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| p.1 #1 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery |
So I've found something exciting that I wanted to share with other owners of the Elinchrom RX Speed and RX Speed AS 1100 w/s battery packs. I recently learned that there is a company that is selling a retrofit lithium battery designed to replace the B.B Battery BP12-12 lead acid battery, which is the exact make/model that Elinchrom uses in the Ranger. It's the exact same size, outputs the same voltage and is a plug and play fit for the Ranger RX Speed AS. I've corresponded with another user who has installed it successfully into their Ranger, and I also spent some time discussing the technical specifics with battery seller to make sure that everything would work. I've gotten one myself recently and have installed it in my Ranger and tested it, everything functions perfectly.
To cut to the chase... It makes the Ranger pack 5lbs lighter, and despite the lighter weight it has roughly 150% of the total capacity on a single charge. All for only $139, and it installs in 5 minutes.
The company that sells them is Stark Power, part number SP-12V12-EP. I believe this only fits the RX Speed models, not the older Ranger or the Ranger RX. It can be purchased at the link here: 12V 12Ah, StarkPower 'UltraEnergy" Lithium Ion Battery (LiFePO) Energy Storage Battery
All the technical specs and details are on their web page, but here are some more specific details that you might want to know:
Weight: The lead battery weighs 8.9lb, the lithium weighs 3.9lbs, exactly 5lbs lighter. The entire Ranger pack with battery now weighs just 12.6lbs, a very noticeable difference.
Capacity: I've gotten 300 full power pops on a single charge. The other photographer I corresponded with has gotten 320 pops. This is in normal/fast charge mode. Elinchrom specs for the OEM lead battery indicate 195 pops at full power on normal mode and 250 pops in slow charge mode. I don't know if slow charge would give any additional capacity for the lithium battery, haven't tried it. Note that the battery charge remaining LED's on the Ranger pack work a little differently with the lithium batteries since the voltage doesn't drop off as they are used. The pack will show full charge right up until the last 25-50 shots.
Recycle Time: Recycle times are basically the same as with the lead batteries. However, one thing I did notice is that the recycle time doesn't slow as the battery wears down like the lead battery does. I was getting pretty much the same recycle times from the beginning through well beyond 250 pops. Current draw on the battery is rated to a max of 30A, and the Ranger uses a 40A battery fuse, so they should be an okay match. The supplier thought it was fine for this current application. I found that when running the battery hard (repeated consecutive full power pops trying to drain a full battery) that the pack got slightly warm, but nothing alarming.
Charging: Stark Power offers a lithium battery charger for a reasonable cost. However, in discussion with them they indicate that the standard Elinchrom charger is a very close match to their charger (14.6 vs 14.7 volts) and it has a similar 3 stage process where voltage is reduced when full charge is detected. They told me it would be fine to use the Elinchrom charger with their battery. Note that the Elinchrom charger doesn't fully turn off (it reduces to 13.8v), so you do want to unplug the battery once the charger light turns green since trickle charging is bad for Lithium batteries.
And for those of you curious to see it and how the installation goes, here are some pics...
Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS Battery drawer. 6 screws around the top edge perimeter need to be removed, then the top panel and internal battery slide out together.
Internal OEM battery plus lid/fuse assembly. The only points of connection to the battery are the two clips highlighted on the left.
Side by side comparison of the OEM Ranger battery (left) and the Stark Power lithium battery (right). Dimensions/fit are identical.
New battery connected and ready to install back in the drawer. Note that the positive tab needs to be bent slightly to accommodate the blue wire underneath. (See prior photo on the old battery)
Entire process only takes a few minutes to install. It really is plug and play. The weight difference is startling. 5 lbs is quite a noticeable amount and the extra battery capacity is a great thing to have.
Disclaimers: I've got no connection with Stark Power other than as a happy customer. Use at your own risk... I've installed mine and am happy with it, but can't guarantee that you won't blow up your Ranger or burn down your house.