In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 24


24

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | MAY/JUNE 2011

Broadcast Batteries, Today and Tomorrow Cont.
newest sources of energy whether it’s nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride or lithium-ion. So while the main independent manufacturers such as PAG, Anton/ Bauer, Frezzi, Swit and IDX are all forward-looking companies, the broadcast market is in truth a classic ‘trickle down’ model. “As a battery manufacturer, we have to be quick to respond to what’s happening in the electronics market so that we can get new technologies to market quickly but safely. Our customers can never have enough power so it’s our role to make sure that we can supply them the best and most reliable solutions. Developing power packs is about constant innovation. We have to continually accommodate the changing shapes, sizes and power needs of the latest production kit. Innovation, research and development are in our DNA,” says Nigel Gardner, Sales & Marketing Director at PAG UK. We are still in the midst of a consumer electronics revolution. Now, as big business turns its mighty sights onto environmentally-friendly transport and mobile devices that last for days, not hours, energy is the focus of attention. Progress has been rapid: March saw the launch of the Rolls Royce Phantom electric prototype, capable of astonishing speeds. This may sound impressive but battery manufacturers are only half-way there; innovation has no choice but to carry on until electric cars can purr along for at least 300 or 400 miles. that place value over performance. These packs often take advantage of lower grade cells, use inferior materials and electronics. The result can be a shorter life span and the risk of internal shorts. As the TV industry looks to make savings wherever it can, these low-quality products have started to enter the global market. Buyer beware! Leaks and short circuits can lead to overheating. Battery manufacturers also need to heed legal restrictions particularly where airlines are concerned. The American FAA reported 113 battery fire incidents on passenger and cargo planes between 1991 and 2010. As a result there are draconian limits on the amount of lithium-based products that can be taken onto a flight. Researchers are now investigating ways of producing generic power systems for a range of broadcast equipment which do not conflict with transportation restrictions. “It’s not a simple matter, but we’re close to the answer,” commented Hardy from PAG.

PAG L95e

especially well suited to the latest professional broadcast cameras.” As a result, their 95 Watt-hour capacity weighs only 745g. In terms of actual output, in the last few years there have been some real advancements. A glance over some technical specs show some pretty good progress - a typical 14.8v Li-ion unit from 2003 would provide 75 Watt-hours. Today, the same size unit is capable of running for as many as 110 Watt-hours. Going up a weight category, Frezzi now offers a 150 Watt-hour unit; Blueshape’s new unit is rated at a nominal 190 Watt-hour. But what is the mark of a truly quality product? Can these very high capacity units endure and can they manage internal temperatures? The reality is that today broadcast power packs built to best practise standards are highly durable, reliable and should be trusted. Improved chemistry has played a large part in making today’s units more powerful and longer lasting. But reliability is also down to enhanced power management through advanced electronics. Power management circuits are a crucial part of battery design. Where electricity and combustible material is involved, it is imperative to avoid over-charging, power spikes or power drainage. Leading battery designers implement designs with up-to three layers of protection circuitry rather than the required single layer. Nearly all the cells used in the broadcast sector are sourced from a handful of manufacturers - the likes of Sanyo and LG Electronics. They continually improve their cells to lay the platform for significant enhancements in batteries. But like everything in life, you get what you pay for... lower quality cells are

available and do make it into the marketplace. What’s more, the cells themselves are only part of the story. Cell protection, robust casing, electronics, power management, capacity reporting, charge limiting, cooling, material testing - all these aspects are crucial to ensuring that camera operators have the power they need, when they need it. In order to protect the user and their camera equipment, reputable manufacturers today deploy a number of sophisticated features: multiple protection circuits, electrolyteimpermeable materials, high-impact cases and even built-in RF resistance. These are all areas where corners can be cut - but at what price? Tempted by price and potential cost savings, the cost-conscious 21st century production team has opened the door to products

The Future
There is considerable excitement about nanowire technology. Electrodes made of carbon-silicon nanowires can store six times as much charge as the graphite electrodes in lithium batteries. Nanowires (each is a seven thousandth the thickness of a human hair) offer greatly improved capacity combined with reliability and a long shelf life. Scientists are studying ways to mass produce the technology cost-effectively. Next up is the Hybrid Energy Harvesting Device from Fujitsu Laboratories which is developing a system that can generate electricity from heat sources. Remarkably the material can produce power from even indoor lighting in photovoltaic mode, and it can also generate power from heat (even body heat) in thermoelectric mode. Since the organic material and its processing are inexpensive, production costs can be greatly reduced. But let’s not forget that we are already in the midst of a lithiumion revolution. Progress is continual to keep pace with the camera manufacturers’ new models. As IDX sensibly concludes: “For the foreseeable future Li-ion will still lead the way, as it’s a proven and safe technology.” And let’s face it, that’s no bad thing.

Today’s Broadcast Battery
The industry prefers lithium-ion cells. A spokesman for IDX explained: “Lithium-ion battery cells, which can be balanced for matching balance and capacity, deliver longer life cycles and fast recharging for a rapid turnaround. Unlike other battery chemistries there is practically zero self-discharge, and no ‘memory effect’ on the battery’s life span. With Li-ion we can develop environmentally safer and friendlier batteries that can be recycled rather than require special procedures for disposal.” For PAG, the benefit of lithium-ion is simple: “Lithium-ion technology possesses a fantastic power-to-weight ratio. It is for this reason that it is

IDX Endura HL9


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - May/June 2011

In Broadcast - May/June 2011
NAB Emerging From Behind the Cloud
Contents
Communicating With Your Market
Autoscript’s Rapid Reaction Force
Bringing It and Broadcast Together
Broadcast Batteries Today and Tomorrow
New Developments in Broadcast Subtitling and Captioning
New Developments in Fibre
Multi-Format Encoding
Live Production
Gekko Leds in Film and Broadcast
Marketplace
The Fibre Alternative
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - NAB Emerging From Behind the Cloud
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Cover2
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Contents
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 4
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 5
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 6
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 7
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 8
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 9
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 10
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 11
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 12
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Communicating With Your Market
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Autoscript’s Rapid Reaction Force
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 15
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Bringing It and Broadcast Together
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 17
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 18
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 19
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 20
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 21
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Broadcast Batteries Today and Tomorrow
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 23
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 24
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 25
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 26
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 27
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 28
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 29
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - New Developments in Broadcast Subtitling and Captioning
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 31
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 32
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 33
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - New Developments in Fibre
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 35
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 36
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 37
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Multi-Format Encoding
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 39
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Live Production
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 41
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Gekko Leds in Film and Broadcast
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 43
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Marketplace
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 45
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - The Fibre Alternative
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 47
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - 48
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Cover3
In Broadcast - May/June 2011 - Cover4
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