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On location photography shoots I usually run into the need for several chargers and very few power outlets. Other times I've packed the camera bags and forgotten the second, identical charger cable thinking it was already in the bag.

Often times I am photographing a late wedding reception and running low on juice or will need to recharge gear for the next day's shoot while at still at a late shoot. More frequently I find only one outlet available near our table and need to charge several items at once.

This is the easiest solution I have found using the cables included without buying special chargers that handle multiple batteries at once.

PARTS

+ 2 or more Camera Battery chargers
(1 usually comes with the camera)
+ 2 AC leads for the chargers
+ 1 Inline AC ungrounded plug - hardware store
+ Heat shrink tubing - 1/4" for AC leads, 3/4" to cover split connection
(black electrical tape works as well
but a nice piece of heat shrink
won't unravel or leave goo
while keeping the look of
well built, professional gear.)
+ Epoxy / Epoxy Putty / Hot glue - encase split junction
(come on, doesn't every project on here use one of these 3 adhesives?)

TOOLS

Wire cutters, strippers
Soldering iron, solder

TIME

30 minutes or so? Not too tricky or difficult once you have the parts together.

** All the external hard drives I use have the same kind of figure-8 AC leads to the power bricks, and this Instructable can be applied to powering multiple drives or any other peripherals using same ends. **

Step 1: Gather Gear

I frequently use 2 Nikon MH-18a chargers for the EN-EL3, EN-EL3a, and EN-EL3e batteries. Flashes use AA batteries and need an additional AC outlet unless...

We add an AC extension inline with the figure-8 ends!

Step 2: Chop Shop Time

*With cables unplugged*

Figure out how much cable you'd like to have left AFTER the split and add an inch to that and CUT the AC leads as close to the same length together.

Then snip an extra length from the LONG piece left (with the plug on it) for your AC lead

Cut / unzip about an inch on the cut ends of each new figure-8 tail and the same on both ends of the bulk cable tail.

Step 3: Plug It Up

Wire the AC feedthrough / outlet tail. The plug I used is polarized but the figure-8 ends are not. As the wall-wart adapters my AA chargers use are NOT polarized I didn't go through any trouble to make sure they were matching.

When connecting the AC feedthrough plug, wrap bare wire CLOCKWISE around terminals so that it compresses the wire when bolt is tightened. Trim any excess so no loose strands can touch anywhere but the terminal itself. Wire both sides and close up the connection. For this plug I simply slid the boot over the connector.

The 3 tails should be ready to wire together.

Strip about 1/2" of insulation off the unzipped wires and twist pairs together

Step 4: Strip Show

Strip between 1/2' - 3/4" of insulation off each unzipped tail

Determine the length of cable you want to lead to the split junction and cut the AC lead with the plug attached (if needed) to this length. Strip 3/4" insulation.

FOR HEAT SHRINK: (Stongly recommended)

Slide heat shrink tubing on unzipped ends BEFORE stripping and way BEFORE joining connections.

I started with the 1/4" tubing and cut 4ea 2" pieces and 2ea 1" pieces.

3" of the 3/4" large tubing was just enough to cover the junction I made. Use a little more if you like.

Cut 2 short 3/4" - 1" covers and slide one on each of the FEED line ends. These will cover the split junctions and keep your gear from shorting and you from frying. If not using heat shrink leave room to tape over and seal off junction.

Cut 2" sections to fit on each zip cord - 3 tails and one feed. These provide strain relief and will tighten up the junction by bringing together any space in the unzipped ends.

DO NOT SHRINK IT YET!

Step 5: Solder Connection

For the best connection, solder the 4 sets of zip ends together.

Trim off excess wire / solder so the junction is about 1/4" long when finished. Make sure to keep it as small as possible to fit inside the heat shrink tubing.

Slide up the heat shrink over the soldered connections and shrink it to cover the wire completely.

Slide all remaining 2" tubing leads as close to the junction as possible and shrink away. This will provide strain relief and compress any open space in the junction to keep the finished junction and cable as small as possible.


Step 6: Shrink & TEST

Congrats on a fine splitter cable! Be sure to test the connections with a multimeter for continuity BEFORE continuing and before plugging this into an electrical outlet!

If all's well, slide all the heat shrink as close to the junction as you can and shrink it down to tighten up the joint.

Step 7: Epoxy & Cover

I used epoxy putty to encase the entire junction. This should help with strain relief as well as insulation. Keep it neat and cover it evenly before the epoxy hardens. Make sure the 3/4" heat shrink cover can fit over the epoxy covered joint.

Once the epoxy has hardened, finish off the SuperSquid with the final heat shrink cover.

Step 8: Personalize!

Just because it's a chewed up and reassembled power cord doesn't mean it can't be stylish.

In dark clubs or reception halls I have trouble telling which power cord is mine so I added a ring of orange tape to the ends to make it easier to find.

A cable tie of your preference keeps the bundle neatly together when not in use and ready to travel.

The entire completed SuperSquid assembly takes up less space than one full cable did for a single charger. Shazam! Now get back to shooting!
To make it slightly less bulky in the 'massive' joint I recommend staggering the connections of the hot and neutral wire. This serves 2 purposes -- It makes for a longer, thinner joint-- and if the insulation were to fail on either joint you don't have hot and neutral bare wires as close together!<br><br>(cut and splice hot wire 2 inches longer than the neutral on the supply side, and inversely on the load side, so the 2 joints aren't side by side)<br><br>Wonderful ible -- I've done a few custom wires like this for computer equipment before where an extra power bar would just be overkill :) 5*
Great tip. This splitter has been in my camera bag 2+ years now and shows next to no wear, any new editions would benefit from the staggered technique you detailed. <br><br>I've got a 3-ended cable like this under the desk to power 3 external hard drive power supplies with less cable clutter too, works great! Over the last year the parallel blade outlet on this cable has been used more with a MacBook Pro 85W charger instead of the AA charger pictured as needs have changed. That was the best addition to this custom cable for location work. <br><br>
Awesome sauce! Why they don't have a freakin standard by now for what a 110 female end (and not an Edison plug, too bulky for low power operations) should look like... Blargh.
could you do more than 2 chargers? say... 5?
The Nikon EN-EL3e battery chargers use a whole 0.25 A each so you could split 5 on 16 or 14 AWG wire without issue. The tricky part is making a neat junction from 3 leads, 5 would probably require larger heat shrink to cover the junction. Check your power ratings and wire capacity, and as always, build at your own risk.
That's pretty neat. Say, are any of those chargers the same voltage? If so, you can take this to the next level by substituting multiple psu's with a single, higher output psu with multiple DC connectors.. this is also safer than splicing a mains AC cord (I personally splice AC cords all the time, much the way you have done, though some people would object). Course, that would mean you might have to actually spend money. So your method is definitely good stuff. :)
The AA charger uses DC, but the 2 body battery chargers using the figure-8 are AC in, which is why I made the AC split. If I didn't need it to be portable and travel several times a week I would have opted for a grounded feed, grounded box for the split. Alas, solder, heat shrink, and epoxy would do well for keeping it small and streamlined. Also, as you noted, I didn't have to buy another DC supply and used the cables originally included. The other mod I had in mind was to open the 2 body battery chargers and re-case them as one unit for 2 batteries with only 1 AC in connection.
Only AA? Dang mine does all types. It doesn't seem to live anymore though......its all your fault gosh just kidding:)! what model of camera and how much was it?
The speedlights / flashes in our location gear only use AA so no need for chargers to handle other battery sizes. (This one may also handle AAA but I do not use that size.) <br/><br/>I have shot the Nikon D70/ D70s, D200 and D300, and the body battery chargers pictured herein will charge body batteries for all of these bodies. (The EN-EL3a battery will work in all these bodies.) This project can be applied to chargers / splitters for just about any camera brand.<br/><br/>What the cameras cost is dependent on where, when and from whom you purchased them. This is a post about an AC adapter cable and I'm not up for price busting or brand comparing, just battery charging. There are plenty of camera clubs and forums for waving around what you use and what you spent. I prefer to just show the photos made with whatever camera it is I'm holding. <br/><br/>My photography is found at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://ebphotography.com">http://ebphotography.com</a> if you're curious what the above cameras can help make once they have fresh batteries charged and ready. All photos I've posted there were made by having battery chargers working to make sure I plenty of juice for the great shots when they were taken. <br/>
Nice job, looks great
that is a bit bodged
... in what regard? Not having 2 bulky cables and a splitter to carry is rather simplified for me.

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