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OM2S/OM4 Battery Drain

  1. OMJeff
    Happy New Year!

    I have an OM-2S I recently dug out of the closet. I'm back to photography after having been away a long, long time.

    I am familiar with the short battery life of the OM-2S body, which apparently extends to the OM-4 since they are apparently built on the same platform. I found a small printed notice in the original box the camera shipped in, that warned about flash photography being especially battery-depleting, and related to the green "flash ready light", which the Olympus engineers foolishly powered from the little SR44s in the camera body. The notice suggested turning the flash on at the last possible moment to conserve the batteries. (This issue was apparently addressed in a later electronic redesign, identified by the use of a red "flash ready light".) As an electrical engineer myself for 25 years, this was a very poor design flaw, and probably indicates a very young design team at the time (except of course for team leader Maitani-San, who was not an electrical engineer.)

    Anyway, even sitting on the shelf, batteries can be depleted over time, indicating some portion of the electronics is always active. Since the shutter button can be partially depressed to "wake up" an idle camera, there certainly has to be some electrical current comsumed to contiuously monitor the shutter switch. The OM-2S has no actual OFF switch to completely shut the electronics down.

    Researching the web, I found it suggested that the 1/60th mechanical or "B" mechanical shutter selections are a sort of an undocumented OFF siwitch. I have been keeping the camera in this mechanical mode in between uses for about 6 weeks now. I will continue to monitor battery life to see how long it takes to deplete the batteries. My observations are that all electronic functions appear to be disabled in the "mechanical" mode with the exception that the battery test can still be performed.

    I wouold appreciate any anecdotal observations anyone has regarding extending the battery life of their OM-2S/4. Yeah, I know, pull the batteries out between uses, but this is a PITA, especially when the camera is normally mounted to a Winder 2. I have seen some current measurements for various states of camera operation listed online, but I have not confirmed or denied them yet myself.

    Also, can anyone direct me to an electrical schematic for the OM-2S or OM-4? Given the extensive use of LSI components, this may provide limited insight, but I would find it interesting nevertheless.

    Best Regards,
  2. coat953
    Hi OMJeff, I've had OM4's for years now and have always used the 'B'/60 mechanical setting on the shutter speed selector ring when I'm not using the camera and have never had any problems with battery life, which is comparable to my old OM2's. I agree that it would have bee a tad simpler just to have included an off switch in the original design, but, it's the only gripe I have with them!
  3. Chris Sweetman
    Chris Sweetman
    I used the mechanical 1/60th setting on my OM2SP and this never really worked. Still the battery drained. Batteries lasted literally 4/5 weeks at a time. The only effective turn off switch is to remove the batteries.

    My OM2SP is the most unreliable I have owned in my 40 years of interest in photography!

    The OM1 with the mercury battery was utterly reliable and the battery could last two or more years.

    OM2/OM2n was Olympus' most reliable electronic camera.

  4. M6F6E6
    My first 4Ti was superb at battery economy, but with age it got worse and eventually even the second circuit board died. I have three others since then and love the fact that they have no on/off button. The batteries are so small and convenient and cheap compared to the modern cameraas that I wouldn't worry unless they use batteries in a few weeks. That is a bit much. I don't use flash much so the little batteries keep powering on.

    Definitley take them out if not in use for a few weeks. The SR44's are such a blessing when travelling. I have a small keyring torch and other cameras that use them. When they get low in the cameras I take them out and save them for the torch!
  5. GRHazelton
    My recently acquired OM 4 seems to have the battery sucking feature. A true PITA since I normally keep the winder mounted. I'll try the 1/60 "switch" and see what happens. Could be worse, though, I have TWO Pentax MXs, one in the desirable black finish, which suck the batteries in 4 to 6 weeks, this despite an on/off switch! Time for a trip to Eric, I guess. At least my Vitessa L has no batteries or electronics!
  6. kpembo
    I recently purchased an OM4 from KEH camera. It is a wonderful camera, but does have a short battery life. I can tolerate the short battery life, but tend to overlook the pending battery failure and the shutter locks up while taking a series of photos. I was diligent about setting the shutter to a mechanical only position at first, but became lax about it as time went on. I will try again to see if I can prolong the life of the batteries.

  7. mopar_guy
    If you have one of these that eats batteries, the only work-around is to remove the batteries after each use.

  8. wblynch
    I'm a nut with a dozen OM's and all but the OM-10 and OM-1's eat batteries.

    I also have taken up the habit of removing the batteries until I'm ready to use one of them.

    I found a plastic "coin" I use so the battery covers don't get scratched up.
  9. M6F6E6
    OM tech guy told me that the OM4Ti had improved circuitry over the OM4 and I believe him. But yes, when they get on in years the batteries drain faster and faster until the whole thiing dies - sadly. And no more circuits available apparently. Just remove them when not in use and definitely use them every few months or so to keep them active.
  10. PeteD
    I have 16 Olympus OM camera bodies here 2x OM1n, 2x OM2n, 2x OM2sp, 2x OM30, 2x OM40, 4x OM10, OM20 and OM4. While I like the idea of the OM2sp and OM40 I too have found them unreliable. The OM4 cost me £5 and seems to work like a charm although like the sp and 40 it does eat batteries (usually inside 3 weeks) I now tend to leave the sp and 40 camera bodies alone and use the others more.

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