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Forums » Digital Cameras on Gigapan » High Capacity Battery Hack for Canon PowerShot SX40 HS

 
High Capacity Battery Hack for Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
Mosley Hardy Mosley Hardy
Total Posts: 141

I was looking at replacing my Canon PowerShot G9 with a PowerShot SX40 HS. It looked like a great camera for gigapanning, but I was worried about battery life, based on Canon’s published specs (roughly 500 shots per battery) and several test reports. There are few things I hate worse than having to take the camera off the GigaPan robot to replace a battery or memory card in the middle of a panorama. It rarely ends well.

After a bit of research, I found that there’s an AC adapter for the SX40 that connects to the camera through a dummy battery pack. It’s rating is 7.4vDC/2.0A which is just about exactly what you get from six Sanyo Eneloops. I was a bit worried about over voltage, until I tested the stock battery pack and found that it puts out around 9vDC.

I had “hacked” the battery pack connector in my original silver EPIC to use a battery tray with a standard 9-volt battery-type snap connector, so I had all of the parts around to connect one of those battery trays to the dummy battery from the AC adapter.

I’m happy to report that it works like a champ.I expect that the eneloop packs will give me well over 1000 shots per tray, and I won’t have to take the camera off the robot to swap batteries – just snap on a new tray.

Total cost including the AC adapter set is about $60.

Before I forget: TRY THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK – IF YOU REVERSE THE POLARITY OF THE BATTERY YOU COULD FRY YOUR CAMERA.

Here are a couple of photos of the finished product. I’m still debating whether to mount a bracket or some velcro to secure the battery pack, but for now it sits just fine where it is in the photos.

http://thehardyfamily.net/filechute/IMG_0631lr.jpg
http://thehardyfamily.net/filechute/IMG_0632lr.jpg

EDIT – one additional benefit is that in cold weather you can attach an extension cable and keep the batteries in your pocket to keep them warm. My next project is to find a way to add a snap connector to one of the snap-in trays that come with the new EPIC and EPIC 100 while still being able to fill it with batteries. For long panoramas I want to be able to attach a second pack in parallel when the one in the imager starts to run down.

David Pivin David Pivin
Total Posts: 41

Mosley,

Consider a few things about actual power consumption during a GigaPan. Manufacturer estimates are based on normal shooting scenario. However, GigaPan shooting can be quite a bit better. Power consumption can be minimized and you can take far more pictures than the estimates would lead you to believe. Big power consumer is the display backlight. Either turn it off or minimize brightness and review time. The second big power user is autofocus. Normally it is not turned on, but it will save a lot if off. I took 1859 photos for a 12.5 gigapixel pan with a Canon T2i whose battery rating is around 400 shots. So don’t let the rating deter you when there is no AC around.

Dave

Mosley Hardy Mosley Hardy
Total Posts: 141

Thanks David. I’m not deterred – that’s the kind of life I get from the packs on my G9 so I obviously went ahead and bought the SX40.

This way I just have more power options for the camera, and it was a fun project to hack together.I’ve had camera batteries die in the field which cut short a couple of “GigaPan safaris” because I was on my last pack. I also may be able to get 3000 shots or so from a pack of AA batteries, which could come in handy for REALLY high shot-count panos.


Forums» Digital Cameras on Gigapan » High Capacity Battery Hack for Canon PowerShot SX40 HS