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Moviecam SL power supply/power cable problems


Marian Gabriel Weber
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Hello everyone

I'm a new owner of a beautiful Moviecam SL. Yesterday I plugged the camera cable that was shipped with it (4pin xlr on the camera end to 3 pin xlr battery end) into an Anton Bauer vclx cine battery (28V, 3 pin xlr) and... nothing happend! No lights, fps indicators etc. I checked the fuse and it was alright.

I took the camera cable apart and found out that on the battery side (xlr 3 pin male) pin 1 is (-) and pin 2 is (+) whereas on the camera side (4 pin xlr female) pin 1 is (-) and pin 4 is (+).

This wiring matches the wiring depicted in the SL manual on page 137: http://www.davidelkins.com/cam/manuals/manual_files/moviecam/sl_manual.pdf

I have read here on the forum, that sometimes the wiring has been changed by rental houses: 

 

I opened the SL up and had a look at the wiring inside. I discovered that apparently pin 1 was ground (-) and pin 2 was power (+):

getpubthumb?code=XZM4jhXZaEC5TW44OoRHHft

 

I then rewired/resoldered the xlr 4 pin female end of the camera cable and moved the (+) from pin 4 to pin 2.

I then plugged the camera cable in the vclx cine battery (28 V) and into the camera and the fuse popped...

I'm kind of clueless why this happened now or what might be the problem.

Satsuki Murashige mentioned on another thread:

that Moviecams wouldn't tolerate voltages much higher than 24V so I assume this might be the problem?

Do I also need a voltage regulator in conjunction with the Anton Bauer vclx cine battery in order to make this work or is the problem somewhere else?

Thank you very much in advance for any helpful hint!

 

Best regards

 

Marian

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First of all, congrats on your new camera Marian. And welcome to the Moviecam club! 🙂

I’ve powered my SL off of VCLX and BlockBattery blocks before, so don’t know if that’s the issue. It is true that a regulated 24v power source is ideal for these cameras, but something doesn’t sound right with your setup.

If possible, I’d suggest sending your camera to a qualified camera technician like Andree Martin for a look over. There are a number of issues I’ve had with my SL that servicing helped a lot with. Happy to go into more detail if you like. 

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I just purchased a new SL as well and waiting for my new 24V battery to be shipped. Will be doing some soldering myself.

Fortunately, the 3 pin to 4 pin XLR cable that came with the camera is wired 1 ground and 2 positive on both the 3 pin and 4 pin ends. If my camera is wired like yours then I won't have a problem.

Is it possible that when you soldered the wire to socket 2 that you used a bit too much solder and linked 1 and 2? You could easily check that with a voltmeter. Generally if 1 is always left ground there is no danger of shorting no matter what you do with the other sockets. I'm quite sure of that but others can validate. 

I did ask Andre about batteries and he warned me not to use gold mount or v mount 28.8 V batteries. He said that the SL can handle any voltage from 20 to 30 V but that a fully charged 28.8V battery can present 31 or 32V to the camera and that could be a problem. So if you use such a battery maybe make sure it's not fully charged or use a very long cable. You could always check the voltage before you connect the battery to the camera. In my case I purchased a 24V NiMh battery instead. They are also a whole lot cheaper. 

Thank God that the fuse was there for you. Hopefully it's just that. 

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I currently use BlockBattery 2F1 28.8v batteries with their 2F1 mount Belt with built-in 24v regulator.

Works perfectly for me, but I will be trying the Rencher Industries Lock-on Battery Booster mount soon, which also has a 24v regulator built-in and can be mounted on the camera. I’m told it will also work with Anton Bauer 28.8v batteries.

Hoping it works well, as I would like to not wear a belt or be tethered to a block if possible!

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5 hours ago, Raymond Zananiri said:

I couldn't find that Lock-on booster on the Rencher website Satsuki. Is it new? I am very interested to know where on the camera body would you be able to mount a battery. 

It’s in beta right now: https://www.instagram.com/p/CE_5ugch0ms/?igshid=1xekpn7aiqkbh

I’m planning on mounting it like this: 

15D5F0A6-07B9-4331-B9B2-74CE5E08A7B8.thumb.jpeg.36ce272a1757bfa4fbd8580e2b6e8d90.jpeg

B4C50E12-337C-479C-BD33-9BF28A5F04FB.thumb.jpeg.657bc917d45c0a09ae5e1d1449205428.jpeg
 

Parts: 

Oppenheimer Camera Steadicam Low-mode bracket, Wooden Camera Battery Slide, Wooden Camera Top Handle, NATO rail.

The Battery Booster will go on the Battery Slide and replace the BlockBattery 2F1 Direct Mount that I have now.

Hopefully it won’t make the camera too top-heavy! 

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I take it you made sure it would clear the mag (and the changing of the mag).

Looks very thoughtful. 

I'm still debating whether I wonna add 5 or 6 lbs to a camera which is so attractively light to start with. But then dragging  a block or wearing a belt has its own limitations. Tough to decide. 

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39 minutes ago, Raymond Zananiri said:

I take it you made sure it would clear the mag (and the changing of the mag).

Looks very thoughtful. 

I'm still debating whether I wonna add 5 or 6 lbs to a camera which is so attractively light to start with. But then dragging  a block or wearing a belt has its own limitations. Tough to decide. 

Indeed, it does clear. 🙂 It’s also possible to remove/flip the top handle and slide the battery forward or tilt it out of the way.

re: weight

Yes, I’ve pondered the same. I came to the conclusion that the benefits of having an untethered camera was worthwhile. Plus, I can use an Easyrig if I don’t need to wear the belt. It’s good to have a variety of power options.

The camera is also still a bit front heavy on the shoulder with a small prime lens, so I’m hoping it will balance a bit better.

We shall see!

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@Satsuki Murashige Dear Satsuki: Thank you so much for your kind words! It's really a pleasure and very exciting to be joining the Moviecam club and looking forward to shoot on film soon! 😊

@Raymond ZananiriThank you for your input!

With the very generous (remote) help of Carmine (a great engineer in Rome) we managed to figure out that the seller had provided me with a Panavision cable where pin 1 and 4 are swapped which is unusable with the Moviecam. So I re-soldered and re-swapped the pins and soldered them to pin 1 (-)  and 2 (+) and... the camera switched on! 🥳 Uff... However, the initial excitement was short-lived because immediately the fps led started flashing "12 V".

getpubthumb?code=XZHjghXZOfTFxydrSI5zn09

 

For a split second it shows a "0" then it changes over to a flashing "12V".

Here's a little video that shows you what happens when I turn on the battery: 

https://u.pcloud.link/publink/show?code=XZOjghXZFz6BGm4Qtq0hbyb79afvIH142sJk

I checked my Anton Bauer cine vclx Battery and it provides around 27V. 

I read the SL manual again back and forth several times but theres no mentioning of the flashing "12V" led on the fps led. Do you guys know what that means or what the problem could be?

 

Thanks in advance for any input!

 

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Hi Marian:

So you did in fact short the circuit. Fortunately, nothing serious happened. Did you need to change the fuse in the camera?

When you say you checked the vclx and it provides 27V, is that a reading you got from the battery lcd or a measurement you made with a voltmeter? If you had in fact shorted the circuit the first time, you might have blown the fuse in the battery as well, the 28V fuse. Also, I think many block batteries have a circuit protection that automatically go down to 12V in case something wrong happens to the battery. But if you measured 27v with a voltmeter that the problem is in the camera. I would try somehow to hook the camera to another 24-28V battery and check that first. 

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6 minutes ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

I thought that was the standard Moviecam eyecup? Do you have a different one? 

Oh no. that is for sure an after market one you have. the standard one is the generic thin black hard rubber type. Does yours have the iris in it that opens when you press? I really want one like yours. 😞

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@Raymond Zananiri Yes, initially when I had tried with the wrong Panavision cable the fuse popped out. I then rewired the cable and put in a new fuse. Now the battery powers up but shows the flashing "12 V". I checked the battery with the multimeter and it is supplying power at around 27V.

Edited by Marian Gabriel Weber
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I had separately bought and installed the compact viewfinder system on the SL in order to use the anamorphic eyepiece and anamorphic lenses on the SL. Maybe that's why it's showing me something from the compact system? I wonder if the viewfinder system from the compact might cause problems? I'll remount the SL viewfinder block and see if that changes something...

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2 minutes ago, Marian Gabriel Weber said:

I had separately bought and installed the compact viewfinder system on the SL in order to use the anamorphic eyepiece and anamorphic lenses on the SL. Maybe that's why it's showing me something from the compact system? I wonder if the viewfinder system from the compact might cause problems? I'll remount the SL viewfinder block and see if that changes something...

Definitely worth a try! As you say, there’s nothing in SL manual about the ‘12V’ warning, which is interesting: 

5D641E77-5FF3-4ADC-805D-49CB251076E1.thumb.jpeg.ee2f616f6234f1142da061af530030c2.jpeg

B974CF87-50B5-46D2-9943-D449234EEB66.thumb.jpeg.dd3ba2f6a7f289da658b3848c9078c92.jpeg

I’m jealous of your anamorphic viewing system and Movieglow. 🙂

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As I understand, the viewfinder itself is a passive component. It does not use any power. So I don't think that could be a problem. I would disconnect the video assist and all powered components from the viewfinder and see if you still get that 12V flashing. 

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14 minutes ago, Raymond Zananiri said:

Oh no. that is for sure an after market one you have. the standard one is the generic thin black hard rubber type. Does yours have the iris in it that opens when you press? I really want one like yours. 😞

I think it may be a Mitchell eyecup then? Would love to see a photo of your eyecup. The SL manual shows a drawing of what I have, so I assumed it was standard: 

image.thumb.jpg.d4100dc9efbb444a75975bc65b629f52.jpg

There’s no iris inside, I just use the eyepiece shutter on the dumb side of the viewfinder block.

It pops easily on and off, which is nice. But it’s a bit too deep and pushes the eye too far away I think. Makes it hard to see the whole frame. I often end up taking the eyecup off because I wear glasses and don’t want to mash my face into the finder. 

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Got you. No, I was wrong. the eyecup that came with mine is not the factory one. It doesn't look like that at all. From your description, the one you have doesn't seem that desirable either. I'll keep looking. the mounting diameter is 46mm. I'll see if I could find an after market one. 

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Marian,

1. Do you have access to another VCLX or similar battery for testing? 

2. Have you tried opening the camera again and reseating the power connector that connects the side panel to the camera body? It’s a small black plastic 3-pin connector at the base of the camera: 

A64DBFBE-9E6E-4287-94F0-B11F9B7D43C2.jpeg.8305d2aaa31817b1965b300436bcf4d5.jpeg

Had to reseat mine a few times when it got loose and the camera stopped running. Jorge Diaz-Amador of Cinematechnic swapped it for me with the one in the side panel that was in better condition, no problems since.

Don’t forget to rotate the mirror shutter out of the way if you do this. The green plastic multi-pin connector at the base of the camera is a bit fragile, be careful when reseating the side panel back on.

3. I took a look at your video and noticed that your XLR cable appears to be a fairly thin gauge. Have you tried making up a new cable with a thicker gauge? 

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@Satsuki Murashige No, unfortunately I have just the VCLX battery right now, but I was thinking about getting an adjustable
lab power supply to nail exactly 24V and see if that solves anything...

Thanks a lot for the picture of the black plastic 3-pin connector! 

Hmm, this is getting really interesting now, because on your connector there's the red wire on the right pin and the black wire in the middle pin. Mine looks like this:

getpubthumb?code=XZacChXZVftnwASclfRyXVE

There's no cable on the middle pin, just left and right...

 

getpubthumb?code=XZCyxhXZLmOh1z7l20HVYrB

 

I think this might cause the problem...

I think I'll move the black cable to the middle pin. I hope I don't fry the board... but seeing that you have it like this makes me confident that this should work. After all I'm running out of options what could cause the problem.

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