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Old July 2nd, 2013, 12:17 PM   #1
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DSLR, monitor audio recorder power solution

I recently did a shoot for the Louisiana Film Prize. We shot it on a 60D using LP-E6 batteries, with a SmallHD monitor powered with the LP-E6 batteries, and a Tascam DR-D60 powered by AA batteries. With phantom power to the boom mic, the AA batteries didn't last long at all. The camera did a fair amount of shooting before the battery needed replacing and the monitor just sucked power from it's batteries and needed replacing a lot sooner than any of the other devices. I ALMOST ran out of battery power during the shooting marathon!

What I'm looking for is a single battery solution to power the camera, monitor, and audio recorder that will last long enough on a shoot that I can get by with fewer battery changes. Jag35 offers a battery package that connects to your rig, with cables to power the camera, monitor and other devices but it is $400. Thoughts on this? Any solutions from the peanut gallery?
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 12:50 PM   #2
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Re: DSLR, monitor audio recorder power solution

I don't have your single solution... but it seems like it should be possible to mcguyver something. I'd start with one of the inexpensive ac power adapters for the 60D. They don't have a good rep, in general, but it should give you contact to the terminals up inside the 60D's battery case.

At least your monitor and recorder have external power terminals.

Typically you're going to use a 12v battery and step down the voltage for any devices that need less, you'll need some engineering support on that.

Quite some time ago we put a sealed lead-acid motorcycle battery in a small cooler (6-pack size), and wired up a chassis mount female 4-pin XLR to the exterior of the cooler. We could run a power-hungry betacam all day with this, and not bad for tripod use. Would be more challenging for solo shoots.

These days, with lower power needs, many sound pros use NP1 batts, which should run for 2-4 hours in most low-power applications, but there are multi-bank chargers for them, allowing near-continuous operation. However, this is some serious coin. The motorcycle batt was cheap!

Don't know much about your recorder; Eneloop NiMH might work with it, having six or eight rechargeable AA batts might do the trick.

But a monitor is very power-hungry, yes, and LP-E6 is *NOT* a long shoot power solution at all! I'm using Sony NPF-970 batts on a Lilliput monitor, but haven't yet done a long shoot with this to know how long they last.

The new 12v solution seems to be the Tenergy Lithium-something rechargeables. (Edit: LiPO is the new lithium battery tech). I think that is what my buddy has on his SmallHD. I've not really looked at them, but they are not super-expensive and come in many capacities.

Were it me, I think I'd work on the monitor first, since it is the biggest power consumer, and the cam and recorder are easier to power independently and inexpensively.
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Last edited by Seth Bloombaum; July 2nd, 2013 at 04:47 PM.
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Old July 5th, 2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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Re: DSLR, monitor audio recorder power solution

I found something online called a "CatClaw" power solution. It was "only" about $99.00. It took two NP-F970 batteries (of which I have a s***load) and output 7.2V for the camera via it's own adapter, a 12V output for the monitor and a 5V output, which would power the Tascam recorder... but I'd have to make up a cable for that. The Tascam uses a mini-USB connector for power...

I ordered the sucker and we'll see how well it works when it arrives. I figure if I can change just those two batteries when needed and have a few more ready to go, I'll be golden. We'll see once I get it in and setup. If it doesn't work, then I'll have not lost a lot...
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Old July 9th, 2013, 11:08 AM   #4
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Re: DSLR, monitor audio recorder power solution

It's great you have a buncha' FP970s. They are fine batts. I started out with sony cams, and have accumulated a few 960/970s, and have tried to make sure every power-hungry piece of gear I've purchased can be powered by them.

Sound Devices, Atomos Ninja, and a few other manufacturers have also recognized the value and have made the sony-compatible batts their primary batts.

Hope it works well for you! That CatClaw looks great, maybe it will be great...
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Old July 12th, 2013, 06:55 PM   #5
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Re: DSLR, monitor audio recorder power solution

The Catclaw device arrived yesterday (pretty quick from China to south Louisiana). It looks and feels relatively solid and can connect easily to 15mm rail systems. Once you connect 2-NP-F970 batteries, it can act as an additional counterweight to your rig system. It comes with all the cables you need to connect your Canon camera (that can accept LP-E6 batteries), a 12V monitor and it also sports a 5V port and cable that, for the life of me, I can't figure out! It would have been better to be a simple USB port.

The connecting plates for the batteries are plastic and not well made. You need to force your batteries on the device and make sure they stay in place. They will wiggle loose and make you lose power to all of your devices.

The camera cannot communicate with this power source, so you have to contend with that issue. There is no way of knowing how much time is left on the batteries. They will just simply die and shut your system down.

I connected my 60D and a SmallHD DP4 monitor to the system. Every now and then, the connectors would wiggle loose and shut everything down. Not a good prospect. I did, however, get it stable in one position, and let it record video. I would restart when it it timed out and let it run again. So far, one the first set of batteries, It's run for 3 and a half hours.

I'll see how long it will run on one set of batteries and post that later. I may have to take it apart and see if I can resolder the connections and make it more stable. For $99.00 it's not a bad deal, but for professional use I'd look for something else.
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Old July 25th, 2013, 01:33 PM   #6
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Re: DSLR, monitor audio recorder power solution

I shoot several games in a day for almost 9 hours. It powers the cam, monitor, and robotic head. I use a DC to AC inverter, marine cell battery, and a power bar. It's damn heavy but it is the most cost effective solution if the location is stationary. Make sure the inverter is a pure sine wave.
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