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New TC-box from Betso

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I just used a Betso SBOX1 and a Timecode Buddy Master on (2) Canon C300 cameras on a 2 day shoot with (2) G3's as audio hops. These cameras had no 12V output. I used Eneloop 1900mw "AA" rechargeable batteries. Betso worked for 10 hours w/ no battery change. I had to change batteries on the Buddy after 8 hours (no WiFi activated). Both cameras stayed in timecode sync by feeding external timecode from the boxes. The problem is that cameras are getting smaller so the sync boxes have to be smaller. The Betso SBOX1 fit nicely on the back of the C300 LCD monitor with velcro, but the TC Buddy Master was hanging off of the strap on the camera handle grip (not very professional looking). I'm going to add another Betso SBOX1 for cameras, and use the TC Buddy Master in my bag for the WiFi iPod feed to script or to slate the behind the scenes/B roll 5D camera. I'll use the TC Buddy transmitter if I need to remotely run my 664 from a camera that wants to stop and start timecode from the camera, and has a 12v output.

 

The Betso SBOX1 is solidly built, light, very small, and has a nice display. I have configured the settings on the Betso to power up and jam as soon as it sees timecode on the Lemo input connector. I only wish the Betso WC output could be switchable between WC and Video Blackburst sync...

 

 

Steve Wytas

www.audio911.com

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A quick note on these, some rechargeable batteries don't quite fit in the battery compartment. I had issues going through a couple of sets trying to get one to power on and also had one turn of on set after a few hours on freshly charged basis, I think it may have just lost contact. Otherwise they're all good, small and do what they say on the tin

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Has anyone had any problems with the Betso Sbox-1 units? There is a discussion happening on the Facebook group where one member has had 2 of them fail out on him.

 

I'm looking for opinions, I really like the price, look, and options of these, but if they aren't durable... Then that doesn't work for me obviously.

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Has anyone had any problems with the Betso Sbox-1 units? There is a discussion happening on the Facebook group where one member has had 2 of them fail out on him.

 

I'm looking for opinions, I really like the price, look, and options of these, but if they aren't durable... Then that doesn't work for me obviously.

 

Mine failed within 2 months of ownership (purchased new). I loved the unit for the brief time that it worked. I have also been told that other units and even different products of theirs (TCD-1 timecode display for bags) have been faulty, and one person even flat out warned me about the failures they had experienced, which I took as a defacto warning of my purchase. Still, I sometimes have to see for myself, and in this case it turned out that the unit did indeed fail.

 

Remember that this is just one person's experience. I also must give credit where credit is due: The manufacturer worked not only with me directly, but also directly with Professional Sound Services to replace the unit, and the manufacturer did in fact also inquire about the cause of failure and other details which let me know that they are actively de-bugging the units. If they are successful at their de-bugging it will be a stellar little unit in my opinion. I quite enjoyed its feature set.

 

Best of luck with your decision. I hope this information has been of assistance.

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Alex, your experiences are much appreciated. I have also been hearing on the FB group from Bal Rabat (I think that is how he spelled his name) who also had 2 of these fail on him.

 

It does seem that Betso is in the midst of developing a new chip, the model will now be called the Sbox-1N and Bal said that his replacements haven't given him any problems since they were returned (as the new 1N model). But he has since gotten the TCB system, so they are now backups that he also hasn't really used.

 

The response from the company is the one constant that everyone has talked about - they are very willing to help out if there are any problems. This does give me some confidence, and I am probably still going to give them a try based on that support.

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According to Jan @ Betso, the 1N has improved battery life, the BNC WC Out can become a TC IN, and more pull up/down options.

Otherwise, the original SBOX works just fine. I do the usual rejam after lunch, and no issues from post. Although I haven't used it in extreme climates yet.

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Tip for Betso SBOX users. Make sure the AAs you use have a protruding negative pole. This is better illustrated in a photo but what I mean is make sure the label of the battery isn't overlapping onto the negative contact surface as the battery door needs direct contact with the negative pole of the battery not the battery sticker.

All standard brands are fine but my current rechargeable brand (Tenergy) doesn't have a little bump out on the negative side and sometimes this leads to intermittent power failure on the Betso. If I shaved the label back a bit on each battery the problem would be fixed.

Eneloops work great.

I've not used mine on a shoot yet but the battery life is fantastic. Easily an all day device if not multiple days.

It also has a handy feature if you plug in external TC after a jam and press the left arrow it will compare the external code to its generator and tell you many frames off you are.

Jan, if you're reading this I'd love it if that feature could report offset with more accuracy, tenths or hundredths of a frame for example. Right now if just reports 0fr or +1fr etc.

Great box so far.

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I am another user that has had several annoying issues with the Sbox-1 (don't have the new version yet). After two weeks of purchasing from a well know vendor in NYC, the unit was sucking down 2AA batteries per hour and sometimes not powering on at all. It burned, having this problem on a shoot in the middle of Costa Rica!

 

I sent it back and didn't see it for more than a month. I am assuming that is because it went back to the factory, in the Czech Republic. After the repair, everything seemed fine, until I noticed if I left batteries in it, with the unit powered down, it would completely discharge the AA's in it, destroying a pair of NIMH, if left in for a couple days. Not cool and just to be clear, it was completely powered down, not retaining TC sync, when this was happening.

 

Currently the unit will not power on at all. I contacted BETSO customer service today and will report on my experience with that. Hopefully they'll take the unit back and give it an upgrade, seems like the right thing to do, and hopefully it will be an improvement.

 

With all that said, I do love the sunlight readable OLED display. It has been a fairly accurate TC generator, played nice with most cameras and audio recorders, when working, and has won the admiration of many a small format camera operator, for its small footprint.

 

On a side note, Jonathan it's good to see your posts. We miss you in the States.

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Has anyone had any problems with the Betso Sbox-1 units? There is a discussion happening on the Facebook group where one member has had 2 of them fail out on him.

 

Mine died completely in the first two months. Won't power on. Sent it back to Czech Republic. 

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Difference needs to be made between the original SBOX-1 and the newer version of the SBOX-1N - both in terms of prior experience as well as existing usage reviews. I feel the SBOX-1 had issues and are being posted here, which is confusing the situation with SBOX-1N usage reviews. 

 

-vin

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Hi guys,

 

problems you mentioned was in the past. Some units from the first series of SBOX-1 had this issue with powering. Even manufacturer of power chip (Texas Instruments) didn't know, where is problem and why their chip failed. We have made new design with different chip of different well known US manufacturer and this is the reason, why SBOX-1N don't have this problem anymore. SBOX-1N is really reliable.
 

We are still doing our best to manufacture and design high quality products. We use high quality components from well known manufacturers, unfortunately also this high quality components can broken some day. But I am glad, it is really really minority problem of SBOX-1Ns. Hundreds of satisfied customers are prove of that.

 

Thank you all for your support and confidence. Merry Christmas and happy new year!

 

Jan Zastera

BETSO ELECTRONICS

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Tip for Betso SBOX users. Make sure the AAs you use have a protruding negative pole. This is better illustrated in a photo but what I mean is make sure the label of the battery isn't overlapping onto the negative contact surface as the battery door needs direct contact with the negative pole of the battery not the battery sticker.

All standard brands are fine but my current rechargeable brand (Tenergy) doesn't have a little bump out on the negative side and sometimes this leads to intermittent power failure on the Betso. If I shaved the label back a bit on each battery the problem would be fixed.

Eneloops work great.

I've not used mine on a shoot yet but the battery life is fantastic. Easily an all day device if not multiple days.

It also has a handy feature if you plug in external TC after a jam and press the left arrow it will compare the external code to its generator and tell you many frames off you are.

Jan, if you're reading this I'd love it if that feature could report offset with more accuracy, tenths or hundredths of a frame for example. Right now if just reports 0fr or +1fr etc.

Great box so far.

 

Hello Derek,

 

we are working on that. I will let you know in case it is possible. We will definitely implement this function to all new products, which we are preparing right now. :)

 

Best regards,

Jan

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I am another user that has had several annoying issues with the Sbox-1 (don't have the new version yet). After two weeks of purchasing from a well know vendor in NYC, the unit was sucking down 2AA batteries per hour and sometimes not powering on at all. It burned, having this problem on a shoot in the middle of Costa Rica!

 

I sent it back and didn't see it for more than a month. I am assuming that is because it went back to the factory, in the Czech Republic. After the repair, everything seemed fine, until I noticed if I left batteries in it, with the unit powered down, it would completely discharge the AA's in it, destroying a pair of NIMH, if left in for a couple days. Not cool and just to be clear, it was completely powered down, not retaining TC sync, when this was happening.

 

Currently the unit will not power on at all. I contacted BETSO customer service today and will report on my experience with that. Hopefully they'll take the unit back and give it an upgrade, seems like the right thing to do, and hopefully it will be an improvement.

 

With all that said, I do love the sunlight readable OLED display. It has been a fairly accurate TC generator, played nice with most cameras and audio recorders, when working, and has won the admiration of many a small format camera operator, for its small footprint.

 

On a side note, Jonathan it's good to see your posts. We miss you in the States.

 

Update: 

 

The company contacted me immediately, the following day, offering to upgrade the unit to the newest version. They are going to replace all the internals, so it will effectively be a Sbox1N.

 

They have arranged to have it picked up and sent back, if I paid the cost (shipping only) expedited about $60 from Brooklyn to CZ, so I'll have it within the week. That's much quicker than when I had my local vendor send out the repair. I'm very happy about that. 

 

So far so good, with Betso customer support. 

 

I'll post back on how the upgrade is working out. 

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Fwiw, I have used both rechargeable NiMH batteries by Eneloop, as well as lithium batteries by Energizer and Duracell without any problems on my SBOX-1N.

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I'm now in a position to buy a timecode box and the SBOX-1N looks very attractive. Are you all still liking it after using it the last years ?

I currently have a 744T, an Ambient ACD 301 TC slate and the ACC-101 Master controller. Should I rather go with an Ambient lockit (in this case with an used 202 or 203) or doesn't it matter if I mix the betso with ambient TC units ?

The tc box will be mainly used for commercial shots with the Alexa, alexa mini, epic / scarlett / dragon. Until now we usually used the ACL-203 to jam sync the camera every few hours (rarely the lockit stayed on the camera), and sync was never connected (should I have connected it ?)

Since the betso doesn't have a sync output is it still usable with todays cameras ?

During the last job we were unable to attach or jam sync the ACL 203 to an Alexa mini even tough the lockit was set correctly. The Mini didn't accept the incoming timecode and we had to jam sync from the recorder directly. I think it would be beneficial if I can see what is going on on the sbox display.

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