External battery pack for charging camera batteries

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by dhazeghi, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    So I'm going to be doing some trekking in the near future with a buddy who's also into photography, and the route we're on includes a 3-4 day stint where we will not have access to power. Between the two of us, we'll probably have 3 cameras, all of which use different types of batteries - E-M5, E-PM2 and Fuji X-E1. Rather than buy 4 or 5 batteries for each camera, we were considering getting an external battery pack, and using that to recharge our camera batteries nightly (we have chargers that run off 12V adapters)

    I've seen plenty of reviews that tell how well such devices work for phones and tablets and such, but does anybody have experience with how they work for charging cameras batteries? Any recommendations would be quite helpful. Thanks!
     
  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I don't have any personal experience, but I'd check the weight on the power packs carefully vs. enough batteries to tide you over. Even the E-M5, which is pretty power hungry, should be fine with 3 batteries or so. I'm assuming you'll take a spare battery anyway (50 grams each) for each, plus the charger, it's bit going to save weight and only might save you cash if you go with third party batteries.
     
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    That's a fair point. Aside from the additional headache of manage more batteries, I'm a bit reluctant because I've had extremely bad experience so far with 3rd party batteries - 5 of the 6 I've purchased are now unusable. Add to that the fact that the 3rd party ones tend to discharge on their own more rapidly than the OEM (and to not hold as much charge to begin with), and I'm not that confident that after 4 days, I can count on getting many images from the batteries.

    In terms of size and weight you're right - the chargers + battery pack will weigh more than just getting extra batteries. I guess I was also thinking that the external battery pack would be useful in other situations where power is wanting (e.g. charging a cell phone or tablet), but that's not really a concern for this trip.
     
  4. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    External battery pack as the USB ones that can charge cell phones? Or external battery packs that provide battery power via 12v connection?
     
  5. humzai

    humzai Mu-43 Veteran

    410
    Apr 17, 2012
    The battery grip for the em5 has a dc input 9v.

    Oh you might look into the hyper juice batteries you can use them dc chargers.
     
  6. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    The latter. I'm looking at something along the lines of the Anker Astro Pro. It claims to hold 20000mAh, and provide 12 volt DC out (up to 2 amps). I could then hook that up to my Wasabi charger for the BLN-1 or the BLS-5. It also has USB ports so it would work for charging other things too - smartphones, tablets and whatnot.

    I don't think the grip is necessary - my chargers take 12 volt DC in. Just wondering how well the batteries work. I'm guessing there's a lot of energy loss in the various conversions. Do you have experience with the Hyper Juice?
     
  7. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Ah thanks for clearing that up... I was curious. I don't really have any input to provide though. The product you link is certainly very interesting! I may get one myself... 20,000mAh is not bad considering most of our batteries under 1500mAh

    A lot of people with Sony camera complain that they don't come with external chargers and expect you to use the camera to charge via USB. This would be one case that it would be beneficial.... saves you the trouble of carrying chargers and adapter to 12v. I don't think Olympus cameras charge via USB.
     
  8. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    859
    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    The Anker product likely has a bank of ten Lithium-Ion batteries; the same as those used in laptop and notebook computers. Since it is not marketed as a ruggedized product, it may be vulnerable to debris, dust, extreme temperature, and moisture from field use not ordinarily encountered in urban environments. Take precautions to protect it. Also, i f you buy it, get good-quality charging cords that won't fall apart in the field.

    Let us know how it performs. The price point at $80 is reasonable given its rechargeability.
     
  9. humzai

    humzai Mu-43 Veteran

    410
    Apr 17, 2012
    The hyper juice batteries are on a whole other level compares to the std 2-6kmah batteries. They work as external batteries for MacBooks, I have the smallest one and it works quite well with my MacBook Air. Their latest revision looks great.
     
  10. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I'd just get a sealed lead-acid battery to suit my charging needs. Like these: http://www.mcmelectronics.com/browse/12V/0000000355 It's easy enough to make or buy a little carrying bag and to wire a Radio Shack cigar lighter socket to one. Buying a battery will get you honest amp-hours, unlike the bogus-looking figures I see touted for impossibly small booster batteries touted for cell phones and tablets.

    Re chargers, the ones that look like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/C56s-DMW-BL...425?pt=Batteries_Chargers&hash=item2ecca1c511 all seem to come from the same manufacturer. Some have 12V inputs and some do not. But every one I have bought has the same construction: The tray that holds the specific battery snaps off of the charger base by pulling it straight down and the trays are interchangeable. And carrying a few trays is a lot less bulky than carrying whole chargers. I usually carry a couple of charger bases and then whatever trays I might need. AFIK the trays are not available separately and I've never seen the modular nature of these things advertised but that is what I have found.
     
  11. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    That's what led to my original question...

    I often carry a booster pack for my car on long trips just in case. I've used it to charge my phone, laptop, and camera in the past. It was a life saver when we lost power for weeks after Hurricane Sandy.

    On the other hand, no way would I want to carry around that thing on any sort of trip by foot. No way.. I'd rather just buy a bunch of batteries.
     
  12. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    859
    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    The lead-acid batteries will certainly output the necessary mAh; however, they have their place: IN a vehicle. Carrying one while trekking will likely grow quite weary and will be left behind.
     
  13. Joelmusicman

    Joelmusicman Mu-43 Regular

    90
    Nov 1, 2013
    Yeah, lead acid batteries are REALLY heavy!

    What you might want to consider instead are Lithium-Polymer batteries from the RC community (one of my other expensive hobbies!). A "3S" LIPO pack would get you 12v, then the capacity varies but commonly available up to 5000mah. I've thought of just directly hooking one of these up to a camera DC input (with proper voltage of course).
     
  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Thanks very much for the suggestions. The lead acid battery idea is interesting, but unfortunately I think infeasible for our trip - we have some fairly restrictive weight limits on our trek. I agree that the small booster battery numbers look suspect, but since I've never used one, I don't know how suspect they are.

    I had no idea about the charger plates, but you're absolutely correct. That will definitely save us some weight and bulk. Thanks again!
     
  15. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    A word of warning on the charger plates - the ebay special chargers I got with third party batteries for my rx100 and my e-m5 look the same, and have interchangable base plates, but output different voltages. Ie the e-m5 batteries won't charge on the rx100 base (4.7 vs 8.6 volts or thereabouts). I learned this on vacation. The hard way.
     
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  16. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    I have a large Hyper Juice battery that I use to charge my USB charging gear. I just wondered how I could use it to charge my E-M1 batteries. Actually I do know one way - attach a car charger to it but it is an awful lot of extra wires and kit. Is there another way?
     
  17. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Thank you. That is very important information. I have bought chargers for G1, GX7, and Canon G12, All of the bases produced the same output voltage. Obviously from your experience one cannot count on this.
     
  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Good point. I'll have to double-check and make sure all 3 of them work properly, although my guess is that since they're all 1200 mAh batteries of similar size, they should be compatible.

    Not that I know of, no. But with the trick mentioned above, it looks like one can get away with just 1 charger, 3 plates, 1 DC 12V cable, and of course the external battery itself.

    I did just take a look at the Hyperjuice and didn't see any mention of 12V DC out, so it may not work on that particular model.
     
  19. humzai

    humzai Mu-43 Veteran

    410
    Apr 17, 2012
    Thee larger hyper juice models have a dc out and cone with a car adaptor dingle. All you would need is the dc charger that comes with the charger, it's hardly any weight or bulk at all.

    I am talking about the 60w and above batteries.
     
  20. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I checked my bases. Underneath the tray/visible when the tray is removed they are marked "8.4v" So probably the manufacturer has a few flavors of bases and then may do some voltage regulation in the battery trays as well.
     
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