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-   -   Powering the XL-H1: Anton Bauer, IDX or... (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xl-h-series-hdv-camcorders/94574-powering-xl-h1-anton-bauer-idx.html)

Floris van Eck May 21st, 2007 11:23 AM

Powering the XL-H1: Anton Bauer, IDX or...
I currently have a XL-H1 with two NP-970 batteries. The camera runs like 3 hours of them which is not bad. However, I am currently shopping for a good video light. The options I have are buying a LitePanel or another light with either Canon battery compatibility (I still have to buy like two extra batteries) or I can go the AB/IDX/... powertap way which I prefer.

I do have a few questions though:

1) Are their big differences between IDX & Anton Bauer? I read good things about both brands but there may be specific advantages for each format?
2) Are their good imitation batteries? I found a site with SWIT batteries which use the Anton Bauer goldmount and are 50% cheaper... but do they last as long (both short-term running time and long-term performance).
3) How long will my camera run of a Dionic 90 and Endura 7S battery? I found somewhere that the Endura 7S is 4,8 A so if I am correct (not good in maths) the NP-970 batteries are 0,72 A so that means that the 7S is 6.6 times more powerful then the biggest Canon battery... is that true? The Dionic 90 batteries are even more powerful so they will run even longer.

I also see it as an advantage that the camera balances better as it is front-heavy at this moment. Thanks for your input!

Floris van Eck May 22nd, 2007 04:39 PM

Nobody who can provide me some information? I did look at some other topics but the information is scattered everywhere around these forums. Would be nice to have a "power my camera topic" or a general battery FAQ. I would be more then willing to contribute to that by looking up information on widely available batteries and systems and keep the thread updated.

A few things that are important to me... IDX and Anton Bauer, what is the big difference, is it only the mount or are there other important differences? The Endura 7S has 71Wh and the Dionic 90 90Wh... which makes the Endura 7S 22% less powerful.... but they only cost $179 while the Anton Bauer Dionic 90 batteries cost $450. So price/quality wise, IDX is the way to go for me. They both have a PowerTap connector (universal I suppose). The Anton Bauer kit comes with a 20 watt UL-2 light and IDX offers a IDX-X3 35 watt light. So for $50 less, I have a an IDX kit with that light, a charger, two batteries and the Canon XL series mounting plate. If I go the Anton Bauer route, I have stronger batteries but when I buy one additional battery it adds $458 (total power supply will be 3x90=270Wh). For $360, I can buy 2 additional Endura 7S batteries (result 4x71 = 284Wh) for $100 less but one extra battery to carry.

But one might wonder if I ever need an additional battery. I have read that a Dionic 90 powers the Canon XL-H1 for 11 hours and an Endura 7S about 9 hours. In any case that is a full day of shooting. Unless I go hiking or shoot a wildlife documentary that will be sufficient. How will the videolight (UL-2 or IDX-X3) impact the total running time? I am not good in maths, but there must be way to calculate this with the specifications of the products.

Then there are SWIT and Batteries4Broadcast. I tried to look up information on them but it is scarce. I would like to know if the batteries are as good as the original batteries of Anton Bauer and IDX. They are much cheaper.

I hope someone can help me with this important decision.

Steve Rosen May 22nd, 2007 05:22 PM

Floris: Maybe nobody is answering your questions because they are specific to particular batteries, and pretty esoteric..

I can only say that in my case I've been powering my H1, occasionally with a little SWIT monitor, using AB Hytron 50s.

I have no idea how long they last, but I've only had to change batteries once during a day of shooting, and that was a time when I had the monitor on constantly..

Without the monitor, working handheld as I normally do, one battery lasts during an entire "normal" shoot day.

I just ordered 2 Dionic 90s, but don't have them yet, and have never used a "V" Lock battery.

Jaron Berman May 22nd, 2007 10:15 PM

I'll take a stab at it. I recently sold all my IDX batts to switch to AB mounts stuf... only to end up re-buying V-mount. There is a website www.rathboneenergy, which is fairly complete in terms of battery info. I've talked to these guys at end about everything battery related, they know their stuf... so much so that any battery related decision is further complicated by the VAST amount of choices you have to make. But back to your questions...

The AB vs. V-mt debate is largely unimportant. In the U.S., the majority of large rental houses use to use AB mount. Now, the larger houses are offering both, as there are a number of accessories that (coming from asia or europs) use V-mounts. Basically, if its your system it doesn't matter. A wwhile ago, people complained of flex in the AB mount... but in the end, you cant go wrong either way.

Now, the tough part. Believe it or not, there are a LOT of chemistries of batteries out there besides Li-Ion, and a lot of manufacturers. But, there are a finite number of manufacturers of the cells themselves, and not all of them are high quality. Hytron 50's look identical to Dionic 90's but they are NimH vs. Li-Ion. And don't forget good ol nicad! Nicads, believe it or not, are actually the most durable of battery technologies. They withstand INSANE amounts of current draw, and can last 10x as long as Li-Ions. There has been a lot of bad press about NiCad "memory," which is largely a product of cheap chargers. Good chargers (PAG) can maintain NiCad's long enough to last till the next big battery technology. But then again, they are heavy and don't hold as much juice as the others.

But, specifically, the question related to LiIons... Here is the big secret - the very nicest LiIon cells only last 200 cycles, best case scenario. Now, that's actually a fair amount of use, but it's something to remember. After 50-60 cycles, most will not output the same current the did initially, and after 100, they will be basically on their last legs. And yes, this is based on AB dionics. For the H1, this may not be a problem... but add a monitor and light, and you'll start noticing pretty quickly. The cells inside reputable batteries (IDX, AB, PAG) are all made by the same few companies.

So, now the biggest difference between AB and V-mt. AB uses propreitary circuitry within its batteries and chargers to do analysis on cell state of charge, age, etc... which means that other manufacturers of AB mount gear cannot charge Dionics, and Dionics cannot be charged on any other chargers. This is not the case with V-mount. It's a case by case basis, but the majority of V-mount batteries and chargers are compatible with one another. They too have circuitry within, but the V-mount specification is more universal. And once again, you can use PAG v-mount chargers. This is actually a big deal because their chargers can do things that even the AB chargers cannot - they can save over-discharged cells. LiIon is a fragile technology, which is why Anton uses such propreitary protection circuitry. They know exactly what cells they use, and what the limitations are. Dionics (or any liions) will shut down when over-discharged, shorted, overheated, or overdrawn. Chargers like those from PAG can recover batteries that have entered protection modes beyond what the stock chargers can reset.

So when it comes to which brand to buy? There are pluses and minuses to any decision. In the AB mount, you have the dionics, varizooms, swits, b4b's, globalmediapros. In V, you have all those +IDX +sony +PAG. Just remember, whatever batts you buy will die eventually. This is not a one-time purchase...though hopefully they'll last until we're using fuel cells :) IDX has some pretty great features on their e10 batteries, they stack! Others have nice power monitoring displays...But if you're looking at the e7s or e10s you may as well save some loot and get knockoffs. The biggest improvement you can make is in the charger, because equally rated LiIons will almost all perform exactly the same (except for the new IDX/Steadicam Powercubes...but they are very different).

Oh, and for calculating life - batteries are rated in either AmpHours or WattHours. Add up your total watt load (camera prob.. 12? Light prob 25...etc) and divide the watthour rating by the total watts you have and itll give you a good idea of the time you can run. If you have AmpHours (AH), multiply by 14.4 to convert that number to WattHours.

Floris van Eck May 23rd, 2007 02:29 AM

Thanks Jaron for the great response. Canon's own batteries are also Li-Ion so they will die eventually two and also cost almost $200. So pricewise, a Endura 7S is as expensive/cheap as a Canon BP-970G. And if a battery last like 8 hours, 800 hours is a lot when you only work in weekends.

I will let you know what I ended up buying.

Steve Rosen May 23rd, 2007 10:00 AM

Jaron: Very interesting, you obviously know your s__t.

AB recommends leaving batteries constantly on the charger (I use a Titan Twin) to keep them "fresh".. What's your opinion? How does that relate to charging cycles?

Floris van Eck May 23rd, 2007 11:55 AM

Steve, do you know how many watts the XL-H1 uses? I found that the Sony Z-1 uses 8 Watt so I guess the XL-H1 will be in the 8 - 12 range.

Kevin Martorana May 23rd, 2007 06:35 PM


I use Anton Bauer Digital ProPac 14. I have the Anton Bauer bracket that mounts on the back of the H1. A single battery runs the camera for 5-6 hours. PLUS...the gold mount has a "tap" for lights or other accessories.

Floris van Eck May 24th, 2007 12:18 AM

Kevin, how many watts per hour is the ProPac 14?

Kevin Martorana May 24th, 2007 09:25 AM

Sorry...I mis-typed. We're using the TRIM Pac.

14.4 volt.

These are the "thin" batteries...not the "brick style"

here's the link:


Floris van Eck May 24th, 2007 01:41 PM

Thanks Kevin. I looked it up and the TRIMPac is 45 Watts hour. So that means a Dionic 90 has the double amount of power. So that means 10 - 12 hours from a Dionic 90. It also means that a Canon XL-H1 uses around 7 - 9 Watts hour.


Canon XL-H1 power consumption: 8 watts/hour
Runningtime Dionic 90: 11,25 hours (675 minutes)
Runningtime Endura 7s: 8,88 hours (533 minutes)

So the difference between the two batteries is 142 minutes.

Budget-wise, I am leaning towards the IDX system. But I have the feeling that the Anton Bauer system will result in better camera balance. Adds more weight to the back and the batteries last longer so less charges. Pricewise, the difference is $50. But the IDX X3 I used in my calculation has 35 watts (but 11 watts power consumption - how is that possible, LED?) of power compared to the 25 watts of the Anton Bauer UL-2 battery. It also comes with gels and barn doors.... so at the end the IDX offer is the best.

With the 100% lights on, both kits will run:

11+8=19 watts per hour is 225 minutes on IDX kit.
25+8=33 watts per hour is 164 minutes on AB kit.

So it is LED vs. normal light bulb. I do not know which light is the most pleasant for interviews and event shooting. At least I got the specifications sorted out now!

Kevin Martorana May 24th, 2007 06:04 PM


all you say is true...but be careful..

the anton bauer Dionix are a 1 year battery. This is info from AB.

Hence the price on the Dionics. They are designed for a year's useage...then the quickly loose power.

The trimpack and powerpack batteries are warrantied for 3 years. If anything goes wrong...they replace it. Period. I've had it happen.

food for thought.

Don Bloom May 24th, 2007 10:15 PM

I hate to disagree but I've been using my Dionic 90s for about 3 years with fairly heavy useage and all 4 of them run like tops and keep a full charge. I also keep them on the 2704 intellicharger as per AB and because it's a 'smart' charger it never lets them 'overcharge' but always makes sure they are properly charged. They also charge quite fast. A full days shooting, put them on the charger about 10PM and they're all ready to go for a 6AM crew call.

While the Li-On GENERALLY doesn't last as long as NiMH or Nicad I don't believe thats the reason AB only puts a 1 year warranty on them. If that were the case the batteries wouldn't be as popular as they are. Also the Hytrons only have a 1 year warranty as well and they are even more popular than the Dionics, except the new Hytron 140 which has the 3 year MAXX warranty, Why buy something if you KNOW it's going to go out in a year. Especially at a cost of (now) about $430 each.

Floris van Eck May 25th, 2007 01:03 AM

What about the IDX batteries? For so far as I know, they do not have an intelligent charger. How will this impact the lifetime of the Endura batteries? If I can only use a battery for one year, it is going to be very expensive.

I would like to find this out.

Don Bloom May 25th, 2007 06:57 AM

I have never seen an intellicharger for IDX but remember years ago they didn't have them either and most companys don't have one now. Simply put you batteries on the charger, charger them up and remove them after they reach a full charge-BTW it won't kill the battery to sit on the charger for a bit longer than when it's fully charged. I have left other batteries on for a full 24 hours after and I'm still using them after 5 years. Right, 5 years on some batteries! I think I got my moneys worth.
You shouldn't need to be worried about buying new batteries after 1 year-again if that were the case why buy them in the first place? No one would.

As for powering your gear remember the IDX7(s) is 71W and the AB Dionic90 is 90W-the power of the camera PLUS the power of the light if powered off the camera battery such as an AB light DIVIDED BY 1/3d! Yep, divide the power of the light by 1/3d. IOW, if the light is pushing a 25W bulb the draw on the battery is not 25W but 8-this is right off the AB website. so say the camera draws 7W to power and the light pulls 8 you are drawing 15W total-15W into a 90W battery means you can run with the light on for 6 hours-however do not run the battery until it screams for help. I prefer not to go below 10% remaining then change out. If you run any battery dry especially Li-On THAT's when there is a CHANCE of having a problem later.

I've been using ABs for quite a while and they are my favorite but I've also used gear that uses the IDX and they are a good quality battery that is also light in weight and gaining more and more popularity.

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