Recently Band Pro sat down with Blockbattery's Founder & CEO Norm Kellogg to learn more about their products.
BP: What makes Block Battery different from the other batteries currently available for broadcast & cinema acquisition?
NK: Our approach to product development. For example, the product development approach that we see nearly every other battery company following today is trying to adapt an ENG camera battery mount from the 1970’s to today’s equipment applications, or similarly a v-mount version of that same type of camera battery. Now let’s be honest, for cameras and small lights, such as those under 75 watts, adapting the camera batteries has worked out fine. However, the entire landscape of portable production equipment that we see today has a much wider range of voltage requirements and a much higher range of power requirements. Our approach to product development has been to recognize this new landscape of portable equipment and take a fresh look at how to solve the power challenges head-on. As a result of this, we’ve created the 2F1 battery platform, which is a complement to our large format block batteries and can be integrated into a scalable battery solution for just about any application up to 600 watts of total power. The 2F1 battery platform provides higher current carrying characteristics and offers widest range of DC voltages of any battery in this industry.
BP: What voltage ranges do you provide? And, how do you do it?
NK: We now provide battery solutions for 12V, 13V, 14V, 24V, 26V, 28V, 30V, 48V and AC, and power requirements up to 600 watts. Depending on the camera, lighting system or other equipment we are powering, we do this through a switchable voltage battery, which can provide one of two nominal voltage ranges, or regulated voltage battery that can usually provide two different voltage ranges simultaneously, or similarly via mounting system that regulates that voltage. The 2F1 battery platform is a perfect example. The name itself means TWO batteries from ONE, in that each battery can provide TWO different voltages. It is effectively a switchable battery and the mount functions as the switch, accessing one voltage output circuit or another. We offer these in 12V/24V, 13V/26V and 14V/28V versions, which can address most of what we see in the cinematic, lighting and broadcast product industry. For anything else, we can address with a regulated voltage or AC power from our new 600-INV.
BP: Why all these new voltage ranges?
NK: Actually, most of these voltage ranges are not new and have been in use for years powering traditional film cameras, HMI lighting or other production equipment. The renewed interest or need for these voltages is a result of all the new high power lighting systems and/or cinematic cameras, which can require 100 watts or more. The challenge for equipment manufactures is how to provide for these high power requirements. There are basically two choices. They can increase the current (or amperage) or they increase the voltage, or some variation of both. However, whichever choice they make is a tradeoff that affects the performance or equipment reliability. The good news for BlockBattery customers is that we’re prepared for nearly all portable power applications up to 600 watts total power, and can scale capacity accordingly.
BP: What kind of feedback are you getting back from users in the field?
NK: Nothing but praise. To quote one customer: “At 4 ½ hours the BlockBattery was going strong. Pretty awesome! And they’re built like a tank. I’m impressed”. That’s the feedback we love. It’s the goal of our team to make sure no customer ever regrets buying a block battery product and we take that commitment very seriously.
BP: Did you guys introduce anything new at NAB this year?
NK: BlockBattery introduced a new mid-range block at NAB. The BlockBattery 800 WHr block that most customers have seen or used is a workhorse. Four years in the field and we have yet to re-cell a single unit. However, that kind of durability comes in at 37 pounds, a little heavy for some, so we introduced our 560WHr block that uses the same tried and true structure, but charges in half the time compared to competitors, and it weighs only 28 pounds. We also introduced the new S-Box and D-Box for our 2F1 block platform that allows customers to mount up to 240WHrs of power, right on the C-Stand for the new high power Led lights.
Also at NAB this year we introduced the 600-INV battery station that accepts four 2F1 blocks and comes with a 600 watt pure sine wave inverter for powering AC only applications. Block Battery also introduced the first switchable Lithium Ion 2F1-150 battery this year and plans are made to release this product this summer, for those that like the lightweight of Lithium.
BP: What’s next on the drawing board?
NK: You can expect many more solutions from Block Battery, but the camera and lighting manufacturers will lead the way in setting the power requirements. On the horizon is a 2F1 battery platform solution for some new high-power 48 volt lighting systems that are expected this Fall.
For more information, or to demo a Block Battery unit, contact your Band Pro Salesperson at 1-888-BAND-PRO, or email us at email@example.com