Why Can’t I Get Third Party BP-U Batteries any more?

In the last month or so it has become increasingly hard to find dealers or stores with 3rd party BP-U style batteries in stock.

After a lot of digging around and talking to dealers and battery manufacturers it became apparent that Sony were asking the manufacturers of BP-U style batteries to stop making and selling them or face legal action. The reason given being that the batteries impinge on Sony’s Intellectual Property rights.

Why Is This Happening Now?

It appears that the reason for this clamp down is because it was discovered that the design of some of these 3rd party batteries was such that the battery could be inserted into the camera in a way that instead of power flowing through the power pins to the camera, power was flowing through the data pins. This will burn out the circuit boards in the camera and the camera will no longer work.

Users of these damaged cameras, unaware that the problem was caused by the battery were sending them back to Sony for repair under warranty. I can imagine that many arguments would have then followed over who was to pay for these potentially very expensive repairs or camera replacements.

So it appears that to prevent further issues Sony is trying to stop potentially damaging batteries from being manufactured and sold.

This is good and bad. Of course no one wants to use a battery that could result in the need to replace a very expensive camera with a new one (and if you were not aware it was the battery you could also damage the replacement camera). But many of us, myself included, have been using 3rd party batteries so that we can have a D-Tap power connection on the battery to power other devices such as monitors.

Only Option – BP-U60T?

Sony don’t produce batteries with D-Tap outlets. They do make a battery with a hirose connector (BP-U60T), but that’s not what we really want and compared to the 3rd party batteries it’s very expensive and the capacity isn’t all that high.

BP-U60T Why Can't I Get Third Party BP-U Batteries any more?
Sony BP-U60T with 4 pin hirose DC out.

So where do we go from here?

If you are going to continue to use 3rd party batteries, do be very careful about how you insert them and be warned that there is the potential for serious trouble. I don’t know how widespread the problem is.

We can hope perhaps that maybe Sony will either start to produce batteries with a D-Tap of their own. Or perhaps they can work with a range of chosen 3rd party battery manufacturers to find a way to produce safe batteries with D-Tap outputs under licence.

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11 thoughts on “Why Can’t I Get Third Party BP-U Batteries any more?”

  1. As always, big thanks to you Alister for your profound analyse and findings.
    For myself, I have following strategy:
    – I use V-Mount batteries via XDCA. Yes it is heavier, on the other side brings more lenght contributing for the balancing. I personally do not see a point powering additional equipment like light or 3rd party viewer from the BP D-Tap, saving the weight (or bulkinnes) on the back side but bringing that on the front/top side.
    – for the gimbal DJI Ronin 2 I power using the certified power cable attached to the DJI Ronin batteries that one have to have anyhow in order to operate that Ronin 2 equipment.
    – for the sliders, like Edelkrone Pro I use, I can operate them with the V-Mount battery and again via certified cable I power the camera too.
    – For everything else, I still have that one BP battery that was delivered with the camera.
    Would like to hear the experience of other people.

    1. For a long time I have been using my FS5 with 95Wh Dynacore BP-U’s. The battery will power the camera and an atomos Shogun for almost 3 hours. The whole package is compact and I only need to take one type of battery.

      Now adding the FX9 to a lot of projects I want to still use just one type of battery across all my equipment so I don’t have to take lots of different kinds of batteries or multiple chargers. Especially when travelling to remote locations. BP-U 95Wh with D-Tap fits the bill nicely. Small, compact, powerful, no adapters to forget, same battery on my FS5, FX9 etc.

      I also have a lot of V-Mount batteries, but they are bulky and V-Mount adapters add weight and bulk I often don’t need or want. I would need two different battery systems for the FS5 and FX9.

      When using the D-Tap output a single battery powers the camera, mounted at the rear of the camera as usual and a cable takes the power to the accessories. One battery to power everything, no extra weight up top.

  2. That is kinda scary. We’re using the SWIT S-8U63 for years now and never experienced such damages as mentioned above. Are we just lucky or are the SWITs safe to use? Is there anybody else who uses the SWITs and can share some experience?

  3. Would be good to know which batteries are damaging the cameras. Does this apply only to the FX9 or FS7 (1 and 2) / FS5 as well?
    The love/ hate with Sony goes on. That battery with the Hirose is too small and shows that they don’t understand what we need out in the field. Grrr.

  4. Nobody has ever mentionned such problem on the facebook page of the fs5 for example, so I’m quite surprised with how radical the answer from Sony is. Their official batteries are simply too expensive, so I’ll hurry and get a hedbox-bp95d for my fs5 while I still can.

    I think it’s a reliable product and swit batterie are as well, from what I read.

  5. I am also using the SWIT batteries, one of which intermittently causes an error on the LCD screen when attempting to turn the camera on.
    It would be great to know if there’s a way to test the batteries in order to know if they are safe.

    1. I cannot find any references to problems on the internet. But this does appear to be a very real problem. Sony have been allowing 3rd party BP-U batteries to be produced for almost 10 years. So you do have to wonder why the clamp down now after all this time. The reasons given by Sony do seem quite plausible.

  6. I’ve had good luck with the 96Wh IDX version of the BP-U w/D-Tap. No real issues to speak of. They are currently still for sale on B&H…I bought another one just in case.

  7. There should be a way to test a battery to make sure that they aren’t sending too much power to the data ports right? I have several third party batteries that I’ve been using for a while with no problems but it would be nice to know for sure that I’m safe.

    1. All I know is that the two outer most pins are the power and ground pins and there should not be a voltage present on any of the other pins.

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