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    External Battery for the Zoom H4N


    Has anyone built an external battery for the Zoom H4N? Task was easy for the H4 but the H4N has a 5v DC input via the external power jack. Using Phantom power with my Rode mikes seems to drain the NiMh batteries very quickly (less than an hour it is down to 1 bar on the battery indicator) so I am contemplating the use of a 12v rechargable battery (one of those small brick sized 12v sealed batteries) with a DC/DC converter to take the 12v down to 6v. I am assuming 6v at this connector won't kill the Zoom. The alternative would be to set the DC/DC converted to 3v and wire it into the AA battery bay (similar to what Microscopia did in the "Whats in your bag" thread).

    Any thoughts/ideas/recommendations would be most welcome.

    Cheers

    David

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    higginsdj
    Has anyone built an external battery for the Zoom H4N? [...] Using Phantom power with my Rode mikes seems to drain the NiMh batteries very quickly (less than an hour it is down to 1 bar on the battery indicator) so I am contemplating the use of a 12v rechargable battery (one of those small brick sized 12v sealed batteries) with a DC/DC converter to take the 12v down to 6v.

    I don't know if this will help you, but when I was researching the Zoom H4n before choosing a digital recorder, some of the reviews I read seemed to indicate that the signal-to-noise ratio was worse when using phantom power.

    Having done a few tests with that here at home, I have found that phantom powered recordings do sound noisier to me than ones without it. So I only use mics which can be powered with their own battery and leave the phantom power off.

    I use 2700mAh rechargeable Ni-MH batteries in the H4n, and 2300mAh ones in my mics. Charged spares are small and light enough to carry around, and the charger is small and light enough too. If I carry 2 sets of spares for the H4n, I can be sure of getting a pretty good day's recording out of that arrangement, enough to fill a 16GB SD card at 96kHz/24bit quality (something over 7 hours and change). I have a feeling that my solution may be more ergonomically portable than wiring up a 12v battery.

    So if you can use batteries with your mics, I recommend doing so. I hope that was helpful. Good luck. smile

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    Both my external mikes have batteries but the NTG-2 doesn't have an on/off switch. With the battery installed it is always on! Seems odd to me and with it mounted inside the blimp or on the shock mount cage, the battery can't be replaced without removing it. I haven't used my gear enough to tell if the SNR is worse with Phantom power or not. I have 2 spare sets of 2450mha NiMh batteries and a spare 2450 NiMh for the NTG-2 so I guess that should run me a good day out.

    I need a good bag to hold all my gear so I can take it out in the field smile

    Cheers

    David

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    I have an NTG-2 as well and a battery seems to last a very, very, very long time (I have had mine probably 7-8 years now and changed the battery only two or three times maybe). That said I do usually use it with phantom power, so I don't know if that turns of the battery or not. But for years it was used on a camera with no phantom power and no problem with just the battery.

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    Well the NTG-2's manual says with a battery installed, you can use the mic for 500 hours. It doesn't say anything about using both phantom and a AA battery, but if you've only used 3 or 4 batteries in 7 or 8 years, I suppose it does indeed not draw current from the battery then.
    However, it is always advisable to take out the battery if you're not expecting to need it and when you don't use the mic for a good while. Personally, if I needed to use it with a battery, I would put it in when I'd start recording in the morning and take it out when I'm done in the evening.

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    You must have a different manual to mine. I can't see any reference to a duration on battery in any of the documentation (supplied with the mike or downloadable from the Rode site) But then again I could be suffering from domestic blindness smile

    Cheers

    David

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    As I understand it, many battery powered mics are designed to prioritise use of phantom power over a battery if both are present. And many mics have a pretty low current draw according to the spec sheets, so the batteries do last for ages.

    And I know what you mean about no on-off switch, none of my mics have one and it is annoying to have to fiddle the batteries in and out at the beginning and end of the day. I make that part of my assemblage/put away routines. But then again I don't have a blimp so that's one fiddle I don't have to bother with, at least for now. smile

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    higginsdj
    You must have a different manual to mine. I can't see any reference to a duration on battery in any of the documentation (supplied with the mike or downloadable from the Rode site)

    Possible, I have an English manual, which indeed does not say anything about battery life, and I have a German version, which says:
    "Jetzt können Sie das NTG-2 ca. 500 Stunden netzunabhängig betreiben." in the chapter about how to put in a battery.

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    I think I can live with leaving the battery in the mike all day then - will save a lot.

    Got the DC/DC converter (a German made device) in the mail today so will wire it up and see how it goes. It is infinitely adjustable so I should be able to set it to exactly 5v. I like to have this option - just in case smile

    For anyone interested it is a Kemo Electronic M015N DC/DC Converter. Takes anything from 6 to 28v as input and outputs 3 to 15v (dial adjustable) at up to 1.5Amps but the input voltage must be at least 3v higher than the output voltage. Not bad for $30AU.

    Cheers

    David

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    Hi there
    yes you can increase range for your h4n. You need an extra bat from 6.5v to 32 v ( and as many amperes / hours you can afford) a step down regulator like for instance the tracco power.
    if you want to be precise in duration you must know fist consumtion of your device with and without phantom. If you are interested i'll make you a sketch with few explanation.
    James

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