Staying charged on a long backpacking trip?

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Buho
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Staying charged on a long backpacking trip?

Post by Buho » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:19 am

I'm going to be in the back country for four days. There will be no tree outlets there. I typically go through a camera battery per day. This means I'll need to buy two more batteries.

Is there an alternative? Kinetic or wind-up chargers for batteries (or a 120v AC converter that my chargers can plug in to)?

What do you all do when shooting away from electrical sources?
Eric

Buho
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Post by Buho » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:32 pm

So close! Hand crank to 12V adapter: http://www.earthtechproducts.com/p2589.html I don't have a cigarette lighter adapter for my battery charger. Price is perfect; anything more than $60 and I may as well just buy two more batteries.
Eric

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Post by maxlyons » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:54 pm

Buho wrote:So close! Hand crank to 12V adapter: http://www.earthtechproducts.com/p2589.html I don't have a cigarette lighter adapter for my battery charger. Price is perfect; anything more than $60 and I may as well just buy two more batteries.
My guess is that you'd have to spend a long time cranking to recharge your batteries! Its probably easier/cheaper/lighter just to buy a couple of extra batteries.

Max

Growing
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Post by Growing » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:55 am

You could try solar. There are plenty of options for solar chargers for AA batteries, phones or USB charged devices.

But the choices are very much more limited for proprietary camera batteries. I did however find one for the Canon LP-E6 battery used in the EOS 7D.

If you can find a car battery adapter for your camera battery charger, there are plenty of 12V solar solutions available. If you are hiking, you would normally mount the solar panels on the top of your backpack.

I have no experience with solar charging of camera batteries. Recent camera batteries are a lot more complicated than just a few cells. They contains all sorts of circuitry for monitoring charge history, and circuits to lock out third-party batteries.

I just take spare batteries.

Stephen

Buho
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Post by Buho » Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:55 pm

My guess is that you'd have to spend a long time cranking to recharge your batteries!
That crossed my mind. On the other hand, modern electronics are so economical with power usage, these batteries might not store many joules of power (compared to what an arm crank can produce). Hmm, but if the battery can only input so much energy per time, I still might be cranking for a while.
I just take spare batteries.
That could very well be my solution. Looking around, people on longer trips have varying options, including car batteries, solar kits, and generators. Some of those options don't work on flights, some don't work on light-weight backpacking trips. There are a couple light-weight options that are in the multi-hundreds of dollars that look pretty useful if I were a pro and had a client to pass the expense off to.
Eric

dsp
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Post by dsp » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:49 pm

What camera? On my older Canon, ebay batteries are cheap and work just fine (~10-15 per battery). On my newer Canon, the battery is chipped, and if you want all features, you need a more expensive replacement, though if you are willing to give up the charge readout, you can get cheaper ones. I've never had a problem.

You could get a bigger capacity battery, like a laptop battery and hook it up to the ext power cable - I've done that for longer trips (2 weeks).

cheers, Darcy

Buho
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Post by Buho » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:42 am

You could get a bigger capacity battery, like a laptop battery and hook it up to the ext power cable - I've done that for longer trips (2 weeks).
I'm intrigued. How does that work, Darcy? I'm not familiar with laptop batteries. What hooks up to what? "Ext power cable"?
Eric

dsp
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Post by dsp » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:21 pm

My info was a bit sparse, and it probably isn't for someone who isn't comfortable soldering and rigging up parts. As usual, I make no warrenties that this won't make your camera or battery cease functioning/explode/run away with your spouse, etc...

The Canon battery for my 5dmII is a 7.4V 1800mAh battery. Any 7.4 volt battery will power the camera, and likely any battery with voltages that are close will do so as well. I bought a 7.4 V, 10,000 mAh laptop battery (~50$), and a cheap, un-chipped canon style battery on ebay (~15$). Ripped apart the smaller battery, took out the guts, and only left the case. Soldered leads from the big battery to the small battery, and stuck this in my camera. Now I have a battery with over 5 times the capacity.

To be honest, I did it more for fun, as it not much cheaper than buying 5 unchipped batteries, not any smaller, but has the added complication and labor of making it, and the leads.

Most manufacturers offer ac adaptors that can also be easily modified. They consist of a AC-DC transformer, then send the DC out to the camera. You could just cut the wire of the camera plug, and attach it to DC directly.


cheers, Darcy

dsjtecserv
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Post by dsjtecserv » Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:44 pm

Um, Darcy, don't you end up carrying around a heavy laptop battery, that is hanging umbilicized from your camera? Do you strap it to the bottom of the camera?

It sounds like the fun of making it is the best part; using it doesn't sound like much fun!

Dave

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Post by dsp » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:09 pm

Dave, you are right, it is not as easy. But it has its uses... At one time I used to do a lot of long night time continuous exposures or time lapse when camping in cold weather. I had times when the normal battery would fail after 1 hour or so, while the big one would go all night.

I mainly suggested it as an alternative (not necessarily the best!). Now I just buy cheap batts, and use them only on back country excursions...

cheers, Darcy

dsjtecserv
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Post by dsjtecserv » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:52 pm

Ah, yes, long night time exposures; it would be handy for that. I was thinking of more mobile pursuits. Having just spent all night shooting by moonlight at Great Falls (pictures later) I can appreciate having a virtually unlimited power supply. But if you used a higher voltage, could it cut the exposure time? Now THAT would be handy.

Dave

Buho
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Post by Buho » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:57 pm

Interesting, Darcy.

And yeah, I tried extremely long exposures last winter from the comfort of my house, just as a test. A 12-hour exposure failed (Canon doesn't bother storing the sensor contents to memory in it's last minute of juice). A 10-hour exposure failed. An 8-hour exposure failed, at which point I gave up. I don't think my 350D has an external power supply jack, so a rigged lappy battery would probably be the only solution.
Eric

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