TV-BAY Magazine Issue 66 June 2012
Get Adobe Flash player
MORE POWER For cameras and crews by Steve Emmett R eliable, durable and plentiful battery power is essential for broadcast acquisition. The power demands of modern high-definition camera set-ups are now greater than ever. As the number of camera accessories increases so do the demands for battery power. In addition to power-hungry cameras, there is also a greater number of camera accessories available, to be powered simultaneously. The cameras alone are likely to have a power consumption of 40W to 50W, and the accessories can increase the total power consumption to around 100W. The increased demand for power is compounded by the fact that broadcast cameras have limited provision for DC power output sockets. There is usually a 2-pin style D-Tap output, positioned for powering an on-board camera light, and depending on the system, an output on the battery mount. Some battery manufacturers have incorporated a D-Tap output in their battery, but connections are limited. In addition to the camera and its accessories, every camera operator carries electronic devices, essential to the job, that also require power. A smartphone is one example of a commonly used piece of kit that has not been factored into the power requirement equation. The battery industry has attempted to meet the power demand by providing larger, higher-capacity batteries that may provide extended run-time and allow greater currents to be drawn. Batteries that have capacities of 190 or even 225 watt-hours are available, but because traditional Li-Ion cell technology is intolerant of high currents, these batteries are often unable to provide more than 52 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE Photo courtesy of Damian Wilson of UKIP 8A or 9A. A further drawback is that, having capacities greater than 160 watt-hours, they cannot legally be transported by passenger aircraft. Invest in large, high-capacity Li-Ion packs and you could be literally powerless as you fly to the next location, your batteries having been confiscated. This has prompted certain manufacturers to find ways of splitting their high-capacity Li-Ion packs into more flight-friendly units, for crews that do travel by air. A smart way to avoid any issues at the airport check-in, and increase the amount of current that can be drawn, is to combine the capacities of separate Li-Ion batteries. Spreading the load across multiple battery packs ensures that their working life is maximised, and means that you won’t be separated from them at the airport. Different manufacturers have combined capacities in a number of ways, either by using an additional dual battery mount or by piggy- backing batteries via a built-in battery linking feature. Some manufacturers have used a linking system in combination with high-load Li-Ion cells, designed to provide greater currents. While lower in capacity, and higher in cost, these cells increase the power capability. Each approach has failed to address the requirement for a greater number of power outputs. However, there is now a battery system that successfully addresses both problems in a way that goes further than any other battery manufacturer has attempted. PAG, the London based camera power specialist, and one of the industry’s longest established battery manufacturers, introduced the PAGlink battery system at IBC 2012. PAGlink is the first Li-Ion camera battery system that allows more than two batteries to be linked for charge or discharge, regardless of their state of charge. Three 96 watt-hour PAGlink batteries provide 288 watt-hours of power, and are legally transportable by passenger aircraft (they are UN tested and IATA approved). Up to 8 PAGlink batteries can be linked to create a super high capacity power source, or for simultaneous charging, using a PAGlink charger or any reputable manufacturer’s V-Mount Li-Ion charger.