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#1 brooksrobinson

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 12:16 AM

I am going to be buying Greg Bubb's XCS Ultimate sled. I have been using a Pro 1 the past 10 years and am only familiar with the Nicad batteries used for that. I don't have much experience with Anton Bauer batteries (which are what the XCS sled use). I'm wondering what people who are flying the XCS are using to power their rig and various cameras. I mostly use Panavision XL's and the newer Arri's (Arricam and 435's), but with the impending reality of HD, I need to be prepared for that as well.

I would like to keep this new system as simple and uncomplicated as possible. Is there any combination that will work with everything in your experience? What do you suggest? Thank you for your time.

Brooks Robinson
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#2 Erwin Landau

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 01:25 AM

Hi Brooks,

I have been flying the Ultimate for quite a while now and that's what I so far learned about the battery mess... and I mean mess. There is not really a one battery solution.

You can order the rig with either the Anton Bauer or the PAG Mount's, I think to remember that he had made one with sony V-plates... but check with Greg on that.

I'm using a Trimpac/Proformer setup. Meaning one Trimpac under the post and one Proformer underslung on the back. That is pretty much the old style NiCad setup. BUT the Proformers are history... I'm going to Greg's guy that is doing a great job with recelling Trimpacs and Proformers for a good price and with higher Amperage. I'm approaching my 3rd cycle...

That's also how Geoff Shotz, Anthony Hardwick and Jon Myers (but he is experimenting with Hytron 50's) are flying it, that's Greg's original set up. Greg has tried the Hytrons and the Dionics... with a better result on the Dionic 90's, but they somehow don't last that long, way under 2 years, if at all that long.
BUT: You have to let Greg know that you will be using non NiCad batteries as he has to add diodes to make sure that the batteries don't shut down.

Taj Teffaha is using Hytron 50's

Will Arnot is using Proformers and Dionic 90's. Simon Jays is still using NiCad's but I believe he is looking into the Proformer/Dionic 90 option.

Jeremy Benning uses Trimpac and has the upper back plate converted to use the SR-3/Lentequip Batts.

Geoff Shotz was experimenting with the power Cubes from Tiffen/IDX because of his frequent use of HD like the Genesis, F900/950, Varicam and the Viper. He is using intermediate plates from AB to Sony-V style.

The Trimpac/Proformer setup works very well for me, as I'm flying mostly 35mm. For the 16-SR I fly only one Trimpac and use the onboard battery for the camera... better balance.
Again for the occasional F-900 or Varicam, I'll use either a Hytron 140 or the Dionic 160 for ENG style shooting (one block on the top back position of the rig) or Trimpac/Proformer on the rig and a Dionic 90 on the Camera for the Panavision Monster and the like. So I use the rental batteries and not mine for HD.

Haven't found an easy solution yet. I would love to stay with just one style battery... still working on it as all my AKS is equipped with AB plates... I had to buy as many plates as I would batteries and of course the chargers.

Also the prices for the different batteries are quite all over the place (Here some ball parks): Shop around...

Trimpac: $190.- to $210.-
Digital Trimpac: $230.- to $260.- (you don't really need them as you have a build in Voltage read out on the sled)
ProFormers: $110.- to $180.- (discontinued! but if you can get the cases, get them recelled for $100.-)

Hytron 50: $350.- to $450.-

Dionic 90: $420.- to $550.-

Power Cube: last I heard they were $650.- but at CineGear the price was around $800.- and only available through Tiffen.

And then you have the other/smaller manufacturers like Aspen, Switchtronic, IDX, etc... that also build Goldmount (Anton Bauer compatible) batteries.


Again I don't think I helped... probably just created more questions... sorry. (call me).


Good Luck,


Erwin
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#3 WillArnot

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 01:53 AM

Congratulations Brooks, an extremely wise choice. Greg's system is the ONLY sled in the world that incorporates the best technology can offer in terms of power management. The world is your oyster here. It doesn't matter how many batteries you fly the camera will always recieve 27.5 volts (assuming a 24v camera) as this is the only sled in the world that delivers a REGULATED supply of power. ie. doesn't matter if your battery is fresh off charge at 16 volts or at 25% at 14.1 volts, each and every accessory including the camera gets the exact amount of voltage assigned to it.

In this manner the XCS ULtimate is truly the smartest and the lightest 24v sled on the market. No other sled can start up a 435 at 150 fps from one Trimpac (14.4v 3ah NiCad). I'm sure Erwin can explain better than I exactly how the LEH (lower electronic housing) is designed that it can achieve such results.

In my mind the sled also has a one up over other sleds in terms of flying the AR. It has all the strongest elements of a 2 inch center post and gimbal, and yet has the most stable power platform of any sled. Another overlooked element is the extensive work on isolating and separating all the power grounds. Combined with top shelf VDA technology there is absolutely no interference of the multiple video signals. This is especially noticeable when the AR is working and you have things such as the camera and monitor motors hard at work that might otherwise cause noise on the monitor or transmission image. This is something to look out for.

To answer your question: I used to go with 1 Proformer and 1 Trimpac. This was a fantastic set up and light.

Now I go with 2 Dionic 90's Li Ion, and 1 Proformer NiCad. It is a little heavier set up, but the trade off in run time is astounding. The Dionics run well into double digit mag count - but the key is the 1 NiCad mixed in. The Lithium Ions are prone to shut down or pop their breaker if a high enough current is demanded ( 435) NiCads are still unique in their ability to deliver on huge amperage demand, albeit for a short amount of time. So as long as you have 1 NiCad in the mix, you won't have any trouble with any of the film cameras.

Now, the Genesis and its 14-17 amp continuous draw is a different thing. Be sure and talk to Greg about this as I believe he is teamed up with a new design team to address this situation.

The other thing that the XCS sled does like no other sled is that it drains the batteries at the exact same rate. So no matter which batteries you use, they could all 3 be different, they will all go down at the same rate. And the voltage and percentage for all 3 are nicely and accurately displayed. When it comes time to change batteries, they all get swapped at the same time.

This I have found also greatly extends the working life of the battery since no one battery is being demanded of more than another. ie running the camera vs. running the Preston. This is a huge benefit to my investment in batteries.

Currently with the AR I am flying 1 Hytron 120 and 1 Proformer. This gives me an excellent weight, where I want it on the sled, and tons of power. Another point here, battery choice based on your balance needs not what your sled can fit on it or being limited to the same cell technology.

I carry 8 Dionic 90's, 4 Proformers, and 2 Hytron 120's. More options and power than I know what to do with.

Now I think about it, you may have trouble picking up Proformers. All you need is 4, then you can have them re-celled in the future, no problem.

Talk to Jeremy Benning in Toronto. http://www.rigmarole-steadicam.com/#
He has a special Lentequip NiCad that he flies in conjunction with 1 smaller battery on his XCS. Might be a good way to go.

Let me know if you want to talk. 917 417 4701

Will


Erwin and I must have been writing simultaneously.

There you have it. 2 different styles!
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#4 nick franco

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 10:28 AM

I'm going to Greg's guy that is doing a great job with recelling Trimpacs and Proformers for a good price and with higher Amperage. I'm approaching my 3rd cycle...


Hi Erwin, This recell you speak of, do you go through Greg for this and can you quote prices for them?
Thanks, Nick
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#5 Erwin Landau

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 11:16 PM

Will,
that was funny... I just saw it before I went to bed and had to answer quickly...

Nick,
How are the kids? Hope all is well and taken care of...


Recelling batteries:

It's called Batteries Plus and it's in Thousand Oaks: 1-805-494-8484 talk to Gary, he recelled so far 16 of my batteries and he does a great job, you can't tell that they were opened and you can still charge them on your AB-charger as he transfers the chip to the new cells. Proformers used to be $110.- the Trimpacs $120.- or $130.- He does not do Hytrons or Dionics but does custom battery work for the industry.

Call ahead to make sure that he has the cells on hand before you drive that far... it usually takes him a day or two depending on the volume and the number of batteries you bring... but you always can visit Derrick Whitehouse, he is only 2 miles away from that place.

Fly safe,

Erwin
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#6 nick franco

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 12:38 AM

Everyone is great, thanks Erwin!
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#7 brooksrobinson

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 03:37 AM

Thanks Will and Erwin. I really appreciate you both taking the time to provide such in-depth explanation and insight. I'm still not sure what I'll be going with...thankfully my new sled doesn't arrive until the first week in December, so I have a little time to make up my mind.

That being said, what combo do you work with when using the XCS and:
1) 435
2) Panavision lightweight or XL
3) Panavision HD (non-genesis)
4) Genesis (has anyone had to muscle this beast around with the XCS?)

Thanks in advance for your help. This forum is a great resource, thanks to all who participate.

Brooks Robinson

PS It would be great to hear from others who might have thoughts on what Anton Bauer batteries to fly with Greg Bubb's XCS sled.
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#8 Simon Jayes

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 11:12 AM

Dear Brooks,

I have had an Ultimate for a while now and love it!

I started out using one Trimpac and one Proformer, which is still a great combination for most cameras.

For the last year though, I have been using Dionics with great success.

But in answer to your question about batteries for specific cameras, here goes:

435: I use two Dionics and one Proformer (without which the Dionics will shut down). This works great and powers the camera for a long time.
PV: Two Dionics.
F-900: This is a problem - the XCS 12v supply is marginal for these cameras depending on the 'backs' and accessories being used. I found I had to use a Dionic on the back of the camera (which was fine) and batteries on the sled for powering the sled and all the 24v camera accessories, including the Preston. I choose to use the Timpac/Proformer configuration here, because I need the counterweight for the F-900.
Genesis: The XCS will not power this camera as the current draw exceeds the 12v supply. I have only flown this camera in its "split" configuration where a grip carries the deck on a backpack and I carried the camera (attached by two thin coax cables). The advantage of this approach is that the camera body itself is very light and the power requirement for the camera itself is less (but still more than the XCS can handle). I used 3 Dionics on the rig, with the camera plugged directly into one of the Dionics via the P-Tap connector - this meant that I had to have a thin cable run directly to the camera from the Dionic, past the gimble.....not ideal, but quite effective, it ran the camera for over an hour! In addition I had to have a 12" camera plate manufactured to be able to balance the camera as it is (depending on the lens) very front heavy.

Good luck. Email me if you have any more questions.
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#9 Jerry Holway

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 02:15 PM

I've just converted my "old" Ultra to PowerCubes with the IDX V-mount, so that I have the long run times associated with lithium ion batteries and the ability to have high current draws (10+ amps continuously, trips instantly at 24 amps)... essentially no worries. 2 in parallel will drive the Genesis and recorder for a full tape and have juice to spare; even one will drive it for a short time.

FYI, the cells in the PowerCubes are not the same cells as in the IDX Enduras or other manufactureres Lithium Ion batteries.

There's no danger of overdriving or screwing up the cells with high amp loads. IDX also had to design new boards and software to make it work, and the system went through a lot of testing before IDX was satisfied and would manufacture the batteries.

The batts use the same v-mount, pin outs, and chargers as regular IDX batteries, so they might make a great choice for any sled/power management situation, and regular (less expensive) Endura 10's can also be used if the amp loads are not high (most cameras), or one can use Endura 7's if one wants a lightweight running rig.

Jerry
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#10 paul magee

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 02:26 PM

[quote name='Jerry Holway' date='Nov 22 2006, 06:15 PM' post='21860']
I've just converted my "old" Ultra to PowerCubes with the IDX V-mount, so that I have the long run times associated with lithium ion batteries and the ability to have high current draws (10+ amps continuously, trips instantly at 24 amps)...

Hey Jerry,

Did you machine the mounts up yourself or is this a conversion kit that Tiffen is going to sell?

Paul Magee
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#11 Jerry Holway

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 02:37 PM

Paul-

Tiffen makes a kit and mount that is plug and play with the Ultra. It slides on the same battery rods.

It's the same rotating mount as used in the Ultra2, but lacks the downconverter and some of the electronic indicators, and there's no 12 volt option.

Never quite satisfied, I added a little digital fuel guage, as the on-screen guage is disabled. Future versions from Tiffn might re-enable that guage (I'm told it's possible) but not for now.

If you don't have an Ultra to convert, the IDX mounts are relatively cheap and available, easy to screw on to plates, etc.

Jerry

Jeez, I need spell check... sorry for the errors.
Jerry
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#12 John Morrison

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 07:15 PM

Guys,

Just come of a feature with a F900 with a converted Ultra (rental rig) Used the Power cubes for 6 days in the Jura mountains in France around -5 to +6 degree's every day. They performed very well but in to be honest not much different to the standard IDX batt's I also used on the Steadicam.

Another thing is they are very light, this is nice of course but i like a short post so I added a bit of wieght to the bottom of the sled.

I'll try to post a pic -

JohnAttached File  Sled.jpg   199.91KB   774 downloads
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#13 Jerry Holway

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 11:16 AM

Again, to clarify some stuff about the PowerCubes:

The watthours or the overall energy they have is about equal to the Endura 10's, so you won't have any more power or greater run times in most (below 5 amp draw or so) operating.

Where the PowerCubes differ from all other Lithium Ion batteries of any make is in the cells they use and in the electronics that control the cells. These differences make the batteries able to handle the large current draws of cameras like the 435ES and the Genesis.

IDX conservatively states the continuous discharge rate for the PowerCubes as 10 amps, but experience has show they will handle more than that. Other li-ions will not even remotely tolerate this kind of load.

(see thread on Genesis and PowerCubes)

The PowerCube's number of charge cycles is as least as good at the Endura 10's...

My "facts" are based on the published specs of the batteries, personal experience in the testing phase, and some "inside info" from talking directly to folks at IDX while in Japan recently.

Jerry
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#14 Charles Papert

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 01:34 PM

On my second Genesis gig, and spending the weekend running my Dionic 90's through the 24-hour test cycle as the assistants noted odd behavior with the gauges. Even though we are in two-piece mode (gee, only a 5-6 amp draw like that) I still wonder if my expensive battery investment is being marched to an early grave. Who knew that the digital "revolution" would draw more current than the film cameras. Incidentally, those hoping that the RED camera will be the ultimate panacea to all of our worries should know that the RED team is foreseeing at least a 3 amp draw from their camera.
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#15 Ron L Rathbone

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 08:22 PM

I am going to be buying Greg Bubb's XCS Ultimate sled. I have been using a Pro 1 the past 10 years and am only familiar with the Nicad batteries used for that. I don't have much experience with Anton Bauer batteries (which are what the XCS sled use). I'm wondering what people who are flying the XCS are using to power their rig and various cameras. I mostly use Panavision XL's and the newer Arri's (Arricam and 435's), but with the impending reality of HD, I need to be prepared for that as well.

I would like to keep this new system as simple and uncomplicated as possible. Is there any combination that will work with everything in your experience? What do you suggest? Thank you for your time.

Brooks Robinson


Hello Brooks,

Erwin pretty much hit it on the nail.

We recell a lot of trimpacks and proformers for clients using this set-up as well as others use full size bricks. We do have used trim packs and used logic propacs tha we recell for clients.

Ron L. Rathbone
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