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Thread: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

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    Default Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    I started a thread titled "Powering my E-500 for a week straight" last week, and the goal was to make an AC wall adapter to fit the E-500 / E-330 which both lack a power plug for the Olympus AC-1 Power Adapter. I plan on doing some time-lapse sequences lasting days, not hours and I needed a way to power my E-500 other than using a BLM-01.

    rkrenn (Richard) gave me an interesting suggestion; Why not use the PS-LBH1 W Battery Holder as a method to feed power into the E-500.

    After much discussion and some advice hunting from all the knowledgeable users on this forum, the image below is what I came up with.
    (click the images for larger versions)

    #1 LBH1 connected to RadioShack 2000 mA Power Supply...


    #2 The construction required only the items below...


    #3 I am particularly pleased with the fact that the LBH1 did not need to be modified at all! The solder-less connectors just slip right on, and I gave them a firm squeeze with the pliers...


    #4 And here is the final result...


    Now for the nitty gritty...

    * do not do this to your camera unless you are willing to run the risk that you could very well fry the poor thing if you do it wrong. *
    I am responsible for my E-500 getting fried if this doesn't work out in the long run, but if you perform this modification, you do so at your own risk. This goes without saying of course, but I still said it... So there!

    The basic recipe is a 1000~2000mA AC-DC adapter. I got one at radio shack for $30. The voltage is of utmost importance and I believe that you can safely use between 7v~9v DC. My adapter goes up to 7.5v (measured 7.8 on my multi-meter) I have been told that your adapter should be 'Regulated.' The Adapter I used also has some sort of (I believe Ferrite) in-line noise suppressor at the end of the cable.
    The LBH1 Battery Case is an ideal method to send the power into the camera's body without opening it [the camera] and hot-wiring it.
    The rest is as simple as connecting the two components correctly.

    I used some female soldier-less connectors that I picked up at RadioShack as well. (I removed the little red insulation to save space and to facilitate bending them.) Once the end of the adapter's cord was snipped with my pliers, I removed the outer insulation and separated the positive and negative wires. I then crimped the solder-less connectors onto the ends of the wires and proceeded to test the systems. Remember to work on the wire-stripping and crimping with the adapter unplugged. You do not want to create a short and burn yourself or destroy the adapter.

    The Voltage coming from the 7.5v setting of the adapter was actually .3v more than stated. What is also interesting to note is that the BLM-01 actually puts out a couple more volts that it says on the battery itself. I measured my almost fully charged BLM-01 at 8.1v This gave me confidence to use the 7.5v setting on my adapter as it was within .3v of the battery I was using.

    Finding the correct leads in the battery case is as simple as touching the multi-meter to the positive on the battery case (in Ohms mode) and seeing which terminal in the case it leads to. The same goes for the negative terminal. Note that the Battery case also has the (T) Terminal as the BLM-01 has and it seems that there is some sort of electrical component in the battery case itself.

    Getting the polarity of the system correct I would believe is a very important step in the process. I don't even want to think of the sounds and smells that would come from the E-500 if I got this wrong. So, as before, once I connected the adapter to the battery case, I tested and tested again to make sure that the voltage and polarity matched the BLM-01.

    The battery case stays put, but not as well as a BLM-01 does. It slipped out once or twice when I was testing the system, but once you handle it gently or loop a rubber band around the body to hold it in, it should stay put.

    Just a note: I tried 7v(7.3 on the meter) first, and the camera gave me the low battery warning. Then I tried 7.5v(7.8 on the meter) and the camera gave no low battery icon.

    The camera sounds and operates as it should and thus far I give the mission an Accomplished status.

    (I'm not an electronics person. If I missed anything or got some terminology wrong, please correct me.)

    Jamie


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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Hi Jamie,

    great stuff!!! Thanks!

    I can use that for my E-1 as well - the Oly power adapter is just too expensive.

    We need more of these DYI reports here.

    Cheers, Jens.
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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    I note in your third photo that you were prepared for toast. ;-)

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    No problem Jens, i'm just eager to share my experience and pay you guys back for the great advice.

    Ray, I actually had to put down my ham sandwich to take that shot (taken with an Olympus Camedia 3.2 MP even!) and from the time of my original post, I have had it [E-500] plugged in at my computer and have been playing with the demo of Oly Studio and the only toast here is the toast in my stomach!

    The flash recharges just as quickly as the Battery recharges it, ie: AF Flash and one flash in a burst, then none until you take your finger off the shutter.

    However, I won't run it overnight. I will wait until tomorrow morning to shoot some test time-lapse sequences.


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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Looking good. Don't forget that the battery door just unclips if you want to take it off.

    Richard

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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by rkrenn View Post
    Don't forget that the battery door just unclips if you want to take it off.
    And sometimes it just unclips itself as happened once to my E-500

    Good job Jamie, Thanks for sharing!
    Regards,
    Henk
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    photography is my passion
    you are invited to visit my gallery at http://mordisco.smugmug.com

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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Just an update... I shot a 505 frame time-lapse this morning using the power adapter. I was constantly monitoring the power supply for smells and heat and everything seems to be operating perfectly.

    Here is a Link to the Movie (crappy weather)

    Jamie


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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by rkrenn View Post
    Looking good. Don't forget that the battery door just unclips if you want to take it off.

    Richard
    I did wonder about that, I thought the E-500 might not like operating with that open but obviously it's fine.

    Jamie - nice job, I expected something like that to be far more complicated (as they always turn out to be!), you've made it look very simple. Will have a look at your movie later.

    John
    Olympus E-1, Olympus E-500, Olympus E-330, Olympus DMC-L1, Olympus E-510, Olympus E-3, 7-14mm,12-60mm, 14-42mm, 14-45mm, 14-50mm(Leica), 14-54MM, Sigma 30mm, 35-100mm, 40-150mm(Mk1), 50mm (macro), 50-200mm, 'Bigma' 50-500mm, EC-14, EC-20, FL-36, FL-50, HLD-4, Lowepro Rezo 140AW, Slingshot 100AW

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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Thanks for checking out my thread everyone. I think tomorrow I will work on Rev. 2 of the adapter.

    I would like to be able to close the battery compartment while the adapter is in. Also, the bulky in-line noise filter is kind of a weak point in that it sometimes causes the battery case to fall out. I think that by adding an additional 3-6 feet of wire at the end, and choosing a slightly thinner gauge wire to connect to the battery holder will allow me more flexibility. Right now the wire is very thick and it would be easier if it had a flat form-factor instead of a round one like it has now. Thereafter, I just cut a small notch in the battery lid and I can close the battery lid during operation.


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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Hi Jamie,

    Nice job! I have two suggestions: First, it would be good to strain-relieve the wire where it enters the adapter. You usually do not want the weight of a wire to hang at the elecrical connections---if someone trips on the cable and jerks it, you could have a broken connection (or worse: a short). I've illustrated the strain-relief point below:


    A very simple way to strain-relieve the wire is to wrap electrical tape around it so that it is too big to slip back through the hole. Make sure there is some slack in the leads above the strain relief point.

    Second, the voltage measurements can sometimes be misleading. Many times you have to measure a voltage source under load to get an accurate reading of the voltage that is actually supplied to the circuit. It is not uncommon to measure a higher voltage when the power source has no load than when it is connected to the load.
    Best regards, FL

    Pursuing excellence...

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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Thanks for the info and suggestions First Light. I will be sure to incoroprate a strain relief point in Rev. 2 tomorrow.

    As for the voltages, I will take some measurments of the system under load tomorrow. With the current rig, there is no way of doing that, but when I extend the cord, I will have joints that I can tap into. This will also allow me to measure the Amps as the camera focuses and holds the shutter open etc...


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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Really nice job! The strain relief was the only thing that came to mind for me as well, and another method of doing that is to add a blob of silicone adhesive to the cord just inside the case to act as a plug that keeps it from backing out (and provides the strain relief).

    This is a fantastic suggestion and one that I will very likely follow your lead on! Thanks!!

    Best,
    Oly

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    Default Expensive

    By the way, that battery holder is a pricey bugger!

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...e-20/ref=nosim



    Best,
    Oly

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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    That's really funny... Actually when I bought mine a week ago, it was $14.25

    The strain-relief was not a huge deal thus far. The size of the wire entering the battery holder and the curved tab that I stuffed it through keeps it very snug and secure. However, after my planned modifications, some sort of restraint and or strain-relief will definately be necessary.


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    Default Re: Expensive

    Quote Originally Posted by olyinaz View Post
    By the way, that battery holder is a pricey bugger!

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...e-20/ref=nosim



    Best,
    Oly
    Don't know what you're talking about, that seems great value for money

    John
    Olympus E-1, Olympus E-500, Olympus E-330, Olympus DMC-L1, Olympus E-510, Olympus E-3, 7-14mm,12-60mm, 14-42mm, 14-45mm, 14-50mm(Leica), 14-54MM, Sigma 30mm, 35-100mm, 40-150mm(Mk1), 50mm (macro), 50-200mm, 'Bigma' 50-500mm, EC-14, EC-20, FL-36, FL-50, HLD-4, Lowepro Rezo 140AW, Slingshot 100AW

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    Default Re: Expensive

    I did something similar some time ago, but instead of the battery holder PS-LBH1, I used the shell of an old BLM-01 battery, so it made it even cheaper.

    I don't know about the E-500, but with the E-330 the battery must be pushed down by the door to make contact. The red catch just holds the battery in place, it does not push. I glued a thin plastic strip to the battery shell, to give it just a little more height so the red catch can actually push the battery shell down, and make contact.

    I used this 'adapter' with the DPS-9000 Battery Pack, as an external battery.

    Moshe

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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by First Light View Post
    Hi Jamie,
    Second, the voltage measurements can sometimes be misleading. Many times you have to measure a voltage source under load to get an accurate reading of the voltage that is actually supplied to the circuit. It is not uncommon to measure a higher voltage when the power source has no load than when it is connected to the load.
    I second that. Little wall wart power supplies always measure high when they are not under load.

    The only thing that would worry me is that the camera might want more amps than the power supply puts out, but you have a 2 amp supply, so no worries there at all, you should be fine.

    Finally, be careful using thin wires - you can lose a lot of DC voltage over thin wires. Don't get me wrong, you should use them if you need them, just don't go nuts and run them 50 feet, and check the voltage under load again.

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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Great idea and thread, Jamie. This will be useful to a lot of us. I like your video too. I always get a kick out of watching rapidly changing skies and 'jittery' trees in time lapsed videos. I look forward to seeing your results with some more interesting subjects.

    Perhaps it's obvious in the thread and I somehow missed it but how did you accomplish the shutter actuations?

    Thanks again for a great thread.

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    Cool Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by cyrtolite View Post
    Great idea and thread, Jamie. This will be useful to a lot of us. I like your video too. I always get a kick out of watching rapidly changing skies and 'jittery' trees in time lapsed videos. I look forward to seeing your results with some more interesting subjects.

    Perhaps it's obvious in the thread and I somehow missed it but how did you accomplish the shutter actuations?

    Thanks again for a great thread.
    Jamie used the Studio software which allows the computer to control the shutter of E-* cameras.

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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by RogerC View Post
    Finally, be careful using thin wires - you can lose a lot of DC voltage over thin wires. Don't get me wrong, you should use them if you need them, just don't go nuts and run them 50 feet, and check the voltage under load again.
    Roger, thanks for your warning. My plan was not to reduce the actual core thickness of the wires, but to change the type of wire to a physically (outer diameter) thinner pair of wires instead of the large round coaxial cord that the RadioShack Adapter uses. The less meat I have to cut out of my Battery Door, the better. As far as extension goes, (no pun intended) I only want a few more feet to increase the distance between the camera body and the bulky Ferrite Noise Supressor near the end.

    Unfortunately I did not get to RadioShack today (was picking up 2 Valentines Dinner Steaks and some chocolates at the Supermarket) and I will probably get around to that tomorrow.

    Up next I want to run a third Time-Lapse test using flash only with the camera in a cupboard. This is my idea of controlled lighting without actually using an external light source. If this works well, it would be great for what I have planned.

    And Here is a ~7MB QuickTime Movie (should play with any version) of yesterday's sunset. Keep in mind that I was shooting through glass and a window screen. I often wish my apartment had at least one window without a screen fitted.


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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Nice job, Jamie, thanks for posting the tutorial.
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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    That looks great Jamie and should work with any E body except the 400.

    With Oly not providing a power supply for the 500 and 330 you might have something for Ebay there.

    Jim
    E 5, E 3, E 330, C-8080, 8mm FE, 7-14, 11-22, 12-60,PL 25MM F 1.4, 35MM, 50MM F 2, 50-200, 70-300, EX 25, EC 1.4 & 2.0, FL 40, FL 5Or, FL 20, SRF-11, Foam Ring Flash.

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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by JimBarnaby View Post
    That looks great Jamie and should work with any E body except the 400.

    With Oly not providing a power supply for the 500 and 330 you might have something for Ebay there.

    Jim
    Thanks Jim, but I'm not selling this thing. I can't take responsibility for it.


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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie View Post
    Up next I want to run a third Time-Lapse test using flash only with the camera in a cupboard. This is my idea of controlled lighting without actually using an external light source. If this works well, it would be great for what I have planned.
    Turns out that the flash just provides too much variance frame to frame...

    Ice Cubes Melting QuickTime Movie ~7.5 MB


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    Default Re: Do it Yourself Power Adapter

    So are we going to be seeing Imax quality time lapse sequences from you? I've always liked the decaying bowl of fruit myself, but I'd hate to be without my camera for a month!

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