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Be Careful: GH2 body dead after I connected it to a 8,4v Battery Pack
  • Oh no, inspired by this video:
    I bought a 8,4v battery (racing pack) pack and connected it to my brand new GH2! Now the camera is totally dead! Doesnt work with the power supply, doesnt work with the original battery!

    What shall I do now? Any idea what could have happened? I probably lost my warranty with the hack! Any advice? Any trick to get the camera working again?
  • 36 Replies sorted by
  • Ugh, sounds painful. I wonder if you got the polarity reversed when you wired it up? In that case the power regulators inside the camera might be blown or it might be as simple as a small fuse blown in there. According to the writing on my gh1 it works with 9.3volts so I don't think excessive voltage was the problem. Sounds like back to Panny for repair time. I've been told that the repair station in Mcallen Texas gives good results.

  • I built one of these batteries and it works fine. Replaced the connectors with XLR-type. Further to @donf, I was careful about polarity. I've used it on two shoots now with no problems of any kind.

    Stating the obvious, you might just have to take to a service center and get the news about repairing it.
  • The RC battery pack has a nominal voltage of 8.4v (1.2 x 7)...but in reality, after charging (and depending on the type of charger you use) the terminal voltage of the NiMH pack could be as high as 12v or more. That, combined with the low internal resistance of the adapter/camera would be enough to blow a lot of IC's and component's.

    I fear that repair might be more expensive than a new camera body...
  • Last week I bought a 3rd party ac/dc converter to use with the Pany DC adapter, prompted by the same video as linked to above. The male plug of the converter fitted the socket of the DC adapter nicely, but the default polarity was indeed reversed (fortunately I checked it with a meter before trying it on the camera).
  • @CobyD,

    What brand adapter did you buy, and did it ultimately work?

    What should the polarity of that adapter's tip actually be in order to work with the GH2?
  • I also use my GH2 with such a batter. Voltage is sometimes over 10 Volts but I didn't have a problem so far. I would just send it in for normal warranty repair and see what happens....
  • Thanks guys, I tried to be extra careful, but it probably was the polarity. I think the battery itself was wired wrong by default. I dont understand it though, isnt it the job of the DC coupler to take care of this???

    Anyways, does anybody know if the camera even has a fuse or power regulators which can be changed by service?

    It would be horrible, if the whole body is destroyed...
  • misterhu, sorry to hear about your problem. Hope you get things sorted out with Panny.

    I'm waiting to get my parts to do this, but is it easy enough to make sure the polarities are not crossed? I don't have a meter, but should I invest in one?

    CobyD, didn't you say the default polarity was reversed on the DC connector cable? Is this a manufacture blunder?
  • Ok this is a WARNING to everybody who want to use a custom build battery pack!

    Be super careful and measure everything through, from the battery till the very last pins of the DC coupler, otherwise you will destroy your camera, like I did!!!!

    I wanted to check what happened and just replaced all connectors with XLR and measured everything with the Voltmeter. I noticed the following:

    Normally all cables which carry the + voltage are marked with white color. The original Panasonic Power Supply carries the + voltage on the white marked color.


    The original Panasonic DC-coupler carries the minus on the cable which is marked with white color!

    This is insane! Panasonic switches suddenly the polarity in the connector which connects the DC coupler with the power supply. Probably a very mean trick to prevent compatibility

    Can anybody confirm this?
  • Hope they repair it. I think there was a big thread about these on the blue forum a while back and very clear that polarity was reversed.
  • I found that even though 8.4v works, depending on the features and outside temp(yes the temperature), 8.4v can be too little.

    When the camera would get hot, 8.4v would not power the camera.
  • @roy batty: the first adapter I bought would power the camera on in standby mode, but when I activated record it said "this battery is not compatible". It was a fairly puny adapter so I have a higher-amperage adapter on order. I will post the result and brand once I test it, plus the polarity. (I tried hard to find the Rhino adapter visible in that video, but I only ever found a lower-amp version and/or sites that were to vague about which model they were actually selling. So If anyone has success with a cheap AC adapter, please post a link!).

    I strongly recommend buying a cheap $10 meter at Radioshack -- check how the official battery has its polarity and then check when you wire up the DC coupler that the pins mimic the polarity of the official battery.
  • Or use a potato. I remember from my schooldays that if you stick a couple of wires about 1cm apart into a potato, the potato will turn blue around a wire of one polarity. Can't remember which but I'm sure I have a potato somewhere so I could test it and report back. Of course, you need to carry a potato around with you and wait a bit for it to work, but that's a small price to pay. Can't be fried or sauteed, has to be raw.

    UPDATE The potato turns green around the negative wire. So you need never worry about polarity again!
  • I quite supprised to her that you had a problem with the battery packs. I used mine for at least 3 hours and had no problems. As someone said above you could of had the poliarity wrong way round. I had my cable made from a shop so its been made properly. As for the DC wire not matching up I have no idea,- The shop were I bought the camera from said I wouldn't buy 3rd party adaptors for power as you may blow the fuse in the camera. I did it anyway because from the video above.

    The guy at the shop did say if I 3rd party battery was connected the DC coupler has some sort of a chip that tells the china man or engineers that a 3rd party power has been used. However I dont know if this is true or complete bollocks.

    Funny because sony did a simular thing with their Playstation 3 consoles. I bought one from Japan and it said 110 volt only on the back, so I bought a step down transformer for it that cost £60 no cheap. Then the shop were I bought it from in Japan told me just so happens they have opend the PS3 and checked the Power Unit and its a duel Power supply and works anywere!!!..........cheeky sods Sony.
  • CobyD: I orderd a Dynex universal camcorder like this one:

    It works! (I checked the polarity before I used it)

    If anyone orders one, make sure it comes with the straight tips, the ones that came with mine were only the speciality ones, but after I contacted the seller, they sent me the correct one (as pictured far left bottom, dimensions 4.75mmx1.75mm)
  • @markmark1

    What did you set the polarity of the adapter tip to?
  • I have built my own battery adapter which allows me to use Sony F970 batteries with my GH2. I have an electrical engineering background and I was very careful about how I designed my adapter. As has been stated the fully charged voltage of many batteries can be well excess of the rated voltage. While this in of itself may not cause damage to the GH2 I had no intent of letting my prized little GH2 see anything other than a nice clean compatible voltage level.

    So I decided to use a DC-DC converter in my adapter that steps the voltage from the battery down a little to be more compatible with the GH2's normal operating level. A Sony F970 has a start voltage of about 8.4 volts and drops to 7.4 for a considerable amount of time. The problem of course is that most DC-DC converters need some amount of "pressure" or voltage difference between the input voltage and the regulated output voltage. I wanted to supply my GH2 with a stable voltage of some level for the longest period of time.

    To do this I first ran a normal Panasonic battery down to almost empty. I then measured the voltage output from the Panasonic battery and found that at the last Bar on the battery gauge the Panasonic battery was reading 6.8 volts. Using this voltage I adjusted my DC-DC converter to output 6.8 volts. By doing this I know that my GH2 will never see more than 6.8 volts of power from my Sony F970 battery adapter. So when I plug in a fresh F970 with a voltage level of 8.4 volts my adapter steps that down to 6.8 volts and holds that voltage for a very long time.

    In testing I have been able to run a stock GH2 for 8 hours of virtually uninterrupted recording. That was having it record at 24P H looking at a TV screen for changing content. Each time the card filled I would format the card and start recording again. I think 8 hours from one Sony F970 battery is pretty good.

    The tough part was the actual connection to the GH2. I used a cheap third party battery to create my own power adapter. I found of course that the GH2 does not like to get just a voltage levels it also needs a special signature from the battery to allow the camera to operate. I had to incorporate a small mother board from the third party battery into my adapter as well. This was fairly tricky as there is little room between the contacts of the normal GH2 battery connections.

    I have never done a DIY video on my adapter for this reason. I am too concerned that the connections I used via the old third party battery were to delicate for many to do with out potentially damaging their GH2. I use my adapter often and love the long run times.

    In general please be careful when trying to adapter any type of power system to any camera or device. Always check the polarity then check it again, and check it again. You can check it a million times, you can be wrong only once.

  • The Dynex Charger is only tip positive.
  • @markmark1 - Do you set the Dynex charger to the 8.4v setting? I'm looking at getting one. Here are the specs:

    and I'm assuming the DC input to the DC coupler needs to be regulated, right?
  • @MarkInMaine
    Interesting sollution! What kind of DC-DC converter did you use? Is it compact? I'm interested in just lowering the voltage from a 12V battery, to somewhere around 8.6V, using this battery: Do you think that will work ok?
  • @evero
    For anyone feeling adventurous, I used a very small Texas Instruments circuit to convert my ~12V battery pack to 9.3V for my GH1. Depending on what country you are in, you might be able to obtain a free sample from Texas Instruments (I was in the UK when I obtained mine) I also have a 9V output which runs the camera just fine.

    More details here:
  • @evero
    1. No - input voltage is too high?
    2. Looks ok - no mention of efficiency though. I think it's a pretty inefficient circuit.
    3. This looks like the efficient variety (can't remember all the details now, it was ages ago I looked at this stuff)

    I would get something like this as mentioned in the other thread:

    Unless you've already bought the one without 9V output?
  • For some more detail about efficiency - buck converters are the inefficient sort - they basically discard the difference in voltage between input and output as waste heat (so from 12v to 9v you're losing at least 25% as waste heat)

    What you want is a switching voltage regulator which will usually achieve closer to 90-95% efficiency and of course not put out so much heat.

    The auction for number 2 says it's a switching so maybe it's fine.

    I got mine on eBay from someone in the UK who builds them himself. He was very helpful and asked me questions about what I was using it for to make sure it was suitable. The buck converter was 5 pounds, the switching regulator was 12 pounds but that was a few years ago now. Looks like he's still selling them:

  • @arvidtp

    I set it to 8.4v.

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "I'm assuming the DC input to the DC coupler needs to be regulated"

    The dc coupler (the bit that looks like a battery and goes into the camera) just feels like a hollow box that connects the wires from the coupler to the camera appropriate contacts. That's why we need the Dynex thing to power it at 8.4v.

    Make sure the seller includes the 4.75x1.75mm tip, that's the one you need for this. I had to get the seller to send it to me after the adapter and other tips arrived.