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GET THE PICTURE: USE THOSE BATTERIES PROPERLY

Camcorders, remote controls and lots of other video equipment run on batteries. Owners can save themselves problems and enhance the usability of their equipment if they review some simple battery basics.

Here's how to achieve top performance from battery-operated equipment.-When batteries in any video component have to be replaced, be sure to replace them all at the same time. One bad or rundown battery can damage the others.

-Special care should be taken when it comes to batteries in a remote control. Mixing carbon zinc batteries with alkaline batteries or different brands of batteries may affect the ability of the remote control to switch the channels and, in general, lower its overall performance. Check labels of batteries carefully to avoid this error.

-Labeling rechargable batteries from A to Z will prevent unintentional mix-ups like recharging a fresh battery again and again. This will also ensure even rotation from one recharge to the next.

-A good tip for camcorder owners: When replacing the mercury or lithium battery in a camcorder, plug the unit into an AC outlet first. This will preserve all the pre-set functions like the day and date features that disappear when the batteries are removed.

-Corrosion can shorten battery life. Video experts recommend opening the battery hatch and cleaning the inside with a rough cloth before installing new batteries.