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Old November 13th, 2010, 02:36 AM   #1
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On location battery charging

Folks,

How do people deal with battery charging if on location for a month or so with no generator, mains power or vehicle?

I'll be using a Canon XL2. My stills equipment all take AA's for this specific reason but that's a bit hard with the XL.

Location will be the Nepalese Himalaya in Feb and I'll be on foot for the month.

Thanks,

Al

Last edited by Alan Melville; November 13th, 2010 at 06:05 PM. Reason: More info.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 04:19 AM   #2
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If there's a vehicle you can use an inverter to get AC power from a cigarette lighter or directly off the battery. I got one from West Marine. It'll work with any 12-volt source.

Another option would be solar cells but you'd need to size your array based on available sunlight and whatever your power requirements are.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 04:42 AM   #3
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Hi Dean,

Thanks for the reply, I've clarified a few things in the original question. I actually have all the gear for vehicles and I also have a 20W solar panel for when I do bicycle based shoots....but....this is on foot...and I have to carry all the gear. If it all gets too hard I may employ a porter but I don't like the thought of some other poor bloke carrying all MY crap.... :)

One of the things I'm thinking of doing is breaking apart a BP-945 and making up a cradle to take non rechargeable Lithium AA's. They're actually 1.5V / cell but I'll drop a line to Canon and see if they have a spaz attack over the idea!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read and reply anyway.

Al

Last edited by Alan Melville; November 13th, 2010 at 06:05 PM.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 04:47 AM   #4
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There are contraptions like this, Mortley Sprague Hand drive/crank generator (HD550/HD600) | Camis Electronics but I have yet to meet anyone who has used them. It looks as if it is built like the proverbial brick s***house and its weight is optimistically described as "Less than 4kg". Looks like you may have to bring your own tree as well.

I'm quite a fan of the hand-cranked led torches, some of them are getting quite efficient now. Perhaps there's somebody making a battery charging version?
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Old November 13th, 2010, 04:53 AM   #5
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Alan...

You might consider building a setup where you can power your camera with an external battery pack. That way you can use primary lithium cells.

I think the camera has a pseudo-battery that is connected to an AC adapter via a wire? You can build a battery pack that provides the necessary voltage. If you can't do that with a specific number of batteries, you can find a solid-state voltage regulator that can be installed in-line to bring the power source to the right voltage.

Dimension Engineering has a variety of efficient switching regulators that can do the job.
Dimension Engineering - R/C, Power Electronics, Sensors
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Old November 13th, 2010, 04:54 AM   #6
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Hi Colin,

Thanks for that, I'll improvise in regards to the tree and carry my own 'rock' after all the generator 'only' weighs 4 Kg....... lol.

I'm going to contact them and get a price, I suspect it'll be x'ee but It may be an option.

Cheers mate.

Al
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Old November 13th, 2010, 05:01 AM   #7
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Dean,

Off to Dimension Engineering's web site it is...... I've thought about this but the weight may be prohibitive, mind you 4 Kg for a generator isn't exactly 'light' and all avenues are worth pursuing.

I was in the Himalaya 30 years ago and wouldn't....didn't...think twice about the weight I carried but I'm 50 now and kind of wonder if I've still got what it takes to carry all this crap* *read as valuable, must have video gear... lol.

Al
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Old November 13th, 2010, 05:20 AM   #8
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Alan... The switching regulators are smaller than a walnut.

At 50 things can get harder. I'm 53 and can sympathize. Almost everything I do is out in the field or on boats. Sounds like you're in for quite an adventure.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 05:27 AM   #9
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Dean....went and had a look, tiny little taca's aren't they. They're quite impressive. I reckon I can do something with them, I'm going to think about it.

As for the adventure, I'm looking forward to it, going to trek from Jiri to Everest Base Camp and back again....maybe......if it doesn't kill me...... ;)

Al
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Old November 13th, 2010, 06:06 AM   #10
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Ah I see, I'd assumed this was in Oz and if you didn't have power, how would you keep the beer cold? :) Re. using porters, it is their livelihood and they can easily manage loads that would cripple us. When calculating your battery requirements, don't forget that battery life can be considerably reduced in the cold. Have a great trip.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 08:20 AM   #11
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Hi Ray,

Beer MUST always be kept COLD....nothing is allowed to get in the way of THAT!!!!!! :)

Re the porters; 30 years ago I saw one carry a small piano up about 500 stairs, on his back! Most amazing thing I've ever seen. That's a true story.

Good point about the cold affecting performance of batteries. I might Google it and see if there is a chart on temp versus output. One would expect it to be linear to a certain point and then drop exponentially thereafter.

Thanks for the info.

Al
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Old November 13th, 2010, 08:38 AM   #12
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When I'm working for long periods away from a power source, I have an extra large special battery belt pack that fits around my waist and plugs directly into the XL2/XL-H1. A special XLR cord connects into a socket on the battery belt pack, and the other end of the lead has an adapted XL2 false BP-941 head that slots directly into the XL2's empty battery compartment to draw power directly from the belt pack. I can also use the belt pack to power extra items fitted with a 4-pin XLR connector, and my video lights with barn doors, such as the Reporter 50 H.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 06:04 PM   #13
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Hi Tony,

I've thought about a battery belt. When I'm on my bike I use a lead acid battery to charge all the appliances and then charge that from a solar panel. It's the charging that is of concern to me now. To carry my panel on my backpack is going to be awkward, it's not the weight so much as the size. It's about 580mm x 400mm, this makes balancing it on my head a bit of an exercise.......... :)

Re the dummy battery, I do a lot of remote area travel by 4 wheel drive and I've done the dummy battery scenario with a 12V Panasonic battery drill, it now means I can connect to the car battery, which is 220 amp hour, and drill away for hours if need be..... :)

Thanks for the input.

Al
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Old November 18th, 2010, 05:36 AM   #14
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Hi All,

I rang re; Mortley Sprague Hand drive/crank generator (HD550/HD600) | Camis Electronics and spoke to a Robert Caulderbank, quite a helpful bloke. The unit is constant voltage / varible current output and for 1500 British Pounds I could be a proud owner of one....that's 2400 odd AU bucks.....which at present I simply can't afford....+....I have to supply the tree!!!!! I asked.... :)

Sounds like the ideal unit though.

Thought you may be interested.

I've been busily researching and have discovered it's not too much of a hassle recharging batteries en-route to Everest.

I'm also considering purchasing some LiFeTech XPS " High Energy" Cells,[http://lithbattoz.com.au/index.php?page=battery-cells] they come in at 10Ah @3.2V [I think, I've written, asking this to be confirmed] They are 38mm Dia x 123mm long with threaded stud ends, I'll then pack them in packs of 3 in series then parallel up the packs of 3 and use a switching regulator on them as suggested by Dean.

Thanks for all your so far, it's been very useful.

Al

PS, does anyone know the current draw of the XL2? EDIT; Don't worry, I found this; Power Consumption: 7.1W (recording with AF, 20x zoom XL 5.4-108 L IS mounted) so, if I've done my sums correctly, my belt pack will give me ~ 270 Ah which will =....well, lots and lots of tapes between charges..... ;)

Last edited by Alan Melville; November 18th, 2010 at 05:51 AM. Reason: Added info
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