The Cisco Flip Video UltraHD is a very basic 720p video recording device. It has a screen, a few buttons, and USB and HDMI ports. Not very much going on. Record, play back, copy to computer. However, these devices were discontinued, so my friend and I bought two to share at $29 a piece. I was very keen on using them together for 3D video.
To prepare for this weekend’s 2nd annual Ottawa Pinball Expo, I was making sure all my camera gear’s batteries were charged. The Flip UltraHD takes 2 AA batteries, which is generally enough to allow you to completely fill the camera’s 1 hour internal memory.
I noticed that there was a rechargeable battery pack you could buy for the Flips. It charges when the camera is plugged in to a USB port. This battery pack is really just two AA NiMH rechargeable batteries wrapped together, with a little tab that pushes on a switch to tell the camera that the pack is installed, and not regular AAs. When I realized this, I figured I could modify the Flips to work with my own AA NiMHs, and charge when connected to my computer.
Being a very technology-inclined person, electricity has an important role in much of my daily life. Many of my tools require it (I include computers in this category) and, when the power goes out, it is the absence of server noise that alerts me, not that of light. The best way to keep these devices running is with a UPS (see previous post on the subject).
Above is the “defender of the Internet” – this UPS keeps the modem, router, gigabit switch (and in passing, my amplifier) powered in the event of a power outage.
This UPS was $15 at a thrift store, is rated for 350VA (so… 275W?), and originally came with a 7Ah battery. Naturally, the battery was toast. I instead ran some wire from the terminals to a 12Ah battery from a broken car booster pack. Yes, I simply wrapped the wire around the terminal.
I haven’t tested the life span, however I once left it unplugged, with my amplifier playing music, for 30 minutes without failure. Boredom led me to plug it back in. I expect it should last several hours powering only the network.
The server has 8 hard drives, and consumes a fair amount of electricity (more than the small UPS can provide). Because of this, a much larger UPS is needed. While browsing Kijiji one day, it occurred to me that I’ve never checked there for a UPS before. It was a good thing I did this time:
March break has found me a project! Here is a little background. My friend’s dad gave me an old Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) he had at home, but that the battery was no good. I have plenty of batteries, so this was a non-issue. The UPS was a godsend because that same day I had gone shopping for one, but not found one suitable for the server.
When I took this used UPS home, and hooked up all the batteries in my arsenal, I discovered that it was too weak to power the server for more than 2 seconds. Bummer. Even for power flickers that was not suitable, as there is a 5 second delay after the power returns before it switches back to mains power. What to do, what to do…
Oh, I know. Make my own!
Update: My testing proceedures blocked me from finding one critical fault with the design. As you will notice, I am using a resistor in order to short the capacitor from the AC-DC adapter, in order to more quickly de-energize the relays. Unfortunately, it still isn’t fast enough. My testing involved simply unplugging the adapter, and checking for any flickering in the devices. However, this testing does not remove mains power. Thus, the slight lag time for switch over does not affect the device, as it is has power on both relay positions. However, in a real situation, the power fails, both on input power and the adapter, and I’ve tested that my switch over time in this case is too great for most devices.
Fix to come…