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MartinTheMixer

Zaxcom ZMT3 Battery Life

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Hello All, I'm curious what everybody's getting on ZMT3 battery life. Either real world or testing. What battery are you using, how long is it running your ZMT and what power level setting are you using? 

Thank you, Martin

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Not the precise answer you are looking for, but in my workflow I don't feel a difference in run time with my ZMT3 with Fuji NP-50 versus TRXLA with 2x Eneloop Pro AA. This is because they both run from call to lunch with some left, then I change all the batteries anyway

and they run from lunch to wrap. Maybe others can give you precise numbers but in the end it all has to do with things like how much time are you putting them in low2 mode etc. 50 mW

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i get 4.5 hours from a fuji branded battery, running at 50mw.  the latest software has disabled power saving measures.  not sure if it worked inconsistently or not at all.  i have nothing to compare it to, since i never played with it in the past.  i had hoped to sometime.  our regular morning is 6 hours,  and i had hoped to nurse the zmt3 to 6 hours,  with power management.  my trxla with 2 decent eneloop pros,  will run 6+ hours

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I don’t have the ZMT 3, so I can’t give you an exact answer, but this info may be of help anyway. 

I do have the ZMT phantom. I read here in that most users would get 3 hours at the most out of it, with the Fuji battery. I‘m getting almost precisely 3,5 hours with the Lectrosonics LB 50 battery. May not be a huge difference, but in the ZMT 3 this battery would run significantly longer. 

(The first time it felt a bit weird to insert a Lectrosonics branded battery into a Zaxcom transmitter. But I got used to it)

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On 1/29/2018 at 1:00 PM, Frido Beck said:

Not the precise answer you are looking for, but in my workflow I don't feel a difference in run time with my ZMT3 with Fuji NP-50 versus TRXLA with 2x Eneloop Pro AA. This is because they both run from call to lunch with some left, then I change all the batteries anyway

and they run from lunch to wrap. Maybe others can give you precise numbers but in the end it all has to do with things like how much time are you putting them in low2 mode etc. 50 mW

 

On 1/29/2018 at 1:39 PM, ao said:

i get 4.5 hours from a fuji branded battery, running at 50mw.  the latest software has disabled power saving measures.  not sure if it worked inconsistently or not at all.  i have nothing to compare it to, since i never played with it in the past.  i had hoped to sometime.  our regular morning is 6 hours,  and i had hoped to nurse the zmt3 to 6 hours,  with power management.  my trxla with 2 decent eneloop pros,  will run 6+ hours

 

On 1/29/2018 at 5:19 PM, Constantin said:

I don’t have the ZMT 3, so I can’t give you an exact answer, but this info may be of help anyway. 

I do have the ZMT phantom. I read here in that most users would get 3 hours at the most out of it, with the Fuji battery. I‘m getting almost precisely 3,5 hours with the Lectrosonics LB 50 battery. May not be a huge difference, but in the ZMT 3 this battery would run significantly longer. 

(The first time it felt a bit weird to insert a Lectrosonics branded battery into a Zaxcom transmitter. But I got used to it)

 Thanks for the input gang. I've been testing one of the batterys, which is a Nixxell, it is rated at 1100mah, but testing it shows it is only capable of 700mah. That would be the problem. So, I have ordered more batteries. I will test those when I get them. They are Wasabi brand. Will update after I receive those. 

 

Thank you, Martin

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2 hours ago, MartinTheMixer said:

 

 

 Thanks for the input gang. I've been testing one of the batterys, which is a Nixxell, it is rated at 1100mah, but testing it shows it is only capable of 700mah. That would be the problem. So, I have ordered more batteries. I will test those when I get them. They are Wasabi brand. Will update after I receive those. 

 

Thank you, Martin

ratting on questionable manufacturers batteries is questionable. Only Panasonic manufacture good batteries.

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I get like 3.5 hrs out of some Lectro Batts, rated at 1K, and almost three hours out of some very inexpensive Watson Batts from B&H rated at 800.. 

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4 hours ago, Brian Liston said:

I get like 3.5 hrs out of some Lectro Batts, rated at 1K, and almost three hours out of some very inexpensive Watson Batts from B&H rated at 800.. 

Brian, Thank you for your input, just so I'm clear, you have multiple Lectro batteries of the same model number, and those identical model numbers give you varying times? Thank you, Martin

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The Lectros, which appear to be re-branded Fuji 1000mA , last about 3.5 hrs all 4 of them are about the same.

Whereas the Watson, rated at 800mA, last about 3.0 hrs.

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3 hours ago, Brian Liston said:

 

The Lectros, which appear to be re-branded Fuji 1000mA , last about 3.5 hrs all 4 of them are about the same.

Whereas the Watson, rated at 800mA, last about 3.0 hrs.

Brian, I am getting about 3.5 out of the batteries I am using and testing shows them to be be actually 700mah, despite a sticker that indicates they are capable of 1100mah. So, I sure would like to test the Lectro battery to determine actual capacity.

Thank you, Martin

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4 hours ago, Brian Liston said:

 

The Lectros, which appear to be re-branded Fuji 1000mA , last about 3.5 hrs all 4 of them are about the same.

Whereas the Watson, rated at 800mA, last about 3.0 hrs.

Hi Brian,

The Lectro batteries are made for us by Panasonic as an OEM part. It is an uprated (selected?) version of the NP-50. It has nothing to do with Fuji. When we started using the NP-50, we found several brands with 750 mAh capacity and also a bunch of high claiming but low performing batteries. The higher the claims, the lower the performance. The two brands that were satisfactory, could not or would not provide us with safety testing documentation, even after nearly a year of us begging, asking and demanding. (As some early adopters may remember, we used the Fuji battery for a short while.)  Frustrated and a little worried, we went directly to Panasonic, got a NP-50 battery type standardized and paid for the safety testing out of our own pocket. As far as I know, it is the only battery that is fully documented as being fully safety tested. Again, no one could provide us with safety documentation; we had to do it ourselves. Part of the cost of the Lectro battery is the well over 10 grand we spent on safety testing. We will never make it back selling batteries. Further, what is printed on most Li-Ion batteries for "approvals" is just ink and Chinese ink is very inexpensive. 

 

In sum: 

The Lectro NP-50 is not a re-branded Fuji.

It is the actual highest capacity NP-50 no matter what the ink says.

It  is the only NP-50 with actual comprehensive safety testing.

 

Finally, the battery market, with many small, fly by night re-branders, is a snake pit.

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher

 

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Thanks for the reply Larry. Having only seen Fiji batteries in the wild, and no Panasonics, that's where my assumption lead me. Your batteries work great my man!

 

I really like having a small rechargeable battery in my transmitters. I tried many different AA rechargeables, and never found a reliable option for a single battery Tx.

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Hi Brian,

Understood.

I had the Lectro crew bring me 4 NP-50 batteries at our lunch today (2 each of Lectro and Fuji) and I am running them down on a precision tester. I will post results in a few days, good, bad or indifferent. They have to be discharged at a rate comparable to transmitter draw so I'm using a 200 mA discharge (4.5 hour rate) as a average between our 6 hour rate and a 3.5 hour rate. That's 18 hours. Fortunately, the computer doesn't care.

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher

 

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Real Fuji NP50s are like the needle in the haystack. Tough to find . Our ZMT transmitters will do 5 hours on the real ones. In our tests we have found that real batteries have Panasonic cells and work very well. Off brand and fake Fuji cells last about 3.5 to 4 hours in our transmitters.

 

Glenn

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On 2/2/2018 at 5:53 AM, LarryF said:

Hi Brian,

The Lectro batteries are made for us by Panasonic as an OEM part. It is an uprated (selected?) version of the NP-50. It has nothing to do with Fuji. When we started using the NP-50, we found several brands with 750 mAh capacity and also a bunch of high claiming but low performing batteries. The higher the claims, the lower the performance. The two brands that were satisfactory, could not or would not provide us with safety testing documentation, even after nearly a year of us begging, asking and demanding. (As some early adopters may remember, we used the Fuji battery for a short while.)  Frustrated and a little worried, we went directly to Panasonic, got a NP-50 battery type standardized and paid for the safety testing out of our own pocket. As far as I know, it is the only battery that is fully documented as being fully safety tested. Again, no one could provide us with safety documentation; we had to do it ourselves. Part of the cost of the Lectro battery is the well over 10 grand we spent on safety testing. We will never make it back selling batteries. Further, what is printed on most Li-Ion batteries for "approvals" is just ink and Chinese ink is very inexpensive. 

 

In sum: 

The Lectro NP-50 is not a re-branded Fuji.

It is the actual highest capacity NP-50 no matter what the ink says.

It  is the only NP-50 with actual comprehensive safety testing.

 

Finally, the battery market, with many small, fly by night re-branders, is a snake pit.

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher

 

Larry, They are much more honest when it comes to the charger rate imprinting. 400Ma charger takes less than 2 hours to charge. Ok, there we go, you can't charge a depleted 1100mah battery in less than 2 hours with a 400mah charger. Ha. You would think  they would put on there, that their chargers are 575mMa chargers, then, minus testing, we might believe their batteries were 1100mah batteries.

Sincerely, Martin

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Hi Martin and Brian,

I finished the tests last night of two Lectro LB-50 batteries and two Fujifilm NP-50 batteries. The results are not what I expected but that's why we do experiments and measurements. The discharge system was a CBA -IV unit. http://www.westmountainradio.com/product_info.php?products_id=cba4  We have one at Lectro and I bought one for my own use since I have a variety of rechargeable batteries around the house and have been stung several times by inflated capacity claims. I double checked the discharge rate (200 mA) with two Digital Volt Meters; one cheap, one expensive. The DVM's showed the actual discharge rate as 197 mA, close enough for Larry work. I also discharged the batteries at a 1 A rate with only a 9% reduction in capacity. The batteries were charged with a Lenmark single cell charger, an inexpensive charger resold by Lectro. I also ran the batteries down in a Lectro SSM transmitter for grins.

 

Results? All four batteries checked in at 1.05 Ah plus or minus 3%, against a claimed capacity of 1 Ah and 0.940 Ah (940 mAh) minimum. I was surprised at the consistency and identical results. This is not the same results we obtained several years ago when we were approving batteries. A word of caution: the Lectro batteries were fresh and bought from Panasonic OEM and the Fujifilm batteries were bought a year or so ago directly from Fujifilm, not through a reseller. I am going to buy a Fujifilm battery through B&H and run the same tests in about a week.

 

Conclusions:

1. Measurements speak louder than words.

2. One and a half year old Li-Ion batteries (unused) hold up well.

3. Real Fujifilm batteries are equivalent in capacity to what I know to be first class Lecto NP-50's

4. High discharge rates (1C) don't affect Li-Ion capacities to a large degree.

 

Finally, a Lectro SSM transmitter with any of these four batteries runs for 6 hours and 40 minutes at max power (50 mW) and full display lighting. 

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher

 

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1 hour ago, LarryF said:

Hi Martin and Brian,

I finished the tests last night of two Lectro LB-50 batteries and two Fujifilm NP-50 batteries. The results are not what I expected but that's why we do experiments and measurements. The discharge system was a CBA -IV unit. http://www.westmountainradio.com/product_info.php?products_id=cba4  We have one at Lectro and I bought one for my own use since I have a variety of rechargeable batteries around the house and have been stung several times by inflated capacity claims. I double checked the discharge rate (200 mA) with two Digital Volt Meters; one cheap, one expensive. The DVM's showed the actual discharge rate as 197 mA, close enough for Larry work. I also discharged the batteries at a 1 A rate with only a 9% reduction in capacity. The batteries were charged with a Lenmark single cell charger, an inexpensive charger resold by Lectro. I also ran the batteries down in a Lectro SSM transmitter for grins.

 

Results? All four batteries checked in at 1.05 Ah plus or minus 3%, against a claimed capacity of 1 Ah and 0.940 Ah (940 mAh) minimum. I was surprised at the consistency and identical results. This is not the same results we obtained several years ago when we were approving batteries. A word of caution: the Lectro batteries were fresh and bought from Panasonic OEM and the Fujifilm batteries were bought a year or so ago directly from Fujifilm, not through a reseller. I am going to buy a Fujifilm battery through B&H and run the same tests in about a week.

 

Conclusions:

1. Measurements speak louder than words.

2. One and a half year old Li-Ion batteries (unused) hold up well.

3. Real Fujifilm batteries are equivalent in capacity to what I know to be first class Lecto NP-50's

4. High discharge rates (1C) don't affect Li-Ion capacities to a large degree.

 

Finally, a Lectro SSM transmitter with any of these four batteries runs for 6 hours and 40 minutes at max power (50 mW) and full display lighting. 

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher

 

Larry, Thanks. I think I'm surprised that one amp only reduced the runtime 9%. What does it do to the runtime if you pull 40 amps? Kidding. I have done that with nimh though. If the battery you get from B&H is a identical I'm thinking you don't notice anything different in the testing.  Anyting outside of one and a half percent either way. I tested LiPO batteries years later, and they had only lost a very little percentage. Larry, what is your start voltage, prior to firing up the transmitter, and what are you using for an end voltage on the test that wasn't in the transmitter. For that matter what is the shut-off voltage on the transmitter? 

 

Sincerely, Martin

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Hi Martin,

We have gotten batteries from B&H in the past that were of good quality. My guess is also that they will be solid but that's why we make measurements.

 

Start voltages were 4.2 Volts falling quickly to 3.7 Volts. End voltage on the battery tester was 2.8 Volts. I could have gotten a little more out before the battery protection circuits shut the battery off but it wouldn't have been more than a few percent or so.

 

I'm not sure of the shutoff voltage on the transmitter but I'm guessing it is well below the battery self shutoff. That's been our design policy in the past, i.e., suck 'em dry. In saying that, it also means it would be good to change batteries out whenever it is easy to do so, such as from startup to lunch, 4 or 5 hours later, rather than trying to get the full 6+ hours out of the batteries. If you only use 60 or 70 percent of the capacity, the batteries will last much longer. I will say, the batteries are cheap over the long run. If you use them hard and only get 150 charge cycles out of them, it's still only 20 cents for 6 hours.

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher

 

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FWIW, my own tests with the SSM and Lectro batteries, as well as original Fujifilm ones are pretty much identical to Larry’s. Roughly 6h:30min with a DPA4061 plugged in.

 

I tried a Wasabi battery for giggles - it’s very cheap and claims 1100 mAh. It didn’t even last 4h. I sent it back and told them it must be malfunctioning. No reply, but full refund.

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3 hours ago, Derek H said:

Thanks for the info Larry. Curious, how accurate is the battery telemetry from an SSM?

Hi Derek,

Pretty good. Probably the easiest of all the battery types. The Li-Ion's have got a very nice straight line of voltage versus discharge so it makes it easy to meter, unlike Ni-Mh which is essentially impossible.

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher

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Hi Brian,

Every low cost NP-50 I've ever tested was a piece of junk. After so much heartache and disappointment, I've given up on looking for batteries in all the wrong places. Particularly those with no CE or UL markings.

Best Regards,

Larry Fisher 

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7 hours ago, Jim Rillie said:

$5? Test it yourself : - )

 

I have bought several, and found their performance to be quite similar to the Lectros. :-) for 1/10 the the price. :-) Since 6 of these cost $30 it was a cheap experiment that paid off so far.

 

Since we're talking about having some empirical evidence on the performance of NP-50 batteries, why not test them all? Like scientific and stuff. :-) I don't have the same test equipment as larry :-)

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