Using a Car Battery as a Power Source for Time Lapse Camera

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by stooky, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. stooky

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    1
    0
    First of all, my apologies for not really knowing too much about DC electronics, despite 2 years of engineering waaaaay back.

    I have a time lapse camera. you can find the manual here:


    ProjectCam

    Near the end of the manual (page 23) it indicates what the required input power is:

    (9V - 12V DC 250mA)

    I bought their Solar Panel to keep this thing powered, but it is just NOT cutting it. Especially right now with -30C weather.

    Can anyone assist me in building a contraption that would allow me to power this thing with a car battery?

    The other alternative is to buy a couple of Eliminators from Canadian Tire (I have one already)

    Eliminator

    Then purchase a plug-in DC adapter or a lighter-style DC adapter.

    Thoughts/recommendations?

    Thanks.

    Chris.
     
  2. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    4,887
    1,019
    You probably don't want to use a car battery car batteries are designed to supply a large amount of current over a short period of time. It needs to provide enough power to turn an electric motor that turns your whole engine over.

    You need something that provides a comparatively small amount of cureent over a short period of time.


    A better choice would be an SLA or similar rechargeable.
     
  3. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    I find it interesting that the power sources are either four "AA" batteries, or a 9v to 12v 250mA adapter.

    I'd be willing to bet that the camera consumes a good bit more power when running on a "wall wart" than it does when running off AA batteries.

    Spinnaker's steering you in the right direction; an automotive battery wasn't designed for deep-cycle use. They will fall apart inside very quickly if you try to use them for such duty. Deep-cycle batteries have a different plate design than auto batteries do.

    Still, if you allow a deep-cycle battery to become discharged more than 50%, it will have a very short life. The shallower you discharge them, the longer they will last.

    But, back to the battery vs wall adapter aka "wall wart" question - you need some way to monitor the power consumed when on batteries vs when it's on a wall wart supply. Once you get those numbers, it will be a lot easier to make a decision as to whether powering the camera from a 12v battery via the adapter would be better, or using a switching regulator to step the voltage down to 6v efficiently and powering it via the AA battery pack connections.
     
  4. debe

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2010
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    Looking at the specs the camera runs on 6V DC. If you want to run ext power you use a converter which will step 9--12V DC down to 6V DC @ 250ma to power the camera. Personaly i would use a car type plug in converter to 6V hooked up to a gelcell battery. There is plenty of car type of phone chargers that put out that type of current @ 6V dc. I use one to run a navman GPS in my car.
     
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