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What to do if your digital camera's batteries drain too quickly

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Digital cameras commonly experience ultra-fast battery drain, a problem that causes many users to trash the old camera and buy a new one.

Not so fast. Here are some things to try before forking over $100 or more for a new camera.

Some cameras that use AA or AAA batteries function better using rechargeables, so you may want to try a set of those to see if they last longer. Rechargeable batteries cost more than regular alkaline batteries, and you need to buy a charger to go with them. However, you can buy several rechargeable batteries that work with the charger and use them in other household items we well as kids' toys, to save money on battery purchases in the long run.

Some alkaline batteries last longer than others, too. Shunning cheaper brands in favor of Duracell or Energizer could make a big difference in how many photos you get out of a set of batteries.

Another thing you can try is cleaning the battery connectors with a clean, dry cotton swab. You want to gently clean the contacts on the battery cover, then very carefully clean the ones inside the camera, if you can do so without having to cram the swab into the slot. You don't want to risk damaging any sensitive camera components.

You can fix some cameras' battery woes by completing draining the device of residual power - energy stored within the camera to enhance performance and speed power-up time. On many cameras, such as Canon models, you accomplish this by removing the batteries and replacing the battery cover, then holding in the power (on/off) button for one minute. Time yourself, since the minute will go by slowly when you're holding in a camera button for that period of time.

Let go of the button after the minute is up, then insert fresh batteries and replace the cover. Check to see if you can get a reasonable number of pictures from the new batteries. For most cameras, you should get over 100 shots. However, keep in mind that the process of transferring photos to your computer over a USB cable can place a significant drain on the batteries in some cameras, severely limiting the number of shots you get from them.

Should you still require support, try searching the online knowledge base for the camera's manufacturer. You can also try contacting the company's email support center. Response times can vary widely, but Canon tends to respond very quickly. Here are Web site support links for some of the most popular digital camera makers.

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