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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 23 Jan 2008 (Wednesday) 18:18
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DIY Battery Pack for Canon 540EZ...

 
MT ­ Stringer
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Jan 23, 2008 18:18 |  #1

After reading through the SLA battery pack threads on the Flickr Strobist website time and again, I decided to build a couple of my own. One down, one to go.

I used the 6 volt 4.5Ah SLA battery with a panel mount fuse holder, a power switch and RCA jack to connect to the Quantum module for the 540EZ.

While I was at the local electronics component store, I found a 6 volt floating charger and the mating 2.5 x 5.5mm panel mount receptacle so to charge the battery, all I have to do is plug in the charger! :-)

Here is a link to a few pictures of my project:
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Hope you find this info helpfull.
Mike

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Metolius81
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Jan 23, 2008 22:39 |  #2

Thanks Mike for posting that! I just started looking last night for ways to do this, but your build is the cleanest DIY one I've seen so far. Can you post instructions on what you did? Or post a link to one that you followed??

I have two SB-28 flashes coming in the male now and would love to set this up soon. Thanks for any help!




  
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MT ­ Stringer
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Jan 23, 2008 23:12 |  #3

Go to Strobist.com...
http://www.flickr.com/​groups/strobist/discus​s (external link)

And search for "SLA Battery"

There are all sorts of threads on this subject.

Basically...I ran a red wire from the positive terminal on the battery to one side of the fuse. Then off the other side, I ran a wire to the switch, then from the switch to the positive terminal on the RCA jack (soldered).

For the ground, the black wire went from the negative terminal to the ground on the RCA jack.

To wire in the charger receptacle, I spliced in the positive wire to the red wire just before the terminal connection on the battery. Same way with the ground - spliced it into the black wire just before the battery terminal.

The charger is a 6 volt 800Ah float charger. I asked the salesman at the store about using an unregulated power source (like you might have laying around the house). He said the float charger would charge the battery, then switch to "maintain" mode and keep the battery topped off and ready to go. With the unregulated power source, I would have to keep track of how long the battery had beeen charging. I chose the safe route. :-)

Note: It just so happened that next to the charger was an adapter that plugged into the charger cable and had two small alligator clips. I bought it for $2.50. And since the info on the box said the plug was a 2.5mm x 5.5mm, I went down the component isle and searched until I found a panel mount recepticle that the charger would plug in to. And it works perfect!

Heck, 6 months ago I kuldn't even spell Lectrician, now I are one! :-)
Mike


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Lotto
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Jan 24, 2008 03:01 |  #4

Thanks for sharing. How does it perform comparing to 4 AAs?


5D, 24-105L, 70-200L IS, 85mm Art, Godox

  
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Jan 24, 2008 03:10 |  #5

any idea on what the price for this is?


Canon 5D Mark II (x2), 30D, 40D, G10, 70-200 F4 IS (x2), 16-35 f2.8 L, 50mm 1.4, 430 EX II (x2), 580 EX II Tamron 28-75 F2.8 (x2), Tonkia 12-24 F4, 10-18 Fisheye, Full studio with some light :)
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MT ­ Stringer
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Jan 24, 2008 11:16 |  #6

Lotto - I haven't had a chance to give it a whirl yet. It should be good for many shots before needing a recharge.

Amped - Less than $50 in parts (including $13 for the float charger).

Mike


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metalman1010
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Jan 30, 2008 14:45 as a reply to  @ MT Stringer's post |  #7

Stringer...

Where did you get the black plastic casing from?

What awg wire were you using also?

Ross


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MT ­ Stringer
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Jan 30, 2008 19:20 |  #8

Black box - Radio Shack 270-1806 Project Enclosure 6x4x2" ABS Plastic. I used 16 ga automotive wire.

Out of desperation, I went to Lowe's and browsed the hardware dept. I found a pack of 4 pcs. Large D-Ring Hangers, zinc plated. Each hanger has two holes for mounting. I drilled holes in the box and used 3/16" 5MM Aluminum pop rivets to mount the hangers. They worked great.

You may have seen the pic already, but here is my setup from last night. Even though the pic shows a Quantum Battery 1, the other flash had my DIY battery pack connected to it in the same way.

I used a round tapered file to file the battery door on the flash but it wasn't enough for the door to close so I covered it with black Gaffers tape. Looks great in the dark! :-)

For the two basketball games, I shot 300 pics with the 540EZ's set on manual @ 1/4 power. The batteries were still going strong. Each flash would take about 3 seconds to recycle.

Link to game pics:
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=445318

Mike


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metalman1010
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Jan 30, 2008 19:32 as a reply to  @ MT Stringer's post |  #9

I just found these rolling around in my drawer.

They are calles ES-2 Green inserts.

Quantum includes them with the CZ and CCZ cables. You are supposed to put them in with a set of 3 other AA batteries. Its just a dummy battery.

I have noticed on the Strobist boards about people taking 1/2" pieces of wood dowels and making dummy batteries. I figure why the heck not take these and modify them exactly the same as what others are doing. Put Red tape on the positive and black on the negative. I am going back to Radio Barn (Shack) tomorrow to make a cable for the RCA connection and figure out if it works.

Im interested though about recycle time. 3 sec. is alittle slow for the most part. But it's not bad. I was wondering about what type of accelerator might possibly be put in them to speed them up alittle.

But hey if this works who cares for now I might be selling my Turbos soon!

Ross


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metalman1010
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Jan 31, 2008 16:18 as a reply to  @ metalman1010's post |  #10

Well as of 4:16PM CST I have my own personal "black box" and custom made flash cord also.

I am going to be making (2) more of these and figure out if I can do the same for the 580ex flash heads.

The pieces that I suggested for the dummy batteries worked perfectly! Oh and the cable was $5 from Radio Shack also.

I moved the recharger port to the side as the fuse holder was a little long for the box on the inside. All I had to do about the cords inside the flash head was dremel alittle off the door when it would slide. But I plan on putting gaffer tape over the door so it doesn't come open. For the most part I don't think I will be removing the dummy batteries.

Recycle time on a 540ez at 1/4 power is instant. 1/2 power is anywhere between 2-3 sec. But more towards 2 sec. Now I just need to purchase a batch of chargers as I don't have any.

I will do a detailed writeup very soon.

Ross


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MT ­ Stringer
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Jan 31, 2008 20:07 |  #11

Looks good, Ross. Now you got me wondering why my flash takes 3 seconds to recycle.


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Jim ­ M
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Jan 31, 2008 22:14 |  #12

I made several of these over the years although mine were much simpler - just the battery in a case with a phone jack. No on/off switch or fuse. One actually had two sets of jacks and powered two flashes. I also used the same jacks for the charger. The number of flashes I could get out of a charge was truly amazing. These were the batteries I'd drag down the the Amazon for a week or two and know they wouldn't poop out before I got back to a source of electricity. They also really shortened the recycle time of Vivitar 283s, but with modern flashes they are much slower than NiMH batteries. I no longer use my battery boxes (unless I dig out the old 283s) because I'd rather switch out batteries than wait on the recycle. Of course, I don't have to climb up to the balcony to switch batteries, either.




  
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metalman1010
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Feb 02, 2008 09:08 as a reply to  @ Jim M's post |  #13

Well after a day of just trial runs I have successfully made two of these and can power both my 540ez flash heads off camera.

I haven't put them to the test in the field just yet and that will hopefully happen today when I will be shooting both girls and boys hockey.

My only problem right now is the fact I don't have a regular charger to plug into the side jack. I purchased a float charger from Batteries Plus but I have to take the battery out of the case to charge.

Mike how long does it take for you to charge your battery back up to full? Is there an indicator light on the charger saying when the battery is charged back to full?

Ross


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MT ­ Stringer
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Feb 02, 2008 15:32 |  #14

Yes, the charger I bought has an indicator light that displays red when charging and green for reday/float. I just checked and it's still charging. Its been about 4 hours. Last night I shot 250 pics with the flash set at 1/8th power.

EDIT: Ross, looks like it took about 6 hrs to recharge the battery to full capacity.
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metalman1010
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Feb 03, 2008 20:16 as a reply to  @ MT Stringer's post |  #15

I realize these batteries that you and I have created are just larger and longer lasting "AA" Batteries.

IM very interested in "gutting" a Turbo battery and finding out what all is inside that allows it to amp up the power when causing the flash head to recycle so fast. Like I say I haven't put the flash heads through their paces because I won't be getting the chargers until Thursday this week.

I have about 6 Boys and Girls BB games this week to shoot so I will try and use them when the chargers do show up.

Ross

Edit: I also was able to re-modify the dummy batteries and insert them into my second 540EZ. I used a roto-zip and made a small modification to the battery door so that it would close and latch. But the modification got rid of one of the locking clips that keeps the door shut. So I took black Duct tape and put it over the door so it wouldn't come open.


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DIY Battery Pack for Canon 540EZ...
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