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tiffen power cubes and the genesis


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#1 geoff shotz

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 12:29 AM

hey all- a while back i was saying that tiffen had not responded to my requests for a trial on the new power cube batteries. well, frank did indeed get back to me and he and kyle worked out a shorrt borrow on 3 of their new batteries. i gotta say, they are not much to look at. they're plain old idx looking things. really light and compact, not too fancy a meter, just plain. well guys, don't let the looks deceive you. the power output on these batteries is really impressive. for those of you who haven't been paying attention, the genesis is pulling around 12-13 amps continuous. it's a beast. i did a couple of tests with both one power cube and two power cubes. it wasn't the most scientific test around, but the power cubes beat the pants off any other batteries we tried. as it stood:

1x power cube = 45 minutes of run time on the genesis body, record deck, down converter

2x power cubes = 1hr 15min of run time on the genesis body, record deck, down converter and an astro h.d. monitor

these batteries were new and seemed to weigh almost exactly the same as the old idx's. i have no idea how many cycles they will be good for, but they far and away out performed any of the other chemistry's we tried. even panavision was impressed when i told them. my complements to frank, garrett and jerry, these batteries are a great step in the right direction. thanks for the test ride frank. let me know when i can test out an ultra 2. hee hee.

geoff
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#2 Jerry Holway

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 11:25 AM

these batteries were new and seemed to weigh almost exactly the same as the old idx's. i have no idea how many cycles they will be good for, but they far and away out performed any of the other chemistry's we tried. even panavision was impressed when i told them.
geoff
[/quote]

Yes, they weigh the same (750 grams / 1.65 pounds), and the number of charge cycles is at least as many as the Endura 10's and the like...

Panavision has been very interexted in them since the initial "secret" tests of them back in February on the feature "Empty City."

Jerry
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#3 PaulEdwards

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 12:39 PM

Jerry,

Would be interested to know how long the IDX Power Cubes take to charge and therefore the number of batteries and chargers you consider it sensible to have as a minimum setup. Do you know if tiffen have the Ultra conversion kits "on the shelf" ready to sell?

This new Li-Ion technology seems to be a good step forward. Anyone interested in more specific information might want to visit www.batteryuniversity.com

Best Regards,

Paul
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#4 Jerry Holway

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 02:39 PM

Jerry,

Would be interested to know how long the IDX Power Cubes take to charge and therefore the number of batteries and chargers you consider it sensible to have as a minimum setup. Do you know if tiffen have the Ultra conversion kits "on the shelf" ready to sell?

This new Li-Ion technology seems to be a good step forward. Anyone interested in more specific information might want to visit www.batteryuniversity.com

Best Regards,

Paul

Paul-
The conversion kits are on the shelf... that's how I bought mine.

I suggest always two chargers - the IDX VL 4-S is the one get get. I've gone through 1 and a half sets of 2 batteries in a day so far, but with a Genesis it would be more. For odd reasons, I have 9 batteries; six would do in most cases, eight for almost anything. Full charge from full discharge (and you generally don't fully discharge to 11 volts) takes 2.5 to 3 hours... but in 2 hours you have 80% charge, so it's hard to see how one might run dry with either 3 or 4 sets of batteries.

For special jobs far from electricity and w/out high amp loads, rent more endura 10's...

Jerry
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#5 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 08:24 PM

Paul-
For special jobs far from electricity and w/out high amp loads, rent more endura 10's...


Just a really quick comment on ordering Endura 10's. We ordered several sets of "Endura 10's" in August from our normal dealer because of course we needed them in two days. The dealer sent Endura 10s as in model 10s which is different than a model 10. It was an easy mistake to order some Endura 10's and get 10s. The dealer made it right but it was too late by then and we had to borrow from a friend that day. Model 10s does not stack back to back with the V-lock if you need that option.
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#6 RobinThwaites

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 05:01 AM

Jerry,

Would be interested to know how long the IDX Power Cubes take to charge and therefore the number of batteries and chargers you consider it sensible to have as a minimum setup. Do you know if tiffen have the Ultra conversion kits "on the shelf" ready to sell?

This new Li-Ion technology seems to be a good step forward. Anyone interested in more specific information might want to visit www.batteryuniversity.com

Best Regards,

Paul



Hi Paul
Give me a call.
Robin
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#7 MarkKaravite

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:11 PM

In hopes that Anton Bauer may jump on the Power Cube technology bandwagon, I contacted them to see if they had any plans to make a similar battery with Anton Bauer mounts, and compatible with AB chargers.

They have no plans to make a new high draw lithium battery, and pointed out their Dionic 160, which has a 10 amp draw limit, and shipping issues. The Dionic 160 must be labled as hazardous material, and shipped in an appropriate container. Even with the right case, I don't feel comfortable flying with batteries that any airline security person could refuse to put on my plane.

I'm sure many of you, like me, are invested in Anton Bauer for mounts and chargers. This makes switching to Power Cubes a costly proposal. I know adapters are available for mounts, but after spending $$ on a rock solid rig with no vibration, is that a good idea? One can buy 6 Dionic 90's for $2400. 6 Power Cubes, 2 IDX VL 4S chargers, and switching mounts will come in just south of $8000.

If Tiffen planning on at least making Power Cubes in Anton Bauer mounts, or will IDX batteries charge on current AB chargers? I'd love to take advantage of the new battery technology, but it's hard to justify the difference right now.

Will this situation change in the near future, or will we be stuck with the price tag to switch to Power Cubes?

Mark Karavite
A Camera / Steadicam Operator
mkaravite@comcast.net
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#8 Jerry Holway

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 09:19 AM

Mark-

On the manufacfturing side, I doubt if IDX (and therefore Tiffen) has any incentive to make the PowerCubes in AB mounts. They've just invested huge amounts of cash in a technology for a relatively small group of consumers and they need to promote their whole system. Hard to blame them for that.

From the individual consumer's POV, it's always the case that if one has invested lots of cash in one technology, it's hard to justify throwing that away for the next advance.

I, for one, resisted going with the Dionics in spite of several advantages because, in part, I had just heavily invested in my Ultra NiCad batteries. At that time I also faced, as you do now, the extra expense and time of conversion - throwing away a technology I had invested in. I was not happy with the Dionic high amp limitations, but I was really conflicted as the power density of the Dionics was really tempting.

The same dilemma exists every time a new idea is dragged out: is it worth selling (dumping) your "old" and perfectly good arm for the best arm on the planet, Focus system A for focus system B, sled for sled, etc. It's always a choice, and some of us jump on the bandwagon for certain things, others for others. And when we do, we shout the praises of our decisions, because we're happy that we have the new thing, damn the expense.

The great news is that people have more good choices all the time, and when your Dionics die off and you are faced with recelling or changing, you may have even more choices.

Jerry
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#9 Charles Papert

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 11:32 AM

Entirely unscientific info here, but after taking two days off from my current show, the assistants reported that the Hytrons that my fill-in pal used to power the Genesis (body only, deck and "toaster" powered separately) seemed to last less than half as long as the Dionics I use. Of course all this is dependent on the condition of the batteries, but I would have expected something like a 30% reduction in efficiency vs 50%+.

For those who feel that even the 5-6 amp draw of the Genesis camera head is "inappropriate" for the lithium chemistry, my Dionics are about 1.5 years old and have now clocked about 4 months near-daily use with that particular camera, and show no signs of giving up just yet.

Once the onboard flash drive comes along we'll have some new draw figures to work with that will certainly be higher than the camera alone but (hopefully!) nowhere near as bad as the camera/deck combo.

I think the Power Cubes are nifty but the switchover costs are definitely prohibitive as Mark indicated.
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#10 Jerry Holway

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 12:36 PM

I think the Power Cubes are nifty but the switchover costs are definitely prohibitive as Mark indicated.


I agree that it's hefty (prohibitive?), unless one is faced with any number of circumstances, including cameras that won't run (or run well) with one's current battery scheme, one is faced with a lot of re-celling because one's batteries are old, one can sell his "old" chargers and batteries, can take advantage of a tax break, chargers blew up, gear run over, etc. etc.

This is the same sort of situation we're all faced with with all other gear as it loses its usefulness compared to the newest toy on the block. Some ops still use Model II's and EFP's and other rigs and equipment that they bought new decades ago, because it doesn't make economic or operating sense to them to change. They can live (and even thrive) without.

Charles's comments on the Genesis-not-all-up and the Dionics and Hytrons are just the sort of facts we need to hear in this forum. And his and other's opinions are also valid.

My opinion: the price for the PowerCubes is fair - it represents the engineering effort and costs to get them to our small market ? something no other battery company was willing to tackle two years ago; it was either too expensive, impossible/improbable, not enough market or whatever, the fact is no one else took the risk or made the effort.

Now they are here, certainly a wonderful thing for those that are buying a new rig, (upgrading?) and as big an expense as it should be for those that feel (for whatever reasons) they they should retrofit their older rigs to this new technology. FYI, battery mounts for IDX can be had pretty cheaply to make your own conversions.

Jerry
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#11 Peter Milanov

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 01:58 PM

Jerry, how much is the conversion kit for the ultra? Could not find it on the Tiffen site.

Regarding pricing of the power cubes, is it relly that bad? You get six powercubes, one quad charger and one dual charger for $4975.
My 24V ultra batteries are $1095 a piece. So four of those and two chargers (one quad and one single) would be $6945.
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#12 Jerry Holway

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 05:44 PM

Jerry, how much is the conversion kit for the ultra? Could not find it on the Tiffen site.

Regarding pricing of the power cubes, is it relly that bad? You get six powercubes, one quad charger and one dual charger for $4975.
My 24V ultra batteries are $1095 a piece. So four of those and two chargers (one quad and one single) would be $6945.


I believe the 24 volt conversion bit for the Ultra is $1650; I'd email Frank Rush for a quote. I think you can also get a deal on 6 powercubes and 2 quad chargers... but I don't have a clue on the price.

And no, I don't think the price is bad at all by itself; but I agree with Mark and Charles that it is hard to switch if you've just invested a lot of $$ in some other system... For instance, while waiting for the PowerCubes to come out, I ended up recelling several of my Ultra NICad batteries, and I should probably recell one or two more (ugh!!) before I attempt to sell them and the chargers off.

To "fairly" compare the two battery choices you mention above: The four 28.8 Volt Ultra NiCad batteries are 55Whr batts, so you have 210 Watt hours total. They fully charge in 40-45 minutes, one at a time per charger, and they don't mind heavy loads.

The 6 powercubes have just under 600 watthours total, and they charge in 2.6 hours... or 1.5 hours to 80% (which is 80 Watt hours per battery) on simultaneous chargers.

You are going to switch out pairs of PowerCubes much less often than you'd switch out the Nicads, and have more effective charging than with the NiCads, and have no worries about heavy power draws. You can also get/rent/borrow Endura 10's and 7's (the latter for a light weight running rig), extra chargers, etc. fairly easily.

Jerry
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#13 Charles Papert

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 02:23 AM

Good catch Jerry, I probably shouldn't have used "prohibitive".

I know that for a lot of guys who expected the Anton Bauer Gold mount to be, well, the gold standard for years to come and have thus multiple devices that sport this mount (sled of course, but also gyros, handheld monitors, receivers, who knows what else), it's a tough notion to move to the V-mount. I think that if I were to be starting from scratch I would be very possibly swayed that direction now, the stackable battery thing is pretty darn cool and the Power Cubes are, as I said, nifty.

I totally jinxed myself by posting that my Dionics are perfectly happy, because today they starting acting erratically. And my cell phone was stolen off the camera truck on the Universal lot. Perhaps Mercury is in retrograde or whatever they call it...
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#14 Jerry Holway

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 10:51 AM

I totally jinxed myself by posting that my Dionics are perfectly happy, because today they starting acting erratically. And my cell phone was stolen off the camera truck on the Universal lot. Perhaps Mercury is in retrograde or whatever they call it...

Full moon on the 5th. Dynamic balance is either impossible or automatic with a full moon, I forget which.
(also a product of the full moon).
Jerry
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