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580EXII problem with rechargeable batteries


I bought a used 580EXIIwich looked in excellent shape. Made a few test-shots, all seemed fine.

Now the batteries that came with it have run out, I put in a set of rechargeable batteries. But the flash won't work with them. I tried another set, same thing. I tested with fresh single-use batteries; fine. Replaced one with a rechargeable one, fine too. Replaced two, nothing. Flash appears dead.

My question; is there a possible failure with the flash so it will only work with regular batteries, or do I just need to buy a decent set of new rechargeables?

Thansk for the help, Hans.



There was some discussion on here about the 600ex-RT showing an icon if rechargeables were used but I didn't follow it closely.  Unless Canon changed something with the 580exII then there shouldn't be an issue.  I exclusively use rechargeables, and would never purchase a flash that didn't allow for such use.


From the flashes perspective there is very little difference.  Rechargeables have a slightly smaller EMF than alkalines, but all batteries decline in potential throughout use so any electronic circuit that is to run off of batteries needs to allow for fluxuation of voltage.  I have absolutely no idea why Canon would try to prohibit use of rechargeables with the 600ex-RT.


Do you have a voltmeter or battery charge checker of some sort?  My first guess is that your rechargeables aren't charged.  Be it a faulty charger or cheap rechargeables that won't hold a charge.  Second guess would be that you just happened to put on of the batteries in backwards.  You may laugh, but I've done it more times than I can count. It's odd that the screen would not turn on.  Even putting in "dead" batteries the screen always pops on for a second, it doesn't take near as much energy as it does to pop a flash. 


I have 5 flashes and a bucket full of Eneloop rechargeables, and I recharge frequently (so I don't get caught with a dead battery).  I still have yet to ever have one fail.

I'm wondering about the type and conditions of the rechargeable. I use rechargeable batteries in my Canon speedlites, but I only use Sanyo Eneloops (low self-discharge... very reliable). I don't have any problems with them or the speedlites.

A typical reachargeable can loose a considerable amount of power in just 1 day after being charged. Eneloops retain most of their charge even after sitting unused for a year after charging.
Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

I tested the batteries (NiMH) and they seemd okay, not overly enthusiastic but okay. Bought a new set anyway and that solved it. Seems what my battery tester sees as okay is not good enough. Thanks for the help Skirball and TCampbell!

I'm not sure what you're using as a tester.   Those cheap ones that just say "good" or "bad" aren't specific enough.  A battery that no longer has enough energy for a full-power pop from a flash could potentially still power a TV remote for quite some time.  It depends on what the manufacturers of the tester use as their limit for "good".


If you're using a volt meter, I usually charge my Eneloops once they fall below 1.2V.  I don't regularly use a voltmeter to check this, but my charger tells me what my voltage is when I recharge.  If I use the batteries until the recycle time starts getting long they're usually around 1.2 V.  If I use them until it won't work at all anymore it's usually closer to 1.1 V.

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