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Christian Spaeth

alternatives to NP1 style battery powering?

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I'm about to purchase a new recorder/mixer (probably Nomad or 788T+CL8) and am figuring out how to power it so it will run for at least half a shooting day. I will use it partly on a cart, partly from the bag. What I usually see and what most people use is of course NP1 style IDX LiIon batteries. I already have a NiMH NP1 (12V, 4 Ah) and a charger I have been using for my old mixer but that won't power said recorders for long enough (I have tried it on a 788).

Now before spending several hundreds of € for a new Li-Ion charger and batteries I'd like to find out if there are less expensive alternatives which will deliver similar results to Li-Ion NP1 style batteries. Any help is greatly welcome and appreciated! A search has yielded no results by the way.

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I'm not certain what others use, but I personally haven't aligned with the NP1 crowd b/c I'm not impressed by the lack of a locking connector for it. I scored a couple older Anton Bauer Trimpac batteries which are compatible with a slim Gold Mount locking sled. With either a D-tap or 4-pin XLR to get the power out, (I use the XLR with a custom distribution cable) I currently power my bag from the AB for much of the day. I also use the AB to power an AT895 microphone separately, and after 8 hours on set, it was STILL reading 14.3 volts. Your bag life will vary I'm sure, as I'm only using a 722 and a 442 in the bag, with a Lectro Venue base station for wireless. With that setup, I can go at least half the day without changing a battery. The AB Trimpac is a 45watt hour battery, 14.4 nominal NiCd chemistry.

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I use the IDX system with my 788 and am very happy with the results. The lack of a locking mechanism for the battery isnt an issue because it fits snugly in the cup, and is perfectly the right size to slip under the CL-8 in my bag. I use the SSD model and it draws considerably less power than one with a hard drive, and doesnt heat up as much either. I know that the IDX system is a little expensive, but I just keep three batteries in rotation and have no problem with it. And as long as you are responsible about powering down and turning off phantom power when not in use, you can increase your batteries life on set considerably. I know that everything we use is expensive, but you get what you pay for, and I would prefer to use a power system that is time proven and many professionals I respect out there use it, so I know it will work. Besides, once you spend the money on a 788/CL-8 system complete with bag and all cables, the IDX system doesnt seem all that more expensive.

You can also piece your system together with used parts. I know theres a four bay charger at Coffey Sound going for $100...

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I just bought 2 Lithium Ion Switronix batteries for $167 each from Pro Sound in New York, and I bought 2 individual wall chargers from B&H in New York for $45 each.

One of the things that sold me on this choice was the price of the IDX charger vs. the Switronix chargers. 

Marc

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Kinda on the "alternative" thread ---

I have been searching and searching to no avail...

I could have sworn there was recent mention of a half-size Lithium NP- "1/2" battery that was released this year.

Was I dreaming? 

Does anyone remember seeing something about this? 

It would certainly come in handy for certain tasks ...  and I would like to pick up a couple.

MF

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I use a Li-Ion battery (Gold Mount style) from Batteries For Broadcast.  It was inexpensive compared to the other options and has worked perfectly so far.  I think I paid about $325 for a battery and charger (you must use their charger, apparently)

http://www.batteries4broadcast.com/

Hey Jason,

I think I talked with those guys at NAB, there was a battery vendor a couple booths away from B&H that was offering a Li-ion battery chemistry in lots of formats, including the gold mount. And you are correct, you have to use their charger with it.

Don't misunderstand my preference for NiCd, it just happened to be a great deal at the time. I'm not crazy about the weight, but you can't argue with "buy these for almost nothing, I have no way to charge them" and a quicky charger from Ebay. Those Li-ion packs look just like the Trimpac, but weigh about 1/4 as much, with twice the power. The ONLY thing that makes me still like the NiCd is this: With one of AB's "Lifesaver" chargers, all the downsides of "memory effect" and improper cycling of the batteries are eliminated. NiCd still has (AFAIK) the best cycle-life of all the options, especially for low-amp-drain (compared to a camera) uses like our audio.

The thing to be aware of with any of these is the "recharge-voltage" point, and STOP USING the battery when (or just before) it gets to that point. If you drain the pack below that voltage, the individual cells can be permanently damaged. For a NiCd that produces 1.2v per cell full, (12 cells) I believe the stopping point is at 10.8 volts, or .9 per cell. Battery manufacturers can tell you this number for their packs. In any custom system like we might be using, WE have to be the arbiter of when to stop draining, as a Sound Devices will continue to function with a supply as low as 10v... Which would be critically damaging to the battery. For me, I have a Lifesaver charger which will automatically condition and protect the AB batteries when needed, so I stop at 11.0 volts, just for an extra little bit of safety for the battery.

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I got this information from the IDX website. Hope it helps

Lithium Ion use: top off or charge fully within 3-4 weeks of use (has very low self discharge). Lithium Ion discharge: no discharge ever required, okay to top off. Lithium Ion short term storage: store charged. Lithium Ion long term storage: charge to 20-40% capacity every 3 months of non-use.

Nickel Cadium (NiCd) Chemistry Characteristics:

Benefits—mature and well-known type, fast-charging and economical Weakness—low energy density, memory effect on capacity, toxic, heavier in weight

NiCd use: fully charge 1-4 days prior to use or notice reduced run time due to moderate self-discharge. NiCd discharge: discharge every 5-7 uses. NiCd short-term storage: batteries are very resilient, and no special battery storage is required. NiCd long-term storage: batteries are very resilient, and no special battery storage is required.

Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH)

Benefits—higher density, contains no toxic metals Weakness—high self-discharge, moderate memory effect on capacity, decreased life cycle, heavy

NiMH use: fully charge the same day of use, or the day before (has very high self discharge). NiMH discharge: discharge every 30 uses. NiMH short-term storage: re-charge fully a day or two after use, and store charged. NiMH long-term storage: fully charge every 1-2 months of non-use.

I got this information from the IDX website

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I run my 788T, CL8, two 411s and an SR off one of these 13,000 mAh beasts http://www.all-battery.com/li-ion18650148vrechargeablebatterypackpcbprotectionwith18awgbareleadscustomize.aspx

Works beautifully and gives me way beyond a full days worth of juice on a single charge. I tested and was able to record 8 ISOs + wireless for 10 hours straight.

The only downside is you have to wire-em up yourself for BDS or otherwise.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Jesse

www.jfasound.com

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After years of IDX NP1 use, I switched to Anton Bauer Goldmount batts in my bag, but after a while I got sick of the weight of them, sure they ran forever (powering SQN, 744T and 2 or 3 Lectro 411As) When I needed to scale down from my Pegz-2 to a Pegz-1 for a job involving lots of in vehicle work, I bought a few Global Media Pro L-ion NP1s and they've been great, The AB's have been sold and I'm an Np1 guy again now :)

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I've switched to Swit Batteries V-mounts.  http://www.swit-battery.com/EN/product.aspx?sort_type=Battery

I use the 126 watt hour version to power my bag, which includes, 788T, 3 SRa receivers, 1 411a receiver and a D4 transmitter. I easily get to lunch time without having to swap it out. It fits in nicely in the bag underneath the dead space created by the Cl-8.

I also have a couple of the 190 watt hour versions for days when I know we will be doing a lot of running around and I may not have to time to switch out batteries. I rig it with an extension cable and place the battery in a backpack, to help distribute the weight.

I use the D-tap output wired into a Battery Bud.  http://www.reddingaudio.com/cable-techniques-battery-bud.php

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Thanks everyone. Very informative thread. About your suggestion Jesse:

I run my 788T, CL8, two 411s and an SR off one of these 13,000 mAh beasts http://www.all-battery.com/li-ion18650148vrechargeablebatterypackpcbprotectionwith18awgbareleadscustomize.aspx

Works beautifully and gives me way beyond a full days worth of juice on a single charge. I tested and was able to record 8 ISOs + wireless for 10 hours straight.

The only downside is you have to wire-em up yourself for BDS or otherwise.

Seems like a great option, though I wouldn't wanna see one of those explode in my bag...

What do you charge that battery with?

EDIT: okay, found it. Bottom of the linked page shows a charger...

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John,

as someone who has used both IDX and Global Media Pro NP-1s I wanted to ask you if noticed any major difference between them. I'm considering going over to a GMP setup and I'm glad to hear another good review.

David L

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GlobalMediaPro 65Wh NP-1 fit very snug in both my Deva V and my Lectro Field Venue.

So, it's a hair larger than it should be. Performance is perfectly OK but they should correct this.

There is a slight missmatch with the contacts too... I think they are too deep placed

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has anyone seen or used these no-name LiIon NP batteries and charger and could give some advice as to whether they're worth the money? 14.4 V, 5.2 Ah

They sell at okay prices over here (Germany)

http://cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=350457083876&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

says the cells are Japanese quality cells. No idea if they sell 'em in the US too?

and cheap chargers:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Battery-Charger-IDX-NP-L50S-NP-25N-NP-L50-/380264765008?pt=Batteries_Chargers&hash=item58898bd650

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I run my 788T, CL8, two 411s and an SR off one of these 13,000 mAh beasts http://www.all-battery.com/li-ion18650148vrechargeablebatterypackpcbprotectionwith18awgbareleadscustomize.aspx

Works beautifully and gives me way beyond a full days worth of juice on a single charge. I tested and was able to record 8 ISOs + wireless for 10 hours straight.

The only downside is you have to wire-em up yourself for BDS or otherwise.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Jesse

www.jfasound.com

I use the slightly smaller 10,000 mAh version for my Fusion + lectro RXs + Zax ENG hop. I always keep a Li-ion NP-1 in my Fusion for safety. In case I kick the all-battery 10Ah thing, I also keep a spare NP-1 cup with BDS cable ready to take over.

So far it's serving me well. I hope it doesn't blow up considering it's in the belly pouch of my PEGZ-3.

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GMP NP1s have worked great for the last two years for us. After testing one we bought 7 of them and a couple of chargers to power two kits, one around a 788T and another smaller ENG kit. 2 NP1s power the 788 for a whole day. They´ve been at 45ºC in Egypt and -20º C in Georgia (powering the bag while the fuel tanks were frozen!) They´ve been through a lot of rainy days working under a poncho around here also. Not a single trouble for us or complaints from the people hiring them.

Regards.

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hi christian,  if you like the DIY approach  :

i started to use homebrewn LiFePo batterypacks a while ago. they consist of four 10ah-pouchcells in a housing of aluminium sheet, with a simple balancing circuit for occasional balancing.  the whole thing is held together by shrinking tube. works perfectly well and powers a bag with  744/302 + 3rx for a whole workingday+.  the pack is charged by a normal ctek leadacid-charger (4A) in about 2.5 hours.

it shure is a little heavier  and bigger than a np1, but i dont have to change batteries anymore during the day because its roughly 3times the capacity of my previous nimh-np1s. cost for a whole pack is around 160$,  the charger is around 90$.

the pouchcells were similar to this :

http://shop.lipopower.de/LiNANO-9-Ah-32V-LiFePo-Einzel-Zelle-SL-FHC-5C-132mm

more details upon request  ( und in deutscher sprache... :-) )

greetings

marco

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been using np-1 style too for bag use and recently switching to a enersys 12v 26amps batteries nicely fitted in a rugged pelican case with a 4 pin xlr mount on the case and a fuse inside the case for kart use only job. it s heavy but gives you more than 20hours for psc alphamix, 744t and lectro dual reciever. a little DIY but i love this setup so far. btw make sure your cabling has optimal connectivity (ie. cable big enough)  since you might lose voltage that will drasticly affect battery performance.

http://www.atbatt.com/sealed-lead-acid-batteries/b/enersys/m/np24-12.asp

dominique

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I am still waiting delivery of the Shorai Lithium Iron Phosphate battery. Not a homebrew solution but a beautifully packaged 18 ah 12 volt battery that is a direct replacement for the common sealed lead acid battery. Shorai claims that there is no special charging requirement and is 100% compatible with all standard SLA charging methods (with one exception that the charger cannot be a multi-stage with high voltage, high current primary stage).

These batteries will go into making a new cart power supply that will be 36 ah and weigh only 4.5 lbs instead of the well over 30 lbs for the cart power supply (sealed LEAD acid batteries) I am presently using.

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I've bought 4 of the no name grey NP1 li-ion packs. they worked great for about 2 1/2 years. Seemed to last as long as my IDX's. But went the DIY route this time when I found 14.8v (4 cell) 4.0 Ah Li-ion pack for $40 ea. charger was $25. takes 10 hrs. to charge but bought enough to rotate them.  Fitted them with TA-4 connecters that plug in to my distro. system. Found mine on ebay from a company called "Victoriz.com". I have no connection to this company.

Cheers, Steve

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I am using these grey 90 Euro NP-1 LiIon with japanese Cell made in china for quite a while. Bought them from the same ebay seller. They work well even in dual Batteryholder on my batteryconsuming Sony PDW 700. Make sure you get not the old 63/75Watt but the newer 77Watt Version useally sold for same price.

They both have a overcharge / overheat protection which I recommend.

I use the IDX Charger Ion-4 and KL-4 with them and they work well. If you get the grey charger feedback would be nice.

A rental house told me that their grey NP-1 63Wh even holded better after years than the IDX Np-l 50.

NP-1 Cup: Does anybody have expierience with this one: http://www.pinknoise...ptor-p-225.html

Are the switches and Led on the opposite side of the hirose?

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