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Digital camera power consumption

:: EPE Chat Zone ­:: ­Radio Bygones Message Board :: » EPE Forum Archives 2007-2009 » Archive through 05 November, 2009 » Digital camera power consumption « Previous Next »

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alec_t
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Username: alec_t

Post Number: 91
Registered: 03-2009

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Posted on Monday, 26 October, 2009 - 09:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi,
All three digital compact cameras I've had experience with have gobbled batteries at a rate of knots. My latest (Canon A520) takes about 500mA when in standby, rising to at least 750mA when the shutter button is pressed. The handbook says the camera 'may become warm' with prolonged use and also warns 'stop operating the equipment immediately if it emits smoke or noxious fumes'!! (Well, you would, wouldn't you!). Has anyone in the forum had any problem with a camera over-heating? I ask because I was hoping to use a digi-cam for remote-controlled wildlife photography, which would involve the camera being on for lengthy periods.

Regards, Alec
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mikehibbett
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Post Number: 1018
Registered: 04-2005

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Posted on Monday, 26 October, 2009 - 11:00 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Alec,

I'd also suggest that you ask this question on Slashdot, www.slashdot.org. It's full of geeks who could comment on that question.
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atferrari
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Username: atferrari

Post Number: 782
Registered: 05-2005


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Posted on Monday, 26 October, 2009 - 02:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In my job I use the camera "continuously" but it is never permanently on. Let's say, some 60 to 80 pictures in around 4 to 8 hours.

Just once, I took LOT of pictures in a short period (less than 60 minutes)to survey damages (thus not necessary to wait for anything) and the camera became sensibly warm (but not hot).

I have no actual experience other than taking pictures basically in AUTO mode, 99% of the time with no flash (even in night time) but I know that for some cameras, there are options to reduce consumption: display off, sleep mode, etc.

The "display off" mode seems to have dissapeared in cheap ones.

I learnt that turning the camera on and off often, makes for a higher consumption. In my case I need to do it because the I work in the open, even under rain or in cargo holds, where dust of any kind surounds you. My cameras last too little because of the environment.

My current camera (a cheap Fuji A700) and my previous two, (Nikon and Fuji) seemed to have a quite low consumption.

My daughter's Samsung seems to have bateries that last for weeks (and she takes LOT of pictures).

(Message edited by atferrari on 26 October, 2009)
Agustín Tomás - Buenos Aires - Argentina
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bruce
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Username: bruce

Post Number: 193
Registered: 04-2008

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Posted on Monday, 26 October, 2009 - 10:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Alec
It depends what question you're asking here:

To avoid the wretched thing eating batteries, I made a bog-standard 6V/2A linear regulator ( L200, IIRC ) and ran the whole shooting-match ( sorry about that! ) from a 10AHr SLA/car battery.

However, if it's overheating that's your worry,
I had my thingy running all night and artificially prevented from shutting down ( there was no 'power-down' on this old thing. )
Kodak didnt like it and warned of overheating, but I reckon the 'shut-down' is really there to prevent battery drain. Anyway, I got away with it for years. But (a) it was at night which is colder than daytime and (b) the camera was built like a tank and probably had a large thermal mass!

HTH
Bruce
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alec_t
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Username: alec_t

Post Number: 92
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Posted on Tuesday, 27 October, 2009 - 09:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi guys,
Thanks for the input. I'm comforted by the fact that no-one has reported their camera going up in flames. I too think that auto power-down is to extend battery life and that manufacturers are erring on the cautious side. I'm left wondering why on earth a camera needs 500mA in standby. Most gizmos need only microamps when idle. Is this a conspiracy to sell more batteries to camera users???

Regards, Alec
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stylers
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Username: stylers

Post Number: 166
Registered: 04-2005

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Posted on Tuesday, 27 October, 2009 - 08:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

one camera I was trying to fix (break !) recently had a small PCB devoted entirely to power supplies, big switchmode control chip and lots of inductors. no wonder they can eat and be finicky with batteries..
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boris
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Username: boris

Post Number: 442
Registered: 05-2005


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Posted on Tuesday, 27 October, 2009 - 10:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"why on earth a camera needs 500mA in standby"

Filament current for those tiny vacuum tubes they hide in cheap ICs!
Thank you for not breeding.
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bruce
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Username: bruce

Post Number: 195
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Posted on Tuesday, 27 October, 2009 - 11:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Boris,
The irony of today is the reality of tomorrow. I seem to recall reading in the 1980s an article which described research into constructing valves made by etching cavities in silicon using semiconductor etching technolgy. The valves would be the size of transistor dies.
Did I dream this?

Bruce zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.................
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epithumia
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Username: epithumia

Post Number: 705
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Posted on Wednesday, 28 October, 2009 - 11:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Not sure if it's the same article, Bruce...

I do recall an article about astronauts discovering a new effect. While repairing heat shielding by cutting polystyrene foam to size using a hot wire, they discovered that a current flowed to a positively charged sensor through the vacuum of space!

All sorts of applications were envisaged for this new technology.

Epi
If you need me, Neil and me will be hanging out with the Dream King. - Tori Amos
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magnum4
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Username: magnum4

Post Number: 741
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Posted on Thursday, 29 October, 2009 - 10:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Alec,

I have not measured Mine,
However the battery is a 750mah standard battery, and I have never lost power in over 2 years, with leaving it on, for most of day when we are out???

Is there a possible problem with yours?
If you think it might help, I will measuer it to see.

HTH
Regards,
Jim
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alec_t
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Username: alec_t

Post Number: 95
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Posted on Friday, 30 October, 2009 - 10:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

@magnum4

Idon't think there's a camera fault: it's just a design issue. Some cameras seem to have better (i.e. lower-power) standby features.

Alec
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mikeb
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Post Number: 168
Registered: 02-2008

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Posted on Tuesday, 03 November, 2009 - 01:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Alec

May I pick your brains -

Would there be an interest for a system to take *still* pictures of wildlife - rough spec:

Pics stored on micro SD
Triggerd by X.
Volume = about 1 Cubic inch.
Picture about 60KB JPEG


Where X=Pressure mat, light, heat, sound, PIR etc

rgds

mb
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alec_t
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Username: alec_t

Post Number: 100
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Posted on Tuesday, 03 November, 2009 - 03:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I dare say there is a niche for a gadget with that spec, but I was thinking more of 3megapixel (at least) images being taken, which would probably need a larger volume than 1 cubic inch.
There are now webcams not much bigger, with a 3mgpx capability. The complication there is their USB connectivity. In theory USB doesn't like to operate beyond 5 metres (though I've happily used it at 10 metres). It would be nice to do away with USB cable and use a radio link between camera and PC, or else have a self-contained unit triggered as you suggest.

Regards, Alec
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mikeb
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Username: mikeb

Post Number: 172
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Posted on Tuesday, 03 November, 2009 - 05:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes - I can see a photographer will want top rate pics - perhaps they could be used for checking an area before 'bringing in the big stuff'.

I have built a protoype for security purposes and it keeps taking pics of our local cat - I will try to post a pickky.

rgds

mb

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