Depleted battery in Kx


Joats

Link Posted 23/10/2017 - 22:38
Hi

I have an older Pentax camera which is a Kx. It suffers from a rather cynical software design fault by Pentax, in that is shows constant Battery Depletion warning before shutting down. It does this regardless of battery type and voltage available. The problem has existed prior to the warranty being up, but I was incorrectly told that I was simply using the wrong batteries. I have used Eneloops rechargables and other full 1.5v non rechargables, all give the same fault. I have done some research and it seems that the issue has to do with a firmware design problem, which (strangely) shows up commonly after one year of use. Ricoh/Pentax deny the problem exists, as do Johnsons Photopia (the repair center), although the London Pentax office agree to it being a problem. The cost of repair is astronomical, and the workaround methods are no longer achievable due to 2 reasons. 1. The problem is partly remedied by updating the firmware, the problem is that the camera needs to be under constant power in order for the update to take place. If it cuts out during the update, the camera motherboard is finished. So batteries can't be used. 2. The only way of powering the camera during an update is the AC power supply adapter. Trouble is, it is no longer available. The adapter is the K-AC84 and no-one has it. On the odd occasion one shows up at a ridiculous price of well over 100 (for a used Chinese made cheap plastic adapter). I have read on one forum site that another adapter the D-AC10 will also work with the Kx, but I have not been able to verify that, and can't find one anyway.
Does anyone have a workaround solution to this problem? Failing that does anyone have an adapter I could borrow to update the firmware? I live in Cambridgeshire, UK.

Many thanks

Joats

i-Berg

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 07:11
Hi Joats, welcome firstly to the Forum.

I have had a Kx since they came out (still do), and had the same issue with what I worked out was a somewhat misleading 'low battery' indication on mine.
The issue as you point out was solved by the firmware updates - but only in part. The other part of the solution was finding a battery that the Kx likes. I have found one that gets on very well with the Kx, but it's here in Australia. I dare say you'd be able to find an equivalent in the UK though.

The type I've used successfully for years is the 'Energizer' brand Ultimate Lithium AA. These are available here in supermarkets in 2 and 4 packs. Not cheap - $20 for the latter (and while they are 'lithium', they are single use and disposable). They are designed for higher-draw electronics such as cameras.

clicky this bit

But they last very well, and don't give you the grief that other brands do with the Kx - there's no doubt this camera is a bit temperamental in that regard.

I've had no success with the Eneloops - they don't put out the voltage. That said, there are now 'black' Eneloops, that are said to be better. Can't say I've tried them yet.

Once you get into using the Kx as intended, you will love it. Good little camera with very low noise (class leader in its day). Does tend to clip highlights a little, which would be my only watch-out. It would be worth reading the review on DP Review.com on it to better acquaint yourself, if you've not done so already.

Kx_Review

And again - welcome.
http://www.pbase.com/iberg
Last Edited by i-Berg on 24/10/2017 - 07:22

senn

Joats

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 12:29
i-Berg wrote:
Hi Joats, welcome firstly to the Forum.

I have had a Kx since they came out (still do), and had the same issue with what I worked out was a somewhat misleading 'low battery' indication on mine.
The issue as you point out was solved by the firmware updates - but only in part. The other part of the solution was finding a battery that the Kx likes. I have found one that gets on very well with the Kx, but it's here in Australia. I dare say you'd be able to find an equivalent in the UK though.

The type I've used successfully for years is the 'Energizer' brand Ultimate Lithium AA. These are available here in supermarkets in 2 and 4 packs. Not cheap - $20 for the latter (and while they are 'lithium', they are single use and disposable). They are designed for higher-draw electronics such as cameras.

clicky this bit

But they last very well, and don't give you the grief that other brands do with the Kx - there's no doubt this camera is a bit temperamental in that regard.

I've had no success with the Eneloops - they don't put out the voltage. That said, there are now 'black' Eneloops, that are said to be better. Can't say I've tried them yet.

Once you get into using the Kx as intended, you will love it. Good little camera with very low noise (class leader in its day). Does tend to clip highlights a little, which would be my only watch-out. It would be worth reading the review on DP Review.com on it to better acquaint yourself, if you've not done so already.

Kx_Review

And again - welcome.

Hi
Thanks for your answer. Yes I also have the same Energizer batteries. On a voltmeter they measure 1.67v not under load. In the camera they don't even turn the camera on. If i insert Eneloops which measure 1.34 not under load, when they go into the camera the camera comes on and last for about 30 seconds before the Battery Depleted warning comes on and the camera shuts down. I have a feeling that if I can successfully upgrade the firmware that I could get the camera to work OK on these batteries, but without a mains adapter, I can't do it. I said originally that it was a bit cynical of Pentax to launch a camera with a known problem, knowing that after a year or so when the problem would become manifest, customers would either have to spend a huge amount getting the camera repaired, or spend a fortune on a simple cheap plastic mains adapter. Even though the official repairer in the UK (Johnsons Photopia) and the Ricoh/Pentax main office in London both deny that such a problem exists, they clearly don't bother to update their product knowledge or listen to what other areas and departments of Pentax/Ricoh are saying because Pentax released a firmware update which they claimed helped to cure the issue! My problem was that because I haven't used my camera much in last few years, I was unaware of the design fault and simply took advice on battery type, when the real cause was faulty software. Now the problem has got to the point where the camera is unusable unless I can get hold of a mains adapter. The camera has probably taken less than 2000 photos during its lifetime so far.

johnriley

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 12:55
I really doubt that it was done deliberately, that would be very stupid as it would knowingly cause a hugely expensive recall situation. I would think that a component in a particular batch might be suspect, in which case a known fault will exist but not all cameras would be affected.

I would contact the official repair house, JP Service Solutions, and ask them what can be done. If it is a firmware issue then having them upgrade it for you might not be too expensive. If components are needed, then they can give you a quote. If you join Pentax User Plus there is a 20% discount on servicing.

https://www.pentaxuser.com/discounts

Hope that helps!
Best regards, John

JAK

Joats

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 13:20
johnriley wrote:
I really doubt that it was done deliberately, that would be very stupid as it would knowingly cause a hugely expensive recall situation. I would think that a component in a particular batch might be suspect, in which case a known fault will exist but not all cameras would be affected.

I would contact the official repair house, JP Service Solutions, and ask them what can be done. If it is a firmware issue then having them upgrade it for you might not be too expensive. If components are needed, then they can give you a quote. If you join Pentax User Plus there is a 20% discount on servicing.

https://www.pentaxuser.com/discounts

Hope that helps!

Hi
I am not suggesting it was a deliberate act to add a fault, I am saying that it became a known fault which Pentax should not insist on forcing their customers to pay huge amounts of money to fix. If a camera breaks because of misuse, or mishandling or fails over time due to the wearing out of parts, or an electrical problem that suddenly appears that no-one knew about, then fine, get it repaired. I don't find it acceptable that Pentax know about a problem, so they introduce a firmware upgrade to fix it (they wouldn't do that if just the odd few camera owners complained, they would do it if it became more than a few, maybe hundreds or more), but because of the One Year Warranty, unless your camera fails during the warranty period, you are stuck because to fix the problem that doesn't exist, you have to spend a fortune. That is indeed unnacceptable and cynical behaviour by Pentax. They should be offering an easy fix for this particular problem, not ripping their customers off. If by JP Service Solutions you mean Johnsons Photopia, then I did contact them. They denied the problem exists, they had never heard of it, even though I reminded them about the firmware upgrade designed to remedy the issue! They simply said you would have to send the camera in for fixing (which costs a fortune). If I found their quote unnaceptable, then I would still have to pay 24 before they would send the camera back. I asked them whether I would get charged even if I picked the camera up from them in Stoke on Trent, they said yes, and I can't pick the camera up anyway, it get posted. Unnacceptable. If you took your car to a garage and a mechanic said your wheel bearings need replacing, and it would cost X amount to fix, and you said OK I will take my car away to think about it, you wouldn't stand for it if they said sorry we can't let you drive the car away unless you pay us 24 would you? Sorry if this sounds a bit like a rant, its just that I get so annoyed by companies who's cynical actions hurt their customers, the very people who keep them in business in the first place. If I can't find a solution to this problem, I may very well not buy another Pentax or Ricoh product again.

JAK

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 13:33
Quote:
If you took your car to a garage and a mechanic said your wheel bearings need replacing, and it would cost X amount to fix, and you said OK I will take my car away to think about it, you wouldn't stand for it if they said sorry we can't let you drive the car away unless you pay us 24 would you?

There are indeed companies that will make a charge for diagnosing a problem for you. Not unusual at all as it might take time to dismantle things to investigate an issue. If you let them go ahead and do the work they will likely waive that charge. If you decide to do the work yourself then charging for that investigation is fair. There are also garages that will charge you even if they decide they can't fix the problem!

As to that power supply, why not phone Pentax dealers and ask them if they have one tucked away on a shelf or clearance bin? You never know. There's a K-ac84 for sale on eBay in the States presently but the postage will cost more than the adapter. It might not be the correct mains voltage however. Hold on a week or two and one may pop up on eBay UK, that's how eBay works. Quite possibly someone here has one but they've yet to pick up on your thread.
I expect other adapters could be used if they have the same voltage, power output and connector. Try Maplin.
John K
Last Edited by JAK on 24/10/2017 - 13:41

Joats

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 13:40
JAK wrote:
Quote:
If you took your car to a garage and a mechanic said your wheel bearings need replacing, and it would cost X amount to fix, and you said OK I will take my car away to think about it, you wouldn't stand for it if they said sorry we can't let you drive the car away unless you pay us 24 would you?

There are indeed companies that will make a charge for diagnosing a problem for you. Not unusual at all as it might take time to dismantle things to investigate an issue. If you let them go ahead and do the work they will likely waive that charge. If you decide to do the work yourself then charging for that investigation is fair. There are also garages that will charge you even if they decide they can't fix the problem!

As to that power supply, why not phone Pentax dealers and ask them if they have one tucked away on a shelf or clearance bin? You never know. There's a K-ac84 for sale on eBay in the States presently but the postage will cost more than the adapter. Hold on a week or two and one may pop up here, that's how eBay works.

Hi
I have tried a few dealers, including the one that sold me the camera. Strangely, my previous camera was a K100D Super which also developed a similar issue. The dealer told me the issue would not occur with the Kx No dealer I have tried so far has an adapter. In fact two main dealers in the south of the UK given to me by the London based Pentax office, when I called them, they told me they no longer sold Pentax dSLRs. I have been watching ebay to see if one comes up in the UK. I really need my luck to turn on this one!

JAK

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 13:44
Do you happen to know the power needed as Maplin do sell multi adapters which I feel sure would work. There's nothing overly special about a power adapter providing it is the right voltage and can supply sufficient amps, and is a power supply and not a charger.

Quote:
Strangely, my previous camera was a K100D Super which also developed a similar issue. The dealer told me the issue would not occur with the Kx

Have you considered taking the camera back to the dealer who said that?
Last Edited by JAK on 24/10/2017 - 13:51

Joats

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 13:50
JAK wrote:
Do you happen to know the power needed as Maplin do sell multi adapters which I feel sure would work.

Not sure but I seem to recall a mention of 8.4v the camera uses, or at least requires. If this is correct its not surprising that 4 X 1.5v batteries are inadequate, and plays into the post earlier about Pentax poor design in making the camera an AA battery camera to begin with.
If the Maplin one uses a similar type (apparently the Pentax adapter is comprised of two fake batteries that fit into the middle two battery slots in the camera), then that may work. I am conscious about the whole Tip Positive or Tip negative thing with adapters, because there is no indication on any Pentax literature I can see. If you choose the wrong setting, you will fry the motherboard.

JAK

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 13:53
Yes that's very true, any indication as to which is which next to the socket?

Just looked at the camera manual; I see it needs a battery adapter in the battery compartment now. Do you have that?
John K
Last Edited by JAK on 24/10/2017 - 13:58

Joats

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 14:31
JAK wrote:
Yes that's very true, any indication as to which is which next to the socket?

Just looked at the camera manual; I see it needs a battery adapter in the battery compartment now. Do you have that?

No that's part of the whole Pentax adapter. Its the AC outlet, a transformer, a couple of cables and pin connectors and the fake battery unit that sits in the battery compartment in the camera.

Joats

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 14:37
JAK wrote:
Do you happen to know the power needed as Maplin do sell multi adapters which I feel sure would work. There's nothing overly special about a power adapter providing it is the right voltage and can supply sufficient amps, and is a power supply and not a charger.

Quote:
Strangely, my previous camera was a K100D Super which also developed a similar issue. The dealer told me the issue would not occur with the Kx

Have you considered taking the camera back to the dealer who said that?

I did mention this to them when the problem started up but they said its an older camera and when the warranty period runs out they just send cameras away to be fixed. They did say back then that there was a basic fee of 80 for a standard fix, with anything more complicated costing more. In my experience of buying stuff on the sales pitch of a salesman, if you discover what was told to you was false, the stock response is usually - "Don't know anyone here who would say that" or "That shouldn't have been said". Unless you can prove mis-selling you have no recourse.

johnriley

Link Posted 24/10/2017 - 15:42
I understand that you might feel angry about your camera, but some way forward is needed to resolve your issues. It isn't a problem with every copy of the camera, although it is a known potential problem. After the two year warranty is passed then it will be chargeable as a repair. It isn't a DIY repair, so in relation to the cost of a second hand one, the evaluation is does a repair offer better value? Or would you be better simply upgrading to a more recent model?

There have been trade in deals where an extra 100 has been given for any camera traded in, and there have been cashback offers, so maybe looking out for some such is also an option.

Failing that, the camera is dead at present and there are a limited number of choices as to how to proceed.
Best regards, John
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