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Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery
  
 
Sheldon N
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p.1 #1 · 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.



Nov 27, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Bubble
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


thanks for the info. I'll take a look. The OEM is pretty heavy.


Nov 28, 2013 at 10:08 PM
MazeRunner
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


Great info! Thanks for sharing!

Now is there a company that sells the bulbs for the A/S heads and instructions on how to replace?



Nov 29, 2013 at 02:41 AM
miccullen
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


Awesome stuff, Sheldon.


Dec 01, 2013 at 11:48 PM
EdwardLinsmier
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


Wow, this is pretty exciting… I've been looking at switching to Profoto for the lithium batteries. I'll be sure to check this out. Is everything still working as it should?


Dec 14, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Sheldon N
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


Yes, everything working great thus far. I have done a couple test shoots with it, but nothing heavy duty yet (other than doing the full run through an entire battery at full power, 300 pops over the course of about an hour).

I'm still going to be careful with aggressive use at full power, since I don't want to overheat the battery with excessive current draw. The battery has a thermal safety shutoff that will cut off current if the battery gets too hot. However, a lot of what I shoot is less than full power so I don't think I'll really have to change my working methods.

Now if only the weather would cooperate so I can get out and shoot.



Dec 14, 2013 at 07:30 PM
nolaguy
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


That was a very thorough, generous write up, Sheldon. Thanks for taking the time. And for risking your Ranger's and house for the good of the team!



Regards,

Chuck



Dec 15, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Bob_Croslin
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


I tried to rebuild a Profoto 7b battery with the Starkpower 12v battery and was not able to get it to work. The specs are the same as the lead-acid 12v battery but apparently there's an inrush current issue that causes the pack to shut itself off. Has anyone had this issue when rebuilding the Elinchrom batteries?

Bob



Feb 09, 2014 at 01:09 AM
 

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Sheldon N
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


Haven't had that issue with my Ranger, but I could see that being the key problem for any of these retrofits. The lead acid batteries are capable of delivering a high current draw for short bursts, which is the same way that the capacitors in a pack need to draw current when recharging.

I think the Profoto 7b has an even bigger current draw than the Ranger, since it's spec'd to recyle 1200 watt seconds in 2.8 seconds vs the Ranger's 1100 watt seconds in roughly 3 seconds. I don't know what that works out to as an amp load for that initial burst, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's beyond what the Lithium battery can supply. Someone told me that the initial burst current draw for the Ranger was something like 50 amps, and the battery is only spec'd to 30A. The Profoto current draw would be more than that, and perhaps its circuitry is more sensitive to current drop off when recharging.



Feb 09, 2014 at 05:28 PM
Bob_Croslin
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


I was able to rebuild an Elinchrom Ranger battery with the cell that wouldn't work in the Profoto B2 so I know the battery is fine. I'm going to call Stark and see if they can get to the bottom of why their battery won't work.


Feb 10, 2014 at 06:49 PM
arich
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


Would be great if we could do this on the Quadra as well.


Jun 15, 2014 at 01:19 AM
Sheldon N
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


arich wrote:
Would be great if we could do this on the Quadra as well.


I know someone who has done it, but I think it was a little more involved than this... not quite plug and play. I'm also not sure that he's field tested it fully yet, but I know it's at least up and running.

I think he's running with this battery and charger, size is different so you'd need to retrofit something and also deal with the different connectors.

http://www.hobbypeople.net/index.php/hobby-people-14-8v-3200mah-4s-30c-lipo-battery-t-conn.html

http://www.hobbypeople.net/index.php/hp-mdl-activator-50-ac-dc-charger-6a-multi-chemistry-cycler.html



Jun 15, 2014 at 05:07 AM
Littleguy
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


Doesn't the Quadra already have a Li-Ion battery option made by Elinchrom?

http://elinchrom.com/product/RQ-Li-Ion-Charger-Set.html

arich wrote:
Would be great if we could do this on the Quadra as well.




Jun 16, 2014 at 08:21 PM
arich
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


Littleguy wrote:
Doesn't the Quadra already have a Li-Ion battery option made by Elinchrom?

http://elinchrom.com/product/RQ-Li-Ion-Charger-Set.html



Yeah but it's $470, the battery linked above is only $140. My Quadras work great as they are, making them Li-Ion would just be a luxury, not something I feel like throwing a grand at.



Jun 17, 2014 at 01:31 PM
davidsee
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


One thing the lithium recylces a little slower .40 seconds form what I can tell and according to Sheldon not quite as good in rapid shooting situations. So I a,m keeping one battery lead acid and one lithium. Also I replace the lead acid I and it was dying with the PowerSonic 12140 it gets 207 before it should down then another 17 flashes so a little more oomph then the panasonic the stock battery came with.


Jun 24, 2014 at 09:19 PM
Sheldon N
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery


Yeah, if you are looking for the ultimate in fast recycling of full power pops the lead acid is probably a better bet. Running the lithium too hard might overheat it, and it sounds like it might recycle a tiny bit slower. I didn't notice a difference in recycle times when I changed mine out, but that was maybe because I had an older battery.


Jun 25, 2014 at 12:38 AM





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