External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

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Gabi Bucataru

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External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostTue Feb 19, 2019 12:11 am

Hi all

So I am curious to know what are the options out there for a higher capacity battery (external, v-mount, etc), for a BMPC 4K camera rig. I am thinking to power the camera and possibly a SmallHD monitor.

Thanks!
Gabi
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Jamie LeJeune

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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostTue Feb 19, 2019 2:15 am

If you'd like to avoid having to use a cage, rods, etc. this is an option:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1416942-REG/core_swx_pbe_bmpc4_powerbase_edge_small_form.html

Or, Tilta makes a cage that has an integrated battery handle option that can also power accessories:
https://products.tilta.com/bmpcc4k/
Last edited by Jamie LeJeune on Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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michaeldhead

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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostTue Feb 19, 2019 3:38 am

I use a v-mount plate (effectively this): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... ystem.html

V-mount batteries (effectively this):https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1333711-REG/core_swx_core_n98s_6_6ah_lithium_ion_battery.html

And a CoreSWX D-tap to P4k power cable: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... tml?sts=pi

I load it up on a shoulder rail system. Works like a charm for me.
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Ric Murray

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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostTue Feb 19, 2019 2:25 pm

I have been doing testing with my Ronin-S and the Pocket 4K. The Ronin battery (2400mAh) will run the camera and record ProRes footage for about an hour straight using a $40 cord from Power Rig that goes from the Ronin's 12V Power out to the PC4k DC in (charger input). That would be about a full day of actual shooting for most I would think. I'm carrying a spare Ronin battery and 3 charged Canon internal batteries in case.

I wonder if someone could reverse engineer and 3D a plug to slide into the top of the Ronin handle battery to just provide power out to a pig tail? The battery could go in a holster or a pants pocket. While on that train of thought, I wonder about a 75 or 100 ball adopter that would sit in a standard tripod leg set but the allow the Ronin to just slide down into it and function as a tilt/pan head on legs?
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Gabi Bucataru

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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostTue Feb 19, 2019 4:03 pm

Jamie LeJeune wrote:If you'd like to avoid having to use a cage, rods, etc. this is an option:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1416942-REG/core_swx_pbe_bmpc4_powerbase_edge_small_form.html

Or, Tilta makes a cage that has an integrated battery handle option that can also power accessories:
https://products.tilta.com/bmpcc4k/


Jamie - Thanks a LOT for the tips! That Tilta looks slick! Never heard of it! I love the idea of those add-ons, especially the screw-on HDMI adapter. I wonder when are they going to start shipping since it's on pre-order.
I like the idea of the powerbase, but I also want to have the option to have the 15mm rail system for a follow focus or matte box, etc.

michaeldhead wrote:I use a v-mount plate (effectively this): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... ystem.html

V-mount batteries (effectively this):https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1333711-REG/core_swx_core_n98s_6_6ah_lithium_ion_battery.html

And a CoreSWX D-tap to P4k power cable: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... tml?sts=pi

I load it up on a shoulder rail system. Works like a charm for me.


Thanks Michael! That looks like a brilliant pair, especially that the battery is air transport compliant. Curious to know how the battery holds up for your shooting time. I am planning to have also a SmallHD monitor powered from it so it would be good to know how long it lasts.
I suspect the new BMPC4K firmware should help with battery consumption also.
Also was curious to know why you opted for that coiled D-Tap cable since the IndiPro V-mount plate ships with a P-Tap to 2.5mm cable.

Ric Murray wrote:I have been doing testing with my Ronin-S and the Pocket 4K. The Ronin battery (2400mAh) will run the camera and record ProRes footage for about an hour straight using a $40 cord from Power Rig that goes from the Ronin's 12V Power out to the PC4k DC in (charger input). That would be about a full day of actual shooting for most I would think. I'm carrying a spare Ronin battery and 3 charged Canon internal batteries in case.

I wonder if someone could reverse engineer and 3D a plug to slide into the top of the Ronin handle battery to just provide power out to a pig tail? The battery could go in a holster or a pants pocket. While on that train of thought, I wonder about a 75 or 100 ball adopter that would sit in a standard tripod leg set but the allow the Ronin to just slide down into it and function as a tilt/pan head on legs?


Thanks for the reply, Ric! Whoa - that 2400mAh battery can go long! Good to know.

Cheers!
Gabi
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Brad Hurley

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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostTue Feb 19, 2019 4:32 pm

One word of warning: if you use an external monitor with your BMPCC 4K, you might be tempted to use a Y-splitter cable to power both the camera and the monitor from your battery. Based on some reports I've read online, this can potentially kill your equipment -- one person tried it with a BMMCC and BMD Video Assist, and it fried the Video Assist (sparks even came out of it). I actually have one of these Y-splitter cables myself for this purpose but haven't dared try it. ;-)
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michaeldhead

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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostTue Feb 19, 2019 5:21 pm

Gabi Bucataru wrote:Thanks Michael! That looks like a brilliant pair, especially that the battery is air transport compliant. Curious to know how the battery holds up for your shooting time. I am planning to have also a SmallHD monitor powered from it so it would be good to know how long it lasts.
I suspect the new BMPC4K firmware should help with battery consumption also.
Also was curious to know why you opted for that coiled D-Tap cable since the IndiPro V-mount plate ships with a P-Tap to 2.5mm cable.


I easily get 4-6 hours shooting time, depending on handling (although currently I only add on an HDMI wireless transmitter with the rig).

As for the cable, the Pocket 4k does not have 2.5mm power input - that's for some of the older BMD cameras. The P4k has a locking 2-pin lemo style input - hence my choice of cable.

When you plug in the power cable like I use, the camera will read "AC" on the battery indicator - but once during my first shoot, I noticed that the battery indicator had suddenly changed to a percent instead of "AC". I was surprised to find the camera could read the percent of the V-mount, but then I found out the P-tap had become disconnected from the battery. Fortunately I had an internal battery in the camera, and the camera had switched (in mid-take) to the internal battery! If I had been using a dummy battery I would have lost that take, so I'm glad I covered myself.
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Stu Aitken

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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostTue Feb 19, 2019 8:30 pm

all the battery indicator reads is incoming voltage BTW

that's also why at least some BM cameras will often shut off even if the battery is at say 30% - the internal electronics on these cameras seem to have fairly unforgiving voltage requirements and a nominal 7.2v battery actually dips below that for quite a lot of its storage charge (it will start off around 8.4v and slowly go down to around 6.6v - the cameras seem to really not like anything below 7.2v)
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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostWed Feb 20, 2019 7:32 am

michaeldhead wrote:
Gabi Bucataru wrote:Thanks Michael! That looks like a brilliant pair, especially that the battery is air transport compliant. Curious to know how the battery holds up for your shooting time. I am planning to have also a SmallHD monitor powered from it so it would be good to know how long it lasts.
I suspect the new BMPC4K firmware should help with battery consumption also.
Also was curious to know why you opted for that coiled D-Tap cable since the IndiPro V-mount plate ships with a P-Tap to 2.5mm cable.


I easily get 4-6 hours shooting time, depending on handling (although currently I only add on an HDMI wireless transmitter with the rig).

As for the cable, the Pocket 4k does not have 2.5mm power input - that's for some of the older BMD cameras. The P4k has a locking 2-pin lemo style input - hence my choice of cable.

When you plug in the power cable like I use, the camera will read "AC" on the battery indicator - but once during my first shoot, I noticed that the battery indicator had suddenly changed to a percent instead of "AC". I was surprised to find the camera could read the percent of the V-mount, but then I found out the P-tap had become disconnected from the battery. Fortunately I had an internal battery in the camera, and the camera had switched (in mid-take) to the internal battery! If I had been using a dummy battery I would have lost that take, so I'm glad I covered myself.

I have just got an NP-L sled (with 12v output) and Lemo connector and just get AC in the battery indicator so no indication of battery life. I read on this forum a while a go that BM did not recommend doing this with an internal battery as well.
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Dmitry Shijan

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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostWed Feb 20, 2019 8:45 am

You can also check this battery project: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=71520 but it is still in development.
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Australian Image

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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostWed Feb 20, 2019 9:03 am

Since none of the images from my blog will post here, I'll have to just point you to my ongoing story about my BMPCC4K:

Build including battery setup - https://australianimage.com.au/blackmag ... a-4k-pt-3/

I've changed the layout of my rig once again for various reasons and I'm in the process of a further blog update. Overall I'm very happy with the battery setup, as I get around six hours of use including powering the field monitor, external SSDs etc. Part 4 has details on backup power.
https://australianimage.com.au/
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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostWed Feb 20, 2019 2:58 pm

John Griffin wrote:I have just got an NP-L sled (with 12v output) and Lemo connector and just get AC in the battery indicator so no indication of battery life. I read on this forum a while a go that BM did not recommend doing this with an internal battery as well.


Showing AC is what should happen when you're plugged in through the power input - the camera just thinks it's running on external power. It's good to keep an internal battery in because if your external comes loose for some reason (like happened to me), the camera can automatically switch to the internal battery and you don't lose what you're shooting.

The recommendation that BMD made was about "homemade power supplies" - probably after several people on the forums talked about soldering and splicing cables that weren't meant to be spliced (especially by people who admitted they had little to no experience with wiring).
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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostWed Feb 20, 2019 3:12 pm

Holy Sh%t! Just found this:
https://store.dji.com/product/ronin-s-battery-adapter
Looks like it will do just what I outlined above, snap into the Ronin Battery handle and give me a 12V out to the BMPC4K! Now Im looking for a simple tripod screw assembly that will allow the whole thing to screw into the bottom of the camera to create a handle/battery/simple stabilizer when the Ronin is too much...
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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostWed Feb 20, 2019 6:41 pm

michaeldhead wrote:
John Griffin wrote:I have just got an NP-L sled (with 12v output) and Lemo connector and just get AC in the battery indicator so no indication of battery life. I read on this forum a while a go that BM did not recommend doing this with an internal battery as well.


Showing AC is what should happen when you're plugged in through the power input - the camera just thinks it's running on external power. It's good to keep an internal battery in because if your external comes loose for some reason (like happened to me), the camera can automatically switch to the internal battery and you don't lose what you're shooting.

The recommendation that BMD made was about "homemade power supplies" - probably after several people on the forums talked about soldering and splicing cables that weren't meant to be spliced (especially by people who admitted they had little to no experience with wiring).

Thanks! - that is the obvious solution.
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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostSun Feb 24, 2019 1:35 pm

Imagine my disappointment, when the Ronin-S charger arrived today (https://store.dji.com/product/ronin-s-battery-adapter) and it turns out that the output (listed as USB-A plug, is but not) that is indeed the same as the 12V out on the gimbal has either 5V or no volts, as the PCC4K doesn't kick over when attached via my Power Rig cable. Does anyone know the name of the 4 pin connector found on the Ronin-S gimbal for power out? How about the pin/wire code? I'm going to open the charger and see if there are actually wires feeding the mystery "out" connector. Could it be as simple as that? A simple rewire of the insides? The Ronin battery puts out 14.4V max, what would be used to knock it down to 5V? A transformer? Simple resister? I tried going to the Ronin forums to ask some questions, but signing up was like joining the freakin Masons or something. After a half hour tryin to just register I gave up.
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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostSun Feb 24, 2019 7:38 pm

Ric, at one time I was thinking the Ronin-S was the way to go, but not anymore. Sorry to hear about your problems.


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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostMon Feb 25, 2019 3:27 pm

rick.lang wrote:at one time I was thinking the Ronin-S was the way to go, but not anymore. Sorry to hear about your problems.


I'm not done yet Rick! Fortunately the Ronin accessory charger has a metal case with 4 screws holding it shut. I intend to open it and mess about with the interior and see if I can locate the 14.4V pins from the battery ins, and connect directly to a BM AC in pigtail as soon as I can get a 000 star driver to fit the little screws. I also found a quick release plate and base that I can use to connect the Ronin handle to the bottom of the PCC4K in a pretty slick arrangement. The only other issue is the charger doesn't lock or snap into the Ronin handle, so I will need to fabricate something to accomplish that and make the connection more secure. I really don't want to add yet another battery/charger system to the misc crap I already carry around. The charger adaptor is only $39 so if I screw the warranty it's not a huge loss.
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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostMon Feb 25, 2019 7:04 pm

Keep us posted, brave soul.


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Cooper

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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostMon Feb 25, 2019 9:10 pm

Finally starting to get parts for my shoulder rig. Now that i got monitor, light, matte box, follow focus and cage with handle also coming. I have started thinking about counter weight as my fxlion square 98 wh (air travel...) liion battery hardly weights anything, so now i ordered second v-mount plate and more cheese plates so i can mount 2 of those batteries, and I'm still not sure if even that is enough...maybe i need to plant my audiorecorder in to the rig for more counter weight, not a huge fan of adding pure weights. The batteries at least should then last long enough, with 1 for monitor and light and another for camera and ssd. oh and bonus of no np-f batteries adding frontal weight.
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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostMon Feb 25, 2019 10:29 pm

rick.lang wrote:Keep us posted, brave soul.


Looks like Ronin battery is not going to work. Once open, the entire workings of the charger is a single printed circuit board with all components mounted and soldered down. No wiring at all to modify. Furthermore, some checks with a multi-meter show the battery itself puts out 16.3V when fully charged, so there must be circuitry somewhere that is regulating it down to 12V for the outputs on the gimbal, so a simple battery to PCC4K is not going to work either. The "output" plug is indeed a USB-A 5V charging outlet only. It's just a co-incidence that the Ronin to BMPCC4K Power Rig cable fits precisely into the empty space at the bottom of the USB plug. Soooo, looks like a dead end for now.
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Colourberry

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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostTue Feb 26, 2019 12:10 pm

This is probably a really stupid question but can power tool batteries be used with some form of adapter?

I bought a worklight from Aldi and it has a really nice 20V lithium-ion battery with led power level readout. They are only $30-$40.

Could something be made to reduce the power to 12V or would there be more to it than that?
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Re: External Battery For a BMPCC 4K Rig?

PostTue Feb 26, 2019 5:55 pm

I preordered the Tilta Cage system back in November and still haven't received it. A few weeks ago I got a call about a traveling shoot and needed to resolve this issue really fast. So I went on Amazon and luckily found a cage and rod system from Smallrig that was available. I bought the cage, top handle, side handle, ssd holder, rods and base plate then rented a battery plate and rod plate system from "The Lens Pal" in Orlando FL. That came with Gold Mount batteries from anton bauer. Then just ordered a P-tap to 2pin cable to power the camera and a P-tap to DC cable to power my on board monitor.

This solution or something similar I think is the best way to go for long format field work where you need to be able to power your camera for interview or in field setup. One battery lasted all day for me. Effectively 4hrs of on time, which you don't really go through unless you keep the battery on all day.

Some pictures attached below of what the setup looked like.

Enjoy.

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