Forever power for your VIO POV-HD
(at least it feels that way)

Disclaimer:  If you destroy your POV-1, POV-1.5, or POV-HD by using the below procedure, it's not my fault.  I took a calculated gamble and it worked.

[ Monday - June 13, 2011 ]

Having owner the VIO POV-HD for a couple of weeks now, I find myself frustrated that I can't seem to be able to power the unit for any length of time.  Either that or I'm tethered to the bike power and I can't film away from the bike.  Not only that but the Lithium AA batteries are expensive for 5 hours of life.  This is defeating the purpose of having a POV system.  Fortunately for me, I have enough VIO equipment that a light bulb ignited in my head.  I did a quick test.  Next thing I know, I'm once again untethered from the bike and treating the POV-HD like the POV-1 with rechargeable batteries.  Below are the steps that I took to do this.  I don't know if you have the same equipment, but I'm sure you can find an equivalent Li-Ion battery source.

To start with, I went ahead and ordered one of these for the POV-HD.  You'll definitely need one of these power adapters for you POV-HD to allow for use of a different power source other than 4 x AA batteries.  Trust me, you don't want to use NmH batteries as they don't have the capacity needed for the POV-HD.  Even freshly charged, my NmH lasted at best one hour.  It blows to change out rechargeable batteries so much in a ride.  8 hours of charging for 1 hour of use.  Not cool.

Of the three items in the kit, you only need these two items.

With the cord that's suppose to connect to the vehicle power, just cut off the two circular battery connectors.  Note that the wire with the fuse is the positive lead.  Now strip the wire housing to expose the copper inside.  Be careful not to over strip the wire as the copper inside is quite delicate.  I had to make a couple of attempts before I'm able to get a good bundle of copper.  The wire was getting shorter and shorter.

Next you'll need to evaluate your battery power source.  In my case I had a couple (three) of these old VIOSPORT power packs that supplied power to the older VIO Adventure and H2O cameras.

Note the battery pack says VIOSPORT.

This battery pack makes things convenient for me.  No matter what battery packs you use, make sure the battery pack has the below specs.

It says...
EC7122 External Li-Ion Power Pack, (Warning: Please read instructions before use.) <-- Charger input/DC Output
Outside connector: negative, Inside connector: positive.
2000mAh Lithium-Ion inside, Charger Input: 8.7VDC, Assembled in Taiwan, DC Output: 12V, 250mA, Cells made in Japan

Basically, you want 12VDC.  Vehicle power is normally 12VDC or 14VDC.  The mAh is just your electrical reservoir.

Here are some other images about the VIOSPORT battery pack kit's charger system.

Charging of the batter pack.  The VIOSPORT battery pack has to be turned off to charge.

Anyway, I bought one of these connectors to hook up to the battery pack.

I didn't use the full length.  The wire was trimmed to side.

Next, it's a bit of operating on the wire above and the coiled cord that comes with the POV power kit.  An alternate wiring method is to find yourself an SAE connector and solder the wire above to the SAE connector.  If you're going the SAE route, be sure to solder the female SAE connector to the positive, and the male connector to the negative.  Look at the image below.

SAE connector

I wish I had the SAE connector.  That way I wouldn't need to cannibalize the coiled battery cord in the POV power kit.  I might find myself an SAE connector later when my existing setup goes bust.

You might want to have a volt meter/ohm meter handy to verify your wiring is correct and good before connecting everything together.  Use the ohm meter to verify the wires are all well connected.  Use the volt meter to make sure you're getting that 12VDC from your battery pack.  Now it's just a matter of connecting the entire system together and checking to see if the POV-HD powers on correctly.

I bought some webbing from REI and a couple of connector and built myself a shoulder sling for the POV-HD.
The POV-HD sits in a pouch made from a bunch of double sided Velcro.  The battery also sits in a Velcro pouch.

A close look at the mating between the coiled power cord and the battery pack.

The POV-HD is now powered by the small Li-Ion battery pack.

You can barely see it, but the POV-HD shows all 4 bars in the battery indicator.
It's full on power.

You can use other battery packs with similar specs.  Here are a couple of reasons why I like the VIOSPORT battery pack.  Unfortunately VIO doesn't make these battery packs any more.

On/Off switch so I can't waste power when I don't want the battery pack to run down.

The batter pack comes with a power on indicator and ...

... a power level indicator.  How cool is that?

Here's the amazing thing about these VIOSPORT Li-Ion power packs.  When I got my POV-1 three years ago, I charged these batteries before stowing them away.  Li-Ion isn't suppose to have memory, but from what I've heard, it's better to charge the battery and put the away.  Now that I have the POV-HD, I simply pulled these battery packs off the shelf and just started using them because they're still fully charged.  Well, at least 90% charge.  That's amazing.  That's after three years of sitting around not doing nothing.  I guess storing the batteries under ideal conditions had a lot to do with it (e.g. cool dark dry place).

Unlike the NmH AA rechargeable batteries, I've already done one day of commuting (approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours) and it doesn't even phase the battery pack.  It nice to leave the POV system recording while walking around away from the bike.  Now this is what I'm talking about people!  These battery packs use to allow me to do an entire week of commuting (approximately 10+ hours) before charging.  Let's see how long this pack lasts for the POV-HD after sitting around for three years on the same charge.

And there you have it.  The POV-HD is powered from an external power source that is easily rechargeable without the use of AA batteries.  I wish VIO-POV would create such a product instead of me having to adhoc some thing, but in the end I had the materials already, it's just a matter of putting it all together.  My portable power problem for the POV-HD is solved.  Now I just need to gather the $s for those darn 32GB SD cards.  They're a pretty penny.

Update [ Wednesday - June 22, 2011 ]

Unending limitless power?  Not quite.  At least this battery pack is able to power the POV-HD for approximately 4 hours.  Not bad for a small 2000mAh battery pack.  The only down side for using this battery pack system is I have to set the clock every time I power the unit on.  It's a slight annoyance, but it only takes a couple of seconds to do.  However the ability to record the time in the video is worth the couple of seconds.  4 hours worth of reusable power is definitely better than buying packs after packs of expensive disposable Lithium AA batteries.  This is definitely more cost effective to operate.  With the stats I have, it appears the unit consumes approximately 500mA per hour when recording.  At this point I really don't need a larger capacity battery pack.  Still here's an interesting website full of battery packs that can be adapted for use by the POV-HD.  There are some really cool battery packs.

Written on: June 13, 2011
Last modified: June 22, 2011