My daughter was leaving on a four-day trip and asked me for a new set of batteries for her Samsung digital camera. I always have four NiMH batteries "simmering" in a trickle charger, so that there is always a set fully charged and ready to go.
She thanked me, took them, and returned minutes later. "I hate my camera!" Turning it on, the battery meter showed three bars: fully charged. "Wait a couple of minutes," she instructed me. Sure enough, the battery meter suddenly turned red (the sign of empty batteries) and the camera shut itself down.
I tried different rechargeable batteries. Same problem. I stuck in a pair of alkalines that I happened to have nearby. While playing with her camera, trying to find the problem, I noticed a menu item named Battery. There was the problem:
The battery type was set to Alkaline, but she was using rechargeable. I changed the setting to NiMH, and the camera worked correctly.
Here's what happened:
* Alkaline batteries have a nominal voltage of 1.5V (volts) and are nearly dead when the voltage drops to around 1.2V.
* NiMH (and other rechargeable) batteries have a nominal voltage of 1.2V.
When you stick NiMHs into a camera (or other device) expecting alkalines, the camera assumes the batteries are nearly dead, because it measures a voltage of just 1.2V. Change the setting to NiMH, and the camera then realizes that the "low" voltage of 1.2V is normal.
A consumer camera should not have an alkaline setting; it's just too confusing!