize use because they also degrade somewhat over time even without regular usage. I don't do anything extreme to promote maximum battery life and look at them as a consumable that needs to be replaced on a regular basis as performance drops below acceptable level. Camera batteries very rarely experience sudden fatal failure but since my 1DX and 1DX 2 can both use LP-E19 batteries I standardize on those and keep one fully charged spare with me when out shooting.
In general, go with the OEM batteries for replacement. Yes, you pay a premium for the Canon name but there is also a quality component that is more important to Canon than it is to third party names that generally come and go like the wind. The same contract manufacturer in China that turns out extremely good quality for one contract may supply utter garbage for another contract based upon contract terms and the level of QC demanded by the client; if you want good quality as a manufacturer it costs you and the customer.