Nikon D200: Problem with MB-D200 battery grip

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by richard_potts, Oct 21, 2006.

  1. On my brand new Nikon D200, I have a problem with the MB-D200 battery pack
    grip. There seems to be some communication/power problem between the grip and
    the camera. Here are the symptoms:
    1) when using the EN-EL3e battery alone in the camera (no MB-D200 grip
    attached), the camera seems to work fine.
    2) when using AA alkaline batteries in the MB-D200 grip, it can autofocus
    normally, but after I take one shot, the battery indicator immediately
    shows "exhausted battery," and I cannot take a second shot. Turning the camera
    off, then on, restores the battery indicator to "full," and I can then view
    the image taken previously. Then I can only take one more shot, etc.
    3) when using Powerex 1500mA NIMH rechargables (my intended option), the
    camera turns on and autofocuses, but I cannot take a shot at all. Pressing the
    shutter release does nothing, and the battery indicator immediately changes
    to "exhausted." As with the alkalines, turning the camera off, then on,
    restores the battery indicator to "full," but I still cannot take a shot. I
    have conditioned and charged the batteries, so they defintely are not dead.

    I know the part about changing the custom menu item (d8) to specify which
    batteries are to be used in the grip, and obviously have selected the proper
    option. I have inspected all contact points, and nothing seems amiss.

    Please advise if you have seen this problem before. Because of the weird
    pattern with two types of batteries, I cannot determine if the problem is with
    the MB-D200 grip, or if the camera is not recognizing the battery type
    correctly. I only have one EN-EL3e battery, so I cannot try the option of
    putting two of them in the grip. I have two weeks to return grip or camera as
    defective. Thanks in advance for your info.
  2. Hi Richard,

    I don't own a D200 but I am a retired EE. Seems like your D200 is voltage sensitive and needs more battery capacity than you're giving it with AA alkalines. Alkalines have fairly high internal resistance and when called upon to deliver power to high current loads, they tend to fade. Standard alkalines are poor power sources in digital applications.

    NIMH batteries on the other hand are rated at 1.2V nominally and this may be below the voltage threshold for proper operation. They can deliver in high current situations but again the voltage is below the 1.5V that alkalines are rated at.

    Perhaps you should check your manual and see if Lithiums are acceptable as they should help the situation and typically have higher voltages. See what the spec calls for and use that power source. Be careful since some Mfrs. do not want customers using Lithiums in their equipment as they tend to have higher voltages than some electronics will tolerate and can cause damage.

    Lastly, are you perhaps the Richard Potts that grew up in Kennewick, WA?

  3. The MB-200 grip will operate properly with ONLY ONE EN-EL3e battery. It makes no difference which side of the grip you put it in i.e. left or right. Make sure that you tell your D200 which system you are using. Try it and this may shead some light on the matter.
  4. I use 2600mAh NiMH Cells in my D200 battery grip and have no problem for several hundred shots.

    Your 1500mAh cells seem a bit old tech? Are these new cells? Are you certain these come direct from production. I have not used such "old" stuff for a long time. I do not know this brand but perhaps you can get specs for the current these cells support. (The given spec is not 1500mA but mAh.)

    Do you have a voltmeter available to measure the voltage across the 6 cells in the grip? Can you measure the voltage with a load of 1.5 A ?

    There are not too many possibilities. 1) The cells may be of low voltage or 2) the cells will be of low voltage because the current drawn by the D200 exceeds their abilty - because the capacity of 1500mAh is too low or the cells are old or of poor design. 3) The voltage measurement in camera may be at fault. 4) There may be a "consumer" in the grip or in the camera. I assume the most likely problems in this order.
  5. Check each NiMh battery separately (use battery checker or electronic multimeter). It is not uncommon to get a bad NiMh battery in the set even if all of them are puchasted new. If you have a bad one in the set the voltage of the set is too low and camera responses as hou have described.

    Regards, Marko
  6. Many thanks for the quick and helpful responses. Despite having pored over the manuals repeatedly, thanks to Juri I went back and found the single sentence in the MB-D200 instructions which said it could use " or two EN-EL3e batteries.." I put it in, and everything seems to work. My 1500 mAh rechargables are a few years old, but they still charge and work well; probably been recharged only 25-30 times (out of 500 max?). It's surprising they wouldn't have the juice that the camera needs; the EN-EL3e is rated at 7.2V 1500 mAh, which is exactly what 6 of the rechargables have collectively. I don't think one of them is bad; when going through the charging cycle, the smart charger would not indicate a successful charge cycle if one was bad. Unfortunately I don't have any battery testing device. I am charging six more (of my 18-20) to see if other ones will work at all. If they don't, then I guess my option is to try higher capacity rechargables (2600mAh), or get one more EN-EL3e. Walter, what brand are your rechargables? In any case, I am greatly relieved that the camera and grip both seem to be operating as they should. Finally, Ron, I am not the Richard Potts you asked about. Thanks again to all.
  7. Richard the cells I use are Panasonic HHR-3XGE. In general Sanyo is my #1 choice but the Panasonic are also quite good, for this size NiMH perhaps even the best. It pays to get the best cells because in the end the higher quality cells live longer and keep the specs. I found in many occasions that the specifications of many brands are often not met by a large margin.

    It is also advisable to get a high quality charger. I recommend to get a charger that will allow to charge and measure cells individually. This will cost a bit because most chargers are for 4 cells so you will need two fo the 6 cells. I am not familiar with the brands sold in the USA I personally use an Ansmann charger but I think the brand is not available in the US. If you happen to know model radio control people they may be of help.

    Have fun with your D200 - just a great camera. After a while you will get a feel for the battery consumption - the phantastic display is a joy to use but it uses a lot of energy. So if you do not need it keep it off.
  8. Part of the problem might be that you forgot to set or change Custom Setting D 8 for the specific type of batteries you have in the MB-D200. If you use AA batteries in it, you have to tell the camera which one of four types you are using. The default is alkaline. Double check this setting. Joe Smith
  9. Joe, as you can see in the second paragraph of my original post, I know about the d8 setting and changed it accordingly. Here is my final report: the camera functions perfectly with one EN-EL3e in the MB-D200 grip. Today I bought some 2650 mAh rechargable NiMH batteries, charged them up, put them in the grip (changed the d8 setting, of course), and everything seems to work fine. Apparently the problem was with the 1500 mAh NiMH batteries; just not enough power in them (I am still surprised at that). I guess I will just use them for the flashes (and many other devices around my home). Thanks again to all who contributed.
  10. I had the same thing happen to me over and over. Took my grip back to my dealer and got another one. They sent my original one back to Nikon. Haven't had a bit of trouble since. (6,000 plus shots later).
  11. Oh, I forgot to add that I have been using AA bats. with no trouble.
  12. I work at a newspaper in Washington D.C. and we had 18 D200?s in the department. All where having the same problems as you guys are discussing. The battery would go to zero and the camera would stop working. The photographers where having daily problems with the cameras and they also missed some photos. This does not make happy editors. I wont go into a long dissertation but all camera bodies went in to NPS more then once and nothing was ever diagnosed! We finally gave up and just went with the D2Xs throughout the department. The photographers had lost confidence in the cameras and the editors where working lots of man-hours with Nikon and losing valuable time doing photojournalism. The few wires, publications and agencies that still use Nikon and have D200?s in the hands of working photographers have had the same problem. Maybe we had this happen so often because our guys average 4 assignments a day. I don?t know, but the bottom line is that there is a problem with the Nikon D200 camera body and Nikon has not found out how to fix the problem or maybe most professionals are just ditching it and going with the high-end model like we did.
  13. cd


    Just Bought My MB-D200, and I'm having the same problem, only got 5 shots on Alkaline AA (Energisers) before it dies, took it back to Dealer who installed Panasonic AA Alkalines and he got 3 shots. He opened another box with grip and tried that one too, with the same results.. I'm starting to worry.
  14. Hello

    I have exactly the same peoblem as mentioned here. I use two brand new EN-EL3e batterys in a brand new grip. It happends very often that the indicator shows low battery - and then I can not take a shot before I shut off and on the camera. I have written to Nikon support regarding this - we will se what happens.
  15. You did tell your camera the type of battery installed?
  16. This is troubling, but I'm glad to hear I am not alone. I too have experienced this with the
    grip and two EL-3 batteries. I can't seem to consistently get it to be a problem, so I have
    not brought the camera in to a dealer. Be sure to check to see if your batteries were part
    of the recall (which I didn't know about until I replaced one that just died).

    I love the camera, but ran into this issue again yesterday at a track meet. I do not like how
    easy the grib loosens from the body which I discovered early on as a problem so I tighten
    that thing all the time.

    We need to flood the Nikon support board I guess with this problem. They can just give
    me a D2x though...
  17. I am not sure the problem is with the grip. I had a similar problem with my D200 where a fully charged battery [EN-EL3e] would suddenly show no power on the meter. I thought I had to take the battery out to restore the charge but just turning the camera off seems to do this. This was happening with 2 batteries and I ultimately sent the camera back to Nikon. They replaced the main circuit board and I have just completed my first real shooting since then and the problem has occurred again.

    I thought there could be a problem with ?topping off? the battery charge rather than allowing nearly full discharge before recharging, but I allowed 2 batteries to fully drain before recharging, set them on the charger overnight [to allow them to fully cool before taking them off the charger] and I had the same results.

    While my D200 body was at Nikon I had the opportunity to borrow another D200 body and the same thing was happening. This came with another EN-EL3e battery and the same behavior was happening with all 3 batteries. I tried putting a little foam between the battery and the battery compartment door to make sure there was not a contact problem, but this did not seem to alter the behavior. I was about to but one of the battery grips and use standard batteries thinking the sensor chip on the battery could be the problem but these posts do not seem to suggest this is a solution.
  18. I've had a similar problem, but unfortunately Nikon Service was extremely terrible. They refused to fix it for me even though they couldn't explain the problem, but just insisted it was my fault. see my other thread. Dealing with Nikon service is truly a horrible experience. They're very unprofessional; they don't answer phone calls; and they don't reply voice mails to both me and my dealer (we both left messages to them, and they never return calls).
  19. I bought D200 camera half a year ago and already have a problem with battery contact - battery life indicator goes down to one level. I figured out the problem - it is design problem of battery pins. This problem happens, when middle pin does not have a connection - it is made from softer material than other two.
    Probably after pushing battery too hard inside causes this pin to bend and as a result - it loses connection after a while.
    By design the central pin should push a top plate, other two - side plates (I guess). How to fix this problem easily - did not figured out yet.
  20. I have had the D200 and battery grip since last year. The exact same problem started happening around a month ago. I tried without the grip and same thing. I carefully and completely the contacts of the EnEL3 batteries, the battery compartment on the camera and also the grip. I get between 3 and 8 pictures before it shuts down showing the battery as out of power.
    I have just emailed Nikon tech support with all of the details and hope they respond by tomorrow with a fix. From reading everything, it seems this problem has been going on for quite a long time.
    Any new ideas?? Although the ENEL3 batteries fully charge, could they be wearing down? Thank you
  21. Sorry. Should read "I carefully and completely cleaned the contacts of the EnEL3 batteries, the battery compartment on the camera and also the grip."
  22. Hi all, I purchased the D200 with all the bells and whistles, including the MB-D200, May of this year. Love the camera, but about 2 months ago I encountered the same problem as the users above, every once and a while you turn the camera on to catch that special shot, and you get the indication that the batteries are close to being dead. You take the batteries out of the MB-D200, put in again, and the indicator goes back to full charge indication. I bought 4 of the EN-EL3e batteries when I purchased the system, and that is all I use in the MB-D200, not AA of any type. So the problem the rest of you are experiencing has nothing to do with the type of batteries. Nikon has a problem with the MB-D200, and it has been around since last year. I am going to raise such hell, they will fix the problem!


    LDP from Snohomish, WA
  23. there is a replacement on the connection pins that should be done. Also a up date for a reading the battery condition
    I had this done by nikon and still my batteries do not hold a charge. Nikon is testing the camera at the present time
  24. i am extremely close to pinpointing the issue.
    it is some software interaction/bug between the camera and one specific fully-charged battery under specific circumstances.
    there is -no- relation to lens/cpu contacts. there is no relation to battery contact corrosion or camera contact corroson. there is no relation to camera lens position, extention, or rotation.unrelated to battery grip.
    details follow.
    i have been having the widely described issue with my d200 (no grip) and a pair of low-hours nikon en-el3 batteries.
    no visible corrosion, scaling, dirt, or other garbage on battery contacts.
    i have experienced the issue with -both- batteries at various times, and at all times the batteries have been fully charged or nearly so.

    this morning i again experienced the issue: a rapidly blinking low-battery indicator, and of course no camera functionalty as a result.
    i was able to navigate briefly to batt menu, which showed just 1% power on the fully charged battery.
    test results follow.

    with cam power remaining on:
    i rotated the 18/200 repeatedly. same flashing batt indicator.
    i applied pressure to the end of the lens barrel and other places. same flashing indicator.
    i removed the lens and remounted it multiple times. same flashing indicator.
    i mounted my 12/24 lens. same flashing indicator.
    i power-cycled the camera off then back on.
    same sequence above, same results.

    leaving the camera power on, i changed to a different en-el3 battery.
    issue disappeared entirely.
    indicator showed full battery.
    batt menu reflected 100% battery charge.
    no issues with lens changes, etc etc etc.

    leaving camera power on, i changed -back- to original en-el3 battery.
    all issues returned...flashing batt indicator, no change as a result of lens changes, power cycling, etc.

    leaving camera power on, i changed back to the second battery again.
    all issues disappeared.

    leaving camera power on, i changed to first battery.
    all issues recurred.
    no changes in low-batt indicator with same series of physical manipulations (lens change, rotation, etc)

    conclusion: no relation to any of the most commonly-attributed causes.
    the camera is likely setting a bit/byte -internal- to the battery...(or the battery is setting this bit/byte itself?)...
    at which point the camera (erroneously) believes the battery is dead, irrespective of any physical condition or change in state of of the camera, lenses, lens or battery contacts, etc.

    next test: i put the "bad" battery in the d200, powered camera off for 3 minutes.
    powered back on.
    same issue.
    this suggests the bad bit/byte that i suspect is being set is -not- in the camera h/w or s/w...but in the battery itself.

    next test: put the "bad" battery on quick charger mh18-a.
    left it there for 15 minutes.

    removed and re-inserted "bad" battery in camera.
    flashing battery indicator gone.
    battery power meter shows 100%.

    this is feeling like an issue that nikon could resolve with a software update to the camera.
    all make sense?
  25. Has this issue been finally diagnosed with a fix from Nikon? I'm now having this issue with my now 2nd battery grip (Before i googled to see if anyone else experienced this I bought a 2nd grip thinking the first had bad connection internally). The second grip was working fine for a couple of weeks but last night the ERR popped up again. I bought the el-cheapo Meike MK-D200 grip with batteries. I now have 3 different brands of EN-EL3n batteries. (1 Nikon1500mah, 2 Power2000 1700mah, 2 no name 1500mah). I noticed the Nikon batt NEVER has the issues with power fluctuations and shutter stuck open ERR's. The only visible difference between batteries is Nikon applies a matte finish to the contacts, the off brands are shiny nickel plated (stainless steel). The only thing I can gather is the power hungry D200 requires a steady and strong supply of power. Remember, each contact point creates a resistance to the flow of electrons, accessory grips create multiple more contact points with 2 additional EN3 batteries, and several more with AA's, in a cartridge. All these additional points of contact puts the mediocre batteries on the edge of not being able to sustain the power supply to the D200. I find that usually the first optioned slot (right side) that the D200 taps for power, typically has this issue. That is were the off-brand batteries cause the camera to ERR or "brain fart" when amperage falls off in high drain moments of use. This may be more of an issue with cheapo aftermarket batteries that lose output amperes progressively as the battery charge drains. Especially when the battery is consumed past half way and I'm using flash with large file formats, etc.. or other power intensive features. Removing this battery from the right slot, forcing the camera to use the "fresh" battery, ails the issue. But that's not why I bought the grip! So- this also explains why Nikon doesn't admit to a real fix, because from their perspective it's not a camera issue and It might not be. it's an external connections / aftermarket accessories issue. The answer? Private folks / after markets find ways to improve connectivity and reduce the power lapse the the D200 just cannot operate through. Possibly, stronger output batteries might help that can keep up the necessary amps right up to the last zap of charge they hold. I'm going to experiment with bending tabs to force better contacts, dull contact surfaces, sharpen oblong pin contacts to "nail" finish to drive the contact points into the opposing surface. This is what is done for testing circuit boards in the computer industry. Since i have an extra grip, i now have a gunuea pig to experiment.

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