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Dionic Report


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#1 WillArnot

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 08:43 PM

Since Jim McConkey hasnt given us his first hand account I thought I would pass on his AC's opinion. I replaced Jim on set today since he was laid up last night in the hospital with severe food poisoning.

His AC told me how amazed he was with Jim's new Dionic set up on his PRO II sled. They are running a Panavision Millenium XL, w/ two Preston motors, and the panatape. It is only the 2nd week of the movie but after 3 full days of steadicam last week and a total of 11 400ft mags ... They still haven't changed the batteries even once on the job !!!!!!!!!!

Holy cow I say. If this is the case, who cares if they take 4 hrs to charge, or whatever they take. Crikey, you've got a whole week to charge 'em if you like.

If that's what 3 are like on the PRO, I expect 2 will have similar results on Greg Bubb's Ultimate Sled with it's phenomenal battery management system. They are just about the same size/profile and weight as the Hytron 50's.

Pricey as hell, but with that kind of performance, could this be our answer? How many cycles will be the clincher maybe.

Jim was so ill he couldn't talk yesterday. I will try to get the true first-hand from him later this week.
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 05:41 AM

after 3 full days of steadicam last week and a total of 11 400ft mags ... They still haven't changed the batteries even once on the job !!!!!!!!!!

I believe that, Tonight in 40F weather we got 8 full mags out of a set of Hytron 50's that are 3 years old.

I just wish you could charge the Dionics with some other charger then the AB stuff.
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#3 Dave Bittner

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 10:41 AM

I'm a big fan of the Dionics, and have three of them. For everyday video work (using a new nifty Panasonic DSX-900 24p cam) they charge faster than you can drain them on the camera, so I don't ever need to pull the third batt off the charger. Did a shoot last week flying a JVC D9 cam (a beast, as far as video cams go) and having the lighter weight of the Dionic was very nice. Used a single battery to run the sled and the camera.
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#4 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 10:00 PM

I just have to say, I love my Dionics. But I don't use them on the film jobs.

I bought my Dionics for the HD and other video jobs I occasionally get.

Personally, I don't see a need to use the Dionics on film jobs, because with 400 feet of film and takes that are rarely over 300 feet long anyway, you have the ability to change batteries between film reloads when necessary.

The Dionics are housed in the exact same housing as the Hytron 50's, except they are a slightly different color.
And they are lighter than the Hytron 50's. Which weigh about 1.88 pounds.
The Dionics weigh 1.7 pounds.

I was told by Anton Bauer you can expect about 300 cycles with the Dionics.

They take about 2 hrs. 45 minutes to charge up when dead, but last longer than that in most circumstances (again unless you are powering a HD or other video camera extensively), so you can get by with only a few of them. The Dionic would run the TB-6 for a couple days on heavy days, 3-4 on light Steadicam days.

But considering I can buy 3 Proformers for the price of 1 Dionic and the Proformers charge up in about 45 minutes, I still use the Proformer (1.87 pounds)as my primary batteries on my PRO 2
However, now that AB is no longer making the Proformer, I'm quite positive the Dionics WILL be the battery of choice in the future.
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#5 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 11:16 AM

Michael, when using the Proformers on the PRO 2 sled how do you deal with the lack of a battery strength/charge meter?
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#6 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 01:03 PM

Well, nowadays, nearly EVERY camera has a built in meter, so from time to time, I just check it.

Also, since the Modulus 3000 is powered by the same battery that powers the camera, I can look at the little green light and if it starts to go yellow, I'll change the battery.

With my TB-6, it's a bit tougher. The low battery light begins to blink and the monitor shuts down about 10 seconds later. So, unless they are really short, mindless type shots, where if the monitor goes down mid shot it's no biggie, I just change that battery based on the, "well it's been up for several hours now, let's change it" approach.

It's never been a problem really. If the camera doesn't have a meter, and you can't see the green light on the Modulus in full sun, you could also just buy a voltage meter and between mag changes, take the 3 seconds to check the battery.
I've considered that too, but haven't had a camera up that doesn't have a voltage meter or low battery light on it, so I really haven't needed it.

And so you know, the Proformers don't fit in the "old" PRO 2 battery cage.
When I bought my PRO 2, I didn't want to have to use Hytron 50's because of the 435 issues, and the fact they cost twice the price of Proformers.

So, I sat down with Marcel and talked to him about redesigning the battery cage every SO SLIGHTLY to accomodate the Proformer. This mean lowering the adapter plate by about 1/4 of an inch under the post. And, redesigning the recorder mount with a slightly more curved plate.

Marcel agreed and since they only had like two more PRO 2 battery cages left, with George's approval, they had their machinist redesign the battery cage.
When they finished, Marcel called me in, and I got the first one. I therefore, jokingly referred to my sled as the PRO 2.5 serial #1 :)

All other new PRO 2 sleds from that point on were sold with this redesign, and, the new plates are available for current PRO 2 owners to switch over.
You can imagine GPI's response to Anton Bauer then cancelling the Proformer battery. :angry:

I own enough Proformers now to get me another 4 to 5 years before I need any new batteries. And with my couple Dionics too, by the time I need replacement, HOPEFULLY they have lowered in price.

If you are considering going Proformers, get them NOW...there's not many left to be found. They have a shelf life of MANY years, and have a 3 year warranty from A/B
Most people using Proformers have found they last about 2.5 to 3 years when in use.

Sorry reply was so long.
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#7 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 03:49 PM

Thanks for the reply. My modulus powers off the monitor battery on the PRO 2 sled, not the camera battery so that wouldn't be of much help. I have 4 of the Proformers and never had trouble fitting them on the sled. Is it the front mount under the post that's problematical? I only have used them for 435 work on the 2 plates in the back. It always seems like a hassle to scroll throught the many menus on the 435 to get to the battery meter that I never use it.
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#8 Brad Hruboska

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 05:32 PM

A Cautionary tale regarding the warranty on AB batteries. Anton Bauer does not consider steadicams/ pros/glidecams etc to be legitimate use of their product. I have had near screaming discussions with my AB dealer in Toronto, when some of my Proformer Batts failed. AB does not advocate the use of their product for high draw applications...period, so you are not realy covered by warrenty, my attempts to get replacements were denied. If they run their little computer anaylsis and decide that the battery was mistreated, they disallow the warrenty.
If anyone has different results I have two dead batts on my shelf I'll gladly send you for replacement. :(
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#9 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 08:06 AM

Brad,

How are you?

Contact Anton Bauer directly. Specifically, Paul Dudeck or John Limauro at 800-422-3473. Tell them you are a part of the Steadicam community and that Brant Fagan and myself gave you their names because we thought they could help you. They more than likely will.

Good luck.
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#10 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 12:16 PM

Thanks for the reply. My modulus powers off the monitor battery on the PRO 2 sled, not the camera battery so that wouldn't be of much help. I have 4 of the Proformers and never had trouble fitting them on the sled. Is it the front mount under the post that's problematical? I only have used them for 435 work on the 2 plates in the back. It always seems like a hassle to scroll throught the many menus on the 435 to get to the battery meter that I never use it.

Larry,

Yes, come to think of it, you are right, the modulus does run off the monitor battery, I was thinking of the follow focus.

If you run Proformers in the back two positions with the non-updated (post March 2003) PRO 2 you are fine, as long as you don't have on the recorder mount.

Up front, under the post, the Proformer will severly rub against the rails without the upgrade.

As for the 435, you don't need to scroll through ANY menus to find the battery meter. All you have to do it push the "phase" button and the volts are displayed instantly. Same with a 535 and if I remember correctly, the new Arricams as well.


And about the warranties, well I don't advocate lying because I just don't like liars, but an HD camera draws more current than any film camera, so A/B can't really use that as an excuse. I haven't told any A/B rep. that I do Steadicam. If I had a battery fail, I'd just tell them, "I was doing this HD shoot and...."

They're anaylsis surely isn't going to tell them..."yep this battery was put to use on a steadicam, void the warranty."

What are they going to do, send out an investigator for a $150 battery failure? What they don't know, won't hurt them in these cases.
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#11 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 09 April 2004 - 11:49 AM

Michael, thanks again for the tip on the phase button. The only time I use the Proformers is whe I fly a 435 or HD camera. As the front AB mount is never used to supply power to the camera I always flya Hytron there so the Proformer clearance, Clarence, has never been am issue for me.

I have found the Anton Bauer customer service to be somewhat strange. I had to replace my Hytrons and bought all new Hytrons a year ago and on 1 they sent me the battery meter arrived DOA. I sent it back and they had to repair it which took almost a month. Why not just send me a new battery? I also got a mixture of the old and new style battery meters The new style seems very confusing for the AC's.
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#12 Jon Herron

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Posted 09 April 2004 - 07:43 PM

I've been using proformers on my PRO II recently and made a simple voltage meter to monitor them with cameras that have no voltage readout. It also makes it possible to monitor each battery individually. I used a QM-100V from Martel meters (www.martelmeters.com) and a powertap from Anton Bauer. The meter is a simple two-wire model that velcros easily to the side of the battery cage after cutting off the threaded stud that is attached to its rear. The powertap is an easy solder job and it plugs into the two pin outlet on the QR plate. Marcel at GPI endorsed this idea. Total cost for the contraption is about fifty bucks.
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#13 WillArnot

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Posted 10 April 2004 - 12:13 PM

Hey John,
How are you? Nice to read you here.

I just bought Erwin's last PRO Lite as my back-up/running rig so I'm definately in the market for those volt readouts. Checked out your link to Martel Meters, great site! But which meter in particular would you recommend using? There are so many.

Sounds like a nice simple solution and wiring job. Kinda like when I told you about wiring in the Proformers to our Master sleds, to overcome the 435 for that Amtrak commercial I passed to you way back when...

This seems alot simpler tho, going straight into the tap socket on the QR plate... cool. And OK'd by Marcel.

Thanks for the good info John! And take care of my Lambda head, it's on your truck now.

All the best, see you soon.

Will
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#14 Mitch Gross

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Posted 10 April 2004 - 03:53 PM

There's a terrific little automotive LCD battery meter that can easily be retrofitted as a sled battery meter. Green-self-illuminated LCD readout and it auto-calibrates for 12v or 24v, up to (I think) 28v. Don't know the original manufacturer (made in China), but Bescor repackages them and sells them for $20 (available at B&H). They come standard with a cigarette lighter plug but I've retrofitted on with a 4-pin XLR and they could easily be converted to 2-pin A/B PowerTap. DuAll Camera in NYC (yuck) puts them inline on a 4-pin XLR battery cable alothough they don't do enough in the way of strain relief. Make one with a PowerTap and you'll have a very snazzy little battery display. Not an ICBM, but nice.
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#15 charlesneufeld

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Posted 10 April 2004 - 05:06 PM

Hey Mitch,

Is this the item you are refering to?
http://www.bhphotovi...u=150241&is=REG

With a quick mod it could be very useful... thanks for the heads up!

:)
Charles
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