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DaiTheDragon
9th August 2013, 08:24 PM
Received my free battery grip from Olympus today. What a difference it makes ,much easier to hold and just feels right.

David

StephenL
10th August 2013, 07:21 AM
Agreed, it's a must-have. Part One has never left my camera except for battery changing. Don't use the portrait grip, though, as that sort of negates the point of having a small, light, camera.

Greytop
10th August 2013, 08:40 AM
I use both parts, I would say the camera has at least one part mounted 99.9% of the time.
It's particularly suited to the lovely 12-35 and 35-100 from a balance point of view.

Bikie John
10th August 2013, 09:07 AM
For general walkabout use I find the upper part of the grip superb and just like Stephen it never comes off except to change the battery.

The other part also has its uses - for a big shoot like a concert or a party, it doesn't command a big weight penalty as there is plenty of kit to carry anyway, and it is VERY useful having a reserve battery on board. Then when the first one runs low it will just switch to the other and you can carry on until it is convenient to put a fresh one in, rather than having to stop shooting and do it there and then.

John

Iansky
12th August 2013, 08:03 AM
Congrats Dai,

It is a great and well made versatile grip that certainly enhances the handling of the OMD without adding too much bulk and weight.

Like the others, I use the first part of the grip all the time and add the battery part when using the 100-300 and 75 as it balances well.

Seems like you received that pretty quickly in comparison to others.

Ross the fiddler
12th August 2013, 11:08 AM
I keep both on mine with a grip strap which gives me a secure hold. The only thing to watch out for is banging the lens on door posts. :o ;)

jima
20th August 2013, 10:58 AM
For general walkabout use I find the upper part of the grip superb and just like Stephen it never comes off except to change the battery.

The other part also has its uses - for a big shoot like a concert or a party, it doesn't command a big weight penalty as there is plenty of kit to carry anyway, and it is VERY useful having a reserve battery on board. Then when the first one runs low it will just switch to the other and you can carry on until it is convenient to put a fresh one in, rather than having to stop shooting and do it there and then.

John
Does anybody know, does the battery indicator indicate the charge in the primary battery only or the charge in the composite pair?

I was on a shoot last night when the battery indicator started flashing red towards the end so I nursed it until the shoot was finished but it seemed to keep going and going anyway. When I came to charge the packs the grip pack took its normal several hours but the body pack charged in well under an hour as if only lightly used. My battery priority setting was 'PBH Battery' so I guess the grip pack was depleted first but does the indicator just flash red until both packs are depleted or does it go green again when it actually switches to the other pack?

Of course, nothing in the HLD6 manual so any and all information gratefully received!

James

Ross the fiddler
20th August 2013, 11:14 AM
Does anybody know, does the battery indicator indicate the charge in the primary battery only or the charge in the composite pair?

I was on a shoot last night when the battery indicator started flashing red towards the end so I nursed it until the shoot was finished but it seemed to keep going and going anyway. When I came to charge the packs the grip pack took its normal several hours but the body pack charged in well under an hour as if only lightly used. My battery priority setting was 'PBH Battery' so I guess the grip pack was depleted first but does the indicator just flash red until both packs are depleted or does it go green again when it actually switches to the other pack?

Of course, nothing in the HLD6 manual so any and all information gratefully received!

James

As the PBH battery is being used it actually shows PBH (in white) under the battery charge indicator. If it (charge indicator bar) was red & flashing with PBH under it & then goes green with the battery looking full again, it will be then running off the camera battery & no PBH will be seen under the battery charge bar. I hope that answers your question.

Bikie John
20th August 2013, 11:21 AM
Specifically for the E-M5 and grip - it uses one battery at a time, it doesn't use them as a pair in parallel (which some other combos like the E-5 and whichever grip it uses do).

As far as I am aware the charge indicator in the camera refers to the battery currently in use. If it is using the one in the grip, there will be a little sign saying "PBH" next to the charge indicator. There is no sign if it is using the one in the body. I would expect the charge indicator to go green and the PBH sign to switch off once it switches to the other battery - assuming it to be fresh, of course. If your battery had been in the body for a while it may have been leaking a little bit of current even if it wasn't being used, hence needing an hour or so to top up the charge.

One thing I don't like about the E-M5, and the other E's I've had, is that battery management seems very hit & miss. Sometimes, as James says, I've had it flashing on orange but keeping going for ages. Others it's gone from the green partially full display to stone-dead without me spotting any warning. The charger is no help as it doesn't show anything except "charging" and "full". I really wish we had some more accurate measure of battery capacity. I have a Hahnel Twin-V Pro charger which is great - it charges 2 at a time and gives an indication of how much charge is in the battery in 20% increments. I find it very reliable and it works a treat with the BLM-1 and BLM-5 batteries that the E-1/3/5s use, but there is no compatible plate for the E-M5's BLN-1 and sadly Hahnel have said that they don't intend to produce one.

Ciao ... John

jima
20th August 2013, 11:30 AM
As the PBH battery is being used it actually shows PBH (in white) under the battery charge indicator. If it (charge indicator bar) was red & flashing with PBH under it & then goes green with the battery looking full again, it will be then running off the camera battery & no PBH will be seen under the battery charge bar. I hope that answers your question.

Yes it does, many thanks. I didn't notice the tiny 'PBH' under the charge indicator (but it was quite dark where I was shooting) so I'm not sure which one was actually in play at that time. I'll make a point of looking out for it next time but it seems an eminently sensible arrangement so well done Oly!

James

jima
20th August 2013, 12:57 PM
Specifically for the E-M5 and grip - it uses one battery at a time, it doesn't use them as a pair in parallel (which some other combos like the E-5 and whichever grip it uses do).

As far as I am aware the charge indicator in the camera refers to the battery currently in use. If it is using the one in the grip, there will be a little sign saying "PBH" next to the charge indicator. There is no sign if it is using the one in the body. I would expect the charge indicator to go green and the PBH sign to switch off once it switches to the other battery - assuming it to be fresh, of course. If your battery had been in the body for a while it may have been leaking a little bit of current even if it wasn't being used, hence needing an hour or so to top up the charge.

One thing I don't like about the E-M5, and the other E's I've had, is that battery management seems very hit & miss. Sometimes, as James says, I've had it flashing on orange but keeping going for ages. Others it's gone from the green partially full display to stone-dead without me spotting any warning. The charger is no help as it doesn't show anything except "charging" and "full". I really wish we had some more accurate measure of battery capacity. I have a Hahnel Twin-V Pro charger which is great - it charges 2 at a time and gives an indication of how much charge is in the battery in 20% increments. I find it very reliable and it works a treat with the BLM-1 and BLM-5 batteries that the E-1/3/5s use, but there is no compatible plate for the E-M5's BLN-1 and sadly Hahnel have said that they don't intend to produce one.

Ciao ... John
Yep, I'd go along with that and thanks also for the charge indicator info. Maybe I missed it but I couldn't see anything in the manual about it. I miss being able to use my Twin-V for the BLN-1's like I could with the E-5 and the HLD4. I'm a bit disappointed in Hahnel for that I must admit. I had hoped for a bit more life from the Twin-V.

Both my packs were fresh charged before the shoot so unless the E-M5 didn't switch for some reason I'm not sure what happened there as I only racked up just under two hundred shots over a four-hour period. I'll clean everything up on the contacts and pay a bit more attention next time.

PeterBirder
20th August 2013, 07:37 PM
You can set the camera to use either battery first and adjust the level at which the warning indicator flashes.

Menu "cogs" K "Utility".

I have mine set to PBH priority and warning level -2.

Regards.*chr

Bluegrass Jim
20th August 2013, 09:33 PM
I have used the grip since I got it and find it very useful, I have never separated the two parts as I like the portrait section although some people don't like it. It's a clever idea which allows for individual users own preferences. It's handy being able to charge one battery and replace it without removing everything.

jima
20th August 2013, 11:26 PM
OK, some further tests with LCD on and flash running to stress the packs - Olympus original in the body, EX-Pro clone (under test atm) in the grip. Charge indicator does display PBH but turns amber quite quickly, however still goes on for over 200 shots but does eventually switch and the PBH disappears when the charge indicator goes green again. I'm happy that the switching between packs is working but not certain that the voltage monitoring and switching is happening at the right point. It is possible that the clone pack is not providing the right capacity information to the EX5 although it seems to be properly exhausted when I take it out and charge it. I guess the only way to be certain is to acquire an Oly original pack and try again. An easy first step might be to reverse the pack positions and see what happens.

I may have to dig out the test harness and software I built for testing the BLM-1 and BLL-1 packs and modify it for BLN-1's and see what is actually left in the pack in the grip when it has switched.

Bikie John
21st August 2013, 09:20 AM
Sounds like you've nailed it there Jim. Maybe the clone has slightly different discharge characteristics or something.

I only have Oly original batteries (clones weren't available when I got them) and I have noticed occasional odd behaviour like this, but not consistently. I feel that the charge display in the camera is so random that taking spares is mandatory.

Ciao ... John

PeterBirder
21st August 2013, 09:47 AM
OK, some further tests with LCD on and flash running to stress the packs - Olympus original in the body, EX-Pro clone (under test atm) in the grip. Charge indicator does display PBH but turns amber quite quickly, however still goes on for over 200 shots but does eventually switch and the PBH disappears when the charge indicator goes green again. I'm happy that the switching between packs is working but not certain that the voltage monitoring and switching is happening at the right point. It is possible that the clone pack is not providing the right capacity information to the EX5 although it seems to be properly exhausted when I take it out and charge it. I guess the only way to be certain is to acquire an Oly original pack and try again. An easy first step might be to reverse the pack positions and see what happens.

I may have to dig out the test harness and software I built for testing the BLM-1 and BLL-1 packs and modify it for BLN-1's and see what is actually left in the pack in the grip when it has switched.

Hi Jim.

I'm using exactly the same combination of batteries as you with no problems.

What battery warning level have you got set? (see my previous post).

The available levels are +2, +1, 0, -1, -2 with no indication of what these figures mean. I presume that +2 means the "battery low" indication will occur long before the battery is actually exhausted. If your camera is set to +2 it could explain why you still get 200 shots before the camera switches to the other battery. I have mine set to -2 as when using both batteries a "late warning" just before the first battery gives out is not a problem. You just need to be more cautious when you are then on the second battery but this is not an issue for me as I never take that many shots in a single session.:rolleyes: I also always have a second pair of charged batteries (clones) in my bag. Belt and braces.:D

Regards.*chr

jima
22nd August 2013, 10:07 PM
The warning level is set to 0 but even with 200 extra shots it isn't a lot of shots I'm getting with the EXPro in the grip. I'm fairly certain that the warning was premature and I didn't wait for it to switch to the other Olympus pack falsely believing that the indicator was showing an aggregate capacity. Hey ho - live and learn!

I think I'm going back to basics. First I will measure the capacities of the Olympus and the EXPro packs to see how they compare. If they are comparable I will switch them round to see if there is a difference in the warning levels in case the EXPro 'chipping' is sufficient for charging purposes but perhaps not for accurate capacity indication. I dug out an old XP machine and the trusty battery test harness and have a Hahnel BLM-1 clone running on it as I write this (954mAh at 5hrs 1 min 12secs so far) so then we'll fake up a connector rig for BLN-1's and see what they have to offer. Then we'll see what is going on with the capacity indicators and battery switching.

jima
26th August 2013, 04:42 PM
OK, here is part of the problem I think. Here is a discharge graph of my genuine Olympus BLN-1...

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/oly_bln1.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/64886)

... and here is the graph of my EX-PRO clone equivalent...

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/expro_bln1.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/64885)

A measly 702 mAh is pretty miserable performance for a pack rated and sold as a 1220 mAh pack. Of course, this sort of practice is not uncommon as this shot of a 2000mAh BLM-1 pack shows (tested by me just this week)...

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/2KmAh_replacement_blm1.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/64887)

This supposedly 2000mAh pack struggles to provide 1200mAH and when I open it up I expect to see the same cheap and nasty 1300mAh cells many of the cheap clone sellers use.

Anyway, back to the point in hand. Not only is the capacity of the EX-PRO BLN-1 extremely poor but because of the shape of the discharge curve the voltage at the 120-minute mark for the Olympus BLN-1 is 7.587 volts whereas the EX-PRO at the same point in the discharge curve is 7.385 volts and the gap slowly increases towards the discharge end point. At the 200-minute mark the Olympus BLN-1 is at 7.477 volts and the EX-PRO is at 7.272 volts.

Assuming that the sensors in the OMD are calibrated for the slightly flatter and higher discharge curve of the Olympus pack it is reasonable to assume that they will believe that an EX-PRO pack is merely an Olympus pack which is much further toward the end of it's capacity and as a consequence will trigger the battery warning alert much sooner. Changing the battery voltage calibration setting to -1 or -2 might well help this (assuming that this is the right direction of change) but will not of course restore the missing 500mAh or so of missing capacity.

Further tests to come, which will be published to my battery test site (http://www.t5r.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/e1/clonetests.htm) but the initial analysis is as follows:

Although it is based on a sample of 1 the quite usual discharge curve suggests that the EX-PRO pack is operating normally. It has had the same number of charge/discharge cycles as the Olympus pack and enough to have achieved close to maximum capacity. If this is the case then selling this pack as a 1220 mAh pack is tantamount to an offence under the Sale of Goods act. Of course, the other view is that for the price it costs the capacity offered still represents good value for money (assuming the capacity holds up for the overall expected life of the pack). If this is acceptable, then fine, just don't expect lots of shooting hours from it. Better buy two, or three. Of course, if you are going to do that, why not buy a better pack to start with. The search for such a pack at reasonable money will now commence, results will be reported here and at my battery test site as and when.

peak4
26th August 2013, 09:07 PM
Mine's started playing a new trick now.

Yesterday despite setting for PBH priority, when powering on, PBH shows initially under a fully charged battery symbol, but almost immediately extinguishes. The camera battery then drains first; there was nothing wrong with either battery, as you could swap them round and get the same effect.

Today I cleaned all the contacts and now the camera wont power up at all if there is a battery in the second part of the grip. :mad:

Looks like another camera is heading for a trip to Portugal after my own holiday in Uzbekistan.

Also has anyone else noticed that the pins on the top bit of the grip are starting to burrow their way into the gold contacts on the bottom of the camera body? Each of the gold pads now has a distinctive dimple in it, particularly the four larger ones.

The same is starting to show where the two halves of the grip mate together. It doesn't bode well for longevity; things like this, and the paint falling off, do rather point to lack of long term testing prior to release. I really do hope Olympus have put a bit more though into the new model.

OlyPaul
29th August 2013, 12:27 PM
Mine arrived today, the upright grip makes a big difference to handling!
I doubt I will be using the other part much.:)

jima
30th August 2013, 08:40 PM
Just a quick note as I about to go on my hols. I reported the poor capacity to EXPro and to their credit they swiftly provided a replacement. After an initial charge I report 920mAh which although far from rating is a significant improvement over the other and this is of course just the first charge cycle. I expect it to improve, don't know by how much, when I have cycled it 4 or 5 times I will re-test and report results.

jima
30th August 2013, 08:54 PM
Mine's started playing a new trick now.

Yesterday despite setting for PBH priority, when powering on, PBH shows initially under a fully charged battery symbol, but almost immediately extinguishes. The camera battery then drains first; there was nothing wrong with either battery, as you could swap them round and get the same effect.

Today I cleaned all the contacts and now the camera wont power up at all if there is a battery in the second part of the grip. :mad:

Looks like another camera is heading for a trip to Portugal after my own holiday in Uzbekistan.

Also has anyone else noticed that the pins on the top bit of the grip are starting to burrow their way into the gold contacts on the bottom of the camera body? Each of the gold pads now has a distinctive dimple in it, particularly the four larger ones.

The same is starting to show where the two halves of the grip mate together. It doesn't bode well for longevity; things like this, and the paint falling off, do rather point to lack of long term testing prior to release. I really do hope Olympus have put a bit more though into the new model.

What make/model are the two batteries?

Changing the nature of the fault by cleaning contacts suggests a possible problem in another area. Perhaps a problem with the grip itself?

You can expect some dimple marks in the contacts - gold is soft in relation to other metals. Oly's have always done that but because the contact pins have been deeply buried internally it usually goes un-remarked. Same goes for the contacts between the two halves of the grip. I am not of the opinion that this is an indicator of short life. Apart from my E-400 all my Oly's (E-10, E-20, E-1, 2 x E-3, E-5) have always given me the impression that I could beat an attacker to death with them then take high quality pictures of their blood oozing from their skull with the defence weapon. Of course, the trend for 'micro' means that OMD's are not quite as effective in that way :)

BTW the two-part grip idea seems remarkably sensible and innovative. Has this been done before? I was as a result considering how many innovations Oly has made in the last decade or so compared to others one could name and it seems quite impressive. I won't list here so as not to hijack the thread but I was left with a definite 'Well done, Oly!' feeling.

pdk42
31st August 2013, 08:24 AM
@jima - Jim, thanks so much for this scientific info on battery performance. I took a look too at your site with the BLM1 tests. It's great to have some quantitative data. I could do with a couple of batteries for my E-M5 to replace two awful eBay copies I got 6 months ago. I'm working on the assumption that your tests on the BLM1 should transfer across to the BLN1 so far as the brand is concerned. Do you think that's reasonable?

peak4
31st August 2013, 09:26 AM
Quote from jima with my thoughts

What make/model are the two batteries?
One Genuine and one pattern, well several different patterns actually, but the power up problem occurred with either genuine or pattern in the grip. The grip was set to priority battery. If the grip battery was a pattern one showing a lower voltage, surely it should just act like a partially discharged one and change over to the camera battery.
This is a new problem and never used to occur, so I don't think it's a design issue leading to problems when using pattern batteries.

Changing the nature of the fault by cleaning contacts suggests a possible problem in another area. Perhaps a problem with the grip itself?
This is what I was suspecting, hence sending the combination off when I get back from my hols.

You can expect some dimple marks in the contacts - gold is soft in relation to other metals. Oly's have always done that but because the contact pins have been deeply buried internally it usually goes un-remarked.
Yes I appreciate that as I'm familiar with gold contacts in my working environment (telecoms). We are really talking about gold plate as an anti corrosion layer. These dimples are comparatively deep, particularly on the power pins, and suggest either the substrate metal is also very soft, or the contacts are quite thin and are distorting into the surrounding plastic.

Same goes for the contacts between the two halves of the grip. I am not of the opinion that this is an indicator of short life. Apart from my E-400 all my Oly's (E-10, E-20, E-1, 2 x E-3, E-5) have always given me the impression that I could beat an attacker to death with them then take high quality pictures of their blood oozing from their skull with the defence weapon. Of course, the trend for 'micro' means that OMD's are not quite as effective in that way :)

I'm suggesting that the only reason that the grip contacts aren't too recessed yet, is that I rarely use the second part.
I'm wondering if the non power pins of the grip to camera interface are fine, but there is an issue when the fatter power contacts are required to transmit current through the top part of the grip from the battery section.

BTW the two-part grip idea seems remarkably sensible and innovative. Has this been done before? I was as a result considering how many innovations Oly has made in the last decade or so compared to others one could name and it seems quite impressive. I won't list here so as not to hijack the thread but I was left with a definite 'Well done, Oly!' feeling.

I love the idea of the two part grip myself, and rarely use the camera without ithe top half; generally only on holiday where I want to slip it in a pocket for the evening with just the 14mm or 9-18mm lens on.

I did take it to India in march when it got quite hot, so I wonder if it softened the plastic surrounding the gold contacts on the camera baseplate?

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5479/9517371823_53858320fc_q.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/peak4/9517371823/)
Ouch, A Bit Warm (http://www.flickr.com/photos/peak4/9517371823/) by peak4 (http://www.flickr.com/people/peak4/), on Flickr

I don't think this was the hottest day either. To be fair it was in the sun and not the shade temperature, but then again we weren't wandering round in the shade.

jima
31st August 2013, 02:37 PM
@jima - Jim, thanks so much for this scientific info on battery performance. I took a look too at your site with the BLM1 tests. It's great to have some quantitative data. I could do with a couple of batteries for my E-M5 to replace two awful eBay copies I got 6 months ago. I'm working on the assumption that your tests on the BLM1 should transfer across to the BLN1 so far as the brand is concerned. Do you think that's reasonable?
You are very welcome. More to come on the BLN-1 front and I'll update the main site when I have a bit more material and return from my annual break.

My feeling is that the assumptions are reasonable - my go-to brands after the main brand e.g. Olympus are UNiROSS then Energizer and/or Hahnel. They have all tend to use decent control boards and cells in the BLM-1 clones and you could reasonably expect the same philosophy to prevail in the BLN-1.

Having said that UNiROSS and Energizer don't do a BLN-1 clone yet that I can find and one user at least has had reported issues here with a Hahnel pack although from the symptoms it would seem to have been a faulty pack rather than a generic quality issue. I would like to test a Hahnel pack, although they advertise it as a 1170mAh pack not 1220 mAh (and there is a note on the pack about a minimum capacity of 1020 mAh) they have at least been honest about it, unlike others using 1300mAh cells and selling the packs as 2000mAh capacity.

jima
17th September 2013, 04:53 PM
Well, back from sunny Majorca and I have to say the E-M5 performed flawlessly the whole time, as did the TG-820 underwater (unlike my sub-aqua skills). I used a combination of grip and no grip and both packs got cycled a few times. I haven't re-tested the Olympus pack (it is involved in another test at the moment) but here us a composite showing the original Olympus pack, the EXPro original pack and the replacement EXPro pack before and after a few cycles.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/bln1_comp.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/65789)

The replacement EXPro pack performs significantly better than the first and after a few cycles improves from 901mAh to 995mAh. This is still far off the Olympus pack and way below its stated capacity however it could be argued that 80% of the capacity for 25% of the street price of an original isn't a bad deal (ignoring longevity for the moment).

Next steps will be to open it and examine the internals to see if we can find out what the real stated capacity of the cells is.

Following that, I intend to test the Olympus BLN-1 when it reaches the low-charge flashing battery icon to see what residual charge is actually left on warning levels 0, following up with the same test at warning levels -1 and -2. This could take a little time!

For peak4's benefit I also note some not-insignificant dimple marks in both grip and camera especially so on the larger power pins. I would go with your suggestion of a softer substrate metal with less spring-back than plastic but without disassembly couldn't be sure. No 54 degrees, however :)

peak4
17th September 2013, 05:34 PM
For peak4's benefit I also note some not-insignificant dimple marks in both grip and camera especially so on the larger power pins. I would go with your suggestion of a softer substrate metal with less spring-back than plastic but without disassembly couldn't be sure. No 54 degrees, however :)

Thanks Jim, not just me then