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Anton Bauer voltage displays


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#1 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:51 PM

This is a topic much discussed between me and my AC's and fellow operators, but I haven't seen touched upon here much. The voltage readouts on the Anton Bauer batteries. Every single professional person I've talked to in our line of work finds them more or less useless and difficult to decipher. Between all the bars, numbers and pie charts I find these graphs at best give a vague indication of how much battery life remains. I've been using a simple voltmeter in my sled for a few years which I rely on exclusively. I have a basic three digit voltage measurement and I always know exactly where my battery level is and what my voltage cutoff is depending on the camera. It works beautifully. Now I love my Anton Bauer batteries. Wouldn't trade them for any other brand. But the AB displays in my opinion (and many many others) are in some alien language that is inaccurate and unreliable in determining battery life. Three bars a "2" and a couple half pies is information that is meaningless to me. Why not have a universal, 3 digit voltage readout? Simple, precise, useable. Or am I just a moron?
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#2 Brian Freesh

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:20 PM

I agree that it is not at all intuitive, and I totally get why people find it confusing, I used to be baffled as well.

That said, i did this weird thing, I read the directions... :P

Once you learn the over-complicated (but not illogical) code, it's actually the most accurate way of knowing how much longer they're gonna last. It gives you the time, accurate to 3 minutes (theoretically) that the battery will last on the PRESENT current draw. This does mean that the indicator will change while you are rolling, and change again when you are not. It also takes a few seconds to calculate based on the new load, so don't expect it to be accurate immediately after you roll. But once you are used to it, it's just as simple to predict the best time to change batteries while getting the most out of each one before you change as it is to predict when to change magazines while still using as much of the roll beforehand. (Despite the declining use of film)

In my too-many reality days, I've constantly impressed by allowing a battery to remain on camera longer than anyone else, without it dying mid-shot. This allows me not to be chasing half-charged batteries by the end of the day.
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#3 Brian Freesh

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:33 PM

That's how confusing it is, I still got it a bit wrong and have been teaching people slightly wrong for a couple years...

If I am now understanding correctly, it's only accurate to 15 minutes (oh the humanity). And The bottom bit that looks like a 1/4 pie chart but otherwise looks like the old display, works like the old display. It's a 0-100% capacity meter. The simple meter you want. When it gets to the last bar and starts blinking, there's only 6% left.
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#4 Alan Rencher

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:21 PM

I have the same thoughts as Brian. It was a little bit confusing until I read the manual. They've improved the display with the HC's, so now they have a recognizable battery icon with bars in it that represent the percentage. I do love that they will tell you how long they are going to last, up to four hours anyway (A big # 3 plus the four 15 min indicators). When you're at your lowest, they will at least indicate if they can wait to be changed until after the next shot.

For the record, I don't plan on ever buying any non A/B batts.
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 09:27 PM

They have a new display coming out next year, very straightforward to read. I've been running them since may and are not only easy to read but VERY accurate
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#6 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:03 PM

Thanks Eric, I look forward to seeing them.

And guys, thanks for the input. I understand how to decode the readouts and I'm well read on the instructions. However a time remaining number for me is just somehow not very useful, especially since that time is always fluctuating because the load is always fluctuating. A percentage scale is also, somehow not very accurate for me. A simple voltage meter is, in my opinion, the most accurate and reliable way to gauge the capacity of a battery. GPI got it right with their old style chocolate bars. And when you know how each camera behaves, you'll know exactly where your voltage cutoff is and how far you can push it before shutdown. At least if this voltage info was in a small corner of the readout then you can take your pick, Time, percentage, voltage. Beauty! (I hope someone from AB is getting this)...
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#7 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:17 PM

Not quite that easy Nick, firstly voltage WAS a great indicator with old battery chemistry. Current chemistry will hold a voltage then drop off of a,cliff when the battery is depleted rendering a voltage meter worthless.

Also knowing how each camera behaves isn't practical. What was the build for what run time and with how many cycles on the battery?

Anton Bauer got it right with their "Real Time" display. The XCS ultimate pulls the real time data from the battery and displays it on the LEH and my guys know that they can run the battery's down to 5% with no problem
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#8 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:46 PM

Cool. I look forward to the new displays.
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