Bypassing manufacturer-imposed battery lockouts


When [Barret] went to use his camera the other day it kept shutting down on him, and upon inspecting the battery, he found that it was a bit swollen. Knowing that he needed a replacement, he turned to an aftermarket battery he had sitting around, but grew pretty annoyed when his Sony Cybershot camera would not accept it.

Apparently a recent firmware update causes his camera to reject non-Sony batteries, a situation he describes as “battery DRM”. There was no way he was going to pony up another $50 to Sony instead of using the perfectly good $10 battery he already had, so he decided to rectify the issue himself.

He stripped both batteries of their plastic coatings, revealing the lithium cells and their charging circuits. He desoldered the PCB from his Sony battery, transplanting it to his aftermarket battery after a little bit of trimming. He wrapped everything up with some tape and gave his franken-battery a spin. It worked a treat, and he was so satisfied with it that he did a similar swap in his aging Logitech mouse.

As more and more companies lock competitors out of the user-replaceable consumables market, these sorts of hacks are certain to become more and more prevalent.

62 thoughts on “Bypassing manufacturer-imposed battery lockouts

  1. *Resurrecting an old thread*
    This kind of “DRM” application to hardware will most likely cause the second hand market for used oem batteries to go up, so that people can harvest the legit circuit boards. It seems like such a costly and wasteful manufacturing process for companies to lock down the consumable part of devices, but corporate greed usually trumps reason. It’s sad that the days of good cell phones are gone. I remember my Motorola Timeport flip phone from 2000 was an awesome phone. Better reception than any phone I’ve ever tried. It had an OLED display way before it was all the rage in consumer displays. And it had an adapter that fit inside the phone to let you run it off standard AAA batteries in a pinch. What happened to that kind of usefulness/value???

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