What’s New in Batteries and Power Generation

  • With David Kirk

What’s New in Batteries and Power Generation

Contributing Editor David Kirk surveys the most recent portable power products available from the main contenders catering for the broadcast market...

An initial salutation to the late John Bannister Goodenough, generally credited as the inventor of the lithium-ion battery. Goodenough died on 25 June 2023 at the age of 100. His contributions to power storage technology live on with lithium-carbon dioxide still ahead of its various rivals in areas of portable power ranging from mobile phones through to electric vehicles.

Lithium-ion continues to dominate the broadcast sector unchallenged as is evident from the following update on recent announcements from some of the leading vendors.   

BlockBattery's Logos-150i is a 150 watt-hour battery designed for 3-Stud mounts. The Logos has dual high current D-Tap output connectors and a four-colour OLED plus a re-cell/service-capable housing. In discharge mode, the OLED shows battery energy remaining, battery voltage, discharge current, and run time remaining based on dynamic load. In charge mode the display shows battery energy level, battery voltage, charge current and the number of battery charge cycles. The Logos-150i also contains a quick-reference display. New additions to the BlockBattery product range for 2023 are the PC98 stackable battery, Tri-600 NiMH block, B-Mount adapters and Indy 5000 generator.

Blueshape’s Granite Link allows camera crew to monitor the state of batteries wirelessly via iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Multiple batteries can be monitored simultaneously from a single device. A rental mode limits the period of use when battery are leased. Among other recent additions to the Blueshape product range are the CVTR2PV and CGTR2PV chargers, for V-Lock and Gold Mount batteries. These have two 16.8 volt DC charging bays, each with a maximum charge rating of 3 amps. Also new are Blueshape’s CVTR2PV, CGTR2PV and CMDUAL-PD chargers. The CMDUAL-PD allows simultaneous charging of 7.2 volt and 14.4 volt batteries with up to 2.5 amps of charging current. The two charging bays are fully independent: one bay can charge a 7.2 volt battery while the other is charging charge a 14.4V model. USB power delivery is also supported. Core SWX’ Apex360 is a 367 watt hour lithium ion v-mount battery capable of outputting up to a 24 amps of continuous power.

“Battery packs that are designed for powering cameras and production accessories are simply not well suited for high power LED lighting,” says Ross Kanarek, CEO.

“The Apex battery line-up fits the bill in regards to properly powering the high power lighting options in the market and also comes in at a tenable price point, making the investment proposition in a separate lighting battery system feasible. Apex packs are offered in a 14.8 volt version (APX-360V) suitable for most lights as well as a higher voltage 29.6 variant (APX-360HV). The APX-360HV pack is capable of delivering even more power under lower current requirements, allowing for a more efficient operation of LED lights which accept the higher voltage range. The APX-360HV uses Core’s patented Helix system pin set so inadvertently placing the high voltage pack on 14 volt equipment is of no concern. Priced at $599 USD for 14.8v and 29.6v models, the Apex battery packs come in at only $1.63 per watt hour. To ensure the packs withstand the rigors of production, the packs are designed with a robust inner cell structure and encased in a rugged polycarbonate housing.” The built-in multisided 5-stage LED gauge shows charge capacity. To accompany the Apex battery packs, Core is also introducing new fast charging, dual charger product line for both the low voltage and high voltage models. 

Core SWX' Renegade is a 777 watt hour lithium iron phosphate battery in a polycarbonate housing, offering a lighter alternative to the Maverick and Renegade XL. It offers simultaneous 15 volt, 28 volt and 48 volt output with up to 1.2 kilowatt output. The included PFQ8 external charger can recharge the Renegade in less than 3.5 hours from a fully discharged state. The runtime LCD, similar to that found on the Maverick, provides up-to-the-minute runtime/charge time and percentage capacity information. The Renegade XL is offered in two lithium ion based versions encased in a cast aluminum housing, each with 1,376 kilowatt hour capacity, delivering 15, 28 or 48 volts. The Renegade XL48 variant, with  dual 48 volt 15 amp outputs, is a lighting-focused battery capable of powering an Aputure 1200D at full output.

Frezzi’S FB-100 and FB-200 batteries are now housed in a stronger case. The FB-100 is claimed to be the maximum allowable sized lithium-ion battery permitted as aircraft luggage. Frezzi claims its FB-240 to be the world's most powerful compact lithium-ion camera battery.

FXLion’s B-Mount battery, jointly developed by Arri and Bebob, is claimed to offer several advantages compared with V-Mount and Gold-Mount batteries. With additional data pins, the B-Mount battery allows communication with the camera or luminaire, including the status of battery capacity and cycles.

The internal release mechanism allows for smaller battery plates than with V-Mount or Gold-Mount. This is a significant advantage, especially as cameras continue to shrink in size. A new release mechanism facilitates quick battery changes.

B-Mount batteries are available in various designs and power specifications, with a minimum output of 15 amps at 24 volts.

FXLion chargers can charge the batteries at up to 4 amps.

IDX introduced Hi Voltage B-Mount batteries at Cine Gear Expo LA in early June. The new HV-B product series comprises two batteries and a four-channel charger (model BL-4SX). The HV-160B has a capacity of 160 watt hours and the HV-320B 320 watt hours. Each is capable of delivering over 10 amps. The HV series can also be charged by IDX USB PD chargers such as UC-PD2 with 100W.

PAG’s new 99 watt-hour 14.8 volt Mini PAGlink Cinergy is intended to power high-voltage cameras such as the Arri Alexa 35. Available in V-Mount and Gold Mount formats from Q3 2023, the batteries have a Cinergy logo to distinguish them from standard MPL99 batteries. The user fits a pattern label to the battery mount on the high-voltage camera in alignment with an optical sensor on the rear of the battery. When the battery is connected, an infrared sensor identifies the label and enables the battery to combine its voltage output with that of any Mini PAGlink battery linked to it. Output is limited to 29.6 volts nominal, regardless of the number of batteries in the stack. "Cinergy has the ability to double the voltage supplied when you link another MPL battery,” says PAG Marketing Manager Steve Emmett. “The same MPL batteries can be used to power both 14 volt and 28 volt cameras. You cannot accidentally power a low-voltage camera with a high-voltage battery and there is no need for 28 volt battery chargers. The infrared sensor is preferable to the use of radio frequency for communication, because RF can interfere with microwave links.” When not in 28 volt mode, a Cinergy battery will provide 14.8 volts nominal and operate in exactly the same way as a standard MPL99. It will only provide 28 volts when its sensor identifies the pattern label and another MPL battery is linked to it. Any MPL99, MPL50 or another Cinergy battery can be used to achieve 28 volts. Whilst linked in series, each battery is still able to output 10 amps individually.

Shape’s Full Play 26 V 260 is a 260 watt-hour lithium-ion gold-mount battery intended to power cine cameras or LED lights with 24 to 30 volts input. When fully charged, it will power a 30 x 30cm Flex Cine Mat for approximately 2.4 hours. Features include a 5 volt 2 amp USB output, a five-level LED power indicator, over-current protection and protection from over-heat, over-charge and over-discharge. Also new is the Shape BP dual LCD charger for Canon batteries. This is designed to charge two batteries at the same time. Autosensing identifies the voltage of the battery and prevents overcharge. Charge compatibility is 8.4, 12.6 or 16.8 volts. The charger plate is suitable for most Canon camera/camcorder batteries. A USB output is included to charge a mobile phone and other USB device. An LCD shows the percentage of power level and (high/low) current modes. Charging method is constant current / constant voltage. A pre-charging feature is claimed to extend battery life.

SWIT has introduced two new pocket V-mount batteries in its Mino series: the Mino-S70 and Mino-S210. Available in 70 and 210 watt hour versions, they are claimed to offer 40% more capacity than comparable batteries.

Features include ultra-small size, camera power display and USB-C in/out. The Mino-S210 has 200 watt output which can supply power for lights. The Mino-S70 is an ultra-compact V-mount battery, which has a size described as almost equal to that of 50 watt-hour batteries on the market while increasing its capacity by 40%. SWIT recommends it as the main camera battery for lightweight travel shooting or power support for any small consumption equipment on the set, including monitors, recorders, image transmission and other professional equipment, or as a power bank to power mobile phones, tablets or laptops. The Mino-S70 complies with Red V-Raptor battery size restrictions. The flat design and 419g weight are claimed to make the Mino-S70 ideal for gimbal installation.