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Old May 4th, 2004, 01:36 PM   #1
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solar-powered camcorder battery charger

I am going to be filming a bighorn sheep hunt this fall and will be away from any electricity for 2 weeks. Does anyone know anything about a solar-powered camcorder battery charger? Do they even make such a thing? It will be for a Canon GL1 and a Sony DSR-PD150 camcorder.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 01:58 PM   #2
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I dont' know of any solar powered chargers, I imagine it would take quite a while to charge a battery that way.

What about a car battery? Will you have any vehicles with you?
You could always use that as a charging station.

If not, you may want to think about a small generator.

Then again, I probably have no idea what I'm talking about.

-luis
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Old May 4th, 2004, 02:18 PM   #3
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I am going to be 12-15 miles from the nearest road and everything will be packed in on horses. I guess I will just need to buy and pack in a lot of spare batteries.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 04:53 PM   #4
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Or. a very long extension cord...

Of course, you might be able to arrange to have an off road vehicle parked a little closer than the road, and plug your chargers in there.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 05:32 PM   #5
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I did a quick search and found this unit which might do the trick.

http://www.basegear.com/bruntonsolaris.html

You would also need DC(car) adaptor cables for the cameras and I would also look at taking along a small 12V battery such as a 7 or 10Amp/Hr gel cell for charging batteries at night(this would be wired up to the panel and get topped up during the daytime).

Try and keep everything warm as batteries dont like the cold and solar panels only work well in direct sunlight.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 06:18 PM   #6
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I thought I had read about a desert docu where the shooter had taken along disposable batteries for his 150. Is there such a thing?
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Old May 4th, 2004, 07:52 PM   #7
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Yes, Disposable Expeditions Batteries are available at ZGC.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 07:55 PM   #8
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You can get solar powered chargers from NRG and from Edmonds Scientific plus almost any ship chandler that handles small-boat parts will have them. Ditto for aircraft supply companies.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 07:57 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jean-Philippe Archibald : Yes, Disposable Expeditions Batteries are available at ZGC. -->>>

Disposable is a figure of speech as you cannot/should not throw them away in the wild. So if you have to pack them back out, might as well make them rechargables.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 08:06 PM   #10
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Here is the manufacturer's site for those disposable batteries-
http://www.automatedmedia.com/products.html
Sounds like some serious power... It's a shame they are disposable, especially at their price. The adapters are almost as much as the batteries.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 10:11 PM   #11
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I'm heading off to central asia to shoot a doc in about ten days and will be using AMS batts. Stuart at automated media systems is a real help; the batts are pricey but with my dvc-80 I get around 8.5 hrs for one battery. There light weight and pack a much bigger punch than trying to go Solar. Trust me the solar way is total overkill, unless your heading off for months without power and do not need batteries. He has the cable on hand, or will adapt your own cable, and almost always has the Li-77 in stock.

And don't sweat the packing in/packing out situation your only 15 miles away from a road. Plus, they weigh about 12oz. I'm carrying about a dozen, all the gear (cam, 100hrs of tape, mics, cables etc.) in additon to a pack; you've got a horse!


Nova, frontline, BBC, aperture films, etc. find them the benchmark for expedition use.

Check 'em out.

Dick Steele
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Old May 6th, 2004, 11:57 AM   #12
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da-hunt & the need for solar

I don't think most people who live on the "grid" daily understand the need for a solar charger in this type of situation.

To hunt this species of animal, most times you even need to leave your ATV miles and miles away from your actual base camp due to regulations. Also sometimes a sheep can see you riding several miles away before you even see them. They will move in a heartbeat to another mountain before you billy goat up there to get a look through your optics. So, only being "15 miles" from the truck is something unknown to most.

We as outdoorsmen need solar, not disposable batteries IMO.

How many people on this board or in this industry related to this board have been off the grid for a extended period of time?

The longest I've been off the grid in a remote place is 19 days.
We got stuck on Kodiak in December 1999 due to bad weather.
Our original trip was scheduled to be only 9 days. I never ate so much deer and rice in my life <;~)
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Old May 6th, 2004, 12:07 PM   #13
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I was "off the grid once"... It was the most traumatic 3 hours of my life ;)

Not being much of a hunter myself (I'm more of a "Gatherer" at Walmart), I hadn't taken Dan's points into consideration.
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Old May 6th, 2004, 09:38 PM   #14
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I would vote for the extra long life batteries, lots of them. Think about it...if you are hunting all day, you need to be able to move in a moments notice,no time to take down and pack you solar array. Switching batteries in a few seconds is much easier, even for a normal shoot. Stay light and only bring enough from base camp for one day. If you have a generator handy, you can recharge at night, if not a charger, run a line off the electrical system of the ATV. There are lots of options for hooking electrical connections for Motorcycles and ATVs. Most of them have more than enough power to run a small battery recharger, or even an electrical warming vest.

Think light, small and tough. Everything else will be in the way.
Don't allow anything to interfere with getting the shot. The shot always comes first.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 04:05 PM   #15
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As an avid hunter, engineer and extremely amateur videographer I had to research this question. I have been on extended hunts and ran out of battery power. That ended my video taping.

I found one company that sells solar panels and battery chargers that can be used together to charge batteries. http://www.cetsolar.com/camcorderchargers.htm This link lists several different chargers for different types of batteries. At the top of this page there is a link to solar panels for use with the chargers listed. It would not be cheap but it would work. I can't tell if you need to purchase or make any special adapters to go between the solar panel and the charger but I would assume you do. I believe that would be relatively simple to do.

If you were still hunting for instance you could buy a solar panel and charger combo that would actually power your camera without using up battery power.

Good luck!

Bret Corbin
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