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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old January 28th, 2008, 09:11 PM   #1
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Field Power from any 12v Battery is OK

I found out today is that if you want to lug it around with your or have a small one on your belt you can run the EX1 from a 12v lead acid car or marine battery. A fully charged deep cycle marine 12v battery should run the EX1 for about three months! All you do is cut the lead of of an old transformer (or buy a plug from Tandy/Radio Shack and put alligator/crocodile clips on the other end. You can get small lawn mower 12v batteries that are small enough to carry easily on your belt or in a back pack. This is not a bodged fix or work-around this is hidden deep in the manual if you look hard.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 09:48 PM   #2
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Where in the manual? I don't want to fry my EX1 and say "Well, I read on the internet that I could do it."
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Old January 28th, 2008, 11:00 PM   #3
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You need as always to make sure that there can be no surges and that it is fused against high current as a precaution. The point is that the power input takes 12v that is commonly available from many battery packs and not some weird amount like 6.8v that some things do. For safety this is what I do. From the 12v battery or power pack I go through the a Belkin ac anywhere box to get 115v out and then I plug the transformer (the Sony charger in this case) into that and then into the camera. That way all the protection and voltage regulators are in place.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 03:41 AM   #4
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A 12V battery is not 12V. Depending on the battery chemistry and state of charge it can be between 10V and 16V. It *might* be OK to run the camera off a different battery connected to the 12V DC input or might not. So far no one seems to have smoked a camera doing it. Your luck mightn't be so good.

The safest approach is to use a DC to DC inverter between the battery and the camera.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #5
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What about Tekkeon batteries? Surely they will work as you can set them up to 14 V. Used one with my HVX200 with no problems. Bound to work on an EX1.

http://www.tekkeon.com/site/products-mypowerall.php

Not sure if I am allowed to give a link to the product. If I shouldn't have I apologise.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 05:36 PM   #6
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Powering my EX1 with a 12v Anton Bauer, even though it reads 17 volts output, works fine. Your camera batteries are reading more than 12 volt as well.

See my blog about this @ http://web.mac.com/stevecahill/Steve...1_Autopsy.html
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Old January 29th, 2008, 07:13 PM   #7
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If you look at page 108 in the User Guide, it says the DC Low Voltage 1 can be from 11.5 volts to 17.0 volts. This suggests that a battery could be within this range and still be OK.

Many lead acid batteries are around 12.6 volts, so it seems reasonable to say that the voltage isn't too much for the camera. DC low voltage 2 is 11.0 to 14.0 volts. If 14 volts blew the camera due to too high a voltage, why allow a setting of 14.0 volts or 17.0 volts?

I have some 12 volt batteries that just after a charge show around 13.4 volts. However as I use them, the voltage drops slowly until around 11 volts and then starts to drop quickly.

On page 125 in the specifications is says that the camera requires 12 watts of power when recording. 12 volts x 1 amp = 12 watts.

Thus the amp hours of the battery should give you a rough idea for the operating time. For example, 7 amp hours = 7 hours of operation. In truth, it's going to be less, because amp hours measure to 50% of the fully charged voltage. Thus 50% of 12.6 volts = 6.3 volts, way too low for the camera. Depending on the battery, the running time should range from around (amp hours x 0.5) to (amp hours x 0.8).


It would be nice is Sony specified the external power current requirements and the SAFE DC voltage range.



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Old January 30th, 2008, 02:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Diaz View Post
If you look at page 108 in the User Guide, it says the DC Low Voltage 1 can be from 11.5 volts to 17.0 volts. This suggests that a battery could be within this range and still be OK.

Many lead acid batteries are around 12.6 volts, so it seems reasonable to say that the voltage isn't too much for the camera. DC low voltage 2 is 11.0 to 14.0 volts. If 14 volts blew the camera due to too high a voltage, why allow a setting of 14.0 volts or 17.0 volts?

I have some 12 volt batteries that just after a charge show around 13.4 volts. However as I use them, the voltage drops slowly until around 11 volts and then starts to drop quickly.

On page 125 in the specifications is says that the camera requires 12 watts of power when recording. 12 volts x 1 amp = 12 watts.

Thus the amp hours of the battery should give you a rough idea for the operating time. For example, 7 amp hours = 7 hours of operation. In truth, it's going to be less, because amp hours measure to 50% of the fully charged voltage. Thus 50% of 12.6 volts = 6.3 volts, way too low for the camera. Depending on the battery, the running time should range from around (amp hours x 0.5) to (amp hours x 0.8).


It would be nice is Sony specified the external power current requirements and the SAFE DC voltage range.



Bob Diaz
This is pretty much the same operating range than full size cameras (Betacams and the like). In the manual of my old Betacam, the input voltage can be anywhere in the range from 11 to 17 volts, so you can power it with a variety of sources like the (then) standard NP-1B Ni-Cd battery packs (12 V), a Li-Ion brick (14.4 V), a Ni-Cd battery belt (13.2 V), a lead-acid motorbike battery (12 V, cheap, big and heavy!).

The only matter about this is if the 12 V DC input of the camera is self regulated, as is the 4-pin XLR of full size cameras. If it is, then you can plug in a battery in the range of 12 to 14.4 volts safely. If not... well, those who have made the experiment probably would had fried their cameras in just a few minutes.

That said, keep in mind that most of the circuits in the camera don't operate at 12 volts! Everything in this camera is digital electronics (apart from the motors of the lens), and all integrated and digital circuits are probably operated at 5 V or 3.3 V, maybe even less, in order to avoid overheating and to reduce power consumption. So there must be a power regulator between the 12 V input and the electronics in order to feed all those delicate and expensive circuits with a completely stable DC.

PS: Bob, I think what these Low Voltage settings mean is to tell the camera at what voltage she must start to worry for the battery being empty (and tell it to you). As there are a lot of battery types you can plug into, you must tell her what voltage is effectively a "low voltage". For example, when I used NP-1B batteries on my Betacam the Low Voltage alarm triggered up at 11.3 V, when the battery was at about 10% of his charge. But if I used a 13.2 NiCd belt, the correct Low Voltage alarm should be set to 12.4 volts in order to be triggered at the same 10% of charge. Also note that the voltage relative to the charge depends on the kind of battery (Ni-Cd, Ni-MH, Li-Ion, lead acid, etc.).
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Old January 31st, 2008, 02:37 PM   #9
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Hi David,

While the manual does not directly say, an external DC voltage of 17 volts is OK, I used the low voltage settings as a way to infer that it is. My thinking here is that if 17 volts fried the camera, why allow a setting of 17 volts in the menu as a "low voltage setting"?

You're right about the camera using a much lower voltage to operate. Most of the digital logic I work with uses 5 volts and lower. In my classes at the collage where I teach, we use a microprocessor that operates from 2.2 volts up to 5.5 volts. Many voltage regulators can handle 1 amp with only a heatsink and don't require an external transistor.

Sincerely,

Bob Diaz
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Old February 1st, 2008, 12:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Cahill View Post
Powering my EX1 with a 12v Anton Bauer, even though it reads 17 volts output, works fine. Your camera batteries are reading more than 12 volt as well.

See my blog about this @ http://web.mac.com/stevecahill/Steve...1_Autopsy.html
Sorry to ask, but just to be sure (as I want to do the same mod as you did on your EX1 charger), can you confirm the polarity of the XLR, camera side and charger side ?
standard for 12 Volt is XLR 4, is it ?

Many thanks.

ps : good tutorial on your blog. thanks.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 06:45 PM   #11
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The camera center pin is positive, you can wire the XLR like this.

PIN 1 NEGATIVE
PIN 2 is unconnected
PIN 3 is unconnected
PIN 4 POSITIVE

Make sure you check all your wiring with a voltmeter before you connect to the camera. MAKE sure that the voltage going to the camera center pin is POSITIVE!
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 04:58 AM   #12
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many thanks.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 01:13 PM   #13
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Re: EX1 barrel-to-XLR4

Glad I found this post! With more people trying it, and no reported fried EX1's (touch wood), it seems like the EX1 indeed behaves like any ENG camera with a 12VDC in, just with a different connector. I just wish Sony acknowledged that by simply making a barrel-to-XLR4 accessory cable.

Speaking of which, does anyone know how this powering scheme lives with Sony's warranty? Has anyone called and asked? :-)
There is no need to open or mod neither the camera nor the charger, it's just the power cable. Also, I've never heard of warranty concerns when using custom Dolgin or NRG Research camcorder power adapters.

Many thanks to Steve Cahill and Sebastien Thomas, who researched all the necessary information.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 01:18 PM   #14
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Just taken delivery of XLR to EX1 cables from PAG. Connected L95 battery to the EX1 and get a reading of 16volts. All is working well.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #15
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I bought into this system several years ago for powering my portable DAT recorders:
http://www.ecocharge.com/batteries_ec90.html

and I've done Steve's mod on my charger adding the XLR-4 pigtail. So, I can now switch between the 4-pin XLR's of either the Sony charger or the EcoCharge batteries.
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