3rd Party BP-U style batteries And Sony Camcorders (Update)

I wish to update and present the facts that I have regarding potential issues with mainly older 3rd party PB-U batteries. This isn’t here as a scare story, I’m not trying to sensationalise this, just present the facts that I have to hopefully clarify the current situation.

In 2019 I became aware that it was suddenly becoming very hard to buy 3rd party BP-U batteries. Dealers didn’t have any and you couldn’t find them anywhere. Talking to a couple of manufacturers I was informed that they had been told to stop making BP-U batteries.

Then I learnt from Sony that they had been getting an unusually large number of cameras in for repair, cameras that had suddenly and inexplicably stopped working. This they had traced to design issues in some 3rd party batteries. 

As a result of this Sony took action in 2019 to prevent the manufacture of 3rd party BP-U batteries and that’s why you could no longer get them.

Since then however it would appear that the manufacture of 3rd party batteries is once again in full swing. In addition I’ve noticed that some older models have been discontinued, often with new versions replacing them, perhaps a “B” version or a model number numerically higher than before.

From this I must assume that whatever the issue was, it has now been resolved and that the 3rd party BP-U batteries on sale today should be perfectly safe to use with our cameras. I would have no hesitation in today buying a brand new BP-U battery from any of the reputable brands.

I have nothing to gain here. This is not a campaign to make you all buy Sony batteries. Even though Sony do make a very fine battery, I too use 3rd party batteries as I need the D-Tap port found only on 3rd party batteries.

But clearly there was a very real battery issue. I’m led to understand that the cost to repair these damaged cameras was over $1K. While not every user of these batteries ends up with a dead camera, I think you have to ask yourself – is it worth using batteries made in 2019 or earlier? I won’t list the batteries that I know to have problems because the list may be incomplete. Just because a battery is not on the list it would not be a guarantee that it’s safe. However if any 3rd party battery manufacturer is reading this and has the confidence to provide me with a list of batteries that they will guarantee are safe, I will gladly publish that.

Clearly not everyone ends up with a dead camera, perhaps the majority have no issue, but enough did that Sony had to take action and it appears that the manufacturers responded by checking and adjusting their designs if necessary.

So my advice is: Don’t use 3rd party batteries made prior to 2020.  

If you do, then make absolutely sure the camera is completely powered down when inserting or removing the battery. 

I believe that any BP-U battery made in 2020 or later should be safe to use. So please think about replacing any old batteries with new ones, or perhaps contact your battery supplier and ask if what you have is safe. However you should be aware that since 2019 Sony’s own BP-U battery chargers will no longer charge 3rd party batteries.

The information I have presented here is correct to the best of my knowledge and I hope you will use it to make your own decision about which batteries to use.

10 thoughts on “3rd Party BP-U style batteries And Sony Camcorders (Update)”

  1. Do you have a link to a confirmed supplier of the updated (inc d tap) batts? I’m sure there must be a few older ones sitting on dealers shelves gathering that may go out. Cheers for the info

  2. Thanks for this. I can vouch for the Hawk Woods batteries and chargers – they’re quality. Their BP-98UX with 2xD-tap are fantastic.

  3. I’ve used Hawk Woods and Patona batteries with a FS5. I’ve noticed time and date could reset when changing the batteries. Had both also on a FX6 without any issue. But I’ve been warned. Thanks.

    This week a came-tv v-mount assembly arrived. Fits well. I presume there are no issues with power via v-mount?

  4. Alister, in your original article you specifically mentioned IDX as one of the brands that Sony prohibited from selling the batteries. IDX’s BP-U batteries SB-U50 and SB-U98 were made prior to 2020, do you suggest these are not safe?

    1. ALL brands were told to stop selling and check their batteries. As for which specific batteries are safe or not I do not have a definitive list. You would be best to ask IDX.

  5. Thanks Alister. Best tipps.;-)
    I have recently used a hedbox BP95D and i asked the manufacturer before i bought the batteries. But i had some issues. The FX6 could not use the full capacity of the batteries… The status page of the FX6 told me manufactured 2018… Maybe this was the problem. I will buy some sony BP-U and Vmount batteries.

    1. A lot of the 3rd party batteries seem to have issues correctly communicating the capacity to the FX6/FX9 etc. I think this may be because these cameras use more power than previous cameras and this causes the battery voltage to sag more which confuses the power management boards in the batteries.

  6. Thanks for this post Alister. I have recently purchased the IDX batteries, they all work fine at the moment, although as stated above, the U98’s would not be charged by the FX6 charger, the U50’s currently don’t seem to last particularly long, I was putting this down to being brand new. (camera states them being made in 2018, and the Sony BPU made in Dec 2020). I emailed both Hawk Woods and IDX today. HW got back and 1st line stated they will work with FX6, IDX were more elusive , I asked them “should I stop using these batteries”. They said the patent issues have been resolved and that their batts do not give date of mfr so must be default date by Sony. Currently wondering whether to switch to HW?

    1. I’m please to hear that Hawk Woods are prepared to confidently stand by their batteries. Shame IDX are being a bit more elusive.

      IDX are normally a brand I would trust and the issues were with older batteries, so anything purchased in the last 9 months should be fine. But I just don’t know what from before 2019 is OK or not.

  7. Dear Alister, I found on Amazon Baxxtar Bp-u60. They claim in the description to be compatible with FX6 (not with its charger). Do you have any information if they are reliable to use with FX6?
    Many thanks!

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