I'll try the gray card test to verify that here's a problem.
While I'd prefer he learn to use a hand held, I think that it would prove to be one too many steps in the process for a nine year old (For whom instant gratification rules the world).
I didn't know about the difference in voltage. The battery adapter will be the next step after the gray card. While a CLA is always a good idea, a $100. cleaning for a $25. camera just tugs a little too hard at my cheap strings (for now)...
Thanks guys! This thread alone makes the subscription to APUG a no brainer.