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Sony Venice - Sound RX / D-tap power warning!


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Hi All,

I haven’t been on here in a while but an AC friend just sent me this and he asked me to spread it around so I’ll put it here and other relevant forums to get the word out. I have no direct experience with this issue but this is a well respected AC who really knows his stuff. Has anyone else heard of this?

-Dennis

 

 

“I want to give everyone a heads up about an ongoing issue with the Sony Venice...

 
Be very careful with sound powering any audio receiver via D-Tap when using the Sony Venice w/ Wooden Camera A-Box.
 
I've had one personal experience with a Venice body being fried as a result of this combination and I am now aware of two others going down as well.....the key link between all was a sound RX powered via D-Tap w/ XLR line to the A-Box resulting in some sort of power surge or short in the camera.
 
My personal experience was on a job last year....After powering up for our first scene, the camera immediately started displaying a litany of error codes. Menus completely locked out, EVF showing a rainbow pattern. Camera had to go back to Sony Service for multiple board replacements. They said they had never seen so many error codes on a single camera ( See short clip below, there were 9x total ).
 
For myself and one other crew the sound person was using a Lectrosonics RX ( Lectro LR w/ battery eliminator ) , but I have been in touch with another crew that had the same issue with a Zaxcom system ( Zaxcom 2-channel rx900s ) so it doesn't seem to be tied to a specific unit. It also seems to be independent of having phantom power on / off.
 
Hoping this doesn't happen to anyone else....”

 

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Working with a Camera Operator today that just mentioned the same thing happened to his. Might have been from one of these instances but he mentioned it fried the whole camera and cost 14k in repairs.

I'm using an Erx on it currently feeding timecode and scratch audio with no issues.

 

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I'm guessing the issue may be similar to the stories of people frying the HDMI ports on their prosumer/BMD/Canon cameras when running a small external external monitor off an unshielded D-Tap connection on the battery running the camera. Basically, if you first cable your accessory (monitor and now apparently RX ) to the camera, and then plug in an unshielded power cable, then if the positive pin connects first, the audio/monitor cable completes the circuit and you can fry your HDMI or SDI ports (and I guess more for Venice). So the general approach is use shielded cables/connectors, connect power first, and then connect the monitor or RX (or whatever).

 

Dig it: A few months ago Arri put out a short advisory on this.

Preventing Damage to SDI Outputs

 

Please correct any mistakes, and I don't know if this is the issue affecting Venice cameras, but it may at least point towards a solution.

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Jim's explanation makes sense to me ... partly.  I think he means ungrounded rather than unshielded?  D-Tap doesn't carry a ground, which is maybe the root of the problem ... but I also can't figure out why you'd ever have a shielded power cable.  From what I've seen, most D-Tap cables are not shielded (though, admittedly, I don't work with them much).  I'm not sure where a shield *could* connect on a D-Tap; there's only two pins, and the headshell (so to speak) is plastic.

 

Most signal-bearing cables are designed so that ground makes contact first so that any voltage difference across different pieces of equipment can equalize before voltage is applied to any of the sensitive signal pins.  In some, though certainly not all cable designs, the only ground is via the cable shield, so it makes a certain amount of sense that a shielded cable could create a common ground connection between equipment, but you can't count on this!  A shield needs a ground connection *somewhere*, but there's no guarantee the shield is connected on both ends; we lift grounds on XLR connections all the time!

Given that D-Tap doesn't provide a ground, I can see how it could cause shorts in connected equipment.  Ultimately, that's a flaw in D-Tap, and a  reason not to use it.  But it also sounds like a flaw in the Venice (or, more likely, the Wooden Camera A-Box), which, if it's going to use D-Tap, needs to provide adequate surge protection for exactly the situation that has occurred:  a voltage differential caused by not grounding two pieces of equipment before sharing power between them (in this case, the battery and the rest of the camera system).

My main question:  Did the Lectro Rx survive?  I suspect that it did ... the SRc copes quite well with ungrounded power in my experience.

Either way, sound is not the culprit here.  Using a poorly designed power distribution is.  My best guess is Wooden Camera is most at fault.

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I agree with Doc Sound Guy, sounds like  a camera gear defect versus a sound gear issue. I don’t have or use D Taps to power my receivers. If a camera just offers Dtap option I use the battery sled on my SR series. I do use Hirose if offered and have never had an issue Sony f55, Arri Amira and the like . For sports docs having the receiver powered by camera is practically a must have. Flagging down the cameraman to change out batts during a game or hoping they last until half time is not a good option, even though they usually do. 

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