How To Buy Camcorder Batteries

by Mark Applegate Google

    Many camcorders have been kicked to the curb by an owner frustrated by its short battery life when replacing its battery with a new, high-capacity model would make it run better than ever. While there are some important steps to upgrading your battery to consider, the amount you save in replacing it compared to replacing your camcorder might surprise you.

    Verify the Need

    Before replacing your camcorder battery, verify that your charger is not defective. It is not uncommon that a charger will fail to fully charge a battery. Remove your battery by pressing or sliding the battery release button or switch. Place the probes of a multimeter or battery tester on the positive and negative contacts on your battery charger while it is plugged in. The charger should show a voltage very close to the required voltage listed on the battery. If not, replace the charger. If you do not have a multimeter, bring your charger to your local electronics store to be tested. Check for corrosion or oxidation on the battery's terminals. Unplug and clean these terminals with a swab dipped in alcohol if necessary.

    Identify Your Model

    Camcorder batteries are always model-specific. To determine which model you own, look for the manufacturer's plate. This typically silver plate is often located on the bottom of the camera or under the battery next to the terminals. This plate will include a model number and a camera-specific serial number which typically used by the company internally to assist with warranty service. Jot both numbers down, although for most vendors you will only need the model number. If your camera is within its manufacturer's warranty period, consult the manufacturer's website with these numbers to see if the battery can be replaced for free.

    Evaluate the Battery

    The capacity of your new battery should be at least as large as your original battery. This capacity, measured in milliamp-hours, can give an overview of how many hours the camcorder will operate on a charge, although capacity varies by use. It is helpful to buy a battery with more mAh, but be sure it is not so large that the added weight makes camcorder use uncomfortable. Examine the type of battery you are replacing and replace with the same to maintain compatibility with your charger and your camcorder. Most camcorder batteries use either lithium ion or nickel metal hydride although some older ones may still use nickel cadmium or lead acid.

    Consider the Brand

    Choosing your replacement battery brand is an important consideration. If you purchase an original equipment manufacturer battery with the same model number as your existing one, you can be certain that it is compatible. Larger capacity OEM batteries are also often available. OEM batteries, however, often cost much more than aftermarket or branded ones. Some manufacturers, such as Samsung, void your warranty if a non-OEM battery fails and causes damage to your camcorder but do not if an OEM battery harms it. Factor in the value of typically longer OEM or branded warranties when considering brands and prices.

    Try It Out

    If possible, purchase your battery at a local electronics store. By purchasing at a brick-and-mortar store, you can examine the battery to verify its contacts look good and match the location of your charger before you buy it. You can also feel the weight of the larger battery to see if it would allow for comfortable use. This is especially important since batteries often have no return period if purchased online due to the commodity nature of the product.

    About the Author

    Based in Bolivar, Mo., Mark Applegate has been a professional writer since 2003. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Colorado Technical University and currently serves as the information technology director at a local public school.

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