Warning & Query - Canon 3rd party AC Adapters

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MaxRockbin
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Warning & Query - Canon 3rd party AC Adapters

Post by MaxRockbin »

I'm guessing that most people who do focus stacking fairly quickly realize an AC adapter for their camera is a good idea. This is my experience with Canon 3rd party adapters. I hope yours was better.

First I tried a Neewer AC Power Supply Adapter (top rated 3rd party adapter on Amazon). It just stopped working after a couple months. They were nice about it and immediately gave me a refund without having to send the thing back. It cost $100 less than the Canon adapter and seems like such a dead simple device, what could go wrong?

Here's what:
Next, I tried the Power2000 AC-LPE6 AC Adapter and DC Coupler Kit. Four 5 star reviews on bhphoto - and the only 3rd party adapter they sell for Canon. $19.95! What a bargain!

It worked for 1 hour. Then it just stopped.
So...back to batteries.

NOT SO FAST. Dropped in the battery.

Zippo. Nada. Nuthin. I tried various internet suggestions. Nope.

So the Camera (70D) is off to Canon for repair. I'm kind of dreading the cost. From the internet, it sounds like it's likely to be half the cost of the camera.

So, for $100 saved $400 lost.

Have other people had better experiences?
If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

Bummer!

FWIW, I've been using two "brandX" AC power supplies for years, one for the 50D (and 5D), one for the T3i (and T2i before that). No problems. Sounds like I may have just been lucky.

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

Eeek. I expect many of us have been using $10 PSUs . 8-[

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

I won't use AC adapters any more due to one blowing up and destroying a nice $500 Nikon camera a few years back. I just keep batteries charged and swap when they run out. I won't start a long stack if the battery is low, but otherwise not much of a disadvantage vs the adapter, and fewer cords coming off the rig...

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

Matt, sorry for your misfortune. Any chance you could test the output of the unit you suspect killed your canon?

I’ve also been using third-party AC adapters for years, without a problem.

Ray, I don’t know whether or not you regularly shoot tethered. I find that tethering drains batteries too quickly for my taste.

--Chris

MaxRockbin
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Post by MaxRockbin »

8.49 volts for the adapter. That's hotter than the official Canon batteries are rated (7.2V). But I've read that the Canon's read "well over 8V" when fully charged. My knock off Watson battery reads 8.35V fully charged. Unfortunately, I already packed my Canon battery, so I can't test that.

Testing is harder than I thought. It turns out these batteries/battery emulators have the +/- contacts hidden in some narrow slots. (There are larger exposed contacts, but I don't know what those are for and don't seem to register any current). Too narrow for my voltmeter's probes. LP-E6 Battery:
Image
(small slots to the left of the obvious metal contacts)

Bent wire in the slots ended up not working, so I tried some razor blades (insulated with tape after they accidentally touched - sparks proving these are the hot contacts).

I'm hoping I didn't fry the camera board with this thing. Apparently a more common malady is a broken contact for confirming the battery door is closed. A cheaper fix. I didn't see anything obvious though.
If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

Matt, thanks for testing the output. Sorry to have put you to so much work, though. I may someday steal your razor blade trick.
I'm hoping I didn't fry the camera board with this thing. Apparently a more common malady is a broken contact for confirming the battery door is closed. A cheaper fix. I didn't see anything obvious though.
I hope that's all it is. Good luck!

--Chris

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

I believe the extra contacts are to do with testing the charge state.

Be careful when fiddling with paper clips and bits of wire.
I "lost" my luggage to the back of a hangar at Heathrow airport for 6 weeks (it's a first-in, last-out store :roll:) so was without a battery charger. I rigged something up temporarily but with a tiny spark the battery fuse blew when wires touched.
There's a surprising amount of electronics inside the battery (Nikon D700 ELN-E3 I think) with a non-obvious fuse. Although I was careful, it's not easy to replace and glue the battery back together.

The "open circuit" voltage of a battery or a replacement device may not mean very much if it's only a volt or so away from nominal. If you tested when drawing representative current the voltage would probably read significantly lower.
Also, the reading would depend on the waveform of the voltage. Any spikiness would make different meters read different values unless they were "true RMS" reading.

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

Chris S. wrote:Matt, sorry for your misfortune. Any chance you could test the output of the unit you suspect killed your canon?

I’ve also been using third-party AC adapters for years, without a problem.

Ray, I don’t know whether or not you regularly shoot tethered. I find that tethering drains batteries too quickly for my taste.

--Chris
I do indeed shoot tethered for both single shots using EOS utility and Helicon (my stepper is a Trinamic) for stacking. I'm not sure why tethering would cause batteries to run down any faster, though. Certainly shooting in Live View drains batteries more quickly. My stacks are not that deep, only 10-30 shots. But I can shoot quite a few before needing to swap batteries. If I was doing it all day long, or shooting very deep stacks that might run a battery down during the shooting, I agree that battery swapping would not be practical.

MaxRockbin
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Post by MaxRockbin »

Chris, do you mean the battery output would have a waveform (not flat?)
Or are you thinking the AC adapter output would be imperfectly flat and have some kind of wave from the AC conversion?

About the stated voltage on these things -
It seems like most regular (eg. AA) batteries are labeled something close to their voltage without load (1.59V for my Costco AA alkalines). But who knows where the numbers come from on the camera batteries? Searching the internets, the only references I found claimed the number was some sort of average or midpoint voltage as the battery is drained (no load). But odds are that's just someone's guess.
If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

Chris, do you mean the battery output would have a waveform (not flat?)
Not a wave, but a slope. The more current you draw the lower the output voltage will be.
Or are you thinking the AC adapter output would be imperfectly flat and have some kind of wave from the AC conversion?
As with a battery, plus yes, definitely there will be some "ripple". Any power supply is going on and off all the time, then "smoothed". I can well imagine that cheap switch-mode PSUs have a much rougher output, possibly with big spikes in voltage at the time of switching, and that quality control isn't very good.

My oscilloscopes are buried away, but I'll go digging if I get a new camera. It's plain annoying how camera mfrs charge so much for routine devices which are probably made in China for very little.

Olympusman
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Third-party AC adapters

Post by Olympusman »

A few years ago PopPhoto ran an article on third-party AC adapters, chargers and batteries. Canon routinely buys these and tests them. When I was doing digital technical support I would often get queries about third-party charges. I always replied that we cannot vouch for any third-party products since we had only tested ours. On thing I always made a point of mentioning to the users -- NEVER EVER leave one of these things unattended unless you want to come home to find your house has burned down.
By the way, I have a few third-party AC adapters for camera such as my Olympus C-5000, SP-320 and SP-350 and they work very well, but I never leave them plugged in when I'm not using them.
Mike
Michael Reese Much FRMS EMS Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

MaxRockbin
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Post by MaxRockbin »

That's very sensible. I left mine (along with lights and what not) on a surge suppressor bar that has individual switches for each socket.

That makes it easy to leave it powered off (but also easier to forget...)
It also makes it easier to control focus lights, and other whatnots.

Do you remember the conclusions of the PopPhoto survey?

(By the way, ever wonder why there is a "First Party" vendor and a "Third Party Vendor" but no "Second Party?" According to Wikipedia, the 2nd party is you.
In commerce, a "third-party source" means a supplier (or service provider) who is not directly controlled by either the seller (first party) or the customer/buyer (second party) in a business transaction.[2] The third party is considered independent from the other two, even if hired by them,[2] because not all control is vested in that connection. There can be multiple third-party sources with respect to a given transaction, between the first and second parties. A second-party source would be under direct control of the second party in the transaction.
So, I guess if you happened to own an AC adapter factory in Chengdu, you could be your own second party source.)
If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa

Chris S.
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Re: Third-party AC adapters

Post by Chris S. »

Olympusman wrote:One thing I always made a point of mentioning to the users -- NEVER EVER leave one of these things unattended unless you want to come home to find your house has burned down.
Must admit that I'm bothered by this sort of statement, which can cause great fear. Is it grounded on evidence?

I routinely leave the Bratcam's several voltage adapters plugged in--as well as uncountable other voltage adapters in the house, for telephones, computer accessories, network equipment, outdoor lights, television cable signal amplifier, etc. It would be a tremendous hassle to disconnect each of these whenever it is not in use. Most of us have far more voltage adapters in our houses than we realize.

So I'd submit that unless evidence of danger is supplied, fear-mongering should be avoided.

--Chris

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

UK television is replete with shock-horror programmes, which periodically feature the perils of fake products passed off as genuine. It feels like there's one about a phone charger catching fire about once a year, though it's probably less.

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