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  1. #1

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    AE-1 Program drains batteries! Has anyone heard of this happening?

    Hey guys. First poster here! I've just recently picked up an AE-1 P from my mom who was the original owner in the 80's. The camera works pretty nicely other than having the squeaky shutter release, which I plan to fix once I've located a suitable syringe for oiling it.

    My problem is that I bought a brand new Eveready 6V battery for it before shooting anything. The original battery was still in there (eep...) so I naturally had to clean up the compartment a bit before installing the new one to make sure the contacts were functioning. The battery was $15! Yikes. This was about a week ago. I have since shot maybe 2 rolls of film, and the battery is dying now!!! The manual says it should last about a year, and my Mom recalled one battery lasting her 3 years once...so this cannot be right!

    I am hoping someone on here has a known solution or possible cause for this. Could it be the squeaky shutter draining whatever electronic mechanism actuates it?

    I am an electronics hobbyist on the side, so I have tested the battery to see that it is in fact dying and not a battery contact issue or anything. It tests way below healthy voltage at about 5.7V, and drops to under 5.6 under load, so it is definitely dying (Alkalines start quite a bit above their actual rated voltages, sag to and stay at their rated voltage for their rated lifetime, and then taper off at the end)

    I also have precision tools and the careful eye to be able to do the repair myself, if someone could point me in the right direction that has heard of this happening before. Everything else on the camera works fantastic, so what could be drawing excessive current to make the battery die so fast?

    Thanks for any help! I guess I'm going to have to keep feeding the sucker batteries until I can solve this problem

    PS: If anyone has a PDF copy of the repair manual for this camera I would be forever in your debt. I cannot seem to find a free copy on the net!

  2. #2

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    Hi,

    You should be able to find the batteries for much cheaper than $15.

    Are you making sure you turn the camera of when you are done shooting? And are you keeping a lens cap on it when not in use?
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    Hi,

    You should be able to find the batteries for much cheaper than $15.

    Are you making sure you turn the camera of when you are done shooting? And are you keeping a lens cap on it when not in use?
    Hi! Wow. Fast response Quite the nice community here.

    Yes, and yes! I did forget to turn it off overnight once but it was not disturbed at all (no buttons pressed) - surely it couldn't have drained entirely in that short of a time? Lens cap - definitely. Have not at all forgot that.

    This reeks of a short somewhere or something. I use TTL/CMOS circuitry all the time in my electronic designs and they draw very little standby current. Definitely not enough to drain a 100mah cell overnight, and it worked fine for a roll after that!

    Yeah, I could have found a cheaper battery but bought it out of convenience! haha.

  4. #4

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    My next guess would be that the compartment is maybe not clean enough, or there has been some leakage of battery goo into other parts of the camera, perhaps.

    The sad fact is that these are $25 to $50 cameras nowadays. It is hardly ever worth paying someone to repair them. I got two of them, with a 50mm f/1.8 lens on each, for $40 one time. I couldn't pass it up. I just gave them away as gifts.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    My next guess would be that the compartment is maybe not clean enough, or there has been some leakage of battery goo into other parts of the camera, perhaps.

    The sad fact is that these are $25 to $50 cameras nowadays. It is hardly ever worth paying someone to repair them. I got two of them, with a 50mm f/1.8 lens on each, for $40 one time. I couldn't pass it up. I just gave them away as gifts.
    *Checks eBay* oh...so they are.

    I thought they'd be closer to $100. Guess not...

    In any case, I am one of those types that likes fixing things. I just did a current draw test with my multimeter and measured a current draw of .9uA when left on the "A" position. I don't think that would be enough to kill it overnight would it?

    When shutter is on and it's metering, I have a current draw of approximately 30mA. Seems nominal. Hmmm....

  6. #6
    ath
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    I have no experience with the AE-1P but your current values sound reasonable. Check the current consumption when the camera is switched off as well.
    Maybe you just got an old battery?
    Regards,
    Andreas

  7. #7

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    It is very likely that your battery was very old when you got it. I have that problem, occasionally. Retailers stock odd/expensive batteries and they just sit there for years, sometimes. Then a customer comes along and gets very poor use out of them. Try an on-line battery source, first.

    Another matter is that many of they old Canon cameras took Mercury batteries, and the battery that you bought might not have as much capacity. I can't tell, because you did not state the battery type. If it did take a Mercury battery and you used a Zinc-Air battery to replace it (a very logical thing to do), you can expect very short battery life.
    Geo.

  8. #8
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    Couple things; I just picked up a batter for my AE-1P for about $8 at a batteries plus, and I did in fact pay someone $45 to fix mine. I think they can be worth fixing, so then you know what you've got.

    Also, I've never really made a habit out of "turning it off", which I assume means putting it on the L setting. I think the 'lock' setting is really only to avoid accidental exposure, and has nothing to do with the battery. Afterall, it doesn't meter until you hold down the shutter button half-way.

    That's how I've always understood it, and I've never had any problems with excessive battery use.

    Andrew K, a member here, is very knowledgeable about Canons and might be able to give you some good starting places.
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    Couple things; I just picked up a batter for my AE-1P for about $8 at a batteries plus, and I did in fact pay someone $45 to fix mine. I think they can be worth fixing, so then you know what you've got.

    Also, I've never really made a habit out of "turning it off", which I assume means putting it on the L setting. I think the 'lock' setting is really only to avoid accidental exposure, and has nothing to do with the battery. Afterall, it doesn't meter until you hold down the shutter button half-way.

    That's how I've always understood it, and I've never had any problems with excessive battery use.

    Andrew K, a member here, is very knowledgeable about Canons and might be able to give you some good starting places.
    You are probably right about the switch and the meter; the camera doesn't give you an f stop until you touch the shutter release, so probably isn't draining the battery until then. But it is just a bit of good "general" practice that came to mind, storing with a lens cap on in case you have left the meter on.

    And $45 is cheap to have a camera fixed. I'd say that is worth spending on an AE-1P.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  10. #10

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    Thanks for all of the awesome responses! Hopefully Andrew K or another Canon expert will chime in

    These are all things I have considered...hmm, it was a high grade Alkaline battery - the ultra high capacity kind.

    I just picked up a Duracell one and will be closely monitoring it. Yes, I know that I can get batteries cheaper online - I just don't want to wait Also it's worth mentioning that I am in Canada - everything is more expensive here (despite the dollar difference) - so at a chain retail establishment it's highly uncommon to find photo batteries for less than $12 or so...maybe $9, but I'm not going to go to a bunch of different places to save a couple dollars :P

    Yeah, my current measurements seem pretty reasonable. I tested it in every mode as well as switched to off and it seems okay.

    Hopefully it was just a dud battery!

    And yes, I do consider it worthwhile to fix this camera - it has been kept in near mint condition aside from the old owner trying to take the battery out. If I buy another one used I'm sure it would have problems of it's own!

    Thanks for all the ideas guys. Let me know if anything else comes to mind, and I will report back with my findings with this new battery (getting ready for a shoot as I speak)

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