Wonders of intervalometers, extending battery life and avoiding camera damage

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Hello,

I have been trolling the extensive and informative past posts/comments/thoughts about using external battery sources to power a camera for longer-term time-lapse projects. I would love to add a few questions I haven't yet seen addressed and would be tremendously appreciative of any insights or comments!

The goal:
Take a (RAW format) photograph every two hours for at least one 24 hour period (though running continuously for 5 days would be ideal). After I set the camera I will not have any access to it for one week; any solution should be able to run without any intervention.

Equipment/software:
-Canon PowerShot D20
-CHDK
-Battery intervalometer or ultimate intervalometer (if there is something better out there  I would be happy to learn about it – these are the two intervalometers I have been testing and they seem great)

The problem:
Using the internal battery (3.7 V, 1000 mAh) I am unable to get over five hours.

My questions:

Part one –  internal battery only:
1. Without using an external battery the only other option I can see working is to minimize battery consumption. The only setting I can imagine helping with this is to "use shortcut key to sleep" in the battery intervalometer (other settings I am using are below for reference) however the PowerShot D20 does not appear to have a "shortcut" key. Might there be another way to put the PowerShot D20 into sleep mode?

Part two – external battery:
With the thought that I will need to use an external battery source I purchased a 10000mAh  external battery pack intended for cell phones and tablets (like: http://www.amazon.com/Battery-13000mAh-Portable-External-Cellphones/dp/B00K64WR9C/ref=cm_cd_al_qh_dp_t). I'm using a cable that goes from the USB output of the external battery pack to the DC input in the camera with the original Canon battery remaining in the battery slot (I'm using a cable like: http://www.startech.com/Cables/USB-2.0/USB-Adapters/3-ft-USB-to-Type-M-Barrel-5V-DC-Power-Cable~USB2TYPEM).

2.  It is my understanding that the device that canon sells to plug into the DC Jack of the PowerShot D20 outputs 4.7V and 1.5A. Most external battery packs I have seen output 5V and have two jacks, one supplying 1 A and the other supplying 2A.  I have been using the 1A jack with great success but fear that it might harm the camera in the long run. Any advice as to whether I should be using the 1A jack or the 2A jack?


3. Can you think of another, easier (or as easy), method for getting more than 24 hours of intervalometer shots using the Canon PowerShot D20?

Many many thanks for any advice!


Battery intervalometer settings I am using:
battery miser 6.1
interval (sec): 7200
turn back light off: activated
turn display off: deactivated
weight in playback mode: activated
use shortcut key to sleep: deactivated
enable AF lock: activated
log to file: activated
lens retract delay: 99,999
battery stop voltage: 0
« Last Edit: 17 / March / 2015, 19:17:53 by rana »

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Offline reyalp

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Part one –  internal battery only:
1. Without using an external battery the only other option I can see working is to minimize battery consumption. The only setting I can imagine helping with this is to "use shortcut key to sleep" in the battery intervalometer (other settings I am using are below for reference) however the PowerShot D20 does not appear to have a "shortcut" key. Might there be another way to put the PowerShot D20 into sleep mode?
You will not get the camera to run for 24 hours on the internal battery, regardless of sleep settings.

An alternative would be to power it on every hour. This be done with some simple DIY using a timer and a servo, although getting it to reliably push the button would likely require a bit of fiddling. The script can auto run at start up, and shut the camera down after it's finished shooting.

There are quite a few threads about using external batteries if you go that route. Using google to search the forum like https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Achdk.setepontos.com+external+battery may give you some useful starting points.
Don't forget what the H stands for.

Damage to camera from external battery plugged into DC input
« Reply #2 on: 17 / March / 2015, 19:24:53 »
Hello all,

I removed this question from a prior (yet to be answered) post as I feared it was lost in the other questions (apologies to those who may have already read it!).

I am using an external battery 10,000 mAh plugged into the DC jack intended to be used with an AC adapter.

I'm wondering how the camera will respond as the power begins to drain from the external battery. That is, I assume, the camera is designed to respond appropriately when the internal battery drains and no longer provides adequate voltage/amperage. However, because I am using the external DC power jack do you know if the camera will tolerate diminishing voltage/amperage as the external battery drains?  Is the camera smart enough, as it is with the internal battery, to know when the external DC battery source is providing insufficient voltage/amperage and just shut off rather than getting damaged by remaining on with inadequate power levels?

Thank you!

Re: Damage to camera from external battery plugged into DC input
« Reply #3 on: 17 / March / 2015, 20:06:59 »
Please stop creating new threads with the same questions.  It makes it very confusing for people searching the forum for help to follow.

If necessary, please post a follow-up to your original question(s) in the same thread.

The small number of people who actually answer questions on this forum watch all posts.   Cross posting just annoys them.
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16


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Offline reyalp

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I merged this with the other thread. As waterwingz says, having related questions spread over multiple threads just makes thing confusing.

I don't know off hand how the camera responds to varying voltage on the DC input. Maybe someone else does, or maybe you'll need to experiment.

The battery voltage function does reflect external voltage, so if you are running a script you could have it shut down when the voltage gets to a certain level.
Don't forget what the H stands for.

I merged this with the other thread. As waterwingz says, having related questions spread over multiple threads just makes thing confusing.
Thanks.

Quote
I don't know off hand how the camera responds to varying voltage on the DC input. Maybe someone else does, or maybe you'll need to experiment. The battery voltage function does reflect external voltage, so if you are running a script you could have it shut down when the voltage gets to a certain level.
AFAIK,  the camera does not know if you are using an external power supply or internal battery.  The two power sources  are combined with a few pennies worth of hardware.

http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=8677.msg90823#msg90823

So all the regular Canon f/w things that relate to low voltage shutdown should apply and the use of an external battery supply should be fine.
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

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Offline reyalp

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So all the regular Canon f/w things that relate to low voltage shutdown should apply and the use of an external battery supply should be fine.
I suspect that's true too, I don't see any reason for canon to make the firmware behave differently. I'm hedging though because at least some cameras do know if they are on external power http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=12097.msg118553#msg118553
Don't forget what the H stands for.

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Offline srsa_4c

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Re: Damage to camera from external battery plugged into DC input
« Reply #7 on: 18 / March / 2015, 20:16:46 »
Part two – external battery:
With the thought that I will need to use an external battery source I purchased a 10000mAh  external battery pack intended for cell phones and tablets (like: http://www.amazon.com/Battery-13000mAh-Portable-External-Cellphones/dp/B00K64WR9C/ref=cm_cd_al_qh_dp_t). I'm using a cable that goes from the USB output of the external battery pack to the DC input in the camera with the original Canon battery remaining in the battery slot (I'm using a cable like: http://www.startech.com/Cables/USB-2.0/USB-Adapters/3-ft-USB-to-Type-M-Barrel-5V-DC-Power-Cable~USB2TYPEM).
I am using an external battery 10,000 mAh plugged into the DC jack intended to be used with an AC adapter.

I'm wondering how the camera will respond as the power begins to drain from the external battery. That is, I assume, the camera is designed to respond appropriately when the internal battery drains and no longer provides adequate voltage/amperage. However, because I am using the external DC power jack do you know if the camera will tolerate diminishing voltage/amperage as the external battery drains?  Is the camera smart enough, as it is with the internal battery, to know when the external DC battery source is providing insufficient voltage/amperage and just shut off rather than getting damaged by remaining on with inadequate power levels?
You can only expect the Canon battery routines working correctly if you're using an Li-ion battery as external supply (in your case, single cell, 3.6 ... 4.2V).
Your external battery pack provides regulated output voltage and is intended to be used as charger for mobile devices. Only the manufacturer knows what will happen when the pack's internal battery gets depleted. My guess is that it will shut off its output (goes from 5V to 0V)
This will most likely happen in a moment when the camera needs a larger amount of current (when it operates mecha elements, processes a photo, writes to the card).
The firmware tries its best to protect itself from battery outage during important operations: it applies a current spike prior to those and shuts down if the battery voltage dips too low. This will not work when using external regulated power.

Having written all this, I think the chance for hw damage is rather low if the zoom is not operating when the power fails. The camera only writes its internal flash memory during a proper shutdown, a power failure during this operation (which only takes a moment) could damage the firmware.


I am using a similar setup for long term time lapse (9 months)
i am using a 12v lead acid battery of 7.2 mah charged from a solar panel and controller.
i power the camera through a scheduler that applies power Monday to Friday from 7 to 19.
in the battery compartment of the camera i have installed a dc-dc converter that turns the 12v to 3.9v.
at the camera i have shorted the power button so when power is applied the camera turns on and starts chdk and ultimate intervalometer script. the system works as it should...
for any details let me know.

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Offline jules

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Hello Tigar,  I am very interested in details of your solar input system and scheduler please.

I'm using ultimate intervalometer, external battery (12v 12 AH) and dc-dc converter. This works fine for 6 - 7 days. I would like to extend the time between battery changes because it's hard to get to my remote site and I cannot carry bigger/heavier batteries.

I tested it with power button held down and external 12v timer (pool pump timer) turning the camera on/off daily. This gave me no overall power saving, because power use by the timer was about equal to power saved through camera being off at night.

I will be grateful for more information, many thanks in advance.

 

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