Fastest Way to Charge RICOH THETA V - With Electrical Current Test Results

I’m in the process of testing different USB ports to see how well they work for charging the RICOH THETA camera. I’m using the Keweisi KWS-V29 USB Voltage Tester, which I bought for $7 on Amazon with free shipping. This device is useful for conditions when your camera won’t charge and you’re trying different combinations of USB cables and ports, but you don’t know if the problem is with your cable, the camera, or the USB charger.

Test Cases

  • USB charging port built-into my desk from Costco
  • ASUS Chromebook Flip USB 2.0
  • Acer Predator 300 laptop USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
  • Portable battery


Fasting charging is from a portable battery.

Test Condition and Equipment

Camera Battery State

Camera battery is at 77%. Side LED is Yellow.

Test Results

Higher amperage is better.

Plugged Into Charging Port of Desk

Slow. 0.20 Amps

Plugged Into Chromebook

This Chromebook only has USB 2.0. It is old. Test done when computer was not plugged into the AC.

Very Slow: 0.11 Amps

With THETA Images Mounted on Chromebook

Charging from Portable Battery

Moderately fast, but still slow. 0.61 Amps.

Charging While in Live Streaming Mode

Internal camera battery is draining while camera is streaming. 0.26 Amps charge to camera not able to compensate for power used by camera to stream the video.



This test done with the USB 3.0 port of Acer Predator 300. THETA V is live streaming 4K video.

Overview Of Battery Status Lights

Light is on the power button on the side of the camera.

80% or more Blue
50 to 80% Yellow
30 to 50% Lights red
Under 30% Flashes red

Baseline Comparison of Charging Speeds of Other Android Devices

Pixel 2 charges at a rate of 1.28 Amps when charged into the same port that was charging the THETA at 0.41 Amps.

1 Like

The USB cable you are using…does it have all 4 wires? Some USB cables only have the power wires connected and the data lines are needed to negotiate a charge rate.

I believe the microUSB cable does have 4 wires. I tested different cables. The Google Pixel 2 is using a USB type C, which is faster.

The RICOH THETA Z1 has a type C USB port and can draw more current.

What does Ricoh specify as the best way to charge for the different Theta devices? If I am understanding your example correctly, in order to stream at all there must be a charge in the battery and it will drain as the streaming continues. The USB spec provides for negotiation between device and charger. Perhaps the Theta is not negotiating this properly?

With the THETA V, we’ve streamed for around 8 hours at a show. With the THETA Z1, you can stream indefinitely as the camera is charging while streaming.

What is this I hear about some Theta Vs getting damaged by wall chargers?

RICOH officially recommends that you plug the camera into your computer to charge it. I haven’t seen a recommendation from RICOH for a wall charger that I can remember.

I believe that this is a situation where you have to take the risk on your own.

In my personal experience, I’ve used dozens of RICOH THETA cameras with wall chargers and have never had a problem. It’s possible that some chargers can cause damage. Your best course of action is to ask people what they are using. For example, a community below posted on his experience.

FYI, in my tests, I’ve never been able to get more than 0.41amps current to charge the THETA V. This is some indication that a 500mA mobile phone phone charger would be adequate. There’s likely no benefit from pushing more current to the THETA V and would increase your risk. Though, the internal power circuit in the camera should cut down the current, there is a risk it doesn’t operate as expected.