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Recommendations and advice for long construction project

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Recommendations and advice for long construction project
« on: 25 / March / 2012, 07:18:33 »
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Hi I've shot timelapses with conventional Canon DSLR's but have been asked about shooting a construction project which will last for six months or so.

Its obvious that I need to get myself cameras more suited to the task and my search has led me here.

I have little knowledge of the Powershot range so maybe as a start you guys could recommend cameras for the purpose. I'm happy to buy new or second hand but would like to do things as cost effectively as possible.

I have seen someone on another forum mention the Canon S3IS which he says he uses an HDUK script to power down between shots so the camera is under no stress, but I can find no further information on this. How does the camera know to power up again?

The construction site covers a wide area so I would imaging I will set-up a couple of cameras on wide angle duties with another one or two zoomed in for close up action. The plan will then be to switch between the different angles in post production for interest.

In an ideal world I would like to be able to leave the cameras for two or three days at a time before changing cards, power etc.

With my previous time lapse's I have shot an image every 3 to 5 seconds but for this project I plan to shoot much slower. Perhaps once every 5 minutes which will give about 4 seconds of footage a day at 25fps (I'm in Pal land)

Ideally I would like to use the camera batteries but realistically I may need some form of external power I guess. Thoughts have led me to think that maybe a 12v car charger could be used, powered from car batteries. I know that there are solar panel options but I'm not great with a soldering iron so ideal would like a solution which is fairly easy to rig up and doesn’t involve soldering batteries together etc

Finally as the weather could easily change from sunny to dull and also as there will be dawn and dusk shots I guess I will need to shoot on AV. Usually I lock everything down on manual but for the above reasons this will not be possible. I am concerned that the flicker will be a lot greater so what are you guys who are shooting on AV using to minimise flicker?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.

Re: Recommendations and advice for long construction project
« Reply #1 on: 25 / March / 2012, 07:27:59 »
 Actually I have just seen some solar panel car battery chargers advertised for about £20 each. Could these be used for topping up power?

Re: Recommendations and advice for long construction project
« Reply #2 on: 25 / March / 2012, 07:53:00 »
I would imaging I will set-up a couple of cameras on wide angle duties with another one or two zoomed in for close up action.

Hi Steve.
On startup a script will zoom to a preset value and take a photo.
It can then powerdown if you wish or with sufficient battery capacity stay powered-up.
If you choose the first method, it will power up/down and extend the lens over 48,000 times in six months.

Quote
Ideally I would like to use the camera batteries

impossible.

Quote
Thoughts have led me to think that maybe a 12v car charger could be used, powered from car batteries.

A car charger is mains operated.
What you can do is plug one of these :
Ebay # 20072136275

into one of these (which I am using right now) :-

Ebay # 260965802722

The part with the cigar-lighter plug is fixed with two screws.
You can cut the red and black wires that connect to the circuit board and using a terminal block connect to a car battery.

So, you need a camera that has a DC power socket rather than a special dummy battery connector.
Older cameras (such as the 'A' series) use a higher voltage at a lower current than more recent cameras so are more suited to the AC adapter.
My A620 is 6V.

So, we have got as far as powering the camera and (I think) leaving it powered-up.

Re: Recommendations and advice for long construction project
« Reply #3 on: 25 / March / 2012, 08:19:04 »
How stable is voltage from solar panel? Cameras seem to be very sensitive on voltage changes. Even when I use AC/DC adapter camera sometimes display 'low battery' message. Very rarely it even turns off. So if solar panel can't provide really stable voltage (and current about 2 A) it could cause a problems.

On my sx130 a pair of AA bateries is enough to take ~100 pics timelapse. But you can do a 'battery pack'. You'd have to connect batteries as on the picture below. This way voltage will be the same as for one pair of batteries, but you'll get 4x longer life. Of course more batteries means longer life. However beware - if you'd connect it wrong it could destroy camera (or at least safety circuit - if any).

Battery packs have been used in aerial photography, when camera was attached to the balloon for long time. I believe that it will be enough for 1-2 days, but no longer. Consider, wheter so many bateries is a good option. Maybe rechargable ones.

EDIT

By "~3V" I mean 'around 3V', not alternating current;) Forgive me.
« Last Edit: 25 / March / 2012, 08:23:18 by outslider »
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Compile error: poor Yorick


Re: Recommendations and advice for long construction project
« Reply #4 on: 25 / March / 2012, 08:25:26 »
Thanks for your comments.

Microfunguy the first item number you mention is not listed? With regards to the second, do these inverters actually output 240v? I may have a problem using this if that's the case due to health and safety on the construction site. I'm trying to foresee issues which may arise. Perhaps some kind of addition batteries would be better.

Please keep your thoughts coming

Re: Recommendations and advice for long construction project
« Reply #5 on: 25 / March / 2012, 08:37:46 »

Microfunguy the first item number you mention is not listed?

They removed it in the minutes after I posted !

Glad they did, because this item is ideal, think I will buy one :-

Ebay # 190653877607


David

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Offline Pier

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Re: Recommendations and advice for long construction project
« Reply #6 on: 25 / March / 2012, 15:14:01 »
It is not good idea to connect parallel Cells or Batteries.
When Cam consumes power, it is not the same on any battery due to their different internal resistance, and so each battery will wear different.Due to this, Current flow occurs between paralleled batteries (or cells) all the time.Because the voltage never is same on all.To suppose that one (B1) has 3.0v, another (B2) 2.9v... or less.
Current will flow from B1 to B2 untill the voltage of both equals... to say 2.95 v, and vice-versa all the time, and getiing worse and worse...
To got it's paralleled, use Diodes.This prevent current between batteries, and selfdischarge.
BUT - Voltage drop occurs depend of the type of diodes.If they are Shotky-voltage drop is 0.4 v.If they are Silicon - voltage drop is 0.6 -0.7 v.The Diodes must be for current little bit more (or more) than Max.current consumed from the Cam.
The dissipation power on each Diode,if diodes are Shotky is less...to say 0.4W if consumed current is 1A.
--------------------------------
This is good Idea also if You using Li-Ion batteries...
« Last Edit: 25 / March / 2012, 15:20:37 by Pier »

Re: Recommendations and advice for long construction project
« Reply #7 on: 25 / March / 2012, 15:28:00 »
If they are Shotky-voltage drop is 0.4 v.If they are Silicon - voltage drop is 0.6 -0.7 v.
Whatever happen to Germanium diodes - 0.3V drop IIRC ?

Update :  voltage drop changes somewhat with current.  Shotky can get as low as 0.2V at lower currents.  As current goes up,  it still drops less than Germanium.
« Last Edit: 25 / March / 2012, 15:31:09 by waterwingz »
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16


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Offline Pier

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Re: Recommendations and advice for long construction project
« Reply #8 on: 25 / March / 2012, 16:04:30 »
Theoretical -Yes.In practice depends on the type of the used diodes and forward bias current.
More current, more dropping...Nobody use Ge Diodes now days.

Re: Recommendations and advice for long construction project
« Reply #9 on: 25 / March / 2012, 16:15:59 »
I'm getting confused now.

I saw a DIY DC battery coupler on Flickr which looks like it may be an option. Am I allowed to link here?

 

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