This project turned into an easy way to extend my DV Camera's battery life. The battery that came with my Canon Optura 60 lasts for about 40 minutes or so minutes on a full charge. I got a BIG battery but that only last for an hour or so (if it will charge, but that is another issue/story).

I looked on-line for what was available that would have some legs to it so I wouldn't have to keep turning the camera on and off all of the time; thus missing all of the great shot. If I had a nickel for every time..........

"Oh son! Can you do that funny thing again so papa can record it on the video camera? Make sure not to hurt yourself this time."

After thinking about it for a while, I came up with the idea of making my own battery!

After reading Tim Anderson's Lost Your Charger? How to Charge any Battery Survival-Style, I decided to make an instructable of how I did it.

WARNING: Just because I have not blown up my camera yet with this external battery pack, doesn't mean you won't blow yours up. If you do create a battery pack such as this, and you do blow up your camera, it isn't my fault! I didn't tell you to do it nor did I twist your arm about it.

Step 1: Specifications

I wanted to use rechargeable batteries and I wanted my pack to be small. AA battery seemed the logical choice. They are easy to find, just about everyone has a charger and if they don't, you just run down to the ESSO station and buy one (if you forgot yours or didn't think you would use up the 5 hours of battery life.)

My camera's external power supply has an output of 8.4 volts and 1.5 amps. Rechargeable batteries put out 1.2 volts. After some high powered calculations, I found that 7 rechargeable batteries would put out exactly 8.4 volts! What luck.

I was not worried about the current output of the batteries. They are 2500mAh and should provide plenty of current for my camera.

By looking at the plug on the external power supply, I was able to find the polarity being delivered to the camera. In my case, the barrel is negative and the inside is positive. This is important to know when you wire up your new plug and hook it up to the battery pack.

I also matched the plug from the external battery pack. It turns out that I have a size "H" coaxial.

<p>I have this Panasonic DV camera with a very low charge battery. I did get allmaterials to make your device but, the connector of my camera doesnt have a sinple (+) and (-) polarity, it has a four signal input...</p>
If you could find a wiring schematic for your camera, that might help determine what is what. You can also use a multimeter to determine the voltage and polarity of the plug.
<p>I see that you are not that familiar with electronics, as you said you were worried about having too much current. </p><p>As long as you have the correct voltage, then the current will automatically be right for what the camera is using and never be higher unless you have a short or something fails, in that case then the extra current available can do more damaage, but not much more that with the regular battery. </p>
I see that you are not that familiar with the English language. I went back to see what you were talking about and found my comment <br><br>&quot;I wasn't too worried about the current output of the batteries.&quot;<br><br>I used the contraction &quot;wasn't&quot; which is the shortened version of &quot;was not&quot;. I realize I only saved 1 character by using the contraction &quot;wasn't&quot; over the use of both words &quot;was not&quot; but it is a habit. I should look at updating my instructable with the full use of both words to aid in readability and understanding.
I'm planning a road trip with some friends,and when we were discussing what we were going to do with the camcorders' batteries, they nearly jumped from their joy when i told them i could try to make a battery pack. And now today i find this instructable.You sir have made exactly what i wanted to do. I'm going to be doing some shopping tomorrow,and will hopefully have it done by the end of the week. I'll try to take some photos of it when it's done. I also thought of a case to put the battery pack in and i believe the best thing to do is to get a deck box used in card games.It's made of thick plastic,can withstand a few spills,and you can easily cut two holes in the back to put in on your belt,or fanny pack. My main problem,is having to sacrifice a charger,since it's a Sony and it has a weird connector,that I don't if I can find a spare one.
<p>I think You dont have to dispose your charger cable. Just cut it in the middle, make continuity connectors in both ends to re-connect every time you need it, and in tle pack of rechergeable batteries You constructed, put a cable with the same kind of connector, so You can connect to your new pack AND to your old charger too...</p>
Can't wait to see your pictures. Sorry to hear that Sony uses a goofy plug. That will make things a little more difficult as you pointed out. Another thing to keep in mind is how long you need/want your cord. There are times I wish it was longer and times I wish it was shorter. So maybe it is about the right length for me? ;-)
I'm afraid I don't have good news. Even though me and a friend who helped me ,figured out a way to make the external battery pack without clipping the charger,we were unable to make it work. The reason for it was that we were unable to provide exactly 8.4V to the camera,just as the charger did. His rechargeable AA batteries,were not giving out 1.2V but 1.35V, some AA batteries from IKEA we tried gave 1.31V while some Philips he had on his remote,gave out 1.46V. That resulted in the camera turning up,but giving us this message "Please replace the AC adapter or re install it" or something along those lines. Which is basically saying "Give me 8.4V or else I'm only going to display this stupid message on your screen instead of letting you work me" So I wanted to ask you if you could use your multimeter and actually measure the battery pack,to let me know if it's at exactly 8.4V or if your camera has some tolerance to small discrepancies. Thanks. I hope to take some pics tomorrow to show you my non-working version.
They are rated at 1.2 but when fully charged they do put out 1.3x. My pack does put out more than the 8.4 and the camera seems to be OK with that. When it gets too low I start to get audio noise as if someone is blowing on the mic. Maybe you could put in a not fully charged cell and see what the voltage comes up to? See if that works. Or try 6 cell fully charged and see if the camera likes that.
I'm assuming that the 6 fully charged batteries theory,is not going to work,since it's going to give out 8.1V if every battery gives 1.35V and it's a bit off the original 8.4V. I believe the closest we got was to about 8.3V yesterday,while trying out various battery combinations,and the camera still gave us that message,so I think it's 8.4V or nothing. I will however try it out and see how it goes. Another interesting thing is that while the battery states on the sticker that it puts out 7.2V when measured it gave 8.4V Either Sony screwed up,or they're lying.
That should tell us that their battery pack is a 6 cell rechargeable. The specs. on a rechargeable are usually 1.2V for each cell. In actuality they do give out higher voltage when they are fully charged as you have seen. I am surprised that the camera is taking issue with this as it should run on a range of voltage. If it didn't, you would never get any kind of life out of a battery pack. Check your wiring to double check that is connected properly. The other thing would be to try looking up that error message on-line and see if you can find anything about it.
Here are some crappy pictures i took just now. The big black thing you see,is an external battery pack that we bought,to use besides the one i was making.It comes with 2 small bags full of connectors,and a 15 cm cable to plug those in.The problem was that the cable was too short to be able to have the battery pack in your pocket while connected. So we extended the cable by cutting it up,and addind some UTP cables.Then instead of soldering back the other end that plugs to the eX-power (seriously that's it's name),we added a female cable connector. We then added a male connector to the other end of the cable,and another one to the battery pack. So now all we have to do to swap battery packs,is change connections.
here you go.
Can this work for 3.3v camera?
If 3.3v is the correct voltage for your camera, then with a slightly different configuration, it should work just fine. The trick will be getting 3.3 volts. 3 rechargeable batteries gets you 3.6 volts. Check the documentation for your camera to see if there is a voltage range for operation and see if you can come up with a battery configuration to match it.
I like this tutorial. I myself have a JVC with a battery that isn't holding the charge as much anymore that runs on 11 volts (Output 11v-1A according to the charger) and I happen to have the same Energizer Rechargable with the 2500 mAh. And since they give off 1.2v per battery, according to my calculations, it'd be 9 batteries to power the camera (and the amount of voltage isn't even enough, as the volts per battery on the lab states 1.2v, but with 9 batteries, it'd make the amount of voltage put out at 10.8v, and 10 is 12 volts). Kinda makes me wonder if JVC did it to avoid people like us from constructing our own battery packs (as their replacement rechargeable batteries for the GR-D30U are still being sold by JVC at $29, which only holds a charge for one hour).
y not just solder a wire to the wires + and - instead of using your clip wires<br />
By using a wire with clips on the ends, I can change how many batteries I use.&nbsp; If I need to use Alkaline batteries, I&nbsp;should use 5 or 6 or them, not 7.&nbsp; So I can just move the clip to accommodate this need.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> So there is a real reason for this.<br />
<em>WARNING: Just because I have not blown up my camera yet with this external battery pack, doesn't mean you won't blow yours up. If you do create a battery pack such as this, and you do blow up your camera, it isn't my fault! I didn't tell you to do it nor did I twist your arm about it.</em><br/>i really dont see how this would <strong>ever</strong> cause any damage to a camera or laptop that this is connected to<br/>just as long as you don't go too high with the voltage it will be ok<br/>and even if you too high with the voltage,the worst thing that could possibly happen is that the camera will not be able to charge for a few minutes,worst case scenario,the camera blows a fuse on the inside<br/>by the way,i made myself one for my psp,it uses 4 batteries not 8,5.2 volts,instead of neoprene,i used a wall wart(transformer)'s plastic casing,and the cable that i used was the exact same size as the one for the psp's connector!<br/>its working perfectly for me now<br/>
The warning is somewhat for fun but as you point out, it is important to use the correct voltage. You never know what is going to happen. I had a camera that fried when I had it connected between my VCR and my computer's IEEE1394 port. Turns out the computer was plugged into an outlet that was not wired properly and the ground was hot and the neutral was hot! The VCR was plugged into a different outlet that was wired correctly. Well a 120 volt potential existed between the neutral from the VCR and the neutral from the computer. When I plugged in the firewire cable the magic smoke from some components in the camera came leaking out. Three trips in for service later, the DV camera was working as new again.
oh yeah and i accidentally sent in 12v to my 4.5V 100 dollar palm zire 31 pda,it still works now,it just only charges from the usb port
pore thing it diddnt stand the chance againsed 12v but i can only on my toung lol lots of people test them that way too not realy tasty when it holds the whole 12v more zing than tast hehe lots of people dont care and like the zing tast i dont care and just a little 1/10 second on my toung<br />
when i found that i sent it 12 volts i thought it was fried,untill i found out that it is ok when i charged it with the usb port and because human error,i accidentally jammed the reset switch,i have to open it and fix it now,it only shows a black screen instead of the palm logo when it turns on,which i assume that its going into an infinite loop of resting,and apparently,the smallest screwdriver i have is too but,i might have to send it in so the experts fix it
<em>the smallest screwdriver i have is too but</em><br/>i meant to BIG not that<br/>
yeah you should not go to far over 0.5 volts and too far(or hardly anything at all) under 0.2 a a volt,for my picky psp it will only accept 5 volts or to 5.5 or so
So how is this working? Are you still liking it? Have you needed to make any modifications?
I haven't had much need for it as of late but I am still liking it! It was a simple and inexpensive solution to my DV battery needs. :-)
*claps!!*good job dude if only i had a dv camera. does anyone know where to get a cheep working one??
They used to sell a thing called a gel-cell with a belt attachement to wear on your waist. It would attach to your camera's AC/DC adapter jack and it provided many hours of use. I think this device does pretty much the same thing and it's a whole lot cheaper. Great instructable!
Great Idea, this will work on other project too. thanks for the wonderful and well done instructions. will work great in strange countries and just plug it in to a car recharger system in any country. Great! numademan : )
It turns out that this plug for my DV camera is the same as for my portable ham radio. And the power requirements are similar. So, I can use it for both! BONUS!!! Now, if a person was very creative and had more extra junk around, they could put a multi-prong adapter on the end so it would hook up to many things.
I did the same for my camcorder, but actually I use power rating of the battery, not of the charger (7,2 vs 8,4) so that makes 6*1,2 V AA cells. I have to admit, yours is nicer, because I use a camera-strapped design and an angle-shaped connector. In my design the block is put instead of the battery (the 2 AA cells width fits the battery) and rubber wristband does the rest of the trick. Actually it's nothing to post - it's just the battery holder and "9 volt connector". What I actually miss (and haven't found yet) is how to charge the battery of 6 cells at once - I hate charging them one by one (or 4+2) and then putting and removing.. Any ideas about that?
Recharging is the trick. Since I am using 7 cells, I end up having to do charging sessions on my charger. I have to do 2 or 4 at a time. I have an extra battery I have to put into the mix. I don't know enough about recharging to build a better charger or to build that into my battery pack. Maybe someone else here has that expertize?
you should be careful because not all of the batteries in the pack are going to be exactly identical which means that they will charge and discharge at different rates so maybe the pack as a whole will be in the safe voltage, but you never know if one weak battery is being overdriven by all the others. it could be dangerous but i'm sure you are careful about when they get low anyway.
Thank you for the input. This would be like any other multi-cell battery pack. Each cell is of similar specifications. I do not charge the batteries in this pack. I use an external charger for that. So they should all be happy. I have had cells go back and have replaced them so all of the batteries are pulling their own weight.
great job. dont worry about the current. your camera will only draw as much current as it needs. the most important characteristic was the voltage and you are using the correct one. i am going to do exactly what you did.
Post some pictures of yours when you get it done. You will feel like a pro once you have an external battery pack. ;-)
Yo! Check out the Dope Ass Beat Box(Tech) I ,"Super Charge", everything that doesn't move. Ha! Get a sealed lead acid battery(gel cell) 12 volt. More amp hours get you more battery life(mucho hours for a camera or any digital device.) You have to have a 12 volt trickel charger, for charging. Buy a cig.(12volt) converter(radio shack) "must match your voltage on device" and wire it up so you can attach the converter to the battery . Now you can run your device off of 12 volts and recharge anytime. The battery weighs about 1 pound per amp hour. Get a fanny pack and put the battery and converter inside. Plug in and have DAYS of power NOT HOURS!!!!!!!! These batteries last forever. They have no memory. I have a set of batteries I have used for 10 years, plus! No shit!!!!! You can Super Charge just about anything, if you have the correct voltage conversion.(ie 12volt to 3.6 volt) not 3.2 or something close. Sweeeet!
Great idea! I like that. I don't like the weight part but I love the days of use vs. hours of use. But if I were backpacking, you track ounces, not pounds. The fanny pack is a great idea for holding a larger battery. Maybe have the battery pack have several car power port s on it so you can plug in multiple 12V adapters.
I hear ya'. I have done a great deal of backcountry hiking, getting to walls. Usually carrying around 100 lbs. A 12 volt system like this , you can play music, use your camera and any other devices you wanted to carry. As well, you could charge them all from the same 12volt battery.Most of the devices you might carry, only pull a small amout of power when charging. Do you ever carry beer? 3 lbs / 6 pack. Wine(box)(bag) is similar. Give your buddy the party favors and you can haul the system.I carry a 36 volt hammer drill and 3, 12volt 7 amp hour batteries(all inside a 3 inch piece of pvc.) I use this set up to put up climbing routes, in the back country. I usually spend a week. I can play music, use a camera, charge 2 way radios, recharge everyrhing and drill 40, 1/2 inch x 3 3/4 deep holes (in stone). All this with the 12 volt system. Crazy! This rig weigs 40 lbs.(uhhhgggg!) I have carried this thing ALL OVER! Ha! Its really not much, if you need the extra power for evil power hungry devices. Thanks again.
Sounds like you have been doing some great adventuring! The battery pack that I built not only powers my DV camera, it can power my HT ham radio (2m and 440 dual band Kenwood TH79A.) I don't know for how long it would power the radio? But I am sure it is more than the attached battery pack.
<em>I wasn't too worried about the current output of the batteries. They are 2500mAh and hoped the extra current would not burn out anything in my camera. (So far, so good!)</em><br/><br/>Actually, 2500mAh is the capacity of your batteries.<br/>It means that your batteries can provide 2500mA for 1 hour.<br/>There is no &quot;extra current&quot;. Just &quot;extra capacity&quot;.<br/><br/>That's the camera who set the current.<br/>If it consumes 100mA, your battery pack will provide 100mA for 25 hours.<br/>If it consumes 250mA, your battery pack will provide 250mA for 10 hours.<br/>If it consumes 500mA, your battery pack will provide 500mA for 5 hours.<br/><br/>The main thing one has to worry about is the voltage.<br/><br/>=o) <br/>
That is great feedback and good to know. I got the voltage right. :-)
Nice !<br/>That's exactly how I was planning to improve one of my (ugly) instructables (<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.instructables.com/id/A-Camcorder-7.4V-Rechargeable-Battery-for-6-Euros-/">here</a>).<br/>As I did not have access to a battery holder, and as I wanted to make my extra battery pack the cheapest possible and the most compact possible, I used AAA batteries and soldered them together ...<br/><br/>Though, the version 2 I was planning to make was exactly like you did.<br/>You saved my time ;-)<br/>
Nice idea. I'm just too lazy to try and mount my pack to the existing battery connection. That is why I decided to trick the camera into thinking I was the external power supply. Plus I can still have the battery pack on the camera for the additional 40 minutes or so of run time. I thought about using AAA or C or even D size batteries but when I looked at the power they would provide, the AA seemed to be the best choice. When you do your version 2, send to me the link to your instructable. I would love to see it.
<em>When you do your version 2, send to me the link to your instructable. I would love to see it.</em><br/><br/>Actually, I don't need to make version 2. You did it for me !! ;o)<br/><br/>An other idea I got (for a version 3) was to make a battery pack wearable like a &quot;life-jacket&quot;. =o)<br/>
That is sounding like a very large battery pack! Just try getting through airport security with that! ;-) I want to add a belt click or loop to my case. Or something that would attach to the camera hand strap. Back in the day, some camera (35mm) manufacturers would have an external battery pack you could get. It was intended for shooting outside in the cold. The battery pack would be in your coat to help them provide power while the camera could be acclimated to the cold weather. I never got one for my camera but I thought about it.

About This Instructable


47 favorites


More by AT: Intel Edison Metronome How to trap a mouse 5 Hour External Battery for DV camera
Add instructable to: