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Old February 25th, 2003, 06:23 AM   #1
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A question of power

I plan on being out in the wild for extened periods of time. Just me and my truck sitting there in the great South West. I've got a few batteries to power the camera however, the question concerns the charging of the batteries or direct connect to the power point of my truck. (Hope this all makes sense!). Can I do the job with a power converter? One of those things that either plug into the powerpoint or direct wire to the truck battery to provide current? Or do I have to buy a auto adapter to charge/run my XL1S. Which way would you pros think would work the best? I've priced both options and found the power converter to be cheaper in the long run. I don't want to fall into the trap that cheaper may not mean better. Again thanks for all the help!
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Old February 25th, 2003, 07:16 AM   #2
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Hi Don,
I see you're from the NW suburbs. I'm also Don and also from the NW suburbs. (Handshake, pump up and down 3 times....pull hands back and drop to sides:)
Some folks may not agree but I've been using Lenmar batteries on th PD150- I use a 15 hour battery that will go about that long if I don't use the LCD and watch the power zooming. The other thing though is that the charger, although a seperate purchase, is a quick charger AND has a plug for the cig lighter in the car. That has saved my butt a couple of times. Look at studio1 dot com for more info about the batteries and charger.
Good Luck,
Don B.
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Old February 25th, 2003, 08:00 AM   #3
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Don, I assume when you ask about a power converter, you mean a 12V (car voltage) to 7.2V camera voltage converter? There are also converters made for 110AC equipment. They use the car power to generate 110AC for the small appliances normally used at home.
There is nothing wrong in using a 12V to 7.2V converter as long as it is made well, and has overvoltage and short circuit protection in case of any problems with your car voltage.
HTH
Alex Dolgin
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Old February 25th, 2003, 08:08 AM   #4
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I would carry extra batteries and a quick car charger like the Lenmar Mach 1. Extra batteries always come in handy as does a quick charger.
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Old February 25th, 2003, 03:59 PM   #5
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Okay, so let me get this straight ... if I am planning on being out in the boonies for an extended period of time (week plus) it is okay to use a 110volt converter to (a) charge my batteries and (b) to power the camera directly (limited only by the amount of power cord). If this is correct and I have enough batteries to run away from the vehicle or long enough power cord to operate directly then there's no problem. If so, I'd rather spend the money on the converter than a car battery charger (knowing that like the standard 110 charger I can run the camera directly off it.) Once again you've answered my lame question! Soon I hope to be able to help others like you folks are helping me....
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Old February 25th, 2003, 09:32 PM   #6
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The DC to AC convertors do work, but i have heard of people having troubles with them, as Alex mentions. My choice is to get a 12V DC battery charger to charge my batteries with, and extra batteries if needed. I would not want to be in the middle of nowhere and have a convertor blow and take out the vehicles electrical system.
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Old February 26th, 2003, 12:15 AM   #7
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I think a converter may suck enough power out of your battery that you'd better have a hand-crank for the auto engine.

Why not rent one of those super-quiet Honda generators for the duration? Then you could have ice, TV and a full entertainment system!

Someplace on this web site is the test report I did on a fairly nifty little microprocessor-controlled dual battery charger. Works with just about all the LiOn cells and will run from wall or battery power. Comes with a cigarette lighter cord. About $50 IIRC.
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Old February 26th, 2003, 06:08 AM   #8
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Mike you peaked my interest any idea how I go about finding this?
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Old February 26th, 2003, 10:38 AM   #9
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Mike, do you have any links to such Honda generators and what
these would cost? I myself am very interested in finding such
a product to power outdoor shooting (lights, monitor, computer,
battery charges ... and ... a microwave? :) )
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Old February 26th, 2003, 11:14 AM   #10
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how 'bout blenders? Lets see....cold afternoon refresements waiting for the sun to set a little?
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Old February 26th, 2003, 11:45 AM   #11
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Here is the info link to the types of generators I've seen running. Mind you there is still some sound and you should hear one run before you decide it can power the lights for your quiet, intimate boudoir scene.

http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/gensup.htm

When I worked for Tektronix in the long-ago past, we had a battery box that supplied AC power. It was a great kick to go camping and pull out a large box fan and power it up in the woods to cool the family. Lots of people wanted to know where the power sockets were hidden in their campsite. :~))

As for the battery charger . . . I found the page on the review I wrote. Once. I can not find it again. Maybe Chris can point you to the URL and the manufacturer.

Here is the review:
Battery Charger Review

Manufacturer Unknown
Price Unknown
Capacity 2 Li-Ion batteries simultaneously
Range 9 different batteries from 5 different manufacturers. Both 3.6 and 7.2 volt batteries can be accommodated Also charges replacement batteries not manufactured by the listed sources.
Power U.S. Standard wall sockets (120 VAC, 60 Hz, 18.3 Watts nominal) or 12 VDC cigarette lighter socket..
Indicators Red/Green LED, one for each charging socket of the charger.
Instructions Somewhat limited and not quite complete.
Country of Manufacture Taiwan

This is a good unit for the pro or consumer who has a camera that only charges the battery installed in the camcorder or will only charge a battery or run the camera, not both.

This Li-Ion battery charger, with two qualifiers , rates as an excellent unit for use in the U.S. It will charge one or two batteries (simultaneously and with no apparent reduction in charging speed). It will also charge a 3rd party replacement for Sony batteries that the Sony chargers would not charge. Hoorah for that!

The charger measures the level of charge in the inserted batteries and changes the red LED to green when the battery is within 1 hour of full charge. Checked against a Sony charger with a more detailed display of charge level, the red/green changeover seems accurate. And the charger appears to be as fast as any of my Sony Li-Ion chargers. It would have been better to illuminate both colors during that period since otherwise one would have to continuously watch the charger to know when that 1 hour period started.

This would be a great charger with which to travel but the transformer-based power supply is designed for only 120 VAC, 60 cycle power. The price of the system probably prevents them from using a more universal switching power supply. However, the standard travelerís power converter should work very well, given the low power consumption of the charger.

Whatís needed to round out the package? A better instruction sheet. The information presented is incomplete and leaves me (a quasi-engineer) not really understanding some of the information that is presented. The existing documentation appears to suffer from too little proof reading and would greatly benefit from a quick once-over and clarification.

footnotes:

There is no specification for the grounding polarity of the 12 VDC power source. An omission that could just cause the charger not to function or, what seems more likely, to fail. I assumed it was designed for a negative ground power source and tried it in my Wifeís car. All is well and it works no differently when powered from this source.

The serious blooper is the molded lugs that engage channels in the batteries (thereby holding and keeping them properly aligned) are a bit too large. Persons with low hand-strength will not be able to insert or remove batteries. I thought I might actually break the charger or the batteries when I first started using the unit. Things never got easier but understanding the force required made it easier (mentally) for me to mount and dismount the batteries.

Two adapters ship with the unit to accommodate non-Sony mount batteries.

Note that I only have two types of Sony (and a 3rd-party substitute) batteries for test. Your experience might be different.

N.B.

I still use the charger, a year later. Although I now have 8 LiOn chargers (I can charge 16 batteries simultaneously if I had enough wall sockets), including two of the Sony 3-holers, I most frequently reach for this unit.
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Old February 26th, 2003, 12:20 PM   #12
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"I think a converter may suck enough power out of your battery that you'd better have a hand-crank for the auto engine.
Why not rent one of those super-quiet Honda generators for the duration? Then you could have ice, TV and a full entertainment system!"
You are kidding, right? ;-)
The XL1 uses about 10W power, with the converter being 70% efficient (approx.) the power needed from the car is less then 14W. Even a 60Wh battery belt would run the camera for 4 hours. The car battery is several orders of magnitude bigger than a belt, it would be several days without engine running to use up the car battery capacity.
As far as AC car adapter vs 12V/7.2V DC adapter choice, the AC adapter is bigger, heavier, and less reliable than the DC adapter. Also after getting 110AC out of it you would need to connect the camera AC adapter to it to get the 7.2V needed. So there is a higher chance of something to go wrong, loosing connection etc.
Using a DC/DC adapter is a clean, single piece solution, more reliable.
HTH
Alex
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Old February 27th, 2003, 07:34 PM   #13
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The Canon DC power adapter is a very good solution.

You can charge your batteries while you are driving.

You can power your Camera from your DC power adapter while on car power, or from any 12 to 24 volt battery system. Thus if you need real long term power while you are in the field, use a fully charged 12v car battery, with a simple cigarette power adapter jack.

There are other low-cost 110v and 12v dc battery chargers available, but I believe that the Canon unit works better. I have both. The Canon unit gives you a better display of the battery's charge, and I believe it charges faster.

I have nothing against the Dolgin unit, I almost bought one.

Another solution, is to get more batteries. I was able to buy very good, non-Canon BP-945 batteries for $31.99 each. I have had very good luck with these.
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Old February 28th, 2003, 08:20 AM   #14
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??power

I agree with Dan. Use a connector to your lighter, and charge on the move. I find that it takes @ 3 1/2 hours to completly charge the 2 hour Canon battery. Four + for the 3 hour battery.

I charge at an AC outlet any chance that I can. (Even a bar will let you do it. Just over tip a bit).

It's easy than to just keep it pluged into the lighter to top off the charge.

Personally, as the weather is in extremely cold temps up here, I wouldn't even consider charging a battery off of a vehicle that is shut down. Them battery things lose current fast in this kind of cold!
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Old August 17th, 2003, 09:57 AM   #15
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I just bought the Canon CB-910 battery charger. I plugged it in to my 11-year old Volvo's cigarette lighter and charged my XL1s battery for about half an hour driving back from the store. The next day a fuse was burnt out. Luckily, Vancouver is full of gas stations and BCAA doesn't have to come very far. I'm taking the XL1s to Saskatchewan next week and bought the CB-910 specifically for that trip. Of course I'll be driving a new rental car, but the prospect of a problem shutting down the car a hundred miles from the nearest "town" while I'm charging the battery is worrisome, to say the least.

What, me worry?
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