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#1 Hugo_Langer

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 07:52 AM

We have had an idea and we would like to hear what your thoughts are.

It is common practice for operators to pop the circuit breakers on their sleds to turn off everything (to disconnect the batteries from the other gear).

These circuit breakers can fail, like any piece of equipment, and there are examples where circuit breakers have failed in the past. The main problem is that they were not designed to be switches. They are an electrical overload protection device and have not been manufactured to be used frequently.

Operators do need a switch to isolate the battery from the rest of the equipment.
And they do need the protection of a circuit breaker.

We are thinking of installing switches on our battery hangers to remove the burden placed on the circuit breakers.

We have sourced a small switch that can be mounted on each of the three Anton Bauer battery plates.

These switches have a projected life expectancy of 100,000 operation cycles, which compared to the circuit breaker at 5,000 cycles (see below), is a much better option we think.

We can install the switches between the battery and the circuit breakers. The switches would be first in line and will fully isolate the battery from the rest of the rig ? there would no longer be any need to pop the circuit breakers.

We have already fitted these switches into the three battery plates on Rich Roepnack?s battery hanger at his request (see the photos below).

We have placed the switches in a position where they are accessible but are unlikely to be switched inadvertently and unlikely to catch or hit anything nearby.

The switches have a firm positive action when switched so you will be in no doubt about their position.

We have included a fail-safe switch hidden inside the battery plate for use in an emergency. If the primary switch on the plate was ever to fail, you only need to undo 4 screws, lift the battery plate, throw the second switch, and be back in business in minutes.

We are asking you, the operators, what your thoughts are before we start assembly of our next batch of battery hangers. Please let us know your thoughts.

Here are the photos, of Rich's battery hanger, where you can see the location of the three switches and you can also see the fail-safe switch under the plate in three of the photos.

Thanks in advance.


The top if the front battery plate.
Posted Image

The two rear battery plates with the switches visible
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The underneath of the AB battery plate showing the two switches fitted
Attached File  aFIMG_1467.jpg   67.1KB   78 downloads

A closeup of the fail safe switch
Attached File  aFIMG_1469.jpg   48.83KB   63 downloads

A battery plate flipped to show the two switches fitted
Attached File  aFIMG_1470.jpg   72.7KB   62 downloads
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#2 Bryan Fowler

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 08:30 AM

Hugo,

This is something that has concerned me from time to time. I have an EFP, and if a breaker went bad during a shoot, I would be out of luck. I think about this when I'm ON the shoot though.

The one thought I had would be using a protected switch, that would be hard to accidentally bump. I see that your switch is in an out of the way place, but still having that added protection would make my mind rest a tad easier.

I have seen switches like what you have that need to be pulled up before switching. I'm sure there are many other designs too.

Thanks for the update!
good luck!
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#3 Norbert von der Heidt

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 09:59 AM

Hi Hugo

Just my two cents. I've used gear tha employs a switch which has a spring loaded toggle and a tab on the switch body so that you must pull on the toggle to be able to move it, then let go on the other side of the tab. This prevents the switch from being bumped accidentally.

Cheers
Norbert

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#4 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 11:47 AM

I love the idea of a switch. I've had breakers go on all 3 of my PRO's. I was lucky enough to have spare breakers and was up and running 15 minutes later but it does suck to have one die on you. So the idea of a switch is super fantastic.

I'm not sure about the placment of the switches however. When I work with a new assistant I sometimes have to explain, "just push those three breakers in when you want power" but if I had to explain, "if you want power to the Preston, flip this switch but if you want camera power, and were using a 24v camera, use these 2 switches but if were using a 12 volt camera, et, et, et...) it's a bit complicated. I'd actually like it if the swtiches were just one switch and it was bright red and said, "POWER" in big letters. I guess I'd personally prefer them all in one spot.

As far as accidentally hitting a switch mid shot, I'm not really to worried about that. If something touches my sled hard enough to flip a switch mid shot, the shot is ruined anyway (unless I'm doing a rap video, lol). Also, siht happens. The boom gets in the shot, the mag jams, batteries die, assistants screw up the focus, et. If once ever ten thousand takes a switch gets bumped the world woln't end. Personally I don't think the swtiches need to be hidden.

As for the breakers.... the first picture you pasted makes it look like there are 3 breakers on the side? Or is that something else? I've never fully understood the whole breaker concept anyway. What am I protecting? My batteries? Or is there actually a risk of shorting out the camera? And if so, what would cause this, my 3 batteries suddenly getting pissed off and deciding to team up and send 36 volts up the post?

My 2 cents.

mm.



Oh, for some reason, everybody's pictures don't come up? I click on them and I get the pink "you do not have permission to access this page" message. I am logged in. When I try and click on the link and 'save as' it wants to save as a link to a web site, not a jpg. Am I the only one????????
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 12:31 PM

We have sourced a small switch that can be mounted on each of the three Anton Bauer battery plates.

These switches have a projected life expectancy of 100,000 operation cycles, which compared to the circuit breaker at 5,000 cycles (see below), is a much better option we think.



The only issue with those switches is their low current capacity. 3amps iirc and that won't play with HD cameras
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#6 Charles Papert

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 01:30 PM

I'd rather have the switches next to each other on the junction box and relocate the breakers to the individual battery plates (and use the switches with a cowling around them or similar type of protection).
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#7 TJ Williams

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 06:24 PM

right on Charles!!! have RIG old style bat mount and my own on the other sled both cases the
switches are well hidden where they cannot be snagged a surround with clear labeling of 12V 24V Ground Lift etc is essential for the newer asst.
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#8 Kenny Brown SOC

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 08:41 PM

right on Charles!!! have RIG old style bat mount and my own on the other sled both cases the
switches are well hidden where they cannot be snagged a surround with clear labeling of 12V 24V Ground Lift etc is essential for the newer asst.


Should be "missile launch" style. Lift the latch, switch it, close it.
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#9 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 10:29 PM

Should be "missile launch" style. Lift the latch, switch it, close it.



Why?
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#10 Hugo_Langer

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 07:01 AM

Hi everyone,

My name is Andrew and I do contract work for Steadyrig in Australia as an electrics technician.

If I may chime in here...

Eric, the switches we used were manufactured by C & K Components from Newton, MA. USA. We have spoken to the manufacturer in USA and also to two technicians here in Australia, we have confirmed that the printed specifications are accurate. The switches we installed have silver contacts and they are rated at 5 amps @ 28 volts DC and/or 10 amps @ 14 volts.

Please remember that these ratings only apply when the switch is thrown while under an electrical (current) load. We fully expect that you will have all the equipment turned off before throwing these switches, just as you would with the circuit breakers. The current carrying capacity of the switch is far higher than the switching load capacity. They will easily handle the job.

These switches are not being used to turn on/off the equipment (camera) they are merely completing the electrical path between the battery and the camera (no load). The camera retains the on/off switching function (under load).

If the equipment is turned off then there is no current flowing through our switch therefore there will be no wear and tear in the form of spark erosion on the switch contacts.

Charles, and others, as far as the location of the switches (battery hanger vs. lower junction box) we agree that the j-box is easier, however as these battery hangers are (mostly) being sold to existing rig owners we believe that this design avoids the need to modify the existing j-box.

Mike, you mentioned the three buttons shown on the lower junction box, these are on the right hand side (opposite to the circuit breakers). These three are linked to an LCD display on the lower junction box. When any of the three switches is pressed the LCD display unit shows the voltage remaining in that battery. This allows you to better manage your battery usage.

After your comment Mike, we are considering installing a single ?kill switch? on the Steadyrig lower junction box in future. We will be looking into the feasibility, but I?m sure it will be suitably protected, locked and coloured red (and maybe missile-launch protected) to minimize any accidental hit.

By the way, the circuit breakers are to protect your batteries (and you). A short-circuit on a Li-ion battery can cause it to ignite or explode. I?ve not seen it happen but the batteries can get very hot with a high discharge ? I wouldn?t want to put it to a test.

Thank you all, for your time and your well considered input. Please keep the feedback coming.

Regards,

Andrew Brélaz
for Hugo
Steadyrig.

PS. For those of you unable to view the images, it appears there is some problem with the forum ?General Discussion?.

?Try emptying your cache and reloading page? is the advice offered by Alec Jarnagin in the past http://www.steadicam...x...ost&p=38122
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#11 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 10:57 AM

"We fully expect that you will have all the equipment turned off before throwing these switches"


How do you switch off the PV XL or LW II.......?

:o
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#12 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 02:53 PM

First, the voltage remaining buttons sound kick ass cool.

Then, to clarify, the ?kill switch? doesn?t need to be just one (it can be all three) and it doesn?t need to be red to avoid hitting it, I want to be able to point at my rig from across the stage and tell the craft service girl to turn it on and have her be able to do it easily?.

As for the batteries, that?s just another reason the Hytron?s kick ass!!!! Hytron's FTW!

And yes, as Jens mentioned, there are several cameras with no on/off switch and many cameras (the 435 comes to mind) never get turned on or off, they are just plugged in or not plugged in.

I know we all look for different things but personally, I just want ease of use. I don?t care if it?s safe, or lasts forever; I just want a blind crack addict to be able to make it work.

My 2 cents.
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