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Faulty Remote Audio BDS?


Ed Denton
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I recently purchased a Remote Audio BDSv4u kit from B and H online (view product here) and I have been having some problems getting it to power up. It is wired in to 2 Lectrosonics 411a receivers and a Sound Devices 552 with remote audio cables (that were included in the kit) and powered from a Globalmediapro NP1 batteries with a remote audio NP1 cup adapter. The problem I have is when I use a freshly charged battery and turn on the BDSv4u the switch briefly flashes red and does not power up. If I use a non-fully charged battery however the problem doesn't seem to occur. I've found that if I power up the 552 from internal power then switch on the BDSv4u and then flip the 552 from internal to external power it stays on, so it seems to be an issue with powering up from the 552 causing a surge that causes the BDSv4u to cut out. This seems to mostly occur when I power up the BDSv4u with only the 552 switched on (to ext power). I can sometimes get it to work with a fully charged battery when I have the 411a's on but not always. But I don't always want the 411a receivers on even though I always have them wired in to the bag. I recorded a short demo video which shows everything I've explained to help you better diagnose the problem which you can watch here https://vimeo.com/48428016.

Anyone have an idea as to what might be happening? Faulty perhaps? I've tried contacting Remote Audio on their info email to no avail. Anyone know a better way to contact them? Phone not a good option due to time difference between Australia and the States. I haven't contacted B & H for a replacement yet because I'd rather diagnose the issue before sending it back and being without a BDS for 3 weeks when the next one might do the same thing.

Thanks in advance...

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On the 552 the external DC input is set at 14V Li-Ion. On the BDS there is a switch for the low battery reference which is set for Li-Ion. I don't know of this battery cut-off switch you are talking about hemmerlinj? This is from the BDSv4u user guide:

"The BDS box will also protect itself when connected to loads of over 5A, and the on/off toggle switch will no longer be illuminated. However, it is very rare for field audio bags (the primary intended use for the BDS) to have current draws in excess of 5A."

Is it possible that the 552 has a >5A surge when powering up? How would I test this?

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Yep, I just had a BDS3 blow up (while on a job!), and was able to limp along on internal batteries. I think the only thing you can do is send it in for repair:

Remote Audio

220 Great Circle Road - Suite 114

Nashville, TN 37228-1798

(800) 241-8994

(615) 256-2513

A replacement BDS4 was flawless, so it wasn't the batteries or the cables. Crap happens.

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Hi Eddie. Very interesting puzzle.

First of all, the 552 setup options pertaining to power cannot have anything to do with this problem you are having. Those options are only for the 552 low voltage warnings, and do not otherwise change the operation of the 552.

Second, it appears that the main breaker is tripping, because if it was an individual output breaker tripping, then the BDS switch would not turn off as it is doing. Since the main output breaker is rated at 5A, and the individual output breakers are rated at 3A, then it seems like the problem could be a faulty main breaker (otherwise the individual 3A breaker would open first). Clearly, the higher voltage of the fully charged battery is causing more inrush current than the breaker (faulty breaker?) will allow. The extra load that the Lectro receivers put on the BDS output reduces the voltage enough that the 552 in rush current is reduced enough to not trip the breaker.

If you are in the US or Canada, and it is determined that the BDS needs to be serviced, considering that the unit is new, Remote Audio will exchange the box for a new one to eliminate downtime for you. If you are not in the US or Canada, then the faster, less costly option may be a repair by yourself or your local service shop, with the help of Remote Audio.

To help with the trouble shooting, please measure the voltage of the fully charged battery (no load, and not connected to a charger or any other device) and let me know what the voltage is. Also, please try a different output on the BDS box for your 552 to see if the same problem happens.

Thanks for taking the time to explain the problem and for posting the video. There is a solution to this.

Glen Trew

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Glen we are indeed lucky to have people like you on this forum to answer questions with such diligence. Unfortunately I'm in Melbourne, Australia so it might have to involve some type of repair option. I have tried other outputs on the BDS but they all seem to cause the problem. I'll measure the voltage on the fully charged battery tomorrow. Wrote another email to Remote Audio this morning on their info email address but haven't heard from them. Annoying. Any idea on a better (more direct) way to contact them?

Thanks again,

Ed

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Ed:

Slow down. You're on the other side of the date line, so you were writing while the US was on Sunday and your last post would have been before 8 am on Monday morning here. Plus Glen is the owner of Remote Audio, so I don't know how you could get any better response. World wide web doesn't mean it's going to be answered quickly.

Scott....

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Hmm I think I had a similar issue when the BDS2 powered a Fusion, 6 411 RXs, camera hop etc. It would kick off when I threw the power switch, though the recorder was on the unswitched outlet. I wondered if the boot-up draw of everything at once was too much, and the BDS thought it was a problem.

For other reasons I started running 2 NP-1s at a time (one direct to recorder and the other for wireless), and that stopped happening. It only happened with the Fusion, but that's the only time I would also be running 6+ Lectro receivers anyway. I run a newer BDS in my recorder bag, and the version 2 is in a bag with a 302. It's never an issue there.

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On the 552 the external DC input is set at 14V Li-Ion. On the BDS there is a switch for the low battery reference which is set for Li-Ion. I don't know of this battery cut-off switch you are talking about hemmerlinj? This is from the BDSv4u user guide:

"The BDS box will also protect itself when connected to loads of over 5A, and the on/off toggle switch will no longer be illuminated. However, it is very rare for field audio bags (the primary intended use for the BDS) to have current draws in excess of 5A."

Is it possible that the 552 has a >5A surge when powering up? How would I test this?

I was referring to that switch.

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" from B and H online (view product here) and I have been having some problems getting it to power up. "

of course if you had purchased it from your favorite local (AUS) production sound specialist dealer, help would be much closer, and more personalized than you'll ever get from B+H.

No, it probably wouldn't. The local 'production sound specialist dealer' in Australia (Lemac) orders them in per sale. Lead time on them, or getting replacements/repairs is 2-3 weeks. The last time I upgraded my batt distributor (to a RA BDS 4U) I was told to "just order it from overseas - it'll be cheaper and get here faster".

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I experience the same RA.BDS shut down if I try to power up my 552 after a long switch off ( usually over night. ) I usually start my 552 up on internal power then swap to BDS after a few seconds.

I wonder if the 552 has a bigger initial current pull post over night shut down?? ( Or the reverse Coriolis effect of also living Down Under???? )

Be great to be in the loop if there is a BDS modification to cope with this.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello everyone,

We've been working hard at Remote Audio to determine the source of this issue. We appreciate everyone's input both here on the board and via e-mail.

After a number of tests and after communications with other equipment manufacturers, we believe the problem lies in the battery's ability (or inability) to provide adequate power to the setup.

In our tests, we connected a 552 mixer, four wireless receivers and other equipment to our BDS box. We used a number of power sources including a fully charged IDX lithium ion NP1 battery and two different regulated power supplies. We tested a new unit as well as Mr. Denton’s BDS (which he graciously sent to us for inspection). We were unable to duplicate the fault in a variety of different setups. This led us to believe it had something to do with the power source.

We contacted technical support at Sound Devices and they confirmed the in-rush current of a 552 at startup could exceed 2.5 amps.

This week, Mr. Denton forwarded a response he received from the manufacturer of his NP1 battery, GlobalMedia Pro. They had this response:

"The equipment uses 4.5A draw which is about 65W (depending on which level of discharge the battery is). GMP battery can only provide 44W draw (our website shows the battery specifications) which is about 3A. Our battery shuts down if overloaded.

IDX battery allows 50% more power - 4.6A maximum draw. See specifications here:

http://www.idxtek.com/sites/default/files/product/datasheet/idx_npl7s.pdf

The GMP's battery power draw is artificially limited and we are very skeptical abut using NP type battery at near 4.5A. The power draw has a direct link to the heat the battery produces and it does not matter which brand you use because the ability of a battery to deal with heat depends on its size and shape, not brand. NP style battery which works on 4.5A during a long period of time can overheat, especially if you put it into some sort of bag of holder.”

The current requirements of the 552 combined with other equipment in a bag or cart may be enough to force a battery into overload protection at startup. Check your particular battery's specs for this information. Sound Devices was aware of this issue prior to our call and has been recommending that users power up the 552 on internal power then switch to external. That workaround seems to be helpful for most people and may be the solution for anyone without an alternate power source.

If you have further concerns about your particular BDS box, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’ll be glad to help.

Thanks again to Ed, Pat and everyone here.

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Phil, I've had my BDS3 momentarily go dead -- not supplying any power from the DC jacks -- which I've determined can generally be fixed if I unplug and re-plug the attached IDX 12VDC LiOn battery. Then, it usually comes back to life. This is powering a 788t, three Lectro 411a's, two SMQV's, and a Remote Audio LED light, plus the RM2 remote. This is aggravated if I unplug or replug any of the DC connectors. (Note that I'm using Y-splitter cables on a couple of the 411a's.) I was convinced the thing had blown a fuse once or twice, but it always eventually came back.

A replacement BDS4U has been absolutely flawless in every way -- same cables, same gear, same batteries. At the moment, I'm keeping the BDS3 as a double-secret backup.

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Phil, I've had my BDS3 momentarily go dead -- not supplying any power from the DC jacks -- which I've determined can generally be fixed if I unplug and re-plug the attached IDX 12VDC LiOn battery. Then, it usually comes back to life. This is powering a 788t, three Lectro 411a's, two SMQV's, and a Remote Audio LED light, plus the RM2 remote. This is aggravated if I unplug or replug any of the DC connectors. (Note that I'm using Y-splitter cables on a couple of the 411a's.) I was convinced the thing had blown a fuse once or twice, but it always eventually came back.

A replacement BDS4U has been absolutely flawless in every way -- same cables, same gear, same batteries. At the moment, I'm keeping the BDS3 as a double-secret backup.

Marc, when the master fuse trips, it sometimes requires that you disconnect and then reconnect the DC input to the box to "reset" the fuse. This is normal. In your case, it could be that the master fuse needs to be replaced but we can't be certain until we run a few tests. Also, the master toggle switch in the v3 has failed on occasion so that may be the source of the power up issue you describe, but again it's hard to diagnose.

I'm powering my Nomad Six, four Lectro 211's, and a Lectro D-4 with a Lithium Polymer battery. Sometimes nothing happens when I switch the BDS to on, but if I switch it off and then back on again everything powers up fine.

Bernie, your issue is also difficult to diagnose. You could have a conflict with your power source, there could be an intermittant short in the system, or you could have an issue with your master toggle. If it is causing you headaches, you can send it in and we'd be happy to look it over. Just give us a call for a return authorization number (615-256-3513).

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Marc, when the master fuse trips, it sometimes requires that you disconnect and then reconnect the DC input to the box to "reset" the fuse. This is normal.

Ah, I missed that section in the manual. This happened to me a couple of times and it did not come back. And yet... a few days later, when I was getting ready to take the BDS3 into Coffey Sound locally, it worked perfectly! So I'll keep it as a backup.

Still love the BDS and rely on it often. I did resort to putting a piece of velcro on the battery cap just to keep it tight -- I had an occasion where a very slight bump dislodged the IDX battery by about 1/8", which is all it takes to shut down the show.

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