ArmyTek        
Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

  1. #1

    Default Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Hi!
    I just got into the strobist thing and this whole battery thing is bumming me out.

    4 out of 8 newish lightly used 3000MAh NIMH didn't even power up the flashes. Well I had enough of it. I have 2 more flashes on the way for a total of 4 and seeing how "reliable" NIMHs are I'd like to switch to li-ion.

    The problem is that the flashes are rated at 6v.
    I was brave and just put 3xAA NiMH and one 14500. Not only it worked, but worked very well. Recycle times were awesome!
    But the thing is that it only works if the li-ion is half depleted. :/
    So it's a kludge.
    Seems it works up to 6.3-6.5v, bah.

    Using one fresh fully charged 14500, 2x AA NIMH and a spacer (6.6V all in all) starts charging the flash capacitor, but the flash shuts down.

    Seeing how I get get top quality 4x14500 for $10 and iffy quality 4xNIMH for $10 I'd much rather go for li-ion.

    I could try using 2 spacer and 1x14500 and 1xAA.

    But what about using making a battery pack out of 3x14500?
    Any way I could lower the voltage?
    I'd still have one slot left empty to put a driver or some such thing.

    What do you think?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    From my understanding it is a VERY bad idea to mix cell types. I'm sure someone else will chime in with the why. If I'm not mistaken, you will almost certainly damage the cells, and possibly even the Speedlight.

    I think you are much better off buying a set of Sanyo Eneloops for each light ($10 per 4 cells). A fresh set of 4 in my ancient Sunpak "bright ass flash" will power the flash for tons of shots (100 or more?), and the recycle times are superb (a couple seconds).

  3. #3

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Quote Originally Posted by entoptics View Post
    From my understanding it is a VERY bad idea to mix cell types. I'm sure someone else will chime in with the why. If I'm not mistaken, you will almost certainly damage the cells, and possibly even the Speedlight.
    I'd love if someone could back it up. AFAIK it's not a big deal, as it's been used in e-cig a lot to get ~5v (aa+lion)

    I think you are much better off buying a set of Sanyo Eneloops for each light ($10 per 4 cells). A fresh set of 4 in my ancient Sunpak "bright ass flash" will power the flash for tons of shots (100 or more?), and the recycle times are superb (a couple seconds).
    Eneloops are more expensive here. The 14500 are $10 with shipping.

    The cheapest Eneloops are from an iffy ebay store $13 for a 4 pack.

    The flash is GN38 @ISO 100 in meters.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic chenko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    I'm too into the strobist thing pal!
    I've been having good results with Sanyo Eneloops in my 2 SB24 flashe units. Recycle times were very good actually, and I did get LOTS of shots during a photoshoot (hundreds!), at various power levels (much of the time m1/1 or m1/2).

  5. #5

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Quote Originally Posted by chenko View Post
    I'm too into the strobist thing pal!
    I've been having good results with Sanyo Eneloops in my 2 SB24 flashe units. Recycle times were very good actually, and I did get LOTS of shots during a photoshoot (hundreds!), at various power levels (much of the time m1/1 or m1/2).
    I might go for Eneloops if I have no choice, but I'd like to hear about using li-ions.
    Also I find it kind weird to spend the same money on batteries as on the speedlight. I got YN-460-II for $45 shipped.
    I also have to get some proper chargers (Maha or similar) and all in all I paid more for the batteries/chargers then the flashes :/.
    For li-ions I already got a ton of them and decent chargers.
    Last edited by kosmarnik; 10-03-2010 at 06:01 PM.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic chenko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Quote Originally Posted by kosmarnik View Post
    I might go for Eneloops if I have no choice, but I'd like to hear about using li-ions.
    Also I find it kind weird to spend the same money on batteries as on the speedlight. I got YN-460-II for $45 shipped.
    I also have to get some proper chargers (Maha or similar) and I paid more for the batteries.
    For li-ionas I already got a ton of them and decent chargers.
    I don't know how much you find Eneloops for, but my findings are that 4* eneloop cells are sensibly cheaper than a single AW 14500 li-ion cell. I wouldn't compare Eneloops with whateve-fire batteries, we are talking top quality here, right? Than AW it is imho.

    For faster recycle times, I'd advise trying NiZn batteries, such as the Powergenix AAs that come with a fast charger for a very good price. They are rated higher voltage, thus should deliver what you're looking for I believe.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    The Oldest City
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Eneloop, Eneloop, Eneloop!

    Oh, did I mention ENELOOP???

    I have 2 Canon Speedlights, a 220EX and a 430EX. 1 set of Eneloops will power either all day, or a couple hundred shots. If you had 3000 mAH NiMH AAs, they are your problem. There aren't any at that capacity rating that are any good. The Eneloops, even though they are ONLY 2000 mAH, are actually the highest capacity batteries around. And they will work.

    If you start mixing cells and trying to use something that the unit was not designed for, I hope you are prepared to let the "magic smoke" out of the flash or worse. LiIons are not happy being abused.
    The world is full of people who can hear a loud bang, feel a sharp pain in their foot, notice smoke trickling out of their holster . . .
    and never put it all together.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic Acid87's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Glasgow Scotland
    Posts
    496

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Hey Kosmarnik,

    I live in the UK and worked for a camera retail company over here called Jessops (Beside the point).

    Im no chemistry whizz but I have seen some nasty flashguns after using li ion batteries. Unless you are using something like the Nikon SB 900 which will actually give you a reading of how hot the unit is chances are you will either melt the flash or overheat the bulb and blow it.

    No idea why this is again possibly somebody might have the reasons why but I would certainly advise against using them. A lot of people I know just use a set of NiMH it wont give you as much as li ion but at least you will save an eyebrow or two.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    I'm going to offer a slightly alternative opinion and say ENELOOP ;-)

  10. #10

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acid87 View Post
    Hey Kosmarnik,

    Im no chemistry whizz but I have seen some nasty flashguns after using li ion batteries. Unless you are using something like the Nikon SB 900 which will actually give you a reading of how hot the unit is chances are you will either melt the flash or overheat the bulb and blow it.
    Um, I ain't no engineer, but IMO, the gadget could care less where the power came from as long as it's in it's voltage range and I'm looking for a way to keep it in range.
    Other than voltage the only other issue I see is the resistance of the battery and NIMH and LI-ION should be holding up well.
    No, I'm not stupid enough to stick 4x3.7(16.8v with a fresh pack) batteries in a 6v device

    Although different gadgets have different tolerances. My telescope, for instance, runs of 9v, but can and has been driven with 15V with no ill consequences.
    My Linksys WRT54GL also runs fine with a range of voltages.

    Hence my OP.
    I prolly should have gone with YN560 since it has a jack for external battery pack and rolled my own using 18650's and a voltage regulator/driver Alas, one learns along the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glasstream15
    If you start mixing cells and trying to use something that the unit was not designed for, I hope you are prepared to let the "magic smoke" out of the flash or worse. LiIons are not happy being abused.
    So far it's all speculation. I don't mean to be rude, but I'd like to hear someone back it up with some hard data.
    Also, reading CPF, LI-IONS have gone through MUCH worse from some freaks here (50w 6xP7 anyone?).

    Quote Originally Posted by chenko
    I wouldn't compare Eneloops with whateve-fire batteries, we are talking top quality here, right? Than AW it is imho.
    I'm using 10x18650 and 6x14500 on daily basis for some time now and they're all Trustfires. Holding up very nicely in my torches and e-cigs, thank you. So I ask you to kindly take that back
    And there's been no fires yet
    They've been properly measured and tested like here and offer the best bang for buck, IMO.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Ah. I went with it and ordered 40x Eneloops.
    I just hope I don't get fake ones.

  12. #12
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    6,083

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Did ya' get the new (latest version) 1500x Eneloops ?

    The ones which are factory-rated for being able to be charged 1,500 times !


    The "older" (original) Eneloops were factory-rated at "only" 1,000 charges.

    A few other differences between the two, also.


    Regardless, hope you enjoy yer' New Sanyo Eneloops !


    _

  13. #13

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    I've been using freshly charged Sanyo 2700s in SB-800s as my initial battery, then eneloops as a backup when the 2700s are exhaused.

  14. #14
    Enlightened marokero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Been using Eneloops since 2006 (bought 32 in Japan back then), and they still serve me well. Recently I got 16 more from http://www.thomasdistributing.com/ which seems to be the new ones. In Japan they sell C and D Eneloops, not just the adapters they sell here to insert the AA Eneloops. I was tempted to get some last April, but since I don't have any devices that use D batteries, I decided to wait till next time, or when someone starts selling those here in the US.

  15. #15
    Enlightened marokero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Slightly unrelated, but some manufacturers sell external battery packs for flashes, such as Quantum Turbo 3 (expensive), Nissin NDP300 (slightly less $ than Turbo 3), and Alienbees has recently announced their Vagabond Mini (less than half the price of NDP300). The Vagabond Mini being aimed at AC powered strobes, not hot shoe flashes, is lithium based*. The first two I mentioned require optional cables to attach to specific brands of flashes, and those are rip offs. I only mention these in case faster recycle is what you want next. The Eneloops do a fine job, but to get the power and recycle time I need I use two SB-800s on a lightstand - fire both at 1/4 power instead of one at 1/2 power, and you can also aim them separately, with different power and zoom settings.

    * correction added 10/14/10
    Last edited by marokero; 10-14-2010 at 07:00 AM.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    2,597

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    The issue with Li-Ion batteries has to do with the cells not being equally charged, They can explode or overheat.
    Now I can see the darkness .

  17. #17
    Flashaholic
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    293

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    So you were using Ni-Mh WITH li-ion? That just sounds like a bad idea to me. :/
    Eneloops work great in my SB-600. Just get a good charger. MH-C9000 charger is a good one that comes to mind...

  18. #18

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Quote Originally Posted by kosmarnik View Post
    Ah. I went with it and ordered 40x Eneloops.
    I just hope I don't get fake ones.
    Good for you.

    I was going to chime in with another "Get the Eneloops and be done with it", but you've already suckered for 'em.

    I hope you get "real" ones and not some kind of knockoffs.

    I got sick and tired of the dismal self-discharge characteristics of the zillions of "regular" NiMHs that I was using in my flashes, and then bought some of the original Eneloops. They've been absolutely flawless. I recommend them to anyone who asks.

    Before I got the Eneloops, I had to make sure to recharge all of my old-style NiMHs within a day or two of when I would need them. That was a royal pain, involving the need for a lot of chargers. But if I didn't do that, I could be sure that the batteries would let me down.

    With the Eneloops, I can let a flash sit unused for months and know that it'll work fine when I drag it out of the bag. This means that the number of charge/discharge cycles that the Eneloops will actually receive will be far lower than what the standard NiMHs would be getting just to compensate for their self-discharge. That will surely translate into far longer life for the Eneloops.

    Let us know what you think when you get them. Again, I hope you're not getting counterfeit units.


    On the subject of mixing different cell types. The main problem with doing this is that as the device uses power from the mixed stack, one type will discharge faster than the other type. And when the "weaker" type is discharged, the "stronger" type will then reverse-charge the "weaker" battery. If it happens that the LiIon cell is the weaker, reverse charging it may well cause some fairly exciting problems.

    The flash shouldn't care as long as the input voltage is at or lower than what is recommended for it. But the batteries very well may.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* EV_007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Over there -- >
    Posts
    924

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    I was tempted to put the Energizer AA LiIons for the battery life and less weight, but am kinda worried about the high juice pumping through my flashes.

    I've had good luck using the Energizer MiMH 2500mAh in my 580EX IIs and SB900s.

    I have a set of Enolops that I like to keep on hand since they don't rickle down like the others.
    TWO is ONE and ONE is NONE, but THREE is more FUN.
    My beamshot gallery


  20. #20
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    have been using 4x 3.2v 14500 on my sb800, works perfectly fine

  21. #21
    Enlightened
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis IN, USA
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    Quote Originally Posted by nigelyuen View Post
    have been using 4x 3.2v 14500 on my sb800, works perfectly fine
    Sorry for resurrecting such an old thread, but nigelyuen... is your SB800 still working?

    Thanks for providing an update.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Powering speedlight with li-ion instead 4xAA?

    If one could use an external battery source I would recommend going with 18650's in parallel and purchasing a boost circuit for a few dollars to step up the ~4v to 6V.
    Fenix Split rings 1400+ sent, SWIVELS now available also!
    Psalm 112:4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •