Help converting audio recorder power supply from AA to Sony NPF

Thread Starter

MrGaff

Joined Feb 1, 2019
4
Hi,

First post here.
I am a filmmaker by trade, so I'm sure this post will sound newbish. Forgive me.

I have an audio recorder, Tascam DR60d.
It can be powered by 4 AA batteries, Alkaline or Li-Ion, with a setting in the menus to select which type.
It can also be powered by mini-usb, but it's a flimsy solution, and adding more wires to the mix is a pain.
Problem is it sucks power like mad.
For a typical 2 hour interview I need to bring 12-16 batteries.
I do have rechargeable AA's, but having to stop the interview every 20-30 minutes to swap batteries, just feels unprofessional.

I want to mod it to accept Sony NP-F batteries.
Here's a video I found of someone taking it apart, at the very beginning you can see the back battery compartment.
...
I can't post links so if you google 'Amazon Sony NP-F Battery' you'll find the battery in question.
And if you google 'Tascam DR60d taken apart' you'll see the video.


My desire is to replace the measly 4 AA's with one large 7500 mah battery.

The biggest problem I see right away is voltage.
I'll have to check the 4 AA pack o see what voltage it is supplying.
The Sony battery voltage is much higher, 7.4 - 8.4, than the AA pack.
I imagine I'd need something to drop the voltage to what the Tascam recorder is accustomed to.

I'm thinking I can mount a Sony NP-F battery plate to the outer battery compartment door on the back of the recorder.
Then put a voltage regulator circuit inside the battery plate or inside the AA battery compartment once the 4 AA pack is removed.
Depending on how big the circuit is.

Then use the white pin connector to connect the rear battery plate terminals to the circuit board of the recorder.

I imagine if the voltage is right, and I'm sure the battery can supply enough amps, it should work.
BUT I know I don't know much about this kind of stuff.
So I need some wise people to weigh in on this.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! :)
Thanks all!
 

Thread Starter

MrGaff

Joined Feb 1, 2019
4
Thanks for the quick response bertus, I appreciate the link! :)

I do have an external USB battery bank I use sometimes with the Tascam.
However, I don't like the mini-usb and extra cable required to make this work.
Already my rig has about 5 wires coming in and out of every connection, trying to cut down on that.
In the past when I was filming a documentary and running around, a few times the mini-usb shift slightly and the Tascam completely loses power.
I've tried several mini-usb cables, and this happens with all of them.
I wish I would just default back to the AA's power when this happens, and not shut down, but for whatever reason it can only operate on one power source at a time.

So I guess a follow up question would be, is there anyway to prevent this from happening?
Maybe I should look for a tightly fitting 90 angle mini-usb.

I plan on purchasing a new audio recorder in the future, so my Tascam dr60d eventually die a slow death on the shelf.
Wanted to make a project out of it. :)
 

iONic

Joined Nov 16, 2007
1,650
Here are a couple of links to the DC-DC Converter you may use. Granted, there are cheaper versions of similar devices online/at Amazon.com, but since this is your livelihood, I will not recommend them. They essentially will accept DC voltages up to 36V or 38V depending on the version and step it down to 5V(which is the voltage of your TASCAM. Again, depending on the version of the device chosen they will be able to supply either 2.5A or 5A of current. The TASCAM specs say 2A, so the 2.5A version should really be more than enough. Note: the current specification merely has to meat or exceed what the TASCAM needs...the TASCAM will draw the current it needs, which will, more often than not, be less than 2A.

* Pololu 5V, 2.5A Step-Down Voltage Regulator D24V22F5

_Pololu 5V, 5A Step-Down Voltage Regulator D24V50F5

As far as interfacing the SONY battery, The video is not viewable here.
I'd take the charger apart and use the top of the charger(the part that your battery accepts) and use it to hold the battery. It may not lock in as do most of these batteries when inserted into your device....like they do in your camera.

Cheap Charger interface...
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
25,664
For a typical 2 hour interview I need to bring 12-16 batteries.
I do have rechargeable AA's, but having to stop the interview every 20-30 minutes to swap batteries,
I don't understand the short battery life. :confused:
It appears to be much less than the specification (below):

upload_2019-2-1_11-23-18.png
 

Thread Starter

MrGaff

Joined Feb 1, 2019
4
Thanks iONic!
This is exactly what I was wanting to do! Thanks!
I think this might actually work! :)
Will be a fun project nonetheless.
I'll post back with my finished project if I decide to pull the trigger and go ahead with this.

Crutschow, that's not a bad idea! The only reason I want to use the NP-F batteries is because I already have 6 of them, and they are pretty generic/universal. I'll have to give this some thought.
RE: the battery lifetimes you posted. Hmmm... Maybe their is something wrong with my unit? Though I've heard the same short battery life from multiple sources on the web/youtube.
I guess the only thing I can say is those numbers are from the manufacturer and are very generous?
I'm using either 4 Amazon Basics rechargeables or 4 Energizer rechargeables rated at 2000mah. They don't last NEARLY that long.
Would be lovely if could get 2+ hours on 4 AA's.
 

iONic

Joined Nov 16, 2007
1,650
The only drawback with the converter is that it may discharge the SONY battery below a safe level. My guess is that they should not be discharged below 6V. But they may easily last through a recording session, whereby you would recharge or swap-out the battery. Just something to keep in mind.

Whether or not a 7.4V-8.4V voltage is OK with the 5V system is questionable. It is likely OK, but that is another point to consider. For all we know the system is regulated down further in the device itself, but that may be difficult info to attain.

In the meantime, swapping the rechargeable batteries for High-performance Alkaline is your best bet or Energizer Ultimate Lithium @3500mAh.
 
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Thread Starter

MrGaff

Joined Feb 1, 2019
4
@crutschow I have to thank you for posting those times.
It made me want to test exactly how long my recorder would record before shutting down.
My findings were surprising. After 20 minutes the battery indicator went down to one bar. After 30 minutes it went completely empty and began flashing.
But it continued recording for a total of 2 hours and 20 minutes.
This was with NiMh rechargeable AA's.

It's pretty standard practice when filming interviews that you change the batteries when the device gets to 25-30% power, to ensure that no audio or footage is lost. So I never knew! :O
For the past few years I and many others have been thinking the Tascam dr60d chugs batteries like a frat boy at a graduation party, when really the battery indicator just doesn't reflect remaining power accurately.

I tried it with Alkaline and Nimh batteries, same story with both of them.

I still might try modding it, a fun project.
Should be somewhat easy to swap between usb power, AA power, and NP-F battery.

Thanks all for the help! :)
 
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