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Batteries: Battery chargers

Chargers for NB-2L batteries

If you bought an EOS 350D in Europe, it probably came with the CB-2LTE charger. This accepts a single battery at a time. It comes with power cords to suit the 3-pin UK power points, and the 2-pin power points found in other European countries.

In the USA, the EOS Digital Rebel XT (equivalent to the EOS 350D) came with the CB-2LT charger, which has built-in pins to plug directly into USA power points.

For the EOS 400D, the charger was upgraded to the CB-2LWE, with power cables for the UK and other European countries. In the USA, the charger for the Digital Rebel XTi (equivalent to the EOS 400D) is the CB-2LW, which plugs directly into a power socket.

As far as we can tell, the only thing that has changed between the chargers is the charge indicator lamp. It is in a different position on the CB-2LWE/CB-2LW compared with the CB-2LTE/CB-2LT. Also, the lamp on the CB-2LTE/CB-2LT changes from red to green when the battery is charged; on the CB-2LWE/CB-2LW, the indicator lamp changes from orange to green.

NB-2LE battery and charger.

Chargers for BP-500 series batteries

If your camera uses BP-500 series (511, 512, etc.) batteries, the charger you receive with your camera kit will depend on where you live and when you bought the camera.

The EOS D30 and D60 cameras were supplied with battery charger CA-PS400. This unit can hold and charge two battery packs. Charging starts with the first battery pack attached. After this battery pack is charged, the unit starts charging the second battery pack. After the charging of both battery packs is completed (both charge lamps are continuously on), you should leave both battery packs in the charger for two more hours to reach a full charge. The unit can be used equally well for charging a single battery pack (for a full charge, leave the charger on for one hour after the charge lamp is continuously lit up).

If you live and Europe and have a BP-500 compatible camera other than the EOS D30 and D60, you probably received the CB-5L charger with the camera kit. This accepts a single battery at a time. It comes with power cords to suit the 3-pin UK power points, and the 2-pin power points found in other European countries.

In the USA, you will probably receive the CG-580 charger. This has built-in pins and plugs directly into USA power points. Like the CB-5L, it only charges one battery at a time.

Charging time depends on the ambient temperature, and the level to which the battery pack is already charged.

With all three units, the level of charge is indicated by a flashing red light. One flash each second indicates a charge of between 0% and 50%. Two flashes per second shows a charge between 50% and 75%. Three flashes a second puts the charge around 80%. A steady light means that the battery is charged, but it is a good idea to leave the battery in the active charger for around an hour after the light becomes steady for a full charge.


From left to right the CG-580, CB-5L and CA-PS400 battery chargers.

Charger for NP-E3, LP-E4 batteries

EOS-1 series cameras are the only EOS cameras with chargers that enable you to carry out a ‘refresh charge’ on the battery. This conditions the battery to make sure that it is performing properly. You can carry out a refresh charge whenever you feel the battery life is decreasing.

We don’t have any data on how many times you can carry out a refresh charge, but most rechargeable batteries are good for 1,000 recharge/discharge cycles.

To check the battery performance, attach the battery to the charger and press the Calibrate/Performance button while the battery is charging. The LED lights along the top of the charger will glow green. If all three show green, the battery is performing optimally. If only two show green, you need to perform a refresh charge. If only one lights up, the battery is reaching the end of its life and you will need to replace it shortly.

To refresh the battery, simply attach the battery to the charger and press Refresh (for NP-E3 batteries) or Calibrate/Performance (LP-E4 batteries). This will discharge the battery before fully recharging it.

The LP-E4 battery includes a battery performance meter. The battery and camera communicate with each other, so the camera can measure whether the battery is performing at optimum levels. This is indicated on the camera in the Battery Performance screen and on the charger.

To ensure that the camera reads this information correctly, it may be necessary to perform a Calibration/Performance charge. If this is the case, the Cal/Charge light will blink red on the charger.

The Canon battery charger for LP-E4 batteries.

EOS-1D Mark III & EOS-1Ds Mark III

Canon conservatively estimates that the LP-E4 battery used in the EOS-1D Mark III and EOS-1Ds Mark III can produce around 1,800 to 2,500 shots on a single charge. Evidence from photographers who are putting the cameras through its paces suggests that in excess of 4,500 frames on a charge is not unknown. Some photographers have managed 4,000+ frames with more than 15% battery charge remaining.

EOS 5D Mark II, EOS 7D, EOS 60D, EOS 5D Mark III

The LP-E6 battery was designed specifically for the EOS 5D Mark II and is also used in the EOS 7D, EOS 60D and EOS 5D Mark III. Like the battery for the EOS-1 Series Mark III cameras, it uses Lithium Ion technology for better battery life. The LC-E6 charger looks and functions in a similar way to those for the BP-Series, with a series of flashing lights indicating charge capacity.


The LC-E6 charger for the LP-E6 battery in the EOS 5D Mark II.

EOS 1000D

Even the entry-level models in the EOS range are starting to see the benefits of Li-Ion batteries. The EOS 1000D features the LP-E5, which is a smaller version of the LP-E6 in the EOS 5D Mark II. It has its own charger, the LC-E5.