Saturday, July 10, 2010
Sony Alpha +30 series batteries...
I recently purchased a Sony Alpha α230 digital SLR, got it on sale at Walmart for $300! I had done some research on DSLRs and when I found that the Sony Alpha series used the same lens mount as the Minolta Maxxum film cameras my interest in Sony's offerings was pretty much cemented in place as I had a number of those lenses in the closet.
One item I did look to purchased however was a spare battery. They are $60 retail, $55 at WallyWorld, but piece of cake says I, log on to eBay and find a reasonably priced after market unit that would ship from the US. I bought one for $20 with free shipping, here's where the problems started...
It turns out that the Alpha +30 models (the α230/330/380 series) have a Battery Detector module that communicates with the battery via a one-wire serial protocol--this is claimed to be used to monitor state of charge, internal temperature and other parameters.
Here are the schematics from the service manual showing this connection and the Battery Detector module:
If the battery does not support this communication the camera will display "Incompatible Battery. Use correct model." and shut down. The first time you insert an incompatible battery the camera will appear to power-up correctly, but then display the error message and shut down when you attempt to take a photo or change a setting. Subsequent power-ups (with removing/reinserting the battery) will go directly to the error message and shutdown.
I am not aware of any after market batteries that support this communication, so ask questions before you buy and be prepared to have vague and "it should" sort of responses when you ask "Will this battery work with a Sony Alpha α230/330/380 camera?".