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Old August 22nd, 2009, 12:00 PM   #1
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Zoom H4n low battery warning

Just a heads up for anyone using an H4n - we've had a couple instances lately where dying or dead batteries resulted in the file not being written properly.

First time we were shooting an interview and the battery died just as we wrapped up - there was a file, but it had a size of zero kb and the audio was lost. That's not entirely surprising, although it doesn't have to be that way - my 5D for instance will save the video even if the battery dies mid shot. Second time this happened though was a little different - battery was showing no bars but the unit was still running. We were running around trying to get a lot of shots in a short time and audio was mostly atmospheric so we didn't worry too much about swapping the batteries. Two of the last three clips we recorded (while the battery was showing no bars) came out with less than a half second duration each and contained no actual audio. The third one was fine - can't figure out why the difference but it seems to be an intermittent problem.

So basically for critical audio either plug in or swap fresh batteries before it hits zero bars on the battery indicator just in case.
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Old August 22nd, 2009, 05:08 PM   #2
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Once the meter goes from 3 to 2 bars, it's a short period of time to no bars. Although, my recorder has always performed, even with one bar left, but my guess is that it would not have performed much longer.

Since learning the hard way a while back, my motto is:

Fresh batteries now, fresh batteries tommorow, fresh batteries everytime.
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Old August 23rd, 2009, 02:20 PM   #3
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We found it can depend a lot on the mics you are using (assuming you're running phantom power). I can run my countryman b6 alone for hours without a problem. We added a shotgun (wasn't mine, believe it was an audio-technica but don't know the model) to the second channel for interviews and burned through a fresh set of batteries in about half an hour - which really caught us off guard. I'm going to have to try some different mics to see if it's specific to that one model.
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Old August 23rd, 2009, 04:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan Donn View Post
We found it can depend a lot on the mics you are using (assuming you're running phantom power). I can run my countryman b6 alone for hours without a problem. We added a shotgun (wasn't mine, believe it was an audio-technica but don't know the model) to the second channel for interviews and burned through a fresh set of batteries in about half an hour - which really caught us off guard. I'm going to have to try some different mics to see if it's specific to that one model.

I have the Zoom H4 and yes that thing eats battery power when using the phantom power. I was using a Audiotechnica shotgun microphone and I put in brand new batteries and the thing didn't go for 30 minutes before I had to change the batteries again. As mentioned keep plenty of NEW/FRESH batteries handy.

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Old August 29th, 2009, 12:59 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Evan Donn View Post
So basically for critical audio either plug in or swap fresh batteries before it hits zero bars on the battery indicator just in case.
Good advice. I'm with you on this. As soon as I hit 1 battery bar or 0 battery bars, I swap. Don't care if we're rolling or not. If audio isn't captured properly... the shot doesn't count anyways.
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