The Ultimate Guide To Managing Batteries On Location
If you're using strobes, pocket wizards, remotes, or RC cars, you are probably using AA batteries. Those are small little wonders of energy.
Here is the big question, how do you manage them on location? How do you keep the loaded batteries ready for grab?
How do you make sure the empty ones get enough charge?
How do you sleep at night knowing that a battery may stop working at any given time?
Good questions! Benny Johansson, AKA Benvelo created a full system just for that and guess what? It is graphically rocking.
If you are using one device, say a strobe, this is an easy problem to solve. Carry two sets of batteries. One set is in your strobe, one set is in the charger by the wall. If you're using one of the fast chargers out there, chances are you'll have a freshly loaded set before you drain the one in the strobe.
Once cycle speed drops down, simply switch the two sets.
Using More Batteries
But what if you are using more than just two sets of batteries, but have no charger handy. Say like in the desert. Easy peasy.
First, you wanna carry the batteries in sets of 4 (assuming your strobes take 4 batteries each). Each set should be charges together and used together, this is how you can keep track on sets of batteries. Once a set starts degrading in performance, the entire set should be replaced. It would be very hard to (although not impossible) to rule out individual batteries) - so we operate on a set basis.
There are several ways to mark your batteries, you can use a marker, or a small sticker with a number, each set gets a number, so you have set 1, set 2, and so on. The PDF here has those numbers made for you along with some charging indicator sauce, will get there.
So you can either print those and tape them on, or use a sticker page (or god forbid, use a marker).
Now, on location you would use the sets going from the low number to the high number. Use set #1 first, then set #2 and so on. You know that the set is full if it has the next number up from the one that you just used.
Using multiple Sets On Multiple Devices
This is where stuff gets really complicated. but fear not, there is a system for that too.
This indicator makes it easy to remember which batteries are charged or not, tape it on battery cases holders .
This is How You Make One
2. Cut out the indicator, fold and tape it on the inside of the battery case.
And this is how to use it
Place the positive side of the battery to the green if its charged and turn it around to the red side if it is empty. (If the batteries "rattles" annoyingly you can tape a piece of soft foam inside the battery case.)
If the batteries lays in the same direction as the lid is opened
it is more practical to tape a single sided indicator on the outside.
A Smarter Way To Carry Your Batteries
But there is more. carrying your batteries can be even more fun and comfy. And You get to keep the charge meter.
- Elastic webbing: 20-25 mm wide and 24 cm long (4x AA) (21 cm for 4x AAA)
- A stapler
- clear tape
1. Melt the ends with a lighter and fold the webbing on the middle.
2. Staple the webbing 4 times with 21 mm (15 mm for AAA) between the staples and bend in the staple ends with a flat screwdriver.
3. Print and cut out the charge indicator and tape it around one webbing and make sure the tape overlaps on the backside,
4. Place 1 staple above the indicator to prevent it from sliding off.
How to use it
Place the positive side of the battery to the green if its fully charged and turn it around to the red side if it is empty.
Benny Johansson is a designer and an inventor, you can see a bunch of his other great inventions on Benny's site.