Tag Archives: battery

Core FX9 V-Mount Adapter and Core Hypercore Neo Mini Batteries.

DSC_0691-2-1024x768 Core FX9 V-Mount Adapter and Core Hypercore Neo Mini Batteries.
Core FX9 V-Mount adapter with a Hypercore Neo Mini battery on my PXW-FX9

One of the things about the FX9 that makes no sense is it’s external DC input. When you are using just the camera body the FX9 requires a rather odd-ball 19.5 volts to power it via it’s DC in connector. Most cameras have a 12v to 16v input range so they can be used with the multitude of V-Mount or Gold Mount batteries that are common place in the world of professional video. But not the FX9.  The FX9 is also fairly power hungry so the standard BP-U batteries can be a little limiting, especially if you also need to power any accessories as the camera doesn’t have a power output. A V-Mount battery will run the camera for a long time and they generally have D-Tap power outlets, but they are the wrong voltage for the FX9s external input. So if you want to use a V-Mount battery, as I do, then you need not only a mounting plate but also a voltage converter.

The adapter I have chosen to use is manufactured by Core. Why this one? One thing that was important for me is not only to be able to power the camera from a V-Mount battery, but also to be able to power it from a standard external 12 volt power supply such as found in most studios, or something like a car battery. The Core CXV-FX9 adapter includes a voltage regulator that takes the 12 to 16 volt range of a typical Lithium battery and converts it to the 19.5v needed by the FX9. It also has an industry standard 4 pin XLR connector that you can use to power the camera from a 12v external power supply.

DSC_0681-1024x768 Core FX9 V-Mount Adapter and Core Hypercore Neo Mini Batteries.
The Core FX9 V-Mount adapter has an industry standard 4 pin XLR input for standard 12v power supplies.

Hot Swap:

If you have a power supply connected to the 4 pin XLR you can hot swap the V-Mount batteries. If you have a battery on the adapter you can hot swap to and from the external power. During hot swapping the adapter not only continues to feed the camera with power but also the 2 D-Tap ports on the adapter remain powered.

Low Battery Warning:

One issue that all these adapters have is that they have to convert the battery voltage up to 19.5 volts and this is what is fed to the cameras DC in connector. This means that the camera has no direct connection to the battery, so it has no way to know the charge state of the battery. All you will see in the viewfinder as an indication of the output of the voltage converter. This will remain at a constant 19.5v all the way until the battery is flat and cuts off, at which point the camera will just die. That’s not good, if you are halfway through recording something it could corrupt your media. You won’t have any warning in the camera of the battery going flat.

To try to address this at least in part the Core adapter has an LED light on the operators side that is green when the battery is well charged, but turns to red when there is only around 10% of the batteries capacity left. This does at least give some warning of a battery about to die.

DSC_0689-1024x768 Core FX9 V-Mount Adapter and Core Hypercore Neo Mini Batteries.
The Core FX9 adapter has an LED battery status indicator that turns red and flashes when the battery voltage gets low.

As well as the adapter, I’m trying out a couple of Core’s Hypercore Neo Mini batteries. These are nice, compact 98Wh batteries. They are UN Tested and certified so meet all the requirements for air travel. These batteries have a clever LCD display that displays the available run time of the battery. This is much more advanced than a simple charge indicator (it has one of those too). The battery actually detects the load being drawn from it. It also knows the exact state of charge of the battery.

DSC_0680-1024x768 Core FX9 V-Mount Adapter and Core Hypercore Neo Mini Batteries.
Core SWX Hyoercore Neo Mini 98Wh battery with incredibly accurate run time display giving the time in minutes until the battery will be flat based on the cameras power draw.

Using these it is able to calculate with great accuracy how long it will be before it will be flat. I have found this to be remarkably accurate, typically to within just a few minutes. I’ve been using this display to let me know when I need to start thinking about changing the battery. It’s accuracy gives me the confidence to continue shooting until I’m down to the last few minutes of run time. Typically I’m getting around 2.5 hours without the Atomso Ninja recorder and just under 2 hours with the Ninja from one of these excellent little batteries.

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Core V-Mount plate for the FX9 showing the lugs that lock into slots in the camera battery compartment to eliminate any flex or wobble.
DSC_0686-scaled-e1578517993169-1024x935 Core FX9 V-Mount Adapter and Core Hypercore Neo Mini Batteries.
There are two D-Tap power outlets at the top of the Core FX9 V-Mount plates as well as 3 1/4″ mounting holes for accessories.

Attaching the adapter:

Attaching the adapter to the camera is easy. It uses the same mounting points as Sony’s XDCA extension unit. So there are lugs that slide into slots inside the FX9’s battery compartment as well as two small bolts that attach it to the top of the camera. This makes it incredibly secure with no wobble or other movement. I would have no concerns about supporting the entire camera rig from the battery adapter or adding perhaps a V-Mount wireless video link and then large or heavy batteries behind that. It’s very secure and it looks like it’s meant to be there. Another nice touch is that as well as the 2 D-Tap power ports on the top of the adapter there are also 3 additional 1/4″ mounting points for accessories such as monitors or wireless receivers etc.

I do have one small criticism. The position of the D-Tap ports is quite close to the edge of the adapter. If you are using a tall battery and you have a very fat D-Tap plug they can interfere with each other.

Despite this the Core V-Mount battery adapter gets a big thumbs up from me. The voltage indication is most useful as is the ability to use a normal 4 pin 12v XLR feed.

DSC_0684-2-1024x768 Core FX9 V-Mount Adapter and Core Hypercore Neo Mini Batteries.
The Core FX9 V-Mount battery adapter gets a big thumbs up from me.
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Why Can’t I Get Third Party BP-U Batteries any more?

In the last month or so it has become increasingly hard to find dealers or stores with 3rd party BP-U style batteries in stock.

After a lot of digging around and talking to dealers and battery manufacturers it became apparent that Sony were asking the manufacturers of BP-U style batteries to stop making and selling them or face legal action. The reason given being that the batteries impinge on Sony’s Intellectual Property rights.

Why Is This Happening Now?

It appears that the reason for this clamp down is because it was discovered that the design of some of these 3rd party batteries was such that the battery could be inserted into the camera in a way that instead of power flowing through the power pins to the camera, power was flowing through the data pins. This will burn out the circuit boards in the camera and the camera will no longer work.

Users of these damaged cameras, unaware that the problem was caused by the battery were sending them back to Sony for repair under warranty. I can imagine that many arguments would have then followed over who was to pay for these potentially very expensive repairs or camera replacements.

So it appears that to prevent further issues Sony is trying to stop potentially damaging batteries from being manufactured and sold.

This is good and bad. Of course no one wants to use a battery that could result in the need to replace a very expensive camera with a new one (and if you were not aware it was the battery you could also damage the replacement camera). But many of us, myself included, have been using 3rd party batteries so that we can have a D-Tap power connection on the battery to power other devices such as monitors.

Only Option – BP-U60T?

Sony don’t produce batteries with D-Tap outlets. They do make a battery with a hirose connector (BP-U60T), but that’s not what we really want and compared to the 3rd party batteries it’s very expensive and the capacity isn’t all that high.

BP-U60T Why Can't I Get Third Party BP-U Batteries any more?
Sony BP-U60T with 4 pin hirose DC out.

So where do we go from here?

If you are going to continue to use 3rd party batteries, do be very careful about how you insert them and be warned that there is the potential for serious trouble. I don’t know how widespread the problem is.

We can hope perhaps that maybe Sony will either start to produce batteries with a D-Tap of their own. Or perhaps they can work with a range of chosen 3rd party battery manufacturers to find a way to produce safe batteries with D-Tap outputs under licence.

DSM-U84 Direct replacement battery for PMW-200, EX1, F3 etc tried and tested.

DSC00192-e1364899507832-199x300 DSM-U84 Direct replacement battery for PMW-200, EX1, F3 etc tried and tested.
DSM-U84 battery in use on my PMW-F3

I received a sample DSM-U84 battery just before the weekend for testing and review. This battery is a direct replacement for the Sony BP-U60 type battery typically used on the smaller Sony PMW cameras like the PMW-150, 200, EX1, EX3 and F3. It docks directly with the camera and does not need to use a cable or any other adapter to power the camera. This is particulary significant for PMW-100, 150 and 200 users as the cameras power socket is located inside the battery compartment making it impossible to use an external power source when a battery is inserted.

The capacity of the DSM-U84 is 84Wh so about 20% more capacity than the BP-U60 but in the same sized package. In my tests this did equate to around 20% more run time on my F3, about 3 to 3.5 hours which I think is pretty good. Like the original Sony battery it has an LED capacity meter on the rear of the pack and the quality of the plastics used appears very good. The battery uses high quality Japanese sourced Panasonic cells so should give a long service life. You can charge it using the standard Sony charger. With an estimated list price of £130 + VAT this makes it a serious alternative to the Sony BPU-60 which is typically around £170.00.

DSC00195-300x199 DSM-U84 Direct replacement battery for PMW-200, EX1, F3 etc tried and tested.
Another view of the DSM-U84 on my F3 rig.

One point to note is that the DSM-U84 does not feature a D-Tap socket like some of the other 3rd party batteries on the market. According to DSM this is stipulated by the cell manufacturer for safety reasons. I’ve used many DSM batteries over the years and they have always lasted very well, I have some that are now at least 6 years old but still perfectly useable.

New Batteries for PMW-200, 150, 100, F3, EX1R, EX1 and EX3

DSM-U65-84-Fuel-GaugeMR-281x300 New Batteries for PMW-200, 150, 100, F3, EX1R, EX1 and EX3
New DSM Battery for the EX and PMW series cameras.

A few weeks back I got a phone call from Dave at DSM…… Hey Alister do you think a battery that works on an EX1, F3 or PMW-200 just like the original Sony batteries would be popular? Of course it would, was my answer. Up to now almost all the 3rd party batteries that have been available for  these cameras have had to use a cable to deliver the power to the camera via the DC in socket. This is because if you try to supply the power from the battery directly the camera knows it’s not an original Sony battery and it will refuse to operate. These new batteries from UK manufacturer DSM have new circuitry that allows the battery to be used directly on the camera with no adapter cable. The capacity is quite a bit higher than the similar sized Sony BPU-60 and at 84Wh, enough juice to run an EX or PMW-200 for around 4 hours.

DSM-u-84-Base-231x300 New Batteries for PMW-200, 150, 100, F3, EX1R, EX1 and EX3
Underside of the DSM U-84 battery.

The batteries are made with high quality Japanese Panasonic cells and assembled in the UK. I’ve been using DSM V-Lock batteries for years and they have always been completely trouble free and long lasting. For more information see the DSM website or contact them at info@dsmpower.tv