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Author Topic: Microtrack & USB battery pack  (Read 14676 times)

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Offline hijoq

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Microtrack & USB battery pack
« on: May 28, 2007, 06:47:55 PM »
I need some help, the festivals are coming so soon.
I bought an external usb battery pack to be alble to tape many shows in a day with my Microtrack.
This is the battery pack: http://www.boxwave.com/products/batteryadapter/index.htm

So, when I plug the battery pack to the MT, the display says "charge". But then I discover that the battery dies in the same time as if the battery pack is not connected  :'(

Should I use a different cable to power the MT while taping? Please hel me, I'm a bit worried about the incoming festivals.  ???
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Offline silentmark

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2007, 07:02:02 PM »
First off your MT internal battery must be fully charged. If you run it otherwise your external pack will die rather quickly as it cannot keep up the output. There is a thread on this ...

Second does your external pack output 5v ? If not than that could be a problem.

I use this pack with no issues at all: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16855998033

I also used a wallyworld 9v lion through a voltage regulator box output to 5v and never had a problem.

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Offline blindman

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2007, 10:33:33 AM »
As silentmark said, your MT has to have a FULL charge to begin with... I made a bunch of AA chargers and never had luck with them keep up with the MT...

I ended up buying a Digital Concepts PP99 for under $20...
http://www.amazon.com/iConcepts-Digi-Power-Pack-PP99/dp/B0009EXVGC/

it is also sold under the brand name "Sakar" I think.

I had to make my own cord, the PP99 does not come with one that will fit the MT's USBmini... it is very easy though...Radio Shack sells the power plug, not the univesal adapter ones, and actual solder type... it is in the parts drawers... I will confirm, but I think it is the "M" one... then buy or take a cheap usb cord and cut of the one end... you need to solder the positive out of the PP99 to pin 1 and the ground to pin 4 of the USBmini... see the USB mini pinouts here http://pinouts.ws/usb-pinout.html

make sure to set the PP99 to 5V for the MT

Radio Shack Plug "M"
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103614&cp=&sr=1&origkw=plug+m&kw=plug+m&parentPage=search

here is mine...
http://fecundswamp.peanutonastring.com/usb/img005.jpeg.html

I made a whole bunch of the AA versions you can see here... from lame to nice 12V wooden one... http://fecundswamp.peanutonastring.com/usb/index.html
I found  the best one is the DC PP99 :) although, the wooden one looks totally bitchin'.

I bet you will be able to record for the entire day, maybe more, then charge up over night... the PP99 even has a car charger with it... and a AC charger... for $20 it is amazing.

Note... when changing your cards, unplug the charger... it is not and issue with the newer firmware, but to be safe unplug the power then change the card. I use to have trouble with the MT locking if it was on charge while changing cards... the 1.4.6 works fine, but I got in the habit just to be safe.

and I am able to switch it to 3V for the R9 and 5V for my camera... and they both use the same plug that came with the PP99.
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Offline danlynch

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2007, 11:01:20 AM »
I have used the Macally battery for ipods.  Its a re-chargeable external battery which can power the MT no matter what the battery meter levels read on the MT.  I have used it when I was concerned that the MT would not have enough power to last through a second set.  The best price is at newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16855998033

The Macally is re-charged with the same usb cable that charges the MT.  It adds approximately another 6 hours to the MT.
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Offline guysonic

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2007, 11:30:33 AM »
I have made and used all the of four models shown below to charge, keep charged, and fully power MT.  At this time, both BC/BD-MT4 models available for quick delivery.



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Offline taper420

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2007, 12:58:39 PM »
I've used the energizer cell phone boosters that have a USB connection (under $20).. they take 2 AA's and work best with the lithiums. That lasts for about two shows, and reverts to internal MT battery without a hickup when it runs out. It's also pretty small.
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Offline Javier Cinakowski

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2007, 01:01:00 PM »
I've used the energizer cell phone boosters that have a USB connection (under $20).. they take 2 AA's and work best with the lithiums. That lasts for about two shows, and reverts to internal MT battery without a hickup when it runs out. It's also pretty small.
WOW, that is a great idea!
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Offline coloartist

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2007, 01:24:26 PM »
I run mine Walmart 9V>Todd R Juicebox>MT.  I never charge my microtrack. It has a full charge by the time I leave a show.

I have never had a problem.

I have even charged other peoples Microtracks during set break.
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Offline hijoq

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2007, 06:09:33 PM »
thanks for all the tips, feels good to be back at the taperssection.
I will try with the energizer usb battery pack, wish me good luck!

 >:D
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Offline guysonic

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2007, 05:15:13 AM »
thanks for all the tips, feels good to be back at the taperssection.
I will try with the energizer usb battery pack, wish me good luck!

 >:D

These fully work ONLY with L91 Photo Lithium type they came with rated at about 2900 MA/costing about $2.50+ a cell.  Suggest taking a $hitload for having any chance of doing a full festival.
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Offline philR

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2007, 10:14:57 AM »
I have used the Macally battery for ipods.  Its a re-chargeable external battery which can power the MT no matter what the battery meter levels read on the MT.  I have used it when I was concerned that the MT would not have enough power to last through a second set.  The best price is at newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16855998033

The Macally is re-charged with the same usb cable that charges the MT.  It adds approximately another 6 hours to the MT.

does this option require any special cable to go from the battery pack to the MT?
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Offline danlynch

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2007, 10:48:29 AM »
I have used the Macally battery for ipods.  Its a re-chargeable external battery which can power the MT no matter what the battery meter levels read on the MT.  I have used it when I was concerned that the MT would not have enough power to last through a second set.  The best price is at newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16855998033

The Macally is re-charged with the same usb cable that charges the MT.  It adds approximately another 6 hours to the MT.

does this option require any special cable to go from the battery pack to the MT?

No special cable.  Its the identical usb cable used to power both the MT and the Macally.  When the Macally is re-charging itself, the input is the small end (same size as the usb input on the MT).  When the Macally is powering the MT, the wide end is plugged into the Macally and the smaller end of the usb cable is plugged into the MT. 

Since its the same usb cable that comes with both items, I leave one permanently plugged into my hard drive to charge both items, and I leave one in the Macally case for the connection in the field.
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Microphones:  Schoeps CCM4Us, Sennheiser MKH-8040s, Neumann KM-150s, Neumann TLM-102s, DPA 4061s
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Offline philR

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2007, 10:59:14 AM »
+T, thanks for the info!
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Offline tcf

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2007, 12:39:46 PM »
When I use the energizer battery pack, Alkalines are used exclusively and have had zero problems keeping the recorder on "charge" for a whole show.  While lithiums are ideal, no problems using regular alkalines.  Of course I have worried about 3volts of 2 AA's supplying 5volt power to the mt, but zero problems so far. I have seen/heard zero difference btw using the energizer and the standard 4 AA bat pack.  The only problem with the energizer pack is the usb cable that they use is incredibly short, it needs a couple of more inches.  Definitely takes up less room than the 4 AA pack.  YMMV.

TCF

Offline Javier Cinakowski

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2007, 10:33:36 AM »
I used the energized cell phone charger last night with 2500mah recharagbles. The first set I just let the MT internal battery do the work.  It ran down most of the way.  I plugged the energizer in for the second set and the MT was completely charged before the end of the show.  Worked out great!

Oh, for those of you worried about the size of the cable:  On the opposite size of the usb cable is a 3/32 mono plug...
Get a 3/32->1/8 adapter and then get a 1/8 extention cable. or get a 3/32 extention cable f you can find it, or make it...

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Offline guysonic

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2007, 06:02:32 AM »
I used the energized cell phone charger last night with 2500mah rechargables. The first set I just let the MT internal battery do the work.  It ran down most of the way.  I plugged the energizer in for the second set and the MT was completely charged before the end of the show.  Worked out great!

Oh, for those of you worried about the size of the cable:  On the opposite size of the usb cable is a 3/32 mono plug...
Get a 3/32->1/8 adapter and then get a 1/8 extension cable. or get a 3/32 extension cable f you can find it, or make it...



Great report on actually using Energi To Go in real-world conditions. 

When Energizer first put Energi To Go on the market, I recall at least one early adopter found Energi To Go did NOT work with rechargeable (1.2 volt) cells at all which made sense being designed for higher L91 lithium cells.  And as such was not so economic or usable even with alkaline as alkaline cells drop down to as low as 0.8 volts at end of capacity.

It seems that recent Energi To Go has new switching power supply that NOW DOES WORK to lower voltages of at least 1.1 volts so now has practical economics of not needing expensive L91 type batteries.

In addition, because being able to CHARGE AND RUN MT deck at the same time, Energi To Go seems able to OUTPUT AT LEAST .5 AMPERES.  This is an extraordinary high amount of output capacity for a very small (2)AA cell device.  I am very impressed if this proves true.

So now I am intrigued enough to ordered two of the (2)cell USB models for bench testing to find how low a cell voltage these now can operate at, what amount of amperage is available, and determine some measure of expected reliability/life of the switching circuitry for charging/running MT deck.   

Even if these now do work, not so good if the power supply breaks down after a few tens of hours of deck powering.

Suggest not making an extension cord with same kind of barrel connector as plugs into the Energi To Go base device.  These are not reliable to keep solid connection. 

Instead, use regular 2-3' long USB B-5pin MINI cable (cut in half for using only 5-pin mini end) wired directly to same type of Energi To Go barrel connector (so only one connection to be concerned with) or likely best if opening up the Energi To Go, removing Energi To Go barrel jack, and soldering USB cable directly into the device for no chance of power disconnection.

I'll post the Energi To Go bench tests and reliability findings in a week or so, and with more tips on how to get the best use from these, and expected MT run times using different types of batteries.
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Offline Javier Cinakowski

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2007, 07:43:24 AM »
Nice post GuySonic, I look forward to your report!  T+
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Offline Limulus

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2007, 01:37:38 PM »
thanks for all the tips, feels good to be back at the taperssection.
I will try with the energizer usb battery pack, wish me good luck!

 >:D

These fully work ONLY with L91 Photo Lithium type they came with rated at about 2900 MA/costing about $2.50+ a cell.  Suggest taking a $hitload for having any chance of doing a full festival.


could you post a pic of that or a direction where to get exact those please? having trouble finding the right ones online. thanks!

Offline guysonic

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2007, 01:35:39 AM »
thanks for all the tips, feels good to be back at the taperssection.
I will try with the energizer usb battery pack, wish me good luck!

 >:D

These fully work ONLY with L91 Photo Lithium type they came with rated at about 2900 MA/costing about $2.50+ a cell.  Suggest taking a $hitload for having any chance of doing a full festival.

could you post a pic of that or a direction where to get exact those please? having trouble finding the right ones online. thanks!

While I've mostly used L91 made by Energizer and tried a few by Ultralife that seem to work OK, here is a comparable AA lithium I have not yet tried available at much lower cost in quantity: http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1506

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Offline guysonic

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2007, 06:31:20 AM »
Nice post GuySonic, I look forward to your report!  T+

OK, finally had a chance to open one of these devices up and do some tests.  I am quite impressed with the engineering sophistication found inside.

Here are views of both sides of SM PCB board, and part of the test rig setup.




MEASUREMENTS:

Switching circuit efficiency = 78% to 95% (Efficiency depending on input voltage to device, and ampere current draw at output.  Also found NO HOT RUNNING COMPONENTS on either side of the board even with ful .53 amp output.  This indicates excellent engineering design)

Amperage output = .53 amperes/4.6 volts (~2.4 watt) output measured into Microtrack while charging +60% depleted battery.

Device Input amperes =
~0.9 amps/2.7 volts input with 0.51 amps/4.6 volts output (full applied MT charging power)
~0.5 amps/3.0  "      "        "   0.27 amps/5.3   "       "       (battery fully charged, MT in RECORD)

Minimum Device input starting voltage = 2.7 volts = 1.35* volts per AA cell
(*NOTE: Device may not start up with 1.25 volt rated NiCAD/NiMH cells that are slightly discharged or not fresh off the charger to read 1.35 volts per cell.  In other words, once device is shuts down or disconnected from powering deck, rechargeable cells are likely at nominal 1.25 volts that will NOT to start up again even though nearly still fully charged)

Minimum operating voltage = 1.85 volts
(NOTE: Once started, device will continue to work following battery discharge DOWN TO 0.92 VOLTS per cell!  That is as long as device is not shut off by disconnecting the output load where it demands at least cells having >1.35 volts per cell to start up again.  This is where the lithium cells work well with this device as they start out at 1.75 volts per cell, and deliver +90% of their power before cell's voltage reaches 1.35 volts.   Newer technology alkaline cells may also work fairly reliably delivering at least 70% of their +2 ampere capacity and still be able to start up this device, and if left connected to the load, will deliver +97% capacity before the device shuts down for good.)

Other Noted Device features:

1) Plugging in output power cord momentarily shorts the output to start up the switching boost circuitry.  Applying a load with an already connected power cord does the same thing.
However, if there is NOTHING connected to the output to draw power, the device shuts down drawing almost nothing (<.0000001 ampere; the reason the two internal AA cells can still be good after for 10 years), AND WILL NOT START UP AGAIN FOR A FULL MINUTE even if reconnected to a load as there is 60 second internal keep off timer inside that prolongs the 'sleep mode' for some reason I haven't figured out as yet.

2) Two blue flashing LED indicators show device is active, and will continue to flash until device either runs out of battery power, or the load is disconnected initiating the 'sleep mode.'

Summary:
So it looks like with AA Lithium cells having 2500 -2900 milliamperes capacity, recording time with already fully charged MT is as much as 5 hours, and maybe much as 3-3.5 hours with regular alkaline or more using newer 'OXY' alkaline formulations before MT's internal battery is tapped to supply power to the deck. 

If you can get the Energi To Go device to start up with freshly charge 2700 MA capacity NiMH (for example) AND DO NOT DISCONNECT ANYTHING to continually run the MT(which draws ~.25 amps continually from external USB power even with fully charged internal battery/display off), then as much as 5 hours recording time might be possible before the MT's battery is again tapped to supply deck power.

Conclusion: Just out of the box, Energi To Go is an effective external MT powering device for having reliable power for at least 3 hour concerts using cheap alkaline cells, and up to 5 hours on AA photo lithium and (continually connected, high voltage) NiMH. 

I'm now thinking to attach the (above pictured) test board to (2) C/D cell alkaline battery sleds to run for 4X/10X the estimated AA cell times for long duration field recording applications.  That is if the board proves reliable for professional type remote work where failure is not an option.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2007, 06:37:37 AM by guysonic »
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Offline Javier Cinakowski

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2007, 07:48:38 AM »
Very interesting T+ again!

 :)
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Offline KLowe

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2007, 08:12:23 AM »
i'm not running my MT anymore but VERY nice.

thanks for taking the time to test that sucker out.
I actually work for a living with music, instead of you jerk offs who wish they did.

bwaaaahahahahahaha.... that is awesome!

Offline taper420

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2007, 10:28:52 AM »
I'm now thinking to attach the (above pictured) test board to (2) C/D cell alkaline battery sleds to run for 4X/10X the estimated AA cell times for long duration field recording applications.  That is if the board proves reliable for professional type remote work where failure is not an option.

So since we all know this is a $20 part, might the C/D sleds you plan to make perhaps be cheaper than the ones you currently offer?
Magic wands > magic box > magic bucket

Offline guysonic

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2007, 07:35:47 PM »
I'm now thinking to attach the (above pictured) test board to (2) C/D cell alkaline battery sleds to run for 4X/10X the estimated AA cell times for long duration field recording applications.  That is if the board proves reliable for professional type remote work where failure is not an option.

So since we all know this is a $20 part, might the C/D sleds you plan to make perhaps be cheaper than the ones you currently offer?

This is what I have in mind to explore using two C or D cells.  Using just the front-case-with PCB/Jack piece with jack/short USB cable and soldering wires leading to an externally connected sled to the board's input terminals seems a way to cut cost/time, lowering the selling price by significant amount.   

However, I also feel this is something that some of you guys can do without too much trouble and offer this solution to fellow tapers.

Problem with me offering something like this is high reliability 'white plastic' rigid type battery holders are no longer available in USA, only those (available everywhere now) wimpy 'black poly plastic' type sleds that flex way too much to break battery terminal contact, and even ejecting the cells out of the holder without notice are stocked in USA at this time.  Making these holders rigid and less 'wimpy' takes time/materials that raise the cost even if practical.

I had to special outside USA source order very large quantity of the 'good rigid type holders to continue using the 4 D power sleds needed for certain models I offer.  I feel it necessary to continue making a durable professional grade of product as shown on my site. 

Special ordering a multitude of 2-cell C/D size Hi REL holders from foreign sources like needed for a good solid product doesn't make good economical sense to me at this time. I don't want to produce products that break or fail in a way to screw up a customer's recording, but that's just me.

"mics? I no got no mics!  Besides, I no have to show you no stink'n mics!" stxxlth taper's disclaimer

DSM HRTF STEREO-SURROUND RECORDING SYSTEMS WEBSITE: http://www.sonicstudios.com

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2007, 09:34:34 PM »
i get about 1 hr using (seasoned) nimh's in an energi-to-go.

I currently get about 3:40 with the microtrack using digi in, wondering if its worth replacing the battery yet. I've heard 4-5 hours with fresh stock battery...

Offline pwig

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2007, 09:24:57 PM »
When I use the energizer battery pack, Alkalines are used exclusively and have had zero problems keeping the recorder on "charge" for a whole show.  While lithiums are ideal, no problems using regular alkalines.  Of course I have worried about 3volts of 2 AA's supplying 5volt power to the mt, but zero problems so far. I have seen/heard zero difference btw using the energizer and the standard 4 AA bat pack.  The only problem with the energizer pack is the usb cable that they use is incredibly short, it needs a couple of more inches.  Definitely takes up less room than the 4 AA pack.  YMMV.

TCF

I am glad I ran into this thread. I just got a MT and am interested in the best way to make this work.

If the MT is fully charged, should I expect it to stay that way with the energizer plugged in? The directions said the energizer would start flashing when it was working, is this correct?

Or, should I run the MT battery down and then plug in when needed?

Thanks for any help as I am preparing for a show in mid July and want to make sure I know what I am doing!

Offline guysonic

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2007, 07:02:13 AM »
When I use the energizer battery pack, Alkalines are used exclusively and have had zero problems keeping the recorder on "charge" for a whole show.  While lithiums are ideal, no problems using regular alkalines.  Of course I have worried about 3volts of 2 AA's supplying 5volt power to the mt, but zero problems so far. I have seen/heard zero difference btw using the energizer and the standard 4 AA bat pack.  The only problem with the energizer pack is the usb cable that they use is incredibly short, it needs a couple of more inches.  Definitely takes up less room than the 4 AA pack.  YMMV.

TCF

I am glad I ran into this thread. I just got a MT and am interested in the best way to make this work.

If the MT is fully charged, should I expect it to stay that way with the energizer plugged in? The directions said the energizer would start flashing when it was working, is this correct?

Or, should I run the MT battery down and then plug in when needed?

Thanks for any help as I am preparing for a show in mid July and want to make sure I know what I am doing!


Suggest trying energizer on regular alkaline cells always connected to MT deck when recording so internal battery is not much used and maybe last longer.

NOTE: Rechargeable lithium cells tend to last much longer not being repeatedly topped off, and being stored in discharged (<80%) state.

Suggest charge up MT on day of use a few hours before if possible so external support battery is not tapped to do much charge-top-off service.
"mics? I no got no mics!  Besides, I no have to show you no stink'n mics!" stxxlth taper's disclaimer

DSM HRTF STEREO-SURROUND RECORDING SYSTEMS WEBSITE: http://www.sonicstudios.com

Offline trysomekef

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Re: Microtrack & USB battery pack
« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2008, 11:04:07 AM »
edit: question already answered.. i should have read the whole thread to begin with..  ;D

« Last Edit: October 30, 2008, 11:24:37 AM by trysomekef »

 

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