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Risk of cheap V-Lock/Gold Mount battery plate?


James Malamatinas
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I've just been made aware of cheap V-lock and Anton Baur battery plates on ebay e.g.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Battery-Back-Pack-Plate-Adapter-For-Sony-V-shoe-V-Mount-V-Lock-Battery-BY-/142201411706?hash=item211bdd587a:g:QMcAAOSwA3dYRMTU

​These are incredibly cheap compared to models available on more professional websites e.g. CVP:

http://cvp.com/index.php?t=product/hawk-woods_vl-ca9e

If I'm looking simply to power focus monitors and Teradek receivers is there an issue with the cheaper models apart from the likely inferior build quality (I would get a spare at that price!)? My only concern stopping from ordering right away is that a poor design might in some way increase the risk of damaging a £1500 monitor, or almost as expensive Teradek receiver?

Also, am I correct to think that the D-Taps on these are unregulated and would just pass through the current based on whatever battery was mounted so I'd need to be careful not to connect a 12v device if it was configured for a 24v battery?

 




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Cheap V-mount plates are usually awful, either too stiff or too loose a mount and connection problems are guaranteed after heavy use. Not worth even their low price unless you find a very good IDX knockoff made to a tight enough tolerance with quality connectors. The most reliable plates are made by IDX.

 

Gold Mounts are more sturdy and reliable to begin with, and a better system overall. I wonder why anyone would prefer V-lock as it's inferior in every way. Chinese plates are less awful with Gold Mount but I'd rather buy a used Anton Bauer one.

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I've bought a whole bunch of V-lock and gold mount plates from China on ebay over the years, and for the most part they have been great. The only issue I do remember was that on one particular type of v-lock plate the IDX batts we had wouldn't lock onto it properly - they were getting caught on something at the bottom of the plate. Some were fine though. As Michael said the gold mounts are usually a more robust design. Also the D-tap connectors on most of the plates don't have the little tab on them that prevents you from jamming it the wrong way, so you just have to be careful when plugging in that the polarity is right. They are not regulated, but if that's a concern 12V regulators are very cheap and pretty easy to solder in (though you woudln't want to do this with a 24V supply). I've rigged them up all kinds of ways, usually with a D-tap splitter box (again, sourced from ebay) to power multiple devices - tv logics, teradek receivers, colr boxes, etc. Been using them for years on long and grueling jobs and never had any damage caused to any device. Just be careful you're plugging in your D-taps the right way round.

Edited by David Doherty
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I've had a few - in fact I'm building a plate for a rig right now - and not had too many problems. I have had issues with V-mounts on certain branded plates, so as everyone's been saying, it's not a spectacularly wonderful system. In general the cheap ones have been surprisingly OK, though I wouldn't put a £10 plate on a £10k camera.

 

P

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Sony V mount is fine.. in Europe, and the rest of the world for that matter..they are the majority .. Bauer is only is the US really.... Ive only ever had V mount on my cameras,monitors.. and now lights too.. but I would just never buy a cheap one.. mount or battery..

 

The few times Ive used Bauer gold mount.. I found the battery moved around quite a bit.. although maybe that is improved in newer designs ..

Edited by Robin R Probyn
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here it is quite hard to find rental equipment which is not using v-mount... it is handy if you can use your own batteries as an extra and don't need to rent as many from the rental house, and also can find spare ones from other rental houses very quickly if you need a ton of them.

 

using something other would be like purchasing lots of BNCR mount lenses for using with rental cameras when majority of cameras used are PL mounted: not practical, even if the other mount has some benefits over the other ;)

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Thanks for the replies. I think Michael is going to be right about the build quality but given the huge price differance (10x) I've gone ahead and got one V-mount and one gold mount.

​At £10 they fairly easily replaceable and can be truly handy when you need portable power solutions - almost every shoot I seem to end up having to power at least one monitor or Teradek receiver from a handheld battery in a hung pouch!

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Out of interest.. how did they short.. the pins are concealed till the battery is engaged from above by guides .. then they slot into separate holes in the battery... famous last words I know :) .. but by design would seem impossible ,apart from human error or broken mount... I have never ever heard of any V mount shorting.. in over 20 years of using them.. let alone a few times..

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Out of interest.. how did they short.. the pins are concealed till the battery is engaged from above by guides .. then they slot into separate holes in the battery... famous last words I know :) .. but by design would seem impossible ,apart from human error or broken mount... I have never ever heard of any V mount shorting.. in over 20 years of using them.. let alone a few times..

Wear-down on the bottom and grit in there often, but basically and perhaps short is the wrong word, but it'll arc a bit when throwing it on or removing it and you'll see some nice burn around the bottom pins and a smell of ozone. I recall one it was a red-brick which i suppose may be cheaper made, and the other was, honestly, I don't recall the brand.

It's not something i would've expected to happen either, but it 100% put me off to v mounts in future.

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Could be. I think the major issue is that there are so many players these days. I've never had an issue on IDX or newer red bricks-- this was back in the early MX days of the One.

The other issue I have had with V Mount is popping off if you ever bump it just right which can happen in some more erratic operating called for sometimes-- or particularly jarring hand held. For me, the A/B mount feels a lot sturdier, and I have no issue in mounting it in any position. I always worry the V mounts will fall off if you ever have to invert the camera. Horses for courses, of course.

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I think that could only happen with a worn mount or V on the battery or most likely both :)...a chunk of metal should be in place to prevent that ever happening.. Ive banged into a fair amount of walls in my time.. and not had it happen.. but I guess enough force and it will .. but then the whole camera is probably screwed after a bash that big.. one thing I learnt was to always check they are seated properly though.. they can seem they are on right.. but not quite be there.. Ive done that before..

 

But globally Id think 80% or more or cameras being used professionally, with on board batts.. would be V mount.. even Bauer had to start making V mount .. so they must be something right.. .. Ive only found Bauer mounts on cameras in the US.. no other country..

 

And then I found the 3 pin system often had quite a bit of play in it..didnt like it at all.. although again this just could be they are worn out rentals .. :)

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