How to Extend Your Photobank Life




Introduction: How to Extend Your Photobank Life

About: I'm an Italian freelance structural engineer, graphic designer and photographer, now I'm teaching physics in Waldorf high-schools. I always investigate electronics, robotics and science in general, I'm a passi…

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A photobank is an hard drive where you can copy your photos from any memory card. I've bought some of them for a few bucks, because lately the memory cards are more cheap and they can contain a lot of Gigabyte of photos, so a photobank could be useless also for a travel. Anyway I use it when I shoot thousands of photos for my Gigapans, especially if I decide to shoot in raw format.

Step 1: Disassembling

Obviously it's essential that your photobank has a good battery life, because copying a lot of gigabytes could take a lot of time with the old USB2 interface. This photobank is old (maybe 6 years) and his battery was dead, so I decided to replace it with a new much powerful battery. The old one was a 3.7 V Li-ion battery of about 1200 mAh, you can't see it in the images because I had already throw it away, but it was very similar to the old cellphones flat batteries.

Step 2: Battery

I decided to buy the most powerful battery I would find, and I was lucky because i had not the photobank with me and I hazarded to buy a big 2100 mAh Li-ion battery at last Electronic Fair in Milan, it was about 12$. Maybe it's nor real 2100 mAh, anyway I hope it's more powerful than a smaller one. Dimensions are perfect, thickness too, and voltage is of course the same of the old battery, 3.7 V, this is very important, because Lithium cells could also explode if charged wrongly.

Step 3: Wires

In this case I've soldered the wires to the plug supports (which are connected with power pins) because I think the plug didn't worked properly. Anyway I suggest to keep the original battery plug, if it's present.  Obviously pay attention to the polarity, usually (as in this case) you see symbols on the pcb, otherwise if you had already cutted the battery wires try to understand which is the groud trace (usually it goes all around the circuit). 

Step 4: Connection

Then you have to connect the wires to the battery. I soldered them to the battery contacts, this is an effective but dangerous method. Effective because there is no possibility that the battery disconnects, but dangerous because if you're not very fast to solder the wires, avoiding the battery warms up, you could damage it. So apply some flux to the power contacts and don't keep the solder iron more than one second (less is better) while melting a few tin on them.

Step 5: Join

As you see from the photo I only had to cut two little plastic corners and part of the two plastic fins at the battery sides to let the battery fit inside. Then you can insert it and connect the PSU jack to see if it charges it properly.

Step 6: Test

After charging it, check everything works. With this model you see 33 Gb because I had to make three smaller partitions of the 80 Gb hard drive. 33 Gb is about half of the space in my new CF card... anyway, we don't want to throw away nothing, do we?

Step 7: Reassembling

After closing the case and thightening the four little screws, this is my old but revived photobank ;-)

Step 8: Enjoy

When you push the copy button it will copy the card content in the hard disk. I still have to test the battery life to see how many Gb I can transfer with a single charge.
Hope you can make reviving other devices with this same method, a thought I wish it would be more common is exactly to recycle old stuff.

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    6 years ago

    Is there any way to get these photobanks to read SDHC cards? (and other new cards)


    Thank you SO MUCH for this information!! I purchased one of these on a closeout deal, went to use it the first time about a month charged up fine, but when I went to use it the next day, the device was dead--and would NOT recharge.

    I had my stepson replace the battery as per your instructions, and voila!! My photobank is happy again!!