Thread: NEW FW feature request - Battery Voltage

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  1. #1 NEW FW feature request - Battery Voltage 
    Senior Member Peter Majtan's Avatar
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    I think all of us are facing this more then we care to admit - cameras shutting down when battery gets depleted. Even when using RED's bricks - the battery data is not always passed to the camera. And to complicate things even further - some batteries even from the best manufacturers (like IDX) have their own internal protection functions which shut off the battery when the voltage gets too low - giving the camera no chance to "react" at all. And the low voltage level depends on the battery chemistry, capacity, model, etc... - in another words this is not a constant number...

    The solution is rather simple. The cameras can already read the voltage from any battery. It would be great if in the "power" section of the UI menu we could setup two custom voltage levels - one to give the low voltage warning (voltage displayed in orange color on the UI) and one to auto-shutdown the camera after the 10-sec warning (that we sometimes get with the RED BRICKs).

    So let's say I know my battery shuts down when it hits 11.2V. And I know (based on my testing) that 5 min before the voltage was 11.6V. So I would set the "warning" voltage in the menu to 11.6 and when the camera detects the battery voltage to drop to this level - it will display the voltage in the UI in the orange "warning" color". Now I know I have about 5 min left and can get spare battery ready. And I would set the "shut-down" voltage to 11.3 (to make sure that the camera shuts down before the battery does). That way if I "push my luck" during an important take - the camera will stop recording (saving the clip) and shut itself down before it is too late...

    Some manufacturers (like IDX) provide the "protection" voltage info for each battery. But even if that is not available - we can simply test this on our own and work out the proper levels. This would be a life-saver in so many circumstances and protect our cameras from forced shutdowns - that we know are not good for any sensitive electronic devices...

    Taking this even further - if that would not present too much unnecessary headache - it would be fantastic to have the option to save various presets (memories) for various batteries - and even share the info here on the forum, so others don't have to work this out the "hard way"...

    What do you guys (and gals) think?

    Peter
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Nils Ruinet's Avatar
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    Yes !!!
    Please please please Red, consider adding this feature soon !
    This has been asked multiple times in different threads but as far as I know there has never been an answer from anyone from Red on this topic...
    As you said, the camera is already able to read the voltage of any battery or external power source. It can't be too difficult to add a user configurable voltage where you get a "low battery" alert, and a voltage where the camera stops recording to avoid corrupted files and then shuts off by itself before it's too late.
    You can't just hide behind the fact that everyone should buy Red batteries. There are many good reasons to use other brands (form factor, capacity, integrated power outs, price, existing batteries you already own, rental gear where you don't get to choose the battery brand, etc..), and there are many situations where you just don't have a choice. Gimbals, steadicams, external power sources,...

    This is an important feature. I often work with directors who like to do very long takes, especially when working on documentaries or live events. Some of these, for workflow and cost reasons need to be shot in Prores only. The new UDF formatting is a big step forward as it avoids the 4GB file fragmentation, but this also means that if the camera shuts off while recording because of a dead battery, you get a corrupted file 100 % of the time. I already spent 100 € on a recovery program to recover the files in case that ever happens, but you'll agree that this can't be the right answer to this issue.

    So, I'm not being negative here, I'm just trying to understand why nobody at Red has ever adressed this issue. Could we at least get an official answer to tell us if this is on your roadmap ? I can't think of any downsides to adding this as an optional feature...
    An onscreen message similar to the 30s countdown you get when using Red batteries would be perfect. Not just changing the voltage color because you might no always notice it in time (for instance I often use the "autohide menus" feature to get a full screen image on the touch lcd.

    Thanks ! :)
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Tommaso Alvisi's Avatar
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    Peter, hope you're well! ;)

    BTW I tried without success...

    http://reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?148363
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member Michael Lindsay's Avatar
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    +1 for customised voltage shut down levels
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Bérenger Brillante's Avatar
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    +1.
    and to motivate the firmware team, it is already on the Alexa.

    I'm using several brands so it's not always the same voltage, but still. I don't always have an AC to check on battery level, and I'm not always behind the camera. For one man job, it is really important.
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  6. #6  
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    For Battery percentage to be shown on the camera, SMBUS controller from the battery must report that to camera. No camera can guess the percentage of power left in battery.

    3 things have to happen to get the Battery percentage on the Camera

    1. Battery needs to have SMBUS controller. Most Chinese batteries do not use this feature as it is completely optional for any battery system.
    2. Battery plate must pass through SMBUS information to the cable. If you open your battery plate and see only 4 wires connected to power terminals, it will not work. Red uses 4+2 pin lemo connector for power. 2 small pins inside connector are for passing battery information and other 4 larger pins are for passing power.

    3. Compatible power cable from battery plate to camera. It must be wired correctly to all 6 pins and not just 4 pins for power.


    Hope this information helps !!
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Peter Majtan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jess Gill View Post
    For Battery percentage to be shown on the camera, SMBUS controller from the battery must report that to camera. No camera can guess the percentage of power left in battery.

    3 things have to happen to get the Battery percentage on the Camera

    1. Battery needs to have SMBUS controller. Most Chinese batteries do not use this feature as it is completely optional for any battery system.
    2. Battery plate must pass through SMBUS information to the cable. If you open your battery plate and see only 4 wires connected to power terminals, it will not work. Red uses 4+2 pin lemo connector for power. 2 small pins inside connector are for passing battery information and other 4 larger pins are for passing power.

    3. Compatible power cable from battery plate to camera. It must be wired correctly to all 6 pins and not just 4 pins for power.


    Hope this information helps !!
    Jess - with all due respect - none of that is necessary. ALL the camera modules that provide power to the system have complex circuity that accurately measures the actual remaining voltage in the battery. This is why instead of the percentage / remaining time - you only get to see the voltage when using batteries that do not communicate to the camera. And THIS is what we are talking about. User-inputed custom voltages should not be difficult to implement and the benefits are major and far-reaching. And as you can see - apparently this has been asked for over and over, so I am not the only one thinking this is important... ;o)

    P
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Peter Majtan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommaso Alvisi View Post
    Peter, hope you're well! ;)

    BTW I tried without success...

    http://reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?148363

    All good here bud, just extremely busy... ;o)
    I am glad to see I am not the only one thinking along these lines. Let's keep asking - they do listen. Hopefully at some point we will reach the saturation level and this will be implemented...

    Peter
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Patrick Tresch's Avatar
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    +1 Pat
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