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Offline jerryfreak

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Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« on: January 19, 2020, 06:38:30 PM »
Introduction

this thread is for the ubiquitous "L-series" Sony camcorder batteries that have become standard in the videography world. my hope with this thread is to share information, tests, reviews, and applications of the L-series batteries, in the hopes that we can find economical, reliable, high-capacity cells that are best suited for our purposes, while exploring potential use cases. Relevant information will be aggregated at the top of the thread in a wiki form



originally a Sony creation these are often produced by third party manufacturers for a fraction of the cost of the OEMs (in wildly varying quality)

They are designed for camcorders and are often used with LED lights, monitors, and other things youd find in a videographer rig.

Some of the devices we would use them for:

Sound Devices Mixpre series via the MX-L mount


Zoom F6 (mounts directly)


any device requiring 6V or 12V:

basic cheap plate with adaptable coax jack:
https://www.amazon.com/Andoer-Battery-Adapter-Plate-cable/dp/B01FYSD1VC

or something like this, with a fixed cable you could hack off the dummy battery and put the appropriate connector on the end (like a locking switchcraft for a V3)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PHK8TVC/?coliid=IB1PWMG6RPKRQ

or this deluxe one with DC and USB output
https://www.amazon.com/Power-Junkie-NP-F-Blind-Spot/dp/B07NF14XW4

you could even double these up on a V-mount adapter+d-tap cable to power 12V equipment like an AD2K
https://www.amazon.com/Neewer-Battery-V-Mount-Converter-Alternative/dp/B075R8DMKF
https://www.amazon.com/INKECI-D-Tap-5-5x2-5-V-Mount-Monitor/dp/B08153Y3YM

----------------------------------------
Specifications and common sizes

these batteries consist of two of the common 18650 Li-ion cells in series to form a 7.4V cell
At full charge they are 8.4V and depending on the equipment used they will generally cut off at 6.0-7.0V (3.0-3.5V/cell) in order to prevent cell damage.
Most cells will go into a protection mode after a deep discharge (2.5V or below), which can 'brick' the battery in some cases.

Discharge curves are relatively linear over most of the capacity and is typical of Li-ion cells. The graph is courtesy of the ever-useful batteryuniversity.com. Voltage is stated per cell, double the voltages on the y-axis to correspond to the L-series batteries:



at high discharge rates voltage drops considerably, which is a point of concern for devices with relatively high cutoff voltages like the Zoom F6 that will not use the battery below 7.0V (3.5V/cell). This can leave almost half of battery capacity unusable when a smaller L-series battery like a 2200mAh is used in a high-drain application like phantom powering 6 mic-ins.


L-series batteries come in 3 common sizes:

"2200 mAh" batteries using two cells, like the sony pictured above. common part numbers are NP-F550, NP-F570, about 90g

"4400 mAh" using four cells. common part numbers are NP-F750, NP-F770, ~180g and 2X as thick as a "2200 mAh"


"6600 mAh" using six cells. common part numbers are NP-F950, NP-F970, ~275g and 3X as thick as a "2200 mAh" 


While the official sony parts are relatively expensive, there are tons of third-party replacement parts on amazon and other sites, with batteries commonly available for $15-$20 a cell. There are many anecdotal reports of battery 'quality' but few actual test reports or teardowns of the actual batteries to ascertain capacity, durability, or authenticity. In some cases unscrupulous manufacturers use larger 6-cell cases and use 2 or 4 cells and fill the rest of the case!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PjdxgqY55k

there are manufacturers that claim in excess of 10000 mAh from a six cell battery. Are these fakes? or is it possible? see next section

Fundamentals of the 18650 cell

Presumably, the first iterations of these batteries used the 2200mAH version of the 18650 Li-ion cell commonly available at the time, which is why they  were traditionally labeled as such. Currently,the 2200 mAh cells are some of the cheapest on the market, which is probably why packs in multiples of 2200 mAh capacity are the most common (Probably also marketing, aka limited consumer understanding of capacities/compatibility with their equipment)

https://www.batteryspace.com/Sony-Lithium-18650-Rechargeable-Cell-3.7V-2200mAh-US18650V3.aspx

believe it or not, the humble 18650 forms the basis of the batteries used in Teslas and other EVs, and has been an area of considerable R&D
https://www.reddit.com/r/teslamotors/comments/29mxnz/the_progression_of_the_18650_battery/

as you can see from this site, commercially available batteries range from 1500 to 3500 mAh
https://www.batteryspace.com/18650seriesli-ioncells.aspx

current state of the art for commercially available cells are the 3400-3500 mAh cells. As of now I only know of one manufacturer utilizing these cells in their NP-F packs, and unsurprisingly, they are priced accordingly: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1467200-REG/hawk_woods_dv_f590_dv_7_2v_25wh_li_ion.html

Recommendend, tested batteries

{reserved}

Charging options

{reserved}

Use w/adapter plates for devices requiring 6V

{reserved}

Use w/adapter plates for devices requiring 12V

{reserved}

L-series batteries with auxiliary 5V USB out
https://www.amazon.com/Vemico-NP-F970-2x7800mAh-HDR-AX2000E-DCR-VX2100E/dp/B07WQDNVYD
https://www.amazon.com/Powerextra-Multifunctional-Battery-NP-F970-NP-F975/dp/B01M189SS0

Adapters using 6xAA cells in L-series form factor
https://www.amazon.com/FalconEyes-Battery-NP-F970-Batteries-BB-6/dp/B01HCP88CC
https://www.amazon.com/Bestshoot-Battery-Monitor-Replace-Batteries/dp/B075RBFDQV
https://www.amazon.com/Horenme-Battery-Holder-NP-970-Monitor/dp/B083PW9V8Y
https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Replacement-Adapter-NP-F970-Moniter/dp/B07DVC2L79
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mcFZCvfqbU


DIY projects in L-series form factor with 18650 button-top cells and others

{reserved}

Battery testing resources
bookmarking for later:
https://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?438814-Testing-Li-Ion-NP-F970-batteries
https://www.ebay.com/itm/18650-Li-ion-Lithium-Lead-acid-Battery-Capacity-Meter-Discharge-Tester-ZB2L3/172577675238?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 04:15:50 PM by jerryfreak »
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2020, 06:43:03 PM »
[reserved]
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2020, 06:43:14 PM »
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2020, 06:43:24 PM »
so my personal use case:

I tried a Dracast 2200 mAh battery for use with my Zoom F6 and was disappointed with the runtime of just over 2 hours at max power consumption, you can read all about it here: https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=190161.msg2320144#msg2320144

it only had about 1/4 of the capacity of a 4400 mAh generic battery i bought.. i dont really need 9+ hours, but 2 isnt enough. I like the compact 2-cell battery, if only there was a middle ground between 2 and 8 hours of capacity...

I'm not really keen on throwing down $75 for the 3400 mAh Hawk Woods battery, theres got to be an affordable alternative with decent capacity. In this case there appears to be multiple options in a 2-cell form factor with a claimed capacity of 2800-3000 mAh

2800
https://www.amazon.com/Sony-NP-F550-2800mAh-HandyCams-batteries/dp/B00C77M9U8

2900
https://www.amazon.com/CCD-RV100-CCD-RV200-CCD-TRV66-CCD-TRV67-DCR-SC100/dp/B073WVYH74
https://www.amazon.com/DSTE-Replacement-NP-F550-Compatible-Sony/dp/B00CPYXQ2S
https://www.amazon.com/NP-F550-ENEGON-Battery-2900mAh-CCD-SC55/dp/B07RDJ1JSW

3000
https://www.amazon.com/Vemico-NP-F550-Battery-Replacement-Batteries/dp/B07Z3TGC7B
https://www.amazon.com/Newmowa-NP-F550-Battery-Charger-CCD-SC55/dp/B011E4AMTY

I wanted to try that 3-bay rapid charger, and $35 all-in for 3 batts and that charger ($18 by itself) is a square deal (if they work). I will report
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078TBDBS9/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A1X9ZYH75S4ATO
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 09:45:43 AM by jerryfreak »
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Offline voltronic

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2020, 08:18:51 AM »
I also had disappointing results from the Dracast 2200 mAh battery with the Zoom F6, but have had outstanding results the past few months with the 6600 mAh version.

Here are the results of my runtime tests with both batteries.
DPA 4061 | Line Audio CM3 | Naiant X-Q | AT 853
Naiant PFAs | Shure FP24
Zoom F6 | Sony PCM-M10

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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2020, 09:14:10 AM »
some anecdotals summarized here with links, will update as i proceed

unless otherwise noted, runtimes are time to 7.0V cutoff voltage on zoom F6, 6 channels using phantom power

dracast 2200 mAH (same as voltronic's)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078NHM4CL
2h15m 6-ch phantom
(4h40m 2-ch phantom)

"D&F" 4400 mAh
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M69B4XQ
9h30m, wall charger didnt work out of the box
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 09:49:40 AM by jerryfreak »
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Offline perks

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2020, 10:34:04 AM »
I bought my MixPre-3 used and the package it came with included the MX-L mount, 2 Kastar 7.4v/8700mAh batteries, and a Kastar smart charger. So far I've only used the L batteries a few times primarily because I just don't like the design of the sled. It doesn't stand the MP-3 up in my bag without constantly tipping over on its side and it adds a lot of weight in that relatively small package. The few times I have run the L-mount battery I've easily gotten 5+ hours running 1 pair of Schoeps with 48V phantom power.

Once I got a right angle USB-C cable I was much better able to get the recorder and battery situated in my bag so that it stands up correctly to be able to read the display and the weight is distributed better so the bag isn't constantly tipping over.
Mics: Schoeps MK5, Schoeps MK41, AT853u (C,SC,H,O), DPA 4061
Preamps/converters: Schoeps VMS52UB (x2), Nbox (x2), E.A.A. PSP-2 (x2) Grace Lunatec V2 (for sale), Sound Devices MP-2 (for sale), DPA MMA6000, Naiant Tinybox v1.5, Naiant PiPsqueak, Church Ugly, Apogee Mini-Me, Benchmark AD2k+
Recorders: Tascam DR-680, Korg MR-1, Edirol R-05, Sony PCM-M10 (x2), Tascam DR-07, Marantz PMD-661, Sound Devices Mixpre-3

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2020, 10:59:50 AM »
interesting. trying to envision how that made it tip over, i would think with those two big batteries on the bottom, it would form an upside-down "T" shape and be somewhat stable, did you use both batteries simultaneously or one at a time?
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Offline perks

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2020, 12:06:52 PM »
It forms something that looks like an upside down T however the sled is what lies flat on the bottom of the bag and the battery(s) that plug into the sled do not sit flat on the bottom which results in a bottom heavy bag that is wobbly placing all of its weight on the sled and making it very susceptible to tipping over. Using 2 batteries in the sled at least puts equal weight on both sides of the MP but it does not resolve the tipping over instability the batteries create. I'm using a bag that was made to fit the dimensions of the MixPre-3 and the battery sled plus batteries do fit into the bag yet I get a much better fit using the USB-C battery or the 8X AA sled. 
Mics: Schoeps MK5, Schoeps MK41, AT853u (C,SC,H,O), DPA 4061
Preamps/converters: Schoeps VMS52UB (x2), Nbox (x2), E.A.A. PSP-2 (x2) Grace Lunatec V2 (for sale), Sound Devices MP-2 (for sale), DPA MMA6000, Naiant Tinybox v1.5, Naiant PiPsqueak, Church Ugly, Apogee Mini-Me, Benchmark AD2k+
Recorders: Tascam DR-680, Korg MR-1, Edirol R-05, Sony PCM-M10 (x2), Tascam DR-07, Marantz PMD-661, Sound Devices Mixpre-3

Offline voltronic

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2020, 12:23:39 PM »
It forms something that looks like an upside down T however the sled is what lies flat on the bottom of the bag and the battery(s) that plug into the sled do not sit flat on the bottom which results in a bottom heavy bag that is wobbly placing all of its weight on the sled and making it very susceptible to tipping over. Using 2 batteries in the sled at least puts equal weight on both sides of the MP but it does not resolve the tipping over instability the batteries create. I'm using a bag that was made to fit the dimensions of the MixPre-3 and the battery sled plus batteries do fit into the bag yet I get a much better fit using the USB-C battery or the 8X AA sled.

This adapter lets you mound a single battery in the way Sound Devices should have (IMO) designed the unit in the first place.  It's quite expensive for what it is, though.

https://www.trewaudio.com/product/hawk-woods-sd-2/
DPA 4061 | Line Audio CM3 | Naiant X-Q | AT 853
Naiant PFAs | Shure FP24
Zoom F6 | Sony PCM-M10

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Offline aaronji

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2020, 12:02:00 PM »
^ With the Sound Devices sled, though, you can hot-swap the batteries.

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2020, 05:09:09 PM »
I wanted to try that 3-bay rapid charger, and $35 all-in for 3 batts and that charger ($18 by itself) is a square deal (if they work). I will report
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078TBDBS9/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A1X9ZYH75S4ATO

this landed today (god bless amazon, were so spoiled these days)

initial impression is the charger requires a little extra care since it accommodates multiple sizes, the batteries dont really 'lock in' and they wiggle a bit. Even though it can be powered by USB-C or dc plug i feel more confident with it as a desktop charger than say, use in a car. i also could see mashing/bending the charger pins while loading a battery in a hurry some day. still... for the price, and the charge rate,  if i get a year or more out of it, it is fine

its multi function lights indicate charge states of 0-33/33-66/66-100/100%

2 of the batteries arrived charged to ~7.75 V which showed as 66-100% when  thrown on the charger. the third showed no voltage, and started to charge but then acted unpredictable on the charger. so 1 out of 3 is defective

the other 2 batteries got up to full charge in about 2 hours. Like most rapid chargers, it gets you north of 70% quick then takes a while to top up to 100%
 
(from https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/charging_lithium_ion_batteries):
Increasing the charge current does not hasten the full-charge state by much. Although the battery reaches the voltage peak quicker, the saturation charge will take longer accordingly. With higher current, Stage 1 is shorter but the saturation during Stage 2 will take longer. A high current charge will, however, quickly fill the battery to about 70 percent.

ill try to get some metrics on what kind of capacity a fast charged battery has when it crosses the 66% line.

certainly having any metric of charge state is more useful than the slow-ass wall chargers that just show 'charging' from 0-99% capacity. id go into the field with 3 batts at 70% if i knew they were good for xx hours each

first battery almost eeked 4.5 hrs. excellent! Second one topped 4 hours which is still great. not sure if there is that much variation, the first one was righ toff the charger and had a higher starting voltage.

idle resting voltage after tests:
battery 1=7.35
battery 2=>7.3



i threw a 30 min charge on batt #1 and got 2 more hours
threw a 1 hr charge on batt #2 and ran it for about an hour before determining that it woulda probably gotten 3 hrs. pretty workable
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 10:26:24 PM by jerryfreak »
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Offline jbell

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2020, 05:28:14 PM »
Grabbed a used sd-2 from Hawks-wood it is a better solution for L series batteries than the SD mount.  I got a great deal and it came with several batteries and a charger.  I prefer the L series batteries over using usb c.  I had a bad experience taping DBT and the usbc battery keep disconnecting. 

It forms something that looks like an upside down T however the sled is what lies flat on the bottom of the bag and the battery(s) that plug into the sled do not sit flat on the bottom which results in a bottom heavy bag that is wobbly placing all of its weight on the sled and making it very susceptible to tipping over. Using 2 batteries in the sled at least puts equal weight on both sides of the MP but it does not resolve the tipping over instability the batteries create. I'm using a bag that was made to fit the dimensions of the MixPre-3 and the battery sled plus batteries do fit into the bag yet I get a much better fit using the USB-C battery or the 8X AA sled.

This adapter lets you mound a single battery in the way Sound Devices should have (IMO) designed the unit in the first place.  It's quite expensive for what it is, though.

https://www.trewaudio.com/product/hawk-woods-sd-2/
Microtech Gefell M20's> Nbob KCY> Naiant PFA(60v) > Sound Devices Mixpre-6 @24/48

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Offline voltronic

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2020, 05:58:26 PM »
^ With the Sound Devices sled, though, you can hot-swap the batteries.

Good point.

The external battery sleds always seemed like an odd design choice for the MixPre series.  I wonder if SD will take a cue from the Zoom F-series for a future revision, and change the form factor to allow AAs to be internal.  Then you could hot-swap a single L battery.  Or, do it like the 8-series so you can use two adjacent batteries.
DPA 4061 | Line Audio CM3 | Naiant X-Q | AT 853
Naiant PFAs | Shure FP24
Zoom F6 | Sony PCM-M10

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- Gustav Mahler

Offline aaronji

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Re: Sony "L-series" (NP-F) batteries
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2020, 12:11:27 PM »
^ Maybe I am the only one, but I like the way that SD has it set up. Lots of options. The 8 x AA sled is perfect for most of the shows I go to and, with a small USB-C, I have redundancy. I think I would rather they keep it small than add an internal compartment for AAs (it would have to be 8 to get reasonable runtime).

 

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