Moderated by: jk
Re-celling Nikon EN-EL4A battery cells. -  Rate Topic 

Posted by jk: Fri May 15th, 2020 14:31 1st Post
I had one of my D3S EN-EL4A batteries die on me.
New Nikon battery costs £139, even an other brand item from China costs £40.

You will need new contacts for the batteries. (£2.50)

In addition you need three new batteries. (£15)

The process of re-celling the battery is very similar to the process outlined in the earlier process for re-celling the D1/D2 series batteries but with Lion battery cells.
The current EN-EL4A is a lithium battery so once it is re-celled then it can be charged on the MH-22 battery charger from Nikon.

The process is to cut open the old EN-EL4A battery along the seam of the battery.

Remove the old cells and solder the springs to the negative (-ve) connection points and the raised connection pads to the positive (+ve) points.
You may need to shorten the springs of the -ve terminals.  Also the base pads of each terminal may need to be reduced in size so that there can be less chance of short circuits being made.
The new batteries are simple pushed into the case and the case is put together and then hot glued back together again.

There are no pictures as the process is so simple.
The re-celled battery is undistinguishable from a new battery except for the wear and tear scratches on older batteries.

Any help required then please contact me directly.

See the battery wiring diagram. 
The springs are shown on the negative end of the battery.

In the following (second) post.
This is what the old battery looks like when it is opened up!
I have not shown the associated charging and control electronics board.

Attachment: Battery diagram_small.jpg (Downloaded 41 times)

Still learning after all these years!

Posted by jk: Fri May 15th, 2020 18:08 2nd Post
This is what the old battery looks like when it is opened.
N.B. No batter control board or contacts shown.

Click here to comment on this image.

Still learning after all these years!

Posted by jk: Fri May 15th, 2020 18:15 3rd Post
Note that if you use the Nikon MH-22 charger then the replacement batteries should be a similar or higher charge capacity than those currently in the Nikon EN-EL4A.

The charger calibration may or may not work correctly so I dont use it.

Still learning after all these years!

Posted by GeoffR: Fri May 15th, 2020 20:02 4th Post
The problem is that you cannot reset the battery life indicator. Thus it is entirely possible that at some point the camera may just stop recognising the battery. If you know otherwise please let us know. I think I'll stick with third party batteries that have a correct life indication.

Posted by jk: Fri May 15th, 2020 20:10 5th Post
The battery calibration is a hit and miss thing. I dont think I have ever used it.  The battery either works or not.  The indicator implies that the circuit in the battery is some magic device that keeps the battery good, it merely measures the amount of charge used to charge the battery from zero state.

The best batteries to use are the Nikon ones, as the third party ones are of dubious and/or variable quality.  My D3S is very much a second string camera for me these days but does still work exceptionally well.  I prefer my D850 or Z7 or Fuji X series cameras.

Still learning after all these years!

Posted by GeoffR: Sat May 16th, 2020 10:28 6th Post
The battery life indicator, in the Battery Info menu, is nothing to do with calibration it uses a chip on the battery's internal circuit board to count charge cycles. I don't know the details of how it works but charging from "fully discharged" causes the indicator to move faster than does restoring from part charged. I have never used an EN-EL4 much after the indication reached 4 so I don't know what happens if you do.

Third party batteries have improved markedly since the first one I bought in 2005 (from B&H) and the latest ones seem every bit as reliable as genuine Nikon ones. Even if they don't they can be had for a fraction of the price of a new Nikon branded battery and if they give 2/3 of the life I consider that acceptable. Haven't got there yet. Until relatively recently I would have agreed with you that genuine was the best course but having used third party batteries I am now not so sure.

My D3 is a standby too but I use third party EN-EL18 batteries in the D4 bodies without any apparent problems. Paying nearly £190 for a genuine battery for a camera that I paid under £1,000 for doesn't make any sense. Yes I now have a second D4 and no fewer than six batteries but at Nikon prices that would mean I have batteries worth nearly half what I paid for the cameras.

Posted by jk: Sat May 16th, 2020 18:27 7th Post
Like I say I never use the battery life indicator.
The bars in the small LCD on the D3S top screen give me all I need to know.  If I get less than 100 shots from a fully charged battery then I chop out the cells and replace them.  Lithium batteries have a life of around five years if used and recharged regularly.  There are two original manufacturers of 'reputable quality' 18650 Lithium batteries, Panasonic and Sanyo, but now also some others.  They supply to Nikon, Canon, etc...  I use these cells.

I have recelled Nikon batteries for the last 17 years and I am still alive.  No doubt if a person with dubious technical ability does this process then there is a danger they get it wrong, but so is going swimming if you cant swim.  Technically you can drown a person with a glass of water.  
I Do NOT do..... software subscriptions (I purchase, I do not rent software), H&SE (good idea but shame about the execution), and games on computers!  My three rules for myself.  All the previous are a waste of (my) time.  Others are allowed and entitled to their opinion on this.

AFAIK The Nikon EN-EL18 battery is just a EN-EL4a dressed up in different clothes.  There was a huge fuss in the professional and technical forums when the D4 came out with a new/incompatible battery.
I believe it was produced by Nikon to conform to Japanese authorities who had stupid worries that the lithium batteries would exploded it accidentally shorted.  All that was done was to shield the contacts more effectively.  All batteries will catch fire if you short their contacts!!

I have never re-celled an EN-EL18 battery.  If you have a dead one then I would love to have the opportunity to recell it for you so you can test.

If you could take a detailed photo of the D3 v D4 battery contact end that would useful.

Still learning after all these years!

Posted by GeoffR: Sat May 16th, 2020 20:30 8th Post
When the D4 was introduced the EN-EL18 had a lower capacity than an EN-EL4a, supposedly to meet new legislation in Japan relating to energy density. The subsequent iterations of the EN-EL18 have raised the capacity well above that of the EN-EL4a so either the original reason was a fudge or the law in Japan has changed again. The shielding on the contacts looks to be the same on both but investigation reveals that the EN-EL18 contacts are about 1/2mm deeper inside the battery. With an adaptor plate the MH26 can charge both battery types, as well as some Canon batteries for the EOS1D series.

I don't have any "dead" EN-EL18s all six show as near new. I thin that after working in avionics for 45 years I can probably recell a battery!

Last edited on Sat May 16th, 2020 20:32 by GeoffR

Posted by jk: Sat May 16th, 2020 20:38 9th Post
Well that proves my point that Nikon never really needed to change the battery it was done to keep unfounded fears in check.

I am sure that you would be capable of recelling but I had to make the offer!

Still learning after all these years!

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