Is there a USB charging option for the OM-D's battery? (BLN-1)

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by LowriderS10, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Just wondering...there are all these battery banks out there for charging smartphones/small cameras/tablets, there anything we can do for our cameras to charge them via USB? Special charger or something?

  2. JimUSNY

    JimUSNY Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 5, 2013
    Mid Hudson Valley NY
    not unless you find an after market charger that uses usb for power, the only ones I see use AC or car cig lighter
  3. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I have the A7. USB charging is handy in emergengies. 99% of the time it's a total PITA. The idea is nice but if you have more than one battery or you use more than one in a days shooting you'll regret not having your external charger with you.

  4. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    To me, the appeal of a USB charger would be the ability to charge the batteries while off the grid. I guess there are other ways to do that but most off the grid options seem to use USB.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    No, there's no such charger. USB doesn't really provide enough current for most camera batteries.

    If you're in a situation where you have access to a car, you can get a universal lithium ion battery charger, with a 9V cigarette lighter adapter - that's about as close as you can get.
  6. Ricoh

    Ricoh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 2, 2013
    USB is 5V, so would need converting to the higher voltage, 8 or 9 volts, can't remember. Can be done by a switching DC to DC converter. A quick search on ebay indicates that they exist, but you would probably need to 'engineer' a battery interface, eg get a scrap olympus charger and bypass the original internal electronics, thus just using the physical interface. Current limited to USB standards, it would take some time to charge, but charge it would.
  7. bartjeej

    bartjeej Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 9, 2012
    The Pixo C-USB charger has a USB input and can charge up to 7.4V batteries, according to the specs on the charger itself. I have the charger, but no cameras with batteries over 5V (partially because I wanted to be sure I could charge everything using USB), so I can't test how well this works.
  8. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 22, 2013
    i dont see any net advantage to an ext charger. you can shoot with 1 battery and be charging another. but you can do the same after buying an ext charger (for your sony battery). by then, you have the same functionality, with the addition of being able to charge 2 batteries simultaneously. advantage USB.

    if youre out on the street with your 3 batteries, you can still run through your 1000 shots, whether charging is external or not. youre not charging "on the street". advantage neither.

    from a laptop, USB camera can be charged. in the car, USB camera can be charged with a tiny USB adapter (vs large AC converter). advantage USB.

    my laptop pumps out ~1A. car adapter 1.5-2A. assorted wall adapters (from smartphones and tablets) 1-1.5A.
    olympus and fuji wallwarts ? ~0.6A.

    havent timed it but im sure the USB cameras charge faster, if not the same
  9. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Thanks guys...yeah, this would be for an off-the-grid type situation...but I have 2 OEM and 2 aftermarket batteries and about to grab a 3rd OEM, I guess that'll be enough...I've never run out of them, just thinking out loud, I guess. :)
  10. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    If charging off the car accessory power or solar power outdoors, you should know that lithium ion batteries should not be charged when it is below freezing (more info here). Probably explains why my phone battery barely holds a charge.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. JimUSNY

    JimUSNY Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 5, 2013
    Mid Hudson Valley NY
    Hey I just watched an episode of Thingamabob on History channel, he built a charger that connected to your feet to shoulders with wires to a small generators that charged stuff while you walked by your leg power :)
    • Like Like x 1
  12. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Sure. It's nice to have as a backup. But you need to now factor in the additional cost of the external charger. The Sony is slow to charge in camera. There's more stress on the micro usb port of the camera so if it breaks the whole camera is out of action. If I'm travelling I'd have to leave my camera out in the open for hours while charging batteries. I don't really want my camera bouncing around in the car if I'm using the cigar socket to charge a battery.

    The fact I've already ecided to order a charger says the usb function has not met my needs.


  13. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    While I do think USB charging is an excellent feature as a backup, I also want an external charger for all my bodies.
  14. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    I want an external charger that can take an USB input.
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    At less current, which would mean a longer charge...when you increase the voltage, the current decreases.

    Your laptop is in the minority. Most average laptops are less than MP3 player has a setting for 400mA or 100mA charging depending on what the laptop can supply. Devices that need more power usually have two USB connectors to have two sources of power.
  16. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 31, 2013
    This is probably more useful for the outdoor people with the USB battery packs, but I've seen two variations on these universal lithium ion USB chargers:

    There's two USB chargers I am aware of (Did some research on this a while back and just saw this topic):
    This was mentioned earlier in this thread.
    For reference: I believe in the United States GoalZero is the distributor/reseller. I believe European residents can find this charger much easier than I could.

    There is another "universal" USB charger I have seen before, but I don't have any specific models that I could point out. I believe they're all Chinese units that are variations on one design, They generally look like this:
  17. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    This is awesome, thanks! So how does it accommodate the BLN-1? Has anyone tried this?
  18. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
  19. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    My problem with a USB powered charger....why deplete a laptop battery to charge a camera battery? If the laptop is plugged in...unplug it and plug in a dual battery charger (the Watson one works great). BTW, The Watson charger has a USB port where you can charge your phone or tablet while the batteries are charging. The Watson charger also has a vehicle power cable in case AC mains are not available. My SUV has a built in power inverter which also gives more options.
  20. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    If you want off the grid charging, you can buy something like a PCB Vagabond mini and just use your normal charger. I do it all the time!!
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