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Thread: Battery packs / external batteries / USB power

  1. #1

    Default Battery packs / external batteries / USB power

    I'm taking stock of my power options for portable devices and wondering if it is time for an overhaul/upgrade.

    To summarize, most of my gear is:
    - device-specific batteries, but can be made to use an adapter
    - AA rechargeable batteries
    - Sony NPF-type batteries

    All my potable lights are Sony NPF. I'm about to go buy some more batteries, but what I would rather do is get some sort of adapter that would let me hook up an external USB powerbank to my portable lights, something compact but with more power and easy to charge without a dedicated charger.

    I'm thinking the next level up is to use AA batteries inside the USB box, which means I can use my army of AA and keep buying those instead of watching the USB banks fade and die over time.

    So in short, I think the ultimate battery pack is a box that takes 10 AA batteries (rechargeables usually operate at 1.2v so x10 = 12 volts) and provides output in 12 volts or 2 USB plugs. Then I can get simple adapters for all my cameras and Sony NPF-type, and use these boxes to run my camera and external lights so I get several hours out of them instead of 45 mins per battery. Something like this but made with higher quality, also with a USB option, and with 2 more AA battery spots or I won't meet the minimum 12v for my LED lights:

    Is this a pipe dream or have you seen something like this, and what do you use to extend the running time on your devices?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    I use something similar which takes 12 AA batteries, which I picked up in Shanghai, I bought four of them because they're so useful. And, with 12 x 1.2v rechargeables it kicks out 14.4v Spot-on!
    It has a standard 4-pin XLR type socket but I can't find a maker's name anywhere.
    My soundie has something similar which he made himself.
    The thing is... Exactly 12v can be a pain because a lot of so-called 12v equipment actually prefers 14.4v, so when it gets down to slightly below 12v it won't work, even though there's juice left in the batteries.
    If you are good at DIY electronics I can find out what Rod got to build his boxes.

    On the plus side, if you run out of power, you can get AA batteries almost anywhere and ten will give you 15v... result!
    But be aware that AA batteries have quite a low ampage, so might not be so good on your lights, depending how much they draw.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 03-30-2019 at 05:52 PM.

  3. #3


    I think you called it with the amp issue. My research turned up few devices designed this way, and for the ones that exist, people complaining that they under-perform to the expected specs. I think that something happens in the conversion to higher voltage/amps and AA batteries just don't perform well used this way.

    I decided to buy more off-brand Sony NPF. The prices seem to be ever dropping. I also got a new off-brand battery for the Panasonic camera and it gave me the longest running time I've ever had, even more than the original Panasonic battery, so those are improving as well.

    For the LED lights, the NPF batteries were 7900mAh. I tested them and a single one can power one of my portable LED light for at least 7 hours. The LED light frame can take 2 batteries, so each LED light can run probably 14 hrs+. I usually need them for maybe 3 hrs. I was worried because the smaller NPF-type were giving me about 1 hr before, but these new monster ones solved all concerns.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    Glad to know that the latest off-brand batteries are out-performing the named ones. It used to be the other way 'round and the price some manufacturers charge for their own-brand batteries is extortionate.

  5. #5


    I still don't expect them to last very long (but getting more hopeful). I don't know the details on how they are made but I suspect they use a lower-cost materials/production system that gives you more power upfront but loses more charge over time. I have some Canon batteries that are like 10 years old still working up to expectations, but I keep buying after-market batteries every 2-3 years to replace their counterparts.

  6. #6


    Thank you so much for this 1 information.
    Last edited by pepperhope; 06-13-2019 at 03:11 PM.

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