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Inside a Nagra battery


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Nagra sells the battery pack as a replacement option (and you can order the high capacity cells if you want).  I don't remember the price off the top of my head, but buying a replacement unit was not necessary.

some other expenses... full charge management board, not just a protection PCM, can run off of AC as well as load balance from battery, rugged enclosure for field / production use, Lemo connector, not fully justifying the price, but it's Nagra, they do operate at low unit sales and high cost, just the reality of where they sit in the market, and the unit is perfectly compatible with external power supplies / 3rd party batteries.

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"and the unit is perfectly compatible with external power supplies / 3rd party batteries"

Yep!/right. Thanks for that Tom .But the "sponge film" is an eye opener.The box (battery) looks 'Nagrastyle' but the inside looks too simple...cheap and easy to replace the cells..For that amount of money! 

 

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From NAGRA:

NAGRA VI Battery pack - Amateur video

To whom it may concern:

Audio Technology Switzerland is keen to receive constructive and well documented criticism concerning its NAGRA products. However, amateur videos potentially putting customer safety at risk is strictly contrary to the company policy.

The technology developed and used in our batteries is excellent for energy storage for any environmental situation where a portable self-contained application is required. It is however a very sensitive technology, that needs to be handled extremely carefully.
If not, lithium batteries can heat up and in extreme cases catch fire or even explode.

It is for these reasons that Audio Technology Switzerland takes extreme care to use certified (incl. CE & RoHS...) battery packs, in order to be able to guarantee the safe use of its products. This allows also our customers to travel with full security as this certification is valid for airline safety.

It would appear that the creator of this video is ill informed of various different possibilities. The battery pack was specifically developed so that if the customer needs to repair his machine, he can simply replace the defective single battery cell, or if he wishes to upgrade his machine, he can replace the single battery cell by a multiple battery pack, and the capacity is increased without the need to purchase the full battery pack. However, such operations should be undertaken by properly trained personnel, and full testing of the unit is necessary in order to avoid any safety risks or eventual damage to the recorder.

Audio Technology Switzerland - NAGRA develops and manufactures extremely reliable and high quality professional products, individually hand-made in Switzerland. This means long lasting products for the customers. The prices cannot be based on a single element of a particular device but reflect the precision, quality and service we strive to achieve.

NAGRA is against programmed obsolescence of its products, providing electronic equipment used and maintained for decades

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If I may be terribly nit-picky for a moment, but "CE" is not a certification label for a battery or anything else. It's only a declaration by the manufacturer that they have complied with all relevant rules and regulations. Likewise, RoHS doesn't say anything about the product's safety or quality, it's only a statement by the manufacturer that they didn't employ certain hazardous substances, as required by (EU) law. 

This doesn't in any way impair the Nagra statement, For some reason I just felt like clarifying this. 

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They can say whatever they want, but I still think its a ripoff.. And thats ok.. I mean if you buy a Nagra you are expected to pay a lot of money. Thats part of the essence of the recorder. If the Nagra was priced at 1,000 dollars I feel it would not be nearly as attractive. Just look at the zoom f8.. 

Now im not saying the zoom is better than the Nagra.. but how much do you think the zoom f8 would cost if Nagra was making it? 

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17 minutes ago, chrismedr said:

people forget what labor (even low-tech) cost in high-paid countries...

my mother lives in switzerland, recently the gardener came by to clean up the graden..
result: 700CHF (that's 705USD atm) for coming over and doing five hours of work (no heavy machinery).

Thats a very good point.. And I guess the price of things is very relative at the end of the day. But who forces them to assemble everything in Switzerland by hand? They do it because they can. Because it is like a "stamp of quality". But truth be told you can get the same or maybe even better "stamp of quality" in many other countries for a lot less. But thats not the point. Its about the image the Nagra has.. that its hand built by swiss hands. So the price is right I think. I mean probably china could do it just as well for less, or mexico, or any other country. But that would not be the same thing anymore. And there is also the pedigree the company has.. They charge for that too.

 

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10 hours ago, AnuarYahya said:

But who forces them to assemble everything in Switzerland by hand? 

nobody does, it's their decision. i don't know why, but there are some very good arguments - to me it seems insuring top quality control and service is a lot easier if you do it locally with trusted workers then trying to do it remotely communicating over thousand of miles. it could also be argued that morally it is not the finest thing to outsource everything to low wage countries while living and making lot of money in high-paid countries.

also some things you just can't find in mexico or china. probably some of you here know Brauner microphones. Dirk Brauner who builds the mics does it all locally in germany on high precision machines, and arguably nobody in china (or pretty much anywhere else on the world) manage to match the quality. this is mainly because of skill, dedication, care and access to local high-end machinery and talent.

there's a really nice interview on youtube where he talks about the history and process of building mics (unfortunately only in german):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_VFq-kQQFY

he mentions there that he was contacted by a guy from switzerland who produces special voodoo mic cables, and dirk bauner said he didn't really believe in it making a differences, but the guy was so polite and wanted to send him a free sample that the accepted to have a look at it. he now ships the (very expensive) swiss made cable with his mics because he says it really *did* sound better.

why does he not just look for somebody in china to make the same cable for a fraction of the price? because it doesn't exist i imagine.

anyway its not that i could afford a nagra (or a brauner mic), but just some thoughts

chris

ps: with the current currency conversion rates, swiss prices are crazy anyway:
the same bottle of appleton 12 rum that costs 24EUR here in germany is 46CHF (42EUR) in switzerland (switzerland has slightly higher tax on alcohol but much lower VAT). this is for a product that only gets imported, unpacked, put in the shelf, and sold. but paying wages, shop rent, heating etc makes it nearly twice as expensive (and germany is not a low wage country either)

 

 

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It is completely understandable that the battery unit is horribly expensive, being 1) a Nagra Audio/Audio Technology Switzerland product and 2) a high quality product.

What I fail to understand is that Nagra Audio don´t offer a factory refurbishing of a defective battery; it would be a cheap, safe and environmentally sound gesture. It almost seem like an oversight: Why make a battery unit easily serviceable and then fail to offer any method of performing an actual repair? Nagra Audio even got a second chance to correct that mistake when they made the reply to the video, but failed to do that. They chose to be patronizing and overly emphasizing quite obvious facts. It is completely justifiable to require shipping to Nagra Audio for refurbishing and testing, but to not offer refurbishing is quite strange and not very costumer friendly.

To be fair: LiPO cells come in many qualities, and I have seen my share of dodgy, short lived replacement laptop batteries. So to claim that it is cheap and easy to replace the cells and get the same quality as the original unit is a bit far fetched. But still Nagra Audio could source the original battery pack, either to the end user or a authorized service partner.

I love and admire Nagra Audio products but this affair is plain stupid and completely unnecessary, and any bad press is, IMHO, quite understandable. And, if it had been handled properly initially, completely avoidable.

 

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Is a Rolex a better than any other watch? Probably not. It may be very precise and stable and whatever, but it won't better better at time, than other good watches, especially than a rc watch. Our smartphones have built in clocks which are probably way more precise. But many people want a Rolex, even at a premium price, because they love the feeling of it on their wrist, they marvel at the perfect engineering and they just love looking at the (almost) awe-inspiring name engraved on that watch. For what it is, it's okay perfection, even though at its core function it's being surpassed by others (I don't have one myself, btw). You can't put a price on that.

I could never ever spend my wordays staring at "Zoom" logo. I have spent way too much money and thereby time, which I didn't thus spend on something else, so I could eventually by my first Sound Devices mixer, then a recorder and so on. When I first unpacked my 744T, I touched the cool metal outside, looked at it over and over. This was perfection. This was why I had been working so hard, working through stupid jobs. Just so I could finally afford this marvel of engineering. I didn't spend even one second thinking about the price. And this wasn't even a Nagra. A Zoom could never do that for me.

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Has anyone actually asked Nagra if they would repair a battery pack? I would be very surprised if they do not offer this service. 

I would be very surprised if Nagra offered the replacement LiPo units for user servicing - if your iPhone battery dies, you have to return it to Apple for repair. You can repair it yourself, but Apple don't provide details of where to buy parts or how to complete the repair. 

 

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Apple isn't exactly a byword for quality, more a triumph of marketing.  There are many smartphones that contain user-replaceable batteries, Apple just choose to house theirs in a case designed to be as thin as possible (no doubt to win the "thin-ness" war) and therefore without a removable cover.

I've just had a look on Nagra's website.  There's some very nice gear on there and no doubt they have a deserved reputation for quality, but there's also a fair few products that seem to be not much more than rebadged Chinese dictaphones, so perhaps they're not the company they once were.

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This is a service department thing - there are literally thousands of part numbers for the various bits and pieces that could be purchased through the service department for the VI, so it would be ridiculous for them to list every single one.  The video maker is being a bit pedantic. It is also of course Nagra's right to represent itself as a corporate entity that warns users about opening up boxes that say to not open, or be overly cautious in their stance about user replacement of bits and pieces, but at the end of the day, if you ask them to send you the battery "cell" or "pack" or whatever you want to call it, not the whole kit-and-caboodle, they will send it to you.  Their service department is second to none.  Once I had my unit in for hardware upgrades - adding a USB port, and the service tech noticed my front panel's paint job was a bit worn (because I'm hard on my gear and it just came back from a rugged trip to Ecuador) and they replaced it free of charge.  That wasn't even a cheap part - but their pride in their equipment just couldn't stand to see a blemished unit out in the wild.  Last year I wondered if I could get a replacement bulb and bulb holder for a modulometer that had been manufactured in the 70's - a quick reply and I got a part number and shipping quote - for a part that was in production over 40 years ago.  Show me another manufacturer that keeps an inventory of parts for that length of time.  Yes Nagra is expensive - but it's for a very small group of people who feel it necessary to buy from them.  Yes Nagra's attention has turned away from production sound a bit, quite frankly the audio division is a minor part of Nagra today, one of the reasons it was split off as a separate entity - but an important one and due to their heritage, wasn't simply evaporated after corporate review. The video maker is trying to equate the entire value of the battery in the value of the HI-LINE cells / pack, which he admitted he could not find on their website - perhaps being a custom to-order job, makes sense for Nagra to outsource such cells from a specialist, rather than do that in-house.  Regardless, because the raw materials of the pack is several dollars, does not mean that the package in total is worth that.  What was the point of making a big deal of the foam?  Was it better the leave an air cavity that would allow the pack to be jarred as operators take hard impacts, disembark from moving vehicles, or any other typical production condition, not some test bench?  Force buyers to use a high-capacity model?  Many purchasers were classical music recordists, who primarily work off of AC power.  Why not thank Nagra instead for allowing the option - or for engineering the unit to accommodate those who wish to upgrade from a small capacity to a large capacity battery later in the future... and with just the flick of a switch, it is done, no desoldering or re-engineering required?  Regardless, the video maker's efforts would have been more constructive by just telling his friend that he could have called Nagra to find out if they sold the lithium cells (they do) or just fix it and move on, but I don't get the point of the video which is being a bit sensational and simply not unbiased.  Nagra is not Apple or Microsoft or Honda/Toyota/Mercedes/Volvo who's products are part of our everyday lives - it is an audio recorder owned by less than .1% of .1% of all the audio recordists out there - so those of us who buy one know what we are getting ourselves into and this video really doesn't enlighten me to anything that I already didn't know - for being of curious mind I opened my batteries up within a week of ownership.  I'm also somewhat of a tinkerer and thought to myself - "self, I bet I could build a battery better suited for my own needs than the Nagra option, so I wonder what that would entail?"  An email and response later, the parts necessary are available from Nagra as #40 20662 041 for the female multi-pin and #40 20662 071 for the matching male connector... and available for $11.50 each... or just save yourself the trouble and use any generic 12V system with the industry standard XLR4 connector.  It's certainly not my place to tell the video maker what to do or to attempt to explain his motivations - it's the internet and a free world, but I'm certainly entitled to my own opinion and even now, find Nagra's reputation and corporate ethics impeccable.

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7 hours ago, James Bull said:

You can repair it yourself, but Apple don't provide details of where to buy parts or how to complete the repair. 

 

I have fixed more than one Apple product on my own with no support from Apple. It all "DEPENDS". There are many third party sites that provide a number of spares, I even fixed an iPad with a broken display by ordering a display and changing it. taking out the old shattered display was a PITA, but hey, it's still working after two years... 

It is definitely a good option to have if the manufacturer provides the info and also the spares, but it is not the case with a company that makes large scale prosumer and consumer products. Ask a professional equipment manufacturer like the ones we know and i am sure there will be a positive response, one that aids you in fixing the problem yourself, with their spares or sourced from the big market... 

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On February 28, 2016 at 3:22 AM, Tom Visser said:

This is a service department thing - there are literally thousands of part numbers for the various bits and pieces that could be purchased through the service department for the VI, so it would be ridiculous for them to list every single one.  The video maker is being a bit pedantic. It is also of course Nagra's right to represent itself as a corporate entity that warns users about opening up boxes that say to not open, or be overly cautious in their stance about user replacement of bits and pieces, but at the end of the day, if you ask them to send you the battery "cell" or "pack" or whatever you want to call it, not the whole kit-and-caboodle, they will send it to you.  Their service department is second to none.  Once I had my unit in for hardware upgrades - adding a USB port, and the service tech noticed my front panel's paint job was a bit worn (because I'm hard on my gear and it just came back from a rugged trip to Ecuador) and they replaced it free of charge.  That wasn't even a cheap part - but their pride in their equipment just couldn't stand to see a blemished unit out in the wild.  Last year I wondered if I could get a replacement bulb and bulb holder for a modulometer that had been manufactured in the 70's - a quick reply and I got a part number and shipping quote - for a part that was in production over 40 years ago.  Show me another manufacturer that keeps an inventory of parts for that length of time.  Yes Nagra is expensive - but it's for a very small group of people who feel it necessary to buy from them.  Yes Nagra's attention has turned away from production sound a bit, quite frankly the audio division is a minor part of Nagra today, one of the reasons it was split off as a separate entity - but an important one and due to their heritage, wasn't simply evaporated after corporate review. The video maker is trying to equate the entire value of the battery in the value of the HI-LINE cells / pack, which he admitted he could not find on their website - perhaps being a custom to-order job, makes sense for Nagra to outsource such cells from a specialist, rather than do that in-house.  Regardless, because the raw materials of the pack is several dollars, does not mean that the package in total is worth that.  What was the point of making a big deal of the foam?  Was it better the leave an air cavity that would allow the pack to be jarred as operators take hard impacts, disembark from moving vehicles, or any other typical production condition, not some test bench?  Force buyers to use a high-capacity model?  Many purchasers were classical music recordists, who primarily work off of AC power.  Why not thank Nagra instead for allowing the option - or for engineering the unit to accommodate those who wish to upgrade from a small capacity to a large capacity battery later in the future... and with just the flick of a switch, it is done, no desoldering or re-engineering required?  Regardless, the video maker's efforts would have been more constructive by just telling his friend that he could have called Nagra to find out if they sold the lithium cells (they do) or just fix it and move on, but I don't get the point of the video which is being a bit sensational and simply not unbiased.  Nagra is not Apple or Microsoft or Honda/Toyota/Mercedes/Volvo who's products are part of our everyday lives - it is an audio recorder owned by less than .1% of .1% of all the audio recordists out there - so those of us who buy one know what we are getting ourselves into and this video really doesn't enlighten me to anything that I already didn't know - for being of curious mind I opened my batteries up within a week of ownership.  I'm also somewhat of a tinkerer and thought to myself - "self, I bet I could build a battery better suited for my own needs than the Nagra option, so I wonder what that would entail?"  An email and response later, the parts necessary are available from Nagra as #40 20662 041 for the female multi-pin and #40 20662 071 for the matching male connector... and available for $11.50 each... or just save yourself the trouble and use any generic 12V system with the industry standard XLR4 connector.  It's certainly not my place to tell the video maker what to do or to attempt to explain his motivations - it's the internet and a free world, but I'm certainly entitled to my own opinion and even now, find Nagra's reputation and corporate ethics impeccable.

 

Thanks for the grounded reality, Tom. I always enjoy, appreciate and, respect your (usual) well-reasoned perspective.

Even though I have absolutely no horses in this race, I too, thought, that - The guy was just a bit squeaky? (Both, in his initial post. And, his response.)

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On 28/02/2016 at 8:26 AM, James Bull said:

Has anyone actually asked Nagra if they would repair a battery pack? I would be very surprised if they do not offer this service.

Yes they have and they do.

The high capacity pack costs £330 to refurb and replace the battery pack in the UK.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, i may by posting this have revealed myself to be, in Nagras eyes, nearly as risky an 'experimenter' as the original video poster, but i too have replaced the cell-pack in a 'standard' Nagra box with a high-capacity one. As previously noted by someone above, the circuit inside is identical, there's a switch to select between 3S2P ( the original 4.8Ah pack ) and a 3S6P configuration ( 1st pic )...

I wasn't actually aware that sending a pack back to Nagra and having new cells fitted was 'only'  £330, but this still seems a bit steep in the light of the fact that what i fittted was a pack i had custom made up by a reputable supplier for £200, which is what you see in the other pics.

( NB this includes the typical 'charging balance' pcbs between each stack, so i have no reason to think it's any less safe or will have a shorter life than the similar 3S6P that Nagra could have fitted )

Also, although physically the only difference between the 2 capacities of pack ( apart from the actual no. of cells fitted naturally ) is the switch setting, would Nagra agree to 'upgrading' a standard capacity pack to a high capacity one - as i've done here - for the same price as renewing the high-cap ?

 

Anyway, for those of you interested in the details you'll also see here that;

1)  the pack i fitted is 15.6Ah and not an exact 'match' to the Nagra 13.8Ah high capacity pack.

This was primarily because of the individual cell capacity they happened to use, but i reckoned the percentage difference wasn't high enough to 'upset' the Nagra charging circuit;  what's important is that the pack is still in 3S6P config, with it's own correctly set balancing circuits, and in any case it simply takes a bit longer to charge than my other pack ( an original 13.8Ah which has indeterminate life left and which i'll similarly renew i think ), as i've noted on the extra label, which shows the Nagra-circuit is supplying the same total current in charge.

2)  Terminal block connection - a bit temporary looking but it's solid enough. I could have soldered and heatshrunk, but didn't have any heatshrink left at the time....

3)   pack label inside says 11.1v, Nagra box label outside says 10.8v.  Don't worry, these are different nominal quoted working/load voltages for what is the same working range of voltages across 3 li-ion cell voltages in series.

 

 

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