Battery Chemistry is important.

Beyond the increasing amount of data and studies saying which type of battery lasts for X dation and has y life-cycle, why should you check that your batteries and respective chargers are compatible? Why check that your charger is optimized for the battery? This may sound like an obvious point but without knowing the chemistry of your battery and how it works, you may reap undesired consequences.

For example, the batteries ikan carries (both DV and professional battery packs) are Lithium-Ion based batteries. Incorrect charging or discharging of these batteries is a fire hazard and should be cautioned against. Trying to charge batteries on chargers designed for a chemistry other than Li-Ion could damage the battery or charger–or even more scary: cause an electrical fire. Do you want that on set, in your garage next to your car or your children’s toys, or otherwise?

I agree that in most cases, this may seem a little extreme; however take heed here with some perspective: 787 dreamliners are currently grounded and Boeing is currently catching a crapstorm because the Li-Ion batteries on board of those aircraft caught fire–in multiple instances. Granted, why those batteries caught fire is still under international investigation but for reasons like this…well, you get the idea.

In case you want to stray from the path, however, I want to educate you with a brief overview of  industry-standard brands to increase your safety and decrease your risk.

Sony uses a lithium ion chemistry in their V-Mount batteries. Charging our V-Mount batteries on their or other V-Mount chargers (and vice-versa) should work without hiccup.

Anton Bauer, however, uses much more than just Li-ion chemsitry in their battery systems. The chemistry of our AB-mount batteries does not match the chemistry of many of Anton Bauer’s official batteries. For this reason, charging one of ikan’s AB-mount Li-ion batteries on a Anton Bauer charger (and vice versa) is not recommended. What’s more, we aren’t the only company that creates Li-ion AB-mount batteries.

In our product guides, we recommend you only charge ikan batteries with their respective ikan chargers. To be clear, almost all third party batteries are Li-ion, so our Li-ion batteries are mostly compatible with other chargers but it’s worth double checking your stats and hardware.

Again–it’s all about chemistry, baby.

Smart/Interactive batteries vs “Dumb”  batteries

Over the last decade or so Sony and Anton Bauer have both implemented “smart” or “chipped” batteries that communicate with the camera or the charger for more precise data reporting to the user (among other reasons).

A great example of this comes from Sony. They’ve designed their cameras and batteries to communicate with each other on order to operate. Why? If a non-Sony (read: non-licensed or official) battery is plugged into the camera, it won’t turn on because of the lack of chip authentication–in a way similar to HDMI, if you’re familiar.

On our Ultra-high Capacity (UHC) Sony BP-U battery, we use a pig-tail- or p-tap-like cable to plug directly into the DC port of the camera. This series of battery from ikan gets around Sony’s authentication process by tricking the camera into operating as if it is plugged in via AC power.

In this light, however, Anton Bauer goes the extra step in their proprietary goodness. Even if the chemistry were the same, they’ve added a handshake protocol between battery and charger, enabling acquisition of charging data such as voltage, internal temperature, battery chemistry, size, and more by the charging unit. This information is checked against the charger’s IC (internal controller) and after analysis, it optimizes the charging cycle to better longevity of battery and efficiency of charge. The data here is (somewhat surprisingly) extensive–enough that linking the battery to a computer will provide you with printouts  about the number charge cycles and the condition of its power cels. You wont have access to this information unless you use Anton Bauer’s proproetary equipment; however, you could check out our digital pro batteries which provide the same information.

Hope that helps!