Magazine article American Cinematographer

Cinema Workshop

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Cinema Workshop

Article excerpt

Battery Connectors

There are three types of power cable connectors in common use on most professional motion picture batteries. These are the 5-pin Cannon XLR, the 4-pin Cannon XLR, and the 2-pin banana. The 2-pin banana was very popular for use with Arriflex cameras since the 1940's. At the time it was introduced there was not the present variety of commercially available multi-pinned connectors and the banana was sufficient for the early needs. Back in the 40's and early 50's there was no necessity for polarization, as there were no transistorized motors that could be damaged by inverted polarity. Two pins were sufficient, because there was no need for multiple voltages or connections for pilotone and bloop.

Times have changed, and the 2-pin banana is essentially obsolete, although there are still many in use. Almost all new battery systems have standardized on the 5-pin Canon XLR connector. Arriflex themselves have made the transition to the 5-pin XLR and most independent battery manufacturers (ANTON/BAUER, CINE 60, etc.) have also adopted this convention. The main reason for the popularity of the 5-pin XLR is its universal applicability. The five pins provide a multitude of voltages to run almost any professional motion picture camera. The Arri 16S & 16M run on 8.4 volts; the Arri 35IIC needs 16.8 volts; and most modern cameras (Bolex, Arri 16BL, 16SR, 35BL, and Eclair NPR, ACL) run on 12 volts. The 5-pin Canon XLR provides all these voltages automatically. Referring to FIGURE 1, PIN 1 is ground; PIN 2 is +8.4 volts; PIN 3 is +12 volts; PIN 4 is +16.8 volts; and PIN 5 is reserved for special application.

Power cables are simply wired to the 5-pin connector according to the camera being used. Arri 16S & 16M: ground to PIN 1 and positive to PIN 2. Arri 35IIC: ground to PIN 1 and positive to PIN 4. All 12-volt cameras: ground to PIN 1 and positive to PIN 3. Thus, no voltage switch is necessary, as the properly wired cable automatically taps the correct voltage for the application.

One world of caution: Be very careful when soldering these XLR connectors. Even the smallest drop of solder between any of the five pins will cause a dead short across the battery.

What about the 4-pin Canon XLR? Why not standardize on the 4-pin XLR which has been around for years? …

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