Rollei 6000 battery upgrade

I have received a few questions on various forums about upgrading the standard Rollei NiCd battery. First of all, thanks to various contributors at the Rollei forum on photo.net for their assistance.

Rollei 6000 battery

Why change anything? When the Rollei 6000 platform was released with the 6006 model in 1983, battery technology was very different from today. The cells used were 500mAh NiCd cells from Sanyo. These work, of course, but have quite limited capacity. I would often have to change batteries mid-shoot. An unwelcome interruption.

Today, NiMH cells of 1500mAh capacity or more are readily available, in the same specification as the original cells. The upgrade is simply a matter of rebuilding the battery by replacing the older cells with modern NiMH equivalents. You will need 2/3A size 1.2V NiMH cells. I recommend 1300mAh or more.

This is how the battery looks on the inside:

As you can see, adjacent cells are connected by spot-welded tabs. It is essential that the battery is rebuilt the same way. The cells only just squeeze into the casing and soldered contacts are too large and will NOT allow the cells to fit. I’m talking from experience here 🙂

The labour to rebuild the battery cost $16. The Intellect 1600mAh cells I use cost $2ea plus shipping. You can get them from rcmart.com and many other places. You will need 8 of them.

After the upgrade, I was curious to see how many shots the new battery would last for. So I sat on my couch and took 1,000 shots before I gave up. The battery showed no signs of slowing down and was still full-strength on the 6008AF’s battery indicator. I haven’t had a shoot interrupted by the battery since, and it’s good for peace of mind to have that much extra capacity in case you need it. (I am about the rebuild a second battery to give me more than I’ll ever need, and a backup in case of failure).

Warning: The original Rollei charger is designed only for NiCd cells, and is not compatible with the upgraded battery! You will need to use one of many available ‘intelligent’ battery chargers to charge the new battery. This is also not a bad thing as many of these chargers will condition a battery properly and maximize its lifespan. I happen to use a Maha MH-C777Plus-II, but there may be better options out there.

UPDATE, 31 March, 2011: I recently spoke to a battery technician and showed her a Rollei battery pack. We discussed the upgrade but soon discovered that her supplier of 2/3A cells was producing the cells at a size slightly larger than the standard specification. These cells were less than 1mm longer but that is enough to make it impossible for the battery to fit inside the case. I thought I should pass along this news to you all – be careful when ordering cells that they are the standard 2/3A size. If in any doubt, use the same cells that you know others have had success with. Good luck!

24 comments so far

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  1. Thanks for sharing this! Rebuilding batteries should also be taken with precautions because batteries have contents that are poisonous.

  2. I have a 6008i and 6008AF. Recently, I have been on the adventure of trying to rebuild the few 6008 batteries. I’ve done research and and came to this site. Based on the information, I contacted some local battery specialists and took two of my old batteries to get rebuilt. They replaced both with new nicd 1.2v 700 mA cells for $40 each (great price). I took the batteries home, charged them. The charger is the older style without the discharge function. They seem to charge ok (red light came on and after 2 hours, it went off).

    When I put the new battery in the 6008AF, it flashed “CHARGE” a few times and then stayed on with the message “CHARGE”. I said, DAMN!!!

    Tried the other battery and the same thing..DAMN DAMN.

    Called the Battery place and he said that it might be the new batteries require some cycling. Luckily, I have a Maha charger that allows discharging. I ran the pack several time through the cycle (discharge and recharge). The voltage was just slightly about 10v so and it indicated around 740 mAh after charging.

    Put in the camera, the camera showed partial charge display…there was hope!!! I left the battery overnight and then next morning… CHARGE again appeared on the camera.

    I couldn’t figure out what is going on…DAMN!!

    I went back to the Battery place and they said that they don’t know what’s going on. I wanted to just say that I have another Rollei battery pack that is still good. So, to make sure that it’s not the Camera, I charged it and the camera showed full charge and worked normally.

    So what could it be??

    I did some more research and camera across a place in California, Battery Specialties, that has been indicated in various forums that they rebuild the batteries. I called them up and asked them that if they rebuild Rollei 6008 batteries. They said they did, however, on the one they did, the customer complained that the camera doesn’t recognize the battery as fully charged and they are not sure why it happened since they have done this before with no complain.

    ** Below is my conjecture with no other proof that what I tried **

    He also mentioned that he got to call the New Jersey place that does the battery rebuild, trying to understand why his batteries do not work but theirs (NJ place) works. When he called the NJ place, he was told that they import their batteries from Germany since although the spec is 1.2V, the german made ones give you 1.25V and the 0.05V makes the difference

    I realized at that moment that it might be the version of the camera, i.e. 6008i or older versus 6008 AF. And perhaps, the 6008 AF has more accurate circuits and requires 10V (i.e. 1.25 v * 8 = 10 V versus 1.2 * 8 = 9.6V)!!!

    So, I got my packed away 6008i out, put my rebuilt battery in and it worked!!! although with battery level being low (bc 3 is the indication) while the same battery in 6008 AF would just flash CHARGE.

    Sorry for the long winded message but I thought this might be useful to someone else…or perhaps they can correct me.

    p.s. haven’t spelled/grammer checked anything above so apologies for any typos.

    • 1.2 volts is the NOMINAL voltage of a 2/3a cell. When a fresh good quality cell is fully charged it puts out more voltage than that. In all likelihood whoever rebuilt your battery just used crappy cells. You don’t have to send off to Germany to get proper 2/3a NiCad cells. The Rollei original battery contained Sanyo 2/3a cells. I believe Sanyo is Japanese not German.

      Anyway your battery is made up of NiCad cells. The author used NiMH. I got some Tenergy 1600 mAh NiMH cells for $30 shipped. I got 16 cells to recell two Rollei 6008i batteries. Then I paid a local battery store $10 a pop to recell the Rollei batteries. They worked the moment I put them in my Rollei 6008i. I hadn’t charged them. When I charged them up I put over 1000 mAmps into each cell. So at only 1/3 charge they worked fine. In fact when I popped them in before charging the camera indicated FULL CHARGE.

      The other thing you should do is get a good charger. I got a Cellpro Multi4 combo package. Shipped it was less than $100 I believe. Get the Cellpro Multi 4 Charger w/ FUIM3 and PS12VDC PSU Combo. The problem is the website isn’t clear. You have to get the charger AND a power supply at a minimum. The FUIM3 interface allows you to connect the charger to your computer and you can easily do firmware updates, set charging parameters, and monitor charging progress with real time graphs. You can charge all kinds of batteries on the charger. And it comes with a bunch of preset programs you can select.

      Oh, by the way the Tenergy 1600 mAh cells seem to have been a tight fit. My batteries bulge a bit and have to be FORCED into the camera. I am not happy about this and I don’t know if it is the battery or the manner in which the battery was rebuilt, but I am not a pro photographer and under normal use and storage I assume I will only have to remove and reinsert the battery once every couple of months… if even that often.

    • Hi,

      I have a 6008i and a 6006. I sent two packs away to be re-celled with NimH by a professional firm.

      I was told that the packs would need 2 charges per recharge when using the Rollei charger to fill to maximum capacity.

      When in my 6008i, the shutter releases, the wind motor ‘grinds’ slowly and the “CHARGE” warning illuminates until the wind has finished and then all is OK, showing a full battery. This is repeated at each release. This happens with both packs. I had the packs checked out by the rebuilder who said all the cells are working to spec. I do not use the packs in my 6008i anymore in case the system locks up. The packs work perfectly in my 6006.

      I am guessing that the NimH packs cannot deliver the instant high current demand required by the 6008i – and possibly later cameras – that have a 1.25 amp fuse. The 6002 and 6006 have a 1 amp fuse.

      Reading the varied comments posted here, it is possible that an adjustable component on the the 6008 cameras’ battery condition circuitry may be set within parameters for NiCds but the parameter range may be too large for NimH cells. Thus some cameras could be set to an outer limit which will allow them to run OK but others set towards the other extreme meaning they do not work. If this is the case, then maybe the factory (or repairer) may be able to adjust the parameters to suit NimH packs. From my memory of physics, I assume the circuitry is based on the “Wheatstone Bridge”

      I do not know where the cells used in my packs have been sourced but I know that there were ready bundled cells available on Ebay from China, which just had to be inserted in the casings once the wires had been connected to the pack socket.

      DHW are supplying NimH packs now that NiCds have been banned.

      • Thanks for the post, John. It’s good to know that DHW are selling NiMH packs now. I think that’s an obvious choice now (assuming the price is reasonable).

  3. Great article! Rebuilding battery needs to be done with caution. If you don’t know how to do it, let someone do it for you.

  4. Robert, I wanted to emphasize that I did take the battery to a professional vendor that deals with only high quality batteries (they are the source for many other businesses) so I don’t think it was a crappy battery. From your comment, it doesn’t sound that you actually tried to rebuild the battery pack with a NiCd’s. If that is the case, I am assuming you are statement as to the quality is a conjecture.

    Appreciate your reference to a NiMH battery approach but my intent is not to loose the use of my Rollei charger. As I mentioned, I do have an excellent charger (Maha).

    I would appreciate if someone can comment on if they were successful rebuilding the batteries with NiCds and specifically which camera they have (6008i, 6008AF, etc.)

    • “Robert, I wanted to emphasize that I did take the battery to a professional vendor that deals with only high quality batteries (they are the source for many other businesses) so I don’t think it was a crappy battery.”

      Jim, if you build a battery out of eight 1.2 volt NiCad cells and at full charge when new they can only muster 9.6 volts then they are by definition “crappy batteries” or more accurately “crappy cells.” As I stated 1.2 volts is the NOMINAL voltage. A brand new cell that has just been fully charged will put out more than 1.2 volts. All batteries I have experience with lose voltage as they discharge. If they were to start off at their nominal voltage when fully charged they would spend most of their discharge cycle below their nominal voltage. Anyway this matter can be cleared up easily. Fully charge the battery and then check the voltage with a volt meter. Either the cells are low quality or there is a problem with the wiring of the battery. A hobby or battery store should have a volt meter and be able to check the voltage for you. Bottom line if wired correctly into a battery there is simply no way eight high quality new NiCad 1.2 volt cells will output a maximum of 9.6 volts when fully charged. Impossible.

      • I appreciate the logic. However, have you re-built a NiCad battery for 6008 AF?

  5. I’m totally green to 6008 and the question of batteries and their replacement. The camera that is on its way to me has had the bat pack replaced with nimethi and he states there is the same 540 something or other and can use the Rollei N charger but that one needs to remove the battery for a short while after 1hour charge and then replace as nickel metal hydride take 3 hours to charge use charger N

    Is there an appropriate charger you could recommend or a company I could discuss with?

    Regards Tony Palmer, UK

  6. Hi Tony, I only tried the one charger which I mentioned in the article, but any decent NiMH charger should do the trick. Some may be even better than the one I tried. If in doubt, speak to your local hobby shop with remote controlled cars/planes. They have lots of experience with battery packs and chargers.

  7. Hi guys,
    I’m Attilio and I’m new at this site,moreover I’m Italian and so may be that my english is not as required. Apologize for that, I’m continuing to learn it.
    I’ve found this discussion doing a research for the maximum voltage at which is possible powering the 6008, this because II would like try to use Lipo battery. but …. this is another thing, What I can say at everybody you is that I’m an expert in battery, and I think to have understand that the mentioned problem is attributable to a simply fact:
    Any power source, has more then two parameters, the two mentioned in this discussion are Voltage and capacity. The first parameter (voltage) depend by chemistry of battery, so each battery of same chemistry has same voltage ( at parity of charge). The nominal voltage for NiCd and NiMh is the same, 1,2 volts, this nominal voltage isn’t the tension at full charge. Between NiCd and NiMh there is a bit of difference, but this don’t care. The second parameter, capacity, is expressed in Ah (ampere/hour) in our case mA/h (milliampere/hour) this is like the capacity of the tank of your car, more is big more kilometer (miles for americans) you can travel. To be clear, more high is the capacity of battery, more rolls you can shot.
    There are some other parameter that are not consider in the previous posts, but for semplicity I summarize in Power, that is to say the capacity to make a work in a gave time, that in elettrical world means the capacity of supply current. To come back to the sample of car, you may have a Fiat 500 or a Lamborghini, both are able to arrive at 100 kilometer/hour, but if you drive the Fiat you need 12 /15 second or more starting from 0, if you drive the Lamborghini you may arrive at 100 km/h in less that 4 second, this is due to the more high power of Lamborghini. So, normally, NiCd are able to give more power, but less capacity, is a Lamborghini with the tank of a Fiat, the NiMh has more capacity but with less power, is a Fiat with the tank of a Lamborghini. When our camera is powered up, it check the battery, and if the battery don’t has a good power, the camera see the battery as not fully charged. This means that the battery don’t have the power to give the needed current, also if the tension (voltage) is O.K.
    Who of you has a tester, can check that if measure the voltage of a battery without any load is higher than the voltage measured with a load. To do this is enough a battery, a tester and a lamp.
    Many kind of NiMh battery are of good quality, have a long life, have a good capacity and other good quality, but aren’t able to supply a sufficient current, specially istant current for when winder start and in case of 6008AF for focus motor. This is, in my mind, the reason for why some refurbished battery don’t give the expected results.
    what i want do now, is use the new and performant battery Li-Po or Li-fe, but the problem is that these chemistry has a full carge tension of 4,2 volt for Lipo and 3,6 V for Li-fe, this means that a pack of three cells give a tension of 12,6 in first case and of 10,8 volt in second case. in this second case I’m sure that there aren’t any problem, because the Nicd pack voltage at full charge is over 11,4 volt, but the Li-Fe battery are difficult to manage, and moreover I don’t have found at now, cells with right measure to fit them in our rollei cells box, about the Li-Poli I’ve already done a pack, with a capacity of 1,2A/h ( 1200 ma/H) and with the cacpacity of give more power of how much any NiCd has gave in the story of batteris, But … there is always a but… before test it in my camera I want be sure that 12,6 volt don’t damage my loved camera. To be sure of this I need that someone that has the Powerinterface code 66269 ( http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/224053-REG/Rollei_66269_Power_Interface.html) do me a favor: open it and look if inside there is only a wire that connect power in to power out, of if there is inside a voltage regulator, and if it there, take some picture of it.
    At who can do this for me I’ll refurbish gratis his battery pack with Li-Poli or Li-fe, but mind that these battery need a charger very differently from the charger for NICd. If charged with a NiCd charger may explode. A good and light charger cost arround 80 100 USD.

    Hope this my text may help everybody to understand this misterious world of battery, and hope someone may help me in this my project.
    Thank you

  8. Hi, does anybody out there know whether or not it is safe to replace orig. nicad batteries of Rollei SL3003 with more modern nickel metal hydride?

  9. Hi Kevin,
    On my 3003 I’ve replaced battery with a new set of Nicd, without try the ‘more modern” MiMh, I think the problem may be on charger, the sensitivity on the curve for stop charge is different and NiMh need a more sensitive charger, otherwise may go on overcharge, I think that a 600 mah is enough and I don’t need more capacity, so I had preferred mantain the tecnology as native in NiMh. This for me, but sure isn’t dangerous for camera, the only risk is that battery life is shortly for the above overcharge.
    however this problem is resolved if you buy a standard charger for NiMh and use it instead the original one.

  10. Finaly I reached the solution !!!
    Now my 6008 AF is powered with a new battery tecnology. Moreover, I’ve tested this on a 6002, 6006, 6008i and SLX. all model works fine with the new battery type.
    It’s a Lifepo4 ( Litium/íron ) battery, very similar to the more known lipo (litium polimer). this kind of battery don’t have any memory effect, has a high ratio power/weight and has a discharge curve much more linear than the NiCd battery.
    Has less problem than the LiPo, and more important has less voltage, so three cells reach our goal in terms of maximum voltage.
    All the above means that battery is more lightweight, has more autonomy, and for who don’t use it often, there isn’t the problem of auto discharge or loss of power due to memory effect.
    But .. there is always a but, MUST be charged with a different charger, if try to charge them with the original charger or with a NiCd standard charger, probably may destroy the charger or worse, battery may explode.
    At this moment I have two prototype of this modified battery, that I’m using for myself, with great satisfaction, but in few week, the exchange service will start, you send your old NiCd battery and receive back the new Lifepo4 with the dedicated charger.
    The battery pack, for security reason will be modified so as to prevent an accidental insertion in the original rolley battery charger. So battery is connectable to your camera but not to your old charger.
    This service will be given from an irish company, ( I’m taking agreement )
    When they will be ready I’ll post their data… if admin Graham agree.
    New long life to all our rollei Slx, 600x series

    • Hi Attilio,

      Thanks for ur research do u have the info/address of the company who’s capable of modifying the battery (are they Irish)?



    • Attilio, I would be interested in your LifePo4 mod. Is there any way to contact you?

  11. Plug in the charger. Insert the btretay. Look at the little light on the charger. It will probably blink while the btretay charges and become a steady light when charged.BUT: What does your user manual say?Call if this gets too complex. 800.OK-CANONIt takes about 2 hours to charge my Li-ion btretay.References : digiPro

  12. I recently got my batteries changed at a professional battery place but now the battery charger light stays yellow, never goes green. I took them back but they said it was working??? Does any one have a wiring picture in the battery inards? that way I can at least check if they wired it correctly. Heeeelp! Please

  13. Can anyone tell me what a Rollei charger M is. I have a SLX and 6006 I believe that it came with the SLX but it only has a green light the red light is plugged. The G charger from the 6006 works fine for both.

  14. Daryl, you don’t need a wiring diagram just start with the + wire and remember that + always goes to – and vise versa from battery to battery until you get to the other end which is a negative wire. The 1.2V cells are wired in series (add up) and therefore the total of the 8 cells wired from one to another will be 9.6V. It is the same principal as a flashlight that takes several cells, each on top of the other with their + and – poles touching. Good luck, Bob.

  15. Going back to Kevin in 2015, NimH in a 3003 battery pack is fine. I have renewed the cells on two of my packs with standard Nimh AA size cells, self soldered – they just fit – and have had no problems. John

  16. Rollei chargers:

    Charger L is fast charger for 2000/3000. The slow charger (battery plate attached to plug transformer) has no indication as to connection and charging. It used to drive mad when the battery was not charged after 8 hours, so I bought a rapid charger. That works happily with NiCd and NimH. It has voltage adjustable mains voltage input. The rapid goes to trickle once the battery temperature reaches a limit. There are two metal locating plates which have a sensor attached underneath.

    Charger C was the ‘latest’ charger (circa 2010) having a red discharge button on the top. This button should NOT be used with anything other than NiCd. It has a 15-18v input and is powered by a plug transformer. It has one indicator – flashing green=no battery; flashing red=discharge; red=charging; green=fully charged; yellow=error.

    Charger N is the one supplied with my 6008i. It has a rapid charge and then reverts to trickle after a set time/charge level is reached. It is electronic (no transformer – so light weight) has a 100/240v automatic input, 12v input and a 12v DC output. It has two indicators – green=power on; pulsing green=pulsed trickle (meaning that the battery can, in theory, be left on charge indefinitely; red=rapid charge.

    Charger M is a slow charger supplied (I assume) with SLX cameras. It has a built in transformer with input voltage settings – so is heavy. It only has one green light which indicates power on and charging. It has adjustable mains voltage input. With NiCd it would probably take about 8 -12 hours to charge and then the battery should be removed to prevent over charging.

    I have seen mention of Charger G but I do not have one in my collection, so cannot supply information. I think this the model supplied with 6002/6006 cameras and would have been transformer powered having a rapid with automatic trickle charge. I seem to remember that I had one with my 6002 but did not take any notice of its name. It was not ‘kind’ to NiCd’s because having done the rapid charge, it switched over to trickle and the battery could not be left permanently on charge. This model was thus superseded with the Charger N for that reason.

  17. This seems to have quite an high google raiting since it is very well frequented I will post here a link to a iFixit guide for a LiFePO4 conversation of Rollei 6000 series batteries.