When Milan-based engineer and photographer Andrea Biffi needed a constant source of power for his Canon 40D in order to shoot time-lapse photos over many hours, he decided to save some money by going the DIY route. Biffi turned a defunct lithium DSLR battery into a power supply unit that can be used with everything from a wall outlet to a car battery.
You can do the same thing at home, but you’ll need a bit of engineering know-how to accomplish the hack.
Solar chargers have been around for a while, but not a lot of them can handle the power needs of an SLR battery, and none that we know of can charge virtually any camera battery — until now that is. The Freeloader Pro and included CamCaddy can do both. Read more…
Lamp powered by 300 live apples, 2012
Portland, Maine-based photographer Caleb Charland (whom we featured before) has a fascinating new series of science-based photos that show various alternative batteries created using things like apple trees and stacked coins. The photo above shows an experiment in which he powered a lamp using 300 apples in a Newburgh, Maine-orchard.
He spent 11 hours sticking zinc-coated galvanized nails and bare copper wires into the apples in order to generate current using the fruit. Every 10 apples provide about 5 volts. The lamp was successfully lit by the apple power, but was so dim that the photograph required a 4 hour exposure!
What if the battery in your camera could be charged in the same amount of time it takes to microwave a cup of instant noodles? It sounds crazy, but that’s what appears to be headed our way.
Researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea have figured out a way to drastically cut down the time it takes to recharge a lithium-ion battery — the same kind found in most digital cameras.
If you have a Canon compact camera running the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) firmware, you can create a simple shutter release cable using some cheap components. The firmware causes the camera to snap a photograph anytime 5V is sent down a USB cable connected to the camera. You can do this using a USB cable (e.g. the one that comes with your camera), 5V battery, simple push button, and some kind of housing (a metal candy tin, for example). Oh, and you’ll need to be comfortable cutting up and soldering wires. Luo Bo Te over at kisstheasphalt has written up a tutorial on how to put everything together.
DIY Shutter Release Cable For Canon Cameras with CHDK (via Hack a Day)
If you’re a Nikon D7000, D800, D800E, or V1 owner listen up, because Nikon has issued a voluntary recall on the rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL15 battery that’s used to power those cameras. Nikon discovered an overheating issue that can deform the outside casing of the cameras (at this point there have been only 7 confirmed cases worldwide) and is offering anybody with a battery whose 9th serial number digit is either “E” or “F” a free replacement. More details on both the problem and how to get your replacement can be found in Nikon’s service advisory.
EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery Service Advisory [Nikon]
Have you ever wondered why newer Canon DSLR battery covers have a small rectangular hole punched into them? It’s more than just for style:
Take a look at the cover. Does it have a small cut-out a few millimetres in from one edge? This is not just decoration. It is designed so that you can tell at a glance which of your batteries are fully charged and which are not. The batteries that come with this cover have a blue stripe down one side of the back. When you remove a charged battery from the charger, you can attach the cover so that the blue is visible. When you remove a discharged battery from the camera, you can attach the cover so that the blue patch is not showing.
It’s a simple and useful tip that those of you who don’t read instruction manuals may have never learned.
(via Canon Professional Network)
USBCELL batteries might look like ordinary AA rechargeable batteries upon first glance. That is, until you see how they’re charged. Rather than use a battery charger, the batteries are charged using the standard USB ports on your computer or laptop. They could come in handy on trips where you need power for your camera or flash, but want to avoid the hassle of a separate battery charger.
USBCELL AA Rechargable Battery [Amazon]
If you find yourself carrying around loose batteries all the time, here’s an organization tip: store batteries in ammo boxes.
Michael Page discovered this clever “hack” recently, and posted the advice to DIYPhotography’s Flickr group:
The “big bore” rifle cartridge box is the perfect size for storing and carrying AA batteries, and “small rifle” is exactly right for AAA.
An easy way to keep track of which batteries are depleted and which are fully charged is to simply flip the empty ones upside-down in the box.
Image credit: DSCF1005 by mikepageky and used with permission