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NP-1 Battery Solutions - VariZoom vs IDX


jdutaillis
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Hey Guys,

I've been searching through the forums and found a lot of great and very helpful information regarding battery and power solutions but wanted to open this thread to ask a few specific questions. I hope that is alright with everyone.

I run a purely in the bag kit with a 788t-SSD / CL-8 and will, over the next year, upgrade my current UCR100 recievers to 411a units. I'm looking at the option of powering everything using NP-1 batteries with a Cable Techniques Battery Bud BDS.

Here are a few questions I have:

1. VariZoom vs IDX... What are everyones thoughts on these? I can get the VariZoom kit for $465 or the IDX kit for $799. Obviously there is a significant price difference but is there a significant quality difference? What would you recommend?

2. I would love to be able to power everything off a single NP-1 battery but I've read a few people get interference problems when running a 788t on the same battery as Rx units. Do you have this problem? Is there a way around it? Or should I be looking at running the 788t off its own battery?

3. Using an NP-1 system, if I'm powering the 788t-SSD / CL-8, 4 x Lectro 411a, and a CMIT 5U on 48v, what kind of battery time would I be looking at off a single NP-1?

Thanks in advance!

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JD, I cannot comment on runtimes with a 788 and cl-8 and any interferance issues. I can however comment on the varizoom batteries. I have used them for over 1 year and have no issues other than they power my SD 552 with 3 channels powered phantom &2 ucr 401s for up to 3 days. They have been golden, I have had IDX in my bag and they were great....except for the cost, I have heard the axiom "you get what you pay for" and I do not believe this applies to the Varizoom Li Ion batteries... IMHO. JHW

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Can't compare but my 5 years old IDX batts are still giving flawless performance. Still no notable difference between my 5 years old and my other 2 years and one year old batts.

Varizoom *might* be alittle more ''brand friendly'' with their charger though (from a quick peek at the link) ... IDX is quite proprietary in that matter.

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So it seems the VariZooms are probably the way to go. Although the IDX batteries may be better in the long run, as VariZooms haven't been in anyone's bags as long to know, they don't seem to justify the price jump.

Would love to hear from anyone about the potential interference issues if they know!

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2. I would love to be able to power everything off a single NP-1 battery but I've read a few people get interference problems when running a 788t on the same battery as Rx units. Do you have this problem? Is there a way around it? Or should I be looking at running the 788t off its own battery?

I have never had a problem running a 788 and Lectro 411's off the same battery. This is with a Remote Audio BDS (both the BDS4 and BDS3 at different times).

3. Using an NP-1 system, if I'm powering the 788t-SSD / CL-8, 4 x Lectro 411a, and a CMIT 5U on 48v, what kind of battery time would I be looking at off a single NP-1?

You could make some guestimates based on amperage of the various items. Off the top of my head, I think the current draw from the 788 is about 1 amp, and the 411's are about 180mA per unit (total of 720). Real-world numbers would depend on whether you used the system continuously (without stopping), or stopped every so often for lighting setups and could power down, as well as how many mic preamps were activated. I can generally get at least 4 hours in my bag system, but be aware that the rechargeable Lithiums fall off the cliff very quickly, right about when they hit the 13V mark. I find Remote Audio's RM voltage indicator to be very helpful in warning me when this is about to happen. The 788 will also give you a low-voltage warning beep right before it keels over.

I got along for a couple of years with just 3 batteries, but just threw in the towel recently and purchased a 4th, just for those long days that have a lot of extended takes. Having an extra battery is cheap insurance in the grand scheme of things. I also carry enough spare AA & 9V cells that I could go that way all day if push came to shove, and I also have a couple of L-mount batteries for the 788.

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I have an IDX JL-2 Plus charger that charges my Varizoom batteries fine. I have had those batteries for about 2 years, and they work great with my 552/744t bag. They don't quite have the amperage hours IDX has though, and I have noticed that I change batteries more when powering a 788t.

Also, because of the draw, I try to run the 788t and my Lectros off two different batteries. I can run the lectros off of one all day, and easily swap out the 788t battery without all of my wireless going down. Pretty handy if you forgot to change batteries after lunch, and didn't notice until the next scene had started.

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Also, because of the draw, I try to run the 788t and my Lectros off two different batteries. I can run the lectros off of one all day, and easily swap out the 788t battery without all of my wireless going down. Pretty handy if you forgot to change batteries after lunch, and didn't notice until the next scene had started.

I do this as well. It also balances the bag I find.

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I just started doing this as well on a Western that I decided to be bag-centric for. I have my Octopack and Comtek on my BDS/NP-1 and the 788 has its own NP-1. Been working out really well.

I do this as well. It also balances the bag I find.

I have an IDX JL-2 Plus charger that charges my Varizoom batteries fine. I have had those batteries for about 2 years, and they work great with my 552/744t bag. They don't quite have the amperage hours IDX has though, and I have noticed that I change batteries more when powering a 788t.

Also, because of the draw, I try to run the 788t and my Lectros off two different batteries. I can run the lectros off of one all day, and easily swap out the 788t battery without all of my wireless going down. Pretty handy if you forgot to change batteries after lunch, and didn't notice until the next scene had started.

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For the record, when I got my BDS from Trew, I started using Switronix L60's (they carried them at the time). I believe they were called something else originally, then bought by Anton Bauer and changed to Switronix, or something like that. Anyhow, they're less expensive, as is the very portable 2 batt charger (I carry it in my headphone pouch sometimes). I've been using 2 batts for the last three years with my 552/SRa/411 combo bag and have been VERY happy with their performance and longevity.

I'll be getting a 664 soon and plan on buying a new one only because I think I'll need a fresher one to power the 664/2-SRa/411 combo. Just a thought as they're pretty inexpensive ($165 NP-L60 batt, $160 2 batt SP-2LJ portable charger)

Brian

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  • 3 years later...

I know this is an old topic, but has anyone shot with the Varizoom in cold temps?  I was just about to buy a set with the charger over the IDX and then noticed on the website the operating temperature is only rated to 0 Degrees Celcius.  (32 Fahrenheit). I'm up in Canada and shooting in -20 Degree weather quite often, I've used IDX in -35 Celcius (-33 F) without any issues.  Has anyone put the Varizoom or Switronix to the test in extreme weather?  Don't really want to be running my BDS into my armpit

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On August 2, 2016 at 5:56 PM, darkllamasound said:

I know this is an old topic, but has anyone shot with the Varizoom in cold temps?  I was just about to buy a set with the charger over the IDX and then noticed on the website the operating temperature is only rated to 0 Degrees Celcius.  (32 Fahrenheit). I'm up in Canada and shooting in -20 Degree weather quite often, I've used IDX in -35 Celcius (-33 F) without any issues.  Has anyone put the Varizoom or Switronix to the test in extreme weather?  Don't really want to be running my BDS into my armpit

I shot earlier in the year in the mountains of Wyoming in -4 degree weather (Fahrenheit) and drove snowmobiles around for a weekend with wind whipping at who knows how low temps and they were 100% flawless. 

Here's a photo of my Maxx bag on one of the machines. For the record we worked multiple 12-hour days in this temperature with no issues from these batteries. And also for the record, I have now had these batteries in everything from -4F to +100F. In my opinion they are an outstanding deal. I can't 100% guarantee them in those temperatures since my max negative temperature was -4F, but I really don't think you will have an issue and I personally would not hesitate to take my batteries into extreme cold again.

Good luck!

IMG_7329.jpg

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