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Light and Motion Mako PC1000 power problems


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#1 ysranch

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 05:53 PM

I have the Light and Motion Mako for the PC1000. Has anyone else used this equipment and found the power doesn't allow for an entire dive of video? The response I receive from Light and Motion is inconsistent. One employee tells me I should get two dives out of a battery charge while the Tech Manager tells me something completly different.

Is it just me or does the system have a limited battery output unable to capture an entire dive of video? I am strongly considering switching to the Gates PCii system and would like to hear from other videographers about their experience with either product.

Looking forward to your responses.

#2 ysranch

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 05:57 PM

I have the Light and Motion Mako for the PC1000. Has anyone else used this equipment and found the power doesn't allow for an entire dive of video? The response I receive from Light and Motion is inconsistent. One employee tells me I should get two dives out of a battery charge while the Tech Manager tells me something completly different.

Is it just me or does the system have a limited battery output unable to capture an entire dive of video? I am strongly considering switching to the Gates PCii system and would like to hear from other videographers about their experience with either product.

Looking forward to your responses.

#3 Drew

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 08:09 PM

I suggest you try changing to a new battery. And if that doesn't work, send the unit back to L&M for service. Using lanc does drain batteries but not that much. Either there's a drain somewhere, which isn't likely since there should be nothing on the housing that drains that much and lanc doesn't allow that much draw anyways.
Please do let us know what L&M says about this issue.

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#4 ysranch

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 08:17 PM

I have been speaking with Light and Motion and receive inconsistent responses. The unit, camera and batteries are going back for the second time in a month for them to diagnose the problem. My experience with their service department and service manager has been less than satisfactory but I am giving them another chance to rectify the problem. I should be able to get a full dive from a fully charged battery, but this hasn't been my experience.

#5 wagsy

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 09:17 PM

Hi
The little PC1000 camera has a small battery and I'm not sure if there is a larger one for it as it sits inside the camera. InfoLithium's do loose their performance over time, in fact they can even degrade if you don't use them. Then there is this passive layer that they can develop.

Have a read here.
Passive layer
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#6 DanB

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 09:25 PM

What model battery are you using? The PC100 is a nice little camera, but it has a (nice) little battery. And due to the nature of the battery slot there are not a lot of options for a longer life battery. The battery that comes with the camera is the NP-FA50 (800mAh) They also sell the NP-FA70 (1220 mAh) Obviously, you should be using the FA70 if you want the longest run time. FYI, Sony's other battery styles go as high as 6600mAh so you can see that the battery for the PC1000 is limited and will need to be changed more often. You should get a couple of them.

Have you tested the battery life outside of the housing. Before you blame the housing, do some "virtual dives" on land and see how long the battery lasts. Walk around your neighborhood with the camera and shoot for an hour. Use the LCD and zoom in on things. Try and record as much footage as you would on a dive. See how long it lasts. I bet you'll find it is the same as in the housing.

I doubt there is anything wrong with your housing that would cause the battery to drain. Like Scubadru said, the lanc control does not draw much power, if any. The Mako's monitor back does draw power from the camera and that will certainly affect the run time. Just like when you use the flip out screen on land. If you only use the viewfinder then the battery will last longer than if you use the LCD. Same thing in the water. Using the monitor back will consume more power than the standard back. That's just part of the deal. The PC1000 is a great little 3 chip camcorder, but it has a puny battery.

So what's the work around? Make sure you have the biggest battery you can, and swap it out after every dive. If you can't get a full dive on one battery then you'll have to be conservative with it in the water. Turn it off when you are not shooting. The start up time is not bad when you are ready to shoot again. I know this sounds like a hassle, but the alternative is a larger camera with a larger battery (with a larger housing).

I don't think the Gates housing would be much different. The PCII is designed for the LCD screen to be open so it will have about the same power draw as the Mako with the monitor back. No real advantage there. You could use the Mako with the standard back, but I wouldn't. I like the screen too much to give it up for a few more minutes of shooting.

Good luck with your testing and I hope you find a happy result. BTW, other than the power issue, how do you like you Mako housing?

Danb

#7 ysranch

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 09:44 PM

Thanks for your feedback. I use the FA70 battery and swap it every dive. The battery for this camera is limited in capacity because of the design of the internal battery compartment. I have a duplicate land camera and use the monitor and it lasts much longer than when operated in the Mako housing.

I really like the housing features and operation. I upgraded it from the PC100 which lasted much longer, likely because the battery package was larger and externally mounted which allowed for a larger capacity.

Gates sent me a PCii housing to try this past weekend and it performed flawlessly. Much longer battery life, even using the flip-out display. It also appeared the optics were much clearer.

The Mako, PC1000 and both fully charged batteries were sent to Light and Motion today so I will wait until they test it and get back to me before I decide whether to replace the unit with a Gates .

More to come.....