Advice on power supply when traveling...

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by joshua_goodey|1, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. Hi all,

    OK, so a few questions here, hope this isn't too girlfriend and I have a trip to Australia planned
    for the end of the year for one month. We'll be traveling by car for much of this time, camping, so with limited
    chance to recharge batteries from the mains - potentially for up to a week.

    As we have access to a car - potentially I can charge my batteries via this. I use a 40D so could use the CB-570
    but as far as I'm aware this requires purchasing another charger - is this not compatible with my bundled
    charger? Together that's a lot of money for something I will use for one trip only (I don't own or need a car
    here in London), especially as I need to fork out for an additional battery and some more memory for this trip too.

    Another route I was considering was solar power. Does anyone have experience using something such as the
    Powermonkey (or similar) to charge SLR batteries? How effective is this? This is a route I'm quite interested in
    as it would be useful to charge other things (phone, Ipod etc) and I'm not expecting any shortage of sun in Oz at
    that time of year!

    Finally on a slightly different note, I'm looking to attempt some star trails whilst I'm away from the cities,
    but currently don't own a cable release. Yet more money I know, but any recommendations for this for the 40D?
    I'll obviously need to lock it on bulb but am unsure which models I'm able to do this on, and which, if any I'm
    able to set the length of exposure on (i.e. so it can be left unattended for however long to make the exposure).

    OK, alot there I know so any advice on any of this is very welcome! I'm good for equipment otherwise (happy with
    my current lens selection - for now :) - good tripod/head, etc, etc, just need to firm up my peripherals)


  2. Sorry... no direct advice but what I can tell you... leaving your shutter open for star trails will eat your battery up... especially if you are out in the cold at night. Spend the money on the correct charger... the worst thing you can do is go on such a sweet trip and realize 1 week in you can't take any more pictures b/c your camera has no power.<p>
    Another alternative... film. Yikes!<p>
    good luck.
  3. You could just hit the rat shack 'n buy a 12v converter for your charger. Or, carry a couple extra 511 fully charged in the
    bag. Should get ya through the week unless you're a real gun slinger.
  4. zml


    If you are using the cg-570 charger (the one with a separate power supply) all you need is a car cable. OTOH if you
    use the cg-580 "compact" charger, you are SOL because it has a built-in AC power supply only and can't be plugged
    into a DC power source. You may wanna take a peek at the system diagram in the instruction manual, BTW.
  5. To reiterate what has already been said, star trails are going to really give your batteries a bashing. I've never attempted
    it myself but plenty have so I'm sure someone will be able to comment on actual battery life at some point. Alternatively
    you could just google it, I'm sure it'll be out there somewhere.

    As for your question about cable release, it depends on wether you want to stick with canon gear or are happy to go with
    a cheaper (much cheaper in some cases) 3rd party model. There are plenty on eBay and the easiest way to find them is
    to do an eBay search for the canon model number that most closely matches your requirements - few of the results will
    be for the genuine canon model.

    Any cable release will have a bulb lock off switch for extended exposures but if you want one that you can set to expose
    for a specific time and then close the shutter then you are limited to the canon Remote Switch TC-80N3 which will cost
    at least £80GBP here in the UK. Expensive but it is probably the best cable release you can get. It can be set up to
    take multiple exposures that last for as long as you want at any interval that you want. So for example, you could set it
    up to take a 30 minute exposure every 2 hours for the next 10 hours etc. Again, if you search eBay for this model there
    will probably be various copies available for much less.
  6. If you Google™ "plug adapter" and the like you will find sources on buying adapters, and what kind of adapter you will need for Australia and for car charging. Some places sell individual plug adapters, while others have kits with all sorts of adapters --more than you need in this one case.

    A search of this website will also yield lots of hits on Australia and car rechargers.
  7. Last year I was in India for two months with my Canon digital XT and shot about 10 Gb. of files (raw). Transferred shots into my IBM X22 laptop and also burnt into CD/DVD. What you need for Asia (I think that may also apply to Australia) is that when it comes digital camera's battery charger and laptops battery/power charger, they are universal and you don't need any new adaptor. What you need is PLUG adaptor, because wall plugs are different there (as compared to North America) & you need plug adaptors to use chargers. Plug/power adaptor would cost between $2-$4 each.
  8. On the few occasions I've done star trails the battery has lasted about 2.5 - 3 hours. I used the technique given at the bottom of this page:

    which helps minimise noise.

    If you have a number of things to charge from the car battery, but which don't have proper 12V chargers, then it might be worth considering a small inverter.

    Finally, if you are planning to drive into the outback in the southern summer, make sure that you are properly equipped and know what you are doing. It can get fatally unpleasant otherwise!
  9. Hi, I go camping often here in Oz. I take a small 12/240v inverter with me to charge cam batteries and run 240v compact flouros at night. You could problably buy one in London with the right conection for your charger as the inverter just conects to standard cig lighter. can charge while driving along as well :) I often use a small solar cell to trickle top up car battery...
  10. There are 12V to 120VAC converters you can buy for a car. It plugs into the car and the other end has a standard 120VAC plug. Test it before you go. Some may not work well with your charger. Since you don't own a car I would strongly suggest a vertical battery grip that accepts AA batterys. Canon and other vendors make them ( ).

    As to battery life on bulb I have done 25 min (with a dark frame, about 1 hour for the camera) on my 5D. I have read of someone doing a 1 hour bulb exposure (with dark frame) on a 5D. Don't know about the 40D but I would guess it is similar. I have no idea how long AA batteries would last.

    For longer exposures you can get an AC adaptor for the camera and then plug it into the car using a 12V to 120VAC adaptor. However at such long exposures sensor noise gets to be significant. For exposures longer than an hour I would strongly suggest using a film camera. Preferably a Canon that will work with the same accessories as your 40D. On my old Pentax I could easily do several hours on the internal batteries and have enough for some photos the next day.

    I own a TC-80N3 cable release and it works will. Simply set how long you want the exposure, hit start and walk away and hope the cameras batteries will last long enough. The RS-80N3 is a basic cable release without the timers. If you use the RS-80N3 you would also need an alarm clock to wake you up before sunrise so that you can stop the exposure. These cable releases would also work with an EOS 1V or EOS 3 film camera (if you decide to use film). Any other camer would likely need a different cable release.
  11. End of the year, hot, hot every where. Worse in the tropics where it's hot and humid. Spring and autumn are the best times for a camping trip.
  12. Get yourself a small 12V to 230V inverter these are quite cheap and will enable you to charge the batteries in the car - If I've right in thinking you live in London take a trip to a Maplins store and get a "75Watt micro inverter" - take a look at the Malins site:

    These are very small and light - so easy to pack for your trip - Maplin has them on sale at the moment so at £10 won't break the bank either.
  13. If you look around a bit, you should be able to find a charger that will plug directly into a car lighter socket. I believe mine is a Power2000 for the B511 battery. For charging in the house, it has a wall transformer. The charger stays on the floor of my van, and I even use it to charge over night. The current draw is so small it won't drain the car battery.
  14. Here's a link to the unit I was talking about.
  15. I have used a 10 watt folding solar panel with good success in sunny places. You need a 12 volt charger for your camera
    battery. B & H and Adorama sell them. I bought one for my Olympus e-420 and it works like a charm. You can also plug
    the 12V charge in your car to charge if you have a car.

    Another alternative is to get a Pentax K200D and buy some lithium batteries. Very low self discharge rate and one set of
    battery last a long long time in the camera.

    An inverter for the car is ok but pretty inefficient because the inverter has to convert 12V DC to 110 AC before your wall
    charge can use the power. Then the charger simply reconvert the 110V AC back to DC to charge the camera battery.
  16. There's a lot of talk about inverters for 110v/120v. The original poster is in London so his charger will be 230v (as is most of the rest of the world). The principle is the same though and his charger could well be one sutable for a 90 - 250 volt range making it easy to use in any country.
  17. Thanks everyone for all your considered responses...looks like I've got some more research and decisions to make! The inverter sounds interesting - I'd not heard of these before so will check these out in more detail before I make a purchase, in any case, I don't think I can go wrong with a stack of extra B511s...

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