Is this a safe way to power my camera?

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    Is this a safe way to power my camera?
    « on: 05 / February / 2011, 11:53:55 »
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    I have a Canon Powershot SX210 IS, and I'm already using CHDK. The thing is, I want to shoot long time-lapses and my battery doesn't last long enough. That's why I want to power my camera with a external power supply. There is a product (ACK-DC30) but it's too expensive (more than US$120 in my country).

    So, I thought I might be able to power the camera connecting a power supply directly to the pins the battery touches. In the back, my camera says 4.3V. I have a 12V battery and a 7805 voltag regulator. Do you know if it's safe to feed my camera with those 5V? How can I get less voltage?

    Thanks!

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    Offline SkyWalker9

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    Re: Is this a safe way to power my camera?
    « Reply #1 on: 05 / February / 2011, 13:58:02 »
    I have a Canon Powershot SX210 IS, and I'm already using CHDK. The thing is, I want to shoot long time-lapses and my battery doesn't last long enough. That's why I want to power my camera with a external power supply. There is a product (ACK-DC30) but it's too expensive (more than US$120 in my country).

    So, I thought I might be able to power the camera connecting a power supply directly to the pins the battery touches. In the back, my camera says 4.3V. I have a 12V battery and a 7805 voltag regulator. Do you know if it's safe to feed my camera with those 5V? How can I get less voltage?
    Trying to power your camera with what you mentioned sounds risky. I'd recommend doing a search using "ACK-DC30" and"equivalent". I found this equivalent (there are probably others as well) for much less and it's made for your camera: http://www.bestbatt.com/Canon_ACK_DC30_Equivalent_AC_Adapter_p/bbackdc30.htm

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    Re: Is this a safe way to power my camera?
    « Reply #2 on: 05 / February / 2011, 18:13:38 »
    That's a great link you provided! I might it buy because the shipping cost is relatively cheap (U$$ 16).

    Anyway, why do you think it's very risky to power the camera with 5V? Is it allowed to drop .7V with a diode?

    Thanks!

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    Offline SkyWalker9

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    Re: Is this a safe way to power my camera?
    « Reply #3 on: 05 / February / 2011, 18:42:48 »
    ...why do you think it's very risky to power the camera with 5V? Is it allowed to drop .7V with a diode?
    Risky if I tried anything like that... Not necessarily risky for anyone else.


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    Re: Is this a safe way to power my camera?
    « Reply #4 on: 15 / February / 2011, 19:29:56 »
    Sounds very much like what I'm thinking about.

    I'm going to get a new camera and would love to do some time lapse videos but the price I'd have to pay for Canon's ACK-DC60 is almost as much as I'd be paying for the camera itself!

    Would I be OK using a cheaper alternative? It would be just my luck to go and buy some new stuff then have it break as soon as I plug it in!

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    Re: Is this a safe way to power my camera?
    « Reply #5 on: 08 / March / 2011, 20:56:22 »
    Sorry not an answer to your question, but you have generated a question from me.

    I could not see the  SX 210 IS on the list of supported cameras, could you please advise which download you used?
    Cheers J

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    Offline mgg

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    Re: Is this a safe way to power my camera?
    « Reply #6 on: 03 / April / 2011, 21:44:05 »
    Buy a larger lithium ion battery pack.  They put out the same 3.7v so no need to adapter power and will run the camera for hours. Buy more than one pack if you need more.   Just get the right kind of charger to go with the batteries you choose.

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    Re: Is this a safe way to power my camera?
    « Reply #7 on: 06 / April / 2011, 00:02:16 »
    it's possible to power devices through their battery terminals with any power supply...
    the only real caveats i see might be:
    - might it try to charge the "battery", if it also has an AC connection?
    - does it have a smart battery interface, and might it be unhappy if it can't talk to the monitoring chip in the battery?
    but none of these apply to digital cameras usually...

    if you know what an 7805 is, you can definitively do this.

    you might even be able to get away with 5 volts instead of 3.7 - there is a switching regulator  in the camera anyway, and it will have some tolerance... i worst case it might dissipate some more power (generate more heat)... but i still wouldn't risk that for long-term operation of an expensive device. (see below!)

    there are variable regulators (lm317) that would only require an additional variable resistor, which could just produce the exact 3.7volts easily.

    but also: using those linear power regulators for a _battery_ supply is a bad idea, especially if your input (12volts) is that high above the required output, because they will essentially burn off the excess voltage into heat, draining your battery much more than required. (read the device datasheet for details, especially tolerable voltage drop from input to output, max power disipation...)
    you should rather look into finding a switchmode step up/down regulator that can do the required conversion. (something like... http://www.google.com/search?q=swiching+altoids+charger ... but the circuit would need adjustment to supply 3.7v instead of 5)
    or find a battery that has a close enough voltage... which might mean boring standard replacement batteries... or maybe get the biggest 3.7v cell you can find and hook it up externally. (you can probably even get away with a 6volts lead battery, but don't blame me if the camera blows up ;) )

    if you want to run off AC, you can just use probably just use a cellphone charger, some of those even come in the right voltage range, and a 5volts one might do too (see below)... but it should pretty sure be a _regulated_ supply (and DC anyway ;) ). for my tests below i used an adjustable bench power supply.

    and now for the FUN part:
    as i've been meaning to do this anyway, i just went and built an adator to externally power an ixus40 through the battery terminals...
    (i'm pretty sure the *somewhat* overpriced Canon ACK-DC60 doesn't have any more to it than that, btw)
    i just cut/carved a piece of wood to fit in the battery slot, and added two pieces of wire to contact the terminals:

    and it's working fine:

    note how the camera draws almost half an ampere, and peaks while operating the lens (AF illumination, flash(!)) are even higher.
    when i set the current limit on my supply too low, the camera would crash when extending the lens at startup, so make sure your supply can handle those peaks.
    and here's the camera running on 5 volts... note the voltage display in the chdk OSD:

    it doesn't draw noticeably more power even at 6 volts, thus my above suggestion of using a lead battery... but no guarantee on what it might do to the cam when used over longer time periods.
    « Last Edit: 06 / April / 2011, 17:50:15 by r00t »


     

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