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Charging batteries in the African bush


Csacwp
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You might take a look at the Goal Zero portable power products. They make many sizes to meet power requirements and are very flexible with power outputs and multiple charging options.

 

http://www.goalzero.com

 

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When I know things will get a bit tight, power-wise, I usually just bring this

 

 

It usually lasts me about 100,000,000 activations, give or take a few.

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You might take a look at the Goal Zero portable power products. They make many sizes to meet power requirements and are very flexible with power outputs and multiple charging options.

 

http://www.goalzero.com

 

Goal-Zero.jpg

 

So will the 12v be powerful enough to charge the batteries in a reasonable time?  Somebody else posted here and said that 12v from a car would take all day to charge a battery.

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So will the 12v be powerful enough to charge the batteries in a reasonable time?  Somebody else posted here and said that 12v from a car would take all day to charge a battery.

I did, and I think that was a specific case to do with the vehicle and the socket - car cigar lighter plugs are designed for low currents - it's just a small metal point-contact. A good electrical connection shouldn't have that problem.

Edited by LocalHero1953
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So will the 12v be powerful enough to charge the batteries in a reasonable time?  Somebody else posted here and said that 12v from a car would take all day to charge a battery.

 

I think you will find that charging time may vary from car to car. I use a Nitecore USB charger for my M9 batteries in my Nissan Xterra and it will charge a battery in about an hour. Unfortunately Nitecore has not produced a USB charger for the M10 yet but has hinted that one may be coming.

 

I don’t have any association with Goal Zero products and I’m not an engineer, so take this for what it’s worth. To answer your question, any unit from the Sherpa 100 on up will charge a Leica camera battery as fast as an AC outlet if you use the 12V output or the add-on 110V inverter into your Leica charger. The real question is “how many times” it will charge you camera battery before the unit itself needs to be recharged. I would suggest a call to Goal Zero’s customer service to discuss your size requirements. 

 

NOTE: And this is important. You can’t take the larger Yeti units on an airplane. FAA regulations limit battery sizes to 100Wh. The Sherpa 50 and 100 are good to go on airplanes. 

 

That said the thing I like about Goal Zero units is the flexibility, both on their output (110V, 12V and USB) and with recharging the unit (solar, 110V/220V, and 12V car plug). I’ve used the Yeti 400 units on multi-day shoots but never with solar recharging so I can’t really comment on that. My typical scenario is recharging batteries for a couple cameras, sometimes strobe batteries and cell phones and iPads for the entire crew. I’ve never had to go more that a couple days without access to 110V power to recharge the unit so the smaller unit fulfilled my needs. 

 

My #1 Tip: take more than one charger! This speeds up your charging time and provides a backup if one charger goes down.

 

Best of luck on your adventure. Let us know how everything worked out. jc

 

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Thanks for the advice. I think what I’ll do is but an extra pair of chargers for the M10 and SL, buy two more batteries for each camera (total of 4 per camera). Then I’ll get the largest portable battery from Goal Zero that I can fly with. Film is not an option... my clients don’t want it, and even if I could develop it easily in the field, I have no way of scanning it.

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If the cigarette plug in the car is limited power wise the a cable like this connected directly to the battery can do the job. Combined with the distributor above you should be able to charge almost 24/7

 

https://www.conrad.com/ce/en/product/857900/Adapter-cable-with-battery-terminals-Max-load-capacity10-A-Compatible-with-details-Cigarette?ref=list

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How would users here recommend charging batteries on a multiweek assignment to remote parts of sub-saharan Africa? 

Really?

Who are you on assignment for that has such a request?

The photographers I know who have done such work for the types of publications one generally pictures for this type of thing - (also, it should be noted, who very rarely dole out multi week assignments anymore - it's usually multi-day now) are generally working with a client that will help arrange such logistical support with fixers, producers etc, and will sure as heck not be using an M10...at least as a primary tool. This is a curious question. 

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How would users here recommend charging batteries on a multiweek assignment to remote parts of sub-saharan Africa? Are there any solar powered chargers that work with Leica M10 batteries?

A multi week (or multi day) assignment anywhere definitely requires preparation and back up etc. I have done many, from planning to coordination of all aspects with the team and client, to scouting, to final selects etc. Film and digital. There are a number of things you could do regarding batteries and power, but unless I've missed it in the posts, I would strongly suggest more than one camera. I hope you have sufficient back up bodies and lenses, even if they are not all Leicas.

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The one rule to live by on a job like this with a finite time limit on client budget is don't rely on anyone to make anything happen for you.

 

If something is important you need to take it with you.

 

Don't expect your driver in a remote location like sub africa to have a working cigarette lighter plug. Even if they tell you it is. Things go wrong, things stop working, situations change, language barriers don't help.

Edited by Paul J
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wondering about the nature of your assignment and your customer is one thing.

 

and then there should be some planning done:

 

an M6 with E6-films is not an option as the client doesnt want it (why?). but you would have to carry E6-Material if it was. each good for like 36 takes. you can easily carry a sparebattery in the same space where a 36-roll of E6-film can be carrie3d. this extra battery gives you about 300 shots till it fades. put your screen of and make it 500.

 

how many shots do you need on your journey? consider that our ancestors used to be stuck with rolls of 36 shots each and were able to proceed quite similar jobs to the one you are planning to do.

 

maybe you just get 10 extra batteries and you're done. you can easily resell them afte coming home.

 

any option of solar charger or 12V-plug in some ranmdom jeep (if it works at all) will leave you with a battery that is damaged by only halfcharging anyway. just because sun may set before your battery is completely charged or your jeep might run out of gas or have to be termined for noise reasons. so you would have to bring some extra batteries with you anyway. just double the amount and be aware of your shutterstrikes.

 

that should do.

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