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Battery Life For Driving Time Lapse

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Battery Life For Driving Time Lapse
« on: 23 / May / 2010, 15:49:17 »
The Canon A480 is rated for 470 shots on rechargeable batteries. At 24fps that is 19.5 seconds of time lapse footage.

That seems quite limiting to me, so what are the options? How do other people solve this problem? I don't want to keep stopping to change the batteries, or hassle a passenger (e.g. the wife) to do it.

I think the ideal solution would be to power the camera from the cigarette lighter. I see a seller on ebay that lists power adapters like that for other A-series Powershots. However I am a bit wary of buying cheap power supplies from sellers on ebay with cheesy-looking listings. There are some mentions on here about problems with car power inverters and switching power supplies.

I've read many topics on here about disabling the LCD, etc. Is that really effective? Can any significant gains be made that way? I would ideally like to safely get to one minute of time lapse footage (so 1440 shots).

What other options are there that people have used successfully? Is there a schematic diagram somewhere for a DIY solution for cars perhaps?

thanks, Andy


Offline reyalp

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Re: Battery Life For Driving Time Lapse
« Reply #1 on: 24 / May / 2010, 23:29:53 »
You should be able to get significantly more then the CIPA standard, because that that tries to emulate typical usage (powering on and off, zooming, reviewing etc). Getting good quality, high capacity NiMH AAs will help too. See here for a description of the CIPA standard.

The biggest power saving should be using the canon sleep/display off mode between shots. This turns off the display hardware, sensor, and also probably puts the CPU in low power mode. On cameras with a DISP button, you should be able to just turn it off with emulated DISP presses after each shot.

On many cameras using manual focus takes noticeably more battery. If your camera has a "focus at infinity mode" (assuming you are shooting far away subjects) this may be better.  Otherwise, AF lock may be a good choice.
Don't forget what the H stands for.

Re: Battery Life For Driving Time Lapse
« Reply #2 on: 25 / May / 2010, 00:24:26 »
Thanks. Now that I've read the spec I can see how those numbers might be conservative. It makes a change from manufacturers of products always being overly optimistic.


Re: Battery Life For Driving Time Lapse
« Reply #3 on: 30 / May / 2010, 15:00:07 »
Here are some results from a first test. Canon rates AA alkaline batteries at 200 shots...

Shooting at 10MP, one shot every two seconds, display turned off, Duracell Ultra Advanced, using this script:

I got 2902 shots before my 8Gb memory card was full. The CHDK battery display indicated 66%, although I am not sure how accurate that really is. The small display on the side of one of the batteries looks roughly like it agrees with this.

So yes, CHDK can significantly increase the number of shots you can take with an intervalometer over the official ratings.

« Last Edit: 30 / May / 2010, 15:18:07 by ajayre »


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