May 1st 2012
RTBF choose to run with the ELITE
IDX Technology Europe, manufacturer of broadcast power products, won the tender to supply V-Mount Lithium Ion battery and charger systems to Belgian Broadcaster Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF). RTBF, based in Brussels, operate four television channels together with a number of radio channels. IDX has supplied 160 of their flagship 136Wh ENDURA ELITE Lithium Ion batteries, 80 simultaneous VL-2SPlus chargers and 80 V-Mount P-V2 plates for installation with RTBF’s fleet of Panasonic AJ-HPX2100 cameras. The equipment was supplied in partnership with Belgian distributor and IDX partner AV Group in April of this year.
The ELITE was selected after extensive testing against a wide range of technical criteria following a 3 month test period which involved both laboratory testing and field testing by RTBF cameramen. The ELITE’s reliability and conformity to IATA/UN standards, highest power-to-weight ratio, seamless integration with RTBF’s camera equipment and proven support service to European Broadcasters were the key factors in their decision.
The battery met criteria set by RTBF of providing a minimum capacity of 120Wh, but retaining the ability to be transported freely within IATA and UN standards. The ELITE comfortably met this criterion due to its unique construction and assembly method, being composed of two removable 68Wh PC-14 Power Cartridges housed within the a BH-2 polycarbonate battery enclosure. This construction allows the Cartridges to be removed prior to any form of air transportation and be re-inserted upon reaching their destination. The ELITE also passed altitude simulation, thermal testing, vibration, shock, 1.2m drop testing, external short circuit, impact, overcharge and forced discharge, all of which are required by IATA and UN Manual of Test and Criteria which not only make them compliant for air and freight travel, but ensures the Li-ion cells possess the optimum safety and protection features.
The VL-2SPlus was selected as the 2-channel simultaneous charger to handle the fast turnaround of the batteries, recharging 2 ELITE batteries in approximately 225 minutes. The VL-2SPlus also offered an output current via its industry standard 4-pin XLR port of up to 100W/6.7A for auxiliary equipment. The reliability and strength of the VL-2SPlus was important to withstand frequent use and transportation to and from location. As well as being housed in a high impact shock resistant polycarbonate enclosure, the VL-2SPlus has also been put through its paces with an independent vibration test report to check its durability under such conditions.
The ELITE’s integration with RTBF’s fleet of Panasonic HPX2100 cameras was also a big factor. The P-V2’s universal fixing meant it could be mounted directly to the back of the camera without alteration or modification. The P-V2 also provided a 50W D-Tap output to draw power from the battery to power on-board lighting. The ELITE’s performance is optimised with the P-V2, both carrying IDX’s Digi-View feature which allows battery capacity data, in voltage or percentages, to be shown in the camera viewfinder. The ELITE stores the current level of charge in the battery electronics and is sent to the viewfinder using industry standard data protocols. Other types of camera V-Mount plates cannot pass this data as they do not have the correct connectors.
There are many factors to be considered in choosing the correct battery system. Just as important as the technical competencies outlined above is the warranty support and technical support services. To assist RTBF in checking the capacity status of their battery fleet, IDX supplied a VAL-4Si diagnostic charging station which allows RTBT personnel to monitor the condition and usage history of each individual ELITE, ultimately increasing their lifespan and ensuring the batteries can be used with confidence.