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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old January 24th, 2002, 10:06 AM   #16
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(inexpensive) Super long battery life- anyone interested?

Hello everyone,

...just curious...would the forum members here be interested in information regarding a super-easy way to have long battery life without modification? I have devised a very easy way for any XL or GL shooter to have multiple batteries with long life and the best part is- all the batteries are available everywhere- i'm willing to bet no one would need to drive more than 15 minutes to get the battery packs (keeping it a secret until i write the article if people here are interested)......I know there are a few Canon compatible battery packs around and just weren't sure the forum would care for another "battery" solution- but if the forum is interested- drop a quick note here and if the response is decent, i'll write up a short "how-to" and send it to Chris Hurd for inclusion to his Watchdog Pages should he want to post it.

Ohh and the best part about my battery solution- they can be fully charged in 15minutes! No modification to any equipment.

Anyway- just wanted to run the idea by you guys....
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Old January 25th, 2002, 03:25 AM   #17
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My truthful answer is that it sounds a bit too good
to be true. Especially since you want to share it
with this forum, but are not just telling it. If you
are genuine and your solution works, by all means
tell us! Ofcourse we all want such a solution!
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Old January 25th, 2002, 09:23 AM   #18
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sorta suspected people thought it was too good to be true.....i'll write the easy battery solution page and submit it to Chris Hurd and you guys (and gals) can judge for yourselves.....I'm sure alot of, "thank you's" will be coming my way....

...it only involves buying a small $2 adapter at Radio Shack (or a local hobby shop) and everyone will have ample portable power for their Canon's...you will not need to modify anything on your camera or equipment....
article coming soon......
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Old January 25th, 2002, 09:31 AM   #19
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The sooner...

The sooner the better! I would love to know the secret!
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Old January 25th, 2002, 05:22 PM   #20
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Here's how to do it.......

The best batteries sold to the consumer market goes to the radio- control modelers. I've read more than once that many battery manufacturers often produce and save the best batteries for use in the r/c hobby industry- millions of dollars are spent on advertising higher mah ratings and improved "punch" as well as more robust cell internals able to withstand a great degree of charging methods to achieve "peaked" cell discharge rates....everything from 50mah to 4500 mah cells are available-

...go to your local hobby shop (or Toy's R Us- but cheaper cells) and pickup a 6-cell "stick pack- average cost of about $18 (higher for the premium 3000mah NiMH cells)...these stick packs can withstand multiple daily fast-charges and at 7.2 volts per pack are an exact match for the voltage supplied by the Canon batteries (probably becuase they too use 6 cells at 1.2 volts per cell!).... go to Radio Shack and pickup the appropriate adapter the Canon "dummy" battery can plug into (DC-900 DC Coupler-this is that long cable that has the plastic battery-like end that plugs into your a/c adapter for use with home a/c current- all it does is transforms the 120 volts into 6-8.4 volts useable to power the XL)...

...with this arrangement you can buy a few inexpensive 7.2 volt stick packs from Toy's R Us/ Radio Shack-/your local hobby store etc...a fast charge battery able to withstand multiple daily fast charges (15 minutes to fully charge most packs) and all you'd need do is make the adapter for the DC coupler for the 7.2 volt stick packs (cost about $2) and you'd have a great power source- all without cutting any wires for the XL.....

I'm using this arrangement and all i can say it's super simple and works perfectly (all your doing is supplying the coupler with 7.2 volts just as your battery pack would do or home a/c adapter) - you can shoot all day with a 3000 mah battery pack available from any decent hobby shop. You can just put the stick pack in a rear pocket and it will plug into the adapter you make and the wire would run over your shoulder into the XL (this would be the DC900 coupler that comes with the a/c adapter)....(or you can mount it any way alternatively)

..if anyone gives it a go- drop a note here and let me know how it goes for you.

Good luck....
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Old January 25th, 2002, 06:54 PM   #21
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<<...go to your local hobby shop (or Toy's R Us- but cheaper cells) and pickup a 6-cell "stick pack- average cost of about $18 (higher for the premium 3000mah NiMH cells)...these stick packs can withstand multiple daily fast-charges and at 7.2 volts per pack are an exact match for the voltage supplied by the Canon batteries (probably becuase they too use 6 cells at 1.2 volts per cell!).>>
Steve, there is a significant difference between the batteries you describe and the Canon packs. The RC packs use either NI Cad cells or NiMH cells, 1.5V each fully charged. So depending on the number of sells (4 or 6) the pack would be 6V or 9V fully charged. 9V will easily fry the camera, as it is designed for 7.2V nominal. At 6V the camera will not power up.
The packs used by Canon are Li-Ion. The Li-Ion cell is 3.6V nominal, about 4V fully charged. There are 2 cells in the pack, making it 7.2V. The down side to Li Ion chemistry is it does not take rapid charge, and is much more expensive than older chemisties.
Best,
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Old January 25th, 2002, 07:07 PM   #22
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If you check the bottom of the a/c adapter- the adapter states that when in use in VTR mode its output is 6.0 volts @ 1.7 A & 8.4 volts @ 1.2A in Batt mode- well within the voltage specs of a 6 cell r/c pack- i'm using this setup right now and it works perfectly- even with a 7 cell pack at peak voltage of 9.2 volts......

....of course I admit this modification is used at your own risk- but mathematically it all proves to be safe and can be a great asset to shooters who wish for long recording times and repetitive charging....the biggest reason alot of camcorders use Li-Ion as oppsed to NiMH and NiCads are because of the information Li-Ion is able to relay back to the camera unit displaying proposed time left etc, it's not really because it's a vastly superior battery system (although at the moment Li-Ion is the best around- for a cost of course)...

...anyway, If i were going to Africa (or any other remote location) I'd seriously adopt the use of r/c battery packs- they're plentiful and can sustain charging abuse.....

..it's up to you guys....i just wanted to let you know it's been working for me...and it might work great for others as well.

Have fun....
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Old January 25th, 2002, 07:38 PM   #23
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Sounds interesting! I would like more replies from other technical minds out there before I try it though. If it's safe for the camera, I'll try it!
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Old January 25th, 2002, 07:58 PM   #24
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The biggest mistake would be to reverse the polarity (is there an internal fuse in the XL???)......this adaptation isn't for everyone.
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Old January 26th, 2002, 06:30 AM   #25
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Anton bauer?

I don't think it would be an inexpensive option, but I've seen a Anton Bauer -> XL1 adaptor.
I;m lazy to search the exact page, but you can see a photo here.

http://www.antonbauer.com/40-Intro-eCat.htm

I was wondering if anyone here has tried this.
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Old January 26th, 2002, 08:46 PM   #26
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>> The RC packs use either NI Cad cells or NiMH cells, 1.5V each fully charged.

A bit off. Batteries used for Radio Controlled models are Sub-C cells rated at 1.2 - 1.25volts. The typical configuration is packaged as a 6-cell pack in series giving 7.2volts. Other configurations also include a 7-cell pack for 8.4volts.

When the packs are made up of NiCd cells, they're available with varying amp ratings... the cheapest $12-$18 packs typcially have a rating of 1200mAH to 1500mAH. Pricier "racing" packs can top 2400mAH.

New NiMH Sub-C cells introduced within the past several years have resulted in 6-cell packs ($60) with a 3000mAH rating.

http://www.towerhobbies.com

has one of the largest listings around. Look under "Car & Truck Accessories"

As far as the "charging abuse" these cells can take, it's not entirely bulletproof. The $30 fixed-timer-based fast chargers can easily overheat a NiCd pack diminishing it's service life. NiMH packs are even finickier about fast-charging.

The best way to charge these packs are with PEAK CHARGERS... those containing circuitry to constantly monitor the pack's voltage and sensing when to stop fast-charging when it detects a certain change in reading. Decent peak chargers typically go upwards of $65. They can safely fast-charge a pack in around 20-30 minutes.

No one's addressed HOW to strap a RC Battery pack to a XL1/GL1... For all the hassle, I might prefer to go with something like a NRG beltpack.

Another alternative might be to get NRG's XL1 adapter plate and hook it up to a Lead-Acid pack worn at the hip. The adapter plate steps 12v down to 7.2 and if the Lead-Acid beltpack for my Canon L2 is any indication, the thing can run all day without a worry.
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Old January 27th, 2002, 04:57 AM   #27
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I think theres been a little misinformation here, whether purposeful or not it's hard to tell.
I can say with certainty though that you're not going to damage your camera by adapting an RC 7.2V rated NiMH battery; this is due to a single NiMH cell being rated at around 1.2v on load - It won't be anywhere near 9V once connected to the camera. It may reach that high under worst conditions when measuring it disconnected from a load.
Following this link you can see a typical discharge graph of a NiMH battery, and you can see that the top-most voltage starts at under 1.4V, and drops very rapidly.

http://www.nimhbattery.com/maha-charts.htm

It would have to be a very poorly constructed power supply unit in a camera to not be able to handle this type of power supply. The only questionable factor is the discharge curve itself may not be as good as a Li-ion battery....

I'd be very willing to give this suggestion a go.

Good luck - Paul
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Old January 27th, 2002, 08:39 AM   #28
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I think it is not so much "misinformation" here as interpreting the batteries specs under different angles. You are right that the fully charged cell is about 1.4V (I rounded it up to 1.5V in the above posting as I was going by my memory). It would result in the fully charged 6 cell pack to be above 8V (12V packs are always above 13V fully charged). Most probably the camera would be safe, but one can not be certain what the Canon engineers designed in for the regulator safety margins. It is very likely that when the user switches the camera on/off or changes the modes from CAM. to VCR etc., that the load current does ineed go to zero or becomes small for an instant resulting in the higher voltage spikes. I just point out one more time that the LI-Ion chemistry is different from both Ni-Cad and NMh in the nominal voltage per cell being 3.6V, and max 4V with no load. There are 2 cells in the pack.
One more difference in using on board packs vs. off board is the camera battery voltage indicator is disabled when external power source is used.
Alex
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Old January 27th, 2002, 09:12 AM   #29
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There are three fuses inside the XL1, they are not user replaceable.

Low battery voltage (voltage at the camera battery inpout terminals) is about 5.7 volts. Below this the camcorder goes into low battery mode.

The XL1 draws about 9.5 watts power, depedning on the mode. That translates to about 1.3 amps at 7.2 volts. (The voltage regulators in the camcorder are switching types in both buck and boost modes to provide a variety of internal voltages ranging from -7 to +15.)

What ever battery system one produces, it msut be able to reliably provide that current and voltage to the camcorder.

An interesting point: cell phone coil cords (as used to connect to car lighters) have too high internal rsistance to provide reliable service with 6-volt battery packs.
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Old January 30th, 2002, 02:46 AM   #30
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Following on from that, have you any idea what the fuses are rated at? IE whats the peak voltage blow point?
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