Generic NB-5L Battery Performance: FAIL

The first version of the NB-5L battery holder worked well enough to get some initial performance curves from the assortment of eBay batteries. I bought one apiece from four different vendors for around $3 each; an order of magnitude less than OEM Canon NB-5L camera batteries. Based on past experience, I didn’t expect much and, lo-and-behold, I wasn’t disappointed in the least! Clicky for more dots:

Canon NB-5L - first tests
Canon NB-5L - first tests

Using a 500 mA discharge current (roughly C/2) seemed reasonable, but I have no idea what the camera actually draws and the Canon manual isn’t forthcoming. These are all hot off the Canon charger.

That nice long curve on the top is the OEM Canon NB-5L that came with the camera and delivers pretty much its rated 1050 mAh.

The generic batteries have two faults:

  • Low discharge voltage (high internal resistance?)
  • Much less than their claimed capacity (they lie!)

The one labeled D Group was advertised as 1500 mAh, which seemed unreasonable on the face of it. The battery case says 1050 mAh and the vendor said their manufacturer “must have shipped them the wrong batteries”. Yeah, right, like they hadn’t noticed up. They wanted me to return it (on their dime, by “refusing” the shipment, which is, AFAICT, prohibited after you open the package), which says that they didn’t have any batteries with “1500 mAh” printed on the side for an exchange. Of course, their advertising for the other NB-5L batteries they offer on eBay hasn’t changed, so … they lie!

The Anonymous Gray battery is particularly feeble; I may harvest the frame and connector and battery protection circuit to build an external battery pack with far more capacity.

The crinkly black trace comes from testing that battery with wires taped in place before I got the first version of the holder up & running well enough to take the rest of the measurements.

Only one generic battery has a manufacturer’s name, two lack regulatory agency markings (not that I expect any to comply with the requirements implied by those markings), and all four are obviously junk. I’ll use them for around-the-house pix with the charger close at hand, but … now we all know that you don’t get something for nothing. No surprise there, eh?

14 thoughts on “Generic NB-5L Battery Performance: FAIL

  1. Thanks for the insight, I was actually considering one of those to just see how they go (not expecting great results, of course), you just saved me some hassle.


    1. considering one of those

      I suppose getting 25% of the performance for 10% of the price makes them good cost-performers, but I expect even that minimal capacity will fade away after a few recharges.

      eBay is where all those defective lithium cells go to die…

  2. I wonder how a Renaissance Charge system would work on those.
    Or other “old dead” sets from laptops etc.
    (free energy geek here LOL)

    1. how a Renaissance Charge system would work

      Poorly, from what I read.

      They use the term “open source” in a manner I had not previously encountered: long on promised unicorns and short on actual information.

  3. hmmm Not surprised.
    Using the same technology, but self built, I had little
    luck with Li-Ions myself. Kinda glad I never sprung
    for the big bad $300+ unit and just self-monitored
    my charger. I never read where these units were
    compatible with Li-Ion anyway, just everything else.

    Ed, do you have any personal experience with free energy experiments?

    Also unrelated, do you have experience with Arduino or PIC MCU coding?

    1. any personal experience with free energy experiments?

      Nope, because all that stuff lies somewhere along the axis between junk science and scam.

      The burden of proof isn’t on me to show it doesn’t work, it’s on them to show that it does. So far, nobody’s demonstrated anything better than measurement error combined with gullibility.

      experience with Arduino or PIC MCU coding?

      Just click on the Arduino tag over there on the right, down near the bottom

      I’ve written enough PIC assembler to desire never to do that again. They’re the cheapest 6- and 8-pin micros around, but …

      1. I’d say MOST of it is junk science and scam.
        Too many DMM’s and too few ‘Scopes :D

        Thanx for the Ardy Stuff!

        Good Luck with the Li-Ions, I will stay tuned for a good solution.


  4. Ed, I’m a Li-ion battery pro with 20 years of R&D experience under my belt, and I have to say–your measurements, terminology, conclusions and charts are GOOD! :-)

    1. Thanks… it’s good to know I’m not completely off-base!

      Since this post went up, one battery has completely died. The others seem to be limping along, although I haven’t run any tests. I carry one battery in the camera and one in the pouch, because there isn’t much time between the low battery warning and the blackout. I bring all the batteries and the charger on long trips!

Comments are closed.