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Thread: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

  1. #1
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    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.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    Cool post Sheldon!
    I don't use Rangers any more but if I had this solution I might have kept them!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Ciao,
    Giorgio Niro
    www.giorgioniro.com

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    This is exactly what I've been hoping for. Thanks for posting. I'll definitely be getting two for the Speed AS.
    I pulled out the battery from my Ranger RX (the small one), and found that it uses the BB BP7-12 battery. Stark has two batteries which may be used as replacement for it, a 6 Ah one and an 9Ah one.
    The 6 Ah one weighs only two pounds, 3.6 lbs less than the BP7-12, bringing the total weight down from 14.6 lbs to 10.7 lbs. Even though the Ah is reduced from 7 to 6, your experience with the Speed AS leads me to believe I would get more flashes.
    The 9 Ah one weighs only 2.8 pounds, half that of the lead one, but with a significant increase in capacity. The total weight with this battery would still be quite manageable at 11 1/2 lbs. I think I'll go this route for the RX.

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    Cool idea - but unfortunately shipping to Germany is 100$, and then add 19% taxes to those 240$ for import :-(
    In case someone knows a shop here in Europe (I didn't find with google) I'm happy for any advice :-)
    Andreas

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    Quote Originally Posted by gss View Post
    This is exactly what I've been hoping for. Thanks for posting. I'll definitely be getting two for the Speed AS.
    I pulled out the battery from my Ranger RX (the small one), and found that it uses the BB BP7-12 battery. Stark has two batteries which may be used as replacement for it, a 6 Ah one and an 9Ah one.
    The 6 Ah one weighs only two pounds, 3.6 lbs less than the BP7-12, bringing the total weight down from 14.6 lbs to 10.7 lbs. Even though the Ah is reduced from 7 to 6, your experience with the Speed AS leads me to believe I would get more flashes.
    The 9 Ah one weighs only 2.8 pounds, half that of the lead one, but with a significant increase in capacity. The total weight with this battery would still be quite manageable at 11 1/2 lbs. I think I'll go this route for the RX.
    Very cool, let us know if you're able to get it to fit and have it work properly in the smaller RX pack.

    The one thing to check with the smaller batteries is whether they can handle the current draw of the RX pack. Recharging a capacitor can have a very high initial current draw, which tapers off exponentially as the pack recharges. I think the smaller batteries have a lower rating for maximum amps, but the RX pack may still have the same amount of current draw as the bigger pack (someone told me it spikes as high as 50amps initially). The current for the RX Speed AS pack is already about as high of a load on the larger battery as I'd be comfortable going with, so it might be too much for the smaller battery.

    Maybe give Stark Power a call and talk to them about whether they think it would work?

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    just came across this.
    hey Sheldon - thanks so much - as the owner of 3 Ranger RX packs,
    and lugging 6 batteries, this is awesome news.
    Now I can actually ditch all the original batteries, and just send the packs
    to Elinchrom for cleaning and repair...THANKS again.

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    Does the ranger charger work fine with this lithium battery?

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    Quote Originally Posted by ocarlo View Post
    just came across this.
    hey Sheldon - thanks so much - as the owner of 3 Ranger RX packs,
    and lugging 6 batteries, this is awesome news.
    Now I can actually ditch all the original batteries, and just send the packs
    to Elinchrom for cleaning and repair...THANKS again.
    You may want to keep a Lead battery for cold weather operation if you ever have to shoot in cold weather.

    - Marc

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    I just did the conversion. I and bought a used ranger speed with an old battery recycle time was very slow 3 3/4 seconds now very fast and so much lighter. Unreal thanks Sheldon now I am not jealous of the hensel and profoto systems with lithium batteries and light weight.

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    Well after further review the lithium was about 3.4 seconds at full power. So I was upset so since I had two batteries and I bought a new lead acid cell for my other battery and that one was faster then the lithium it is right about right for the specs of the unit. so I guess I will keep both one for light weight and if the speed it getting to me switch out to the lead acid. Sheldon has since told me the lithium gets warm when used hard so another reason to keep both lead and lithium David
    Last edited by dseelig; 23rd June 2014 at 12:14.

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    For the lead acid battery rather then the standard panasonic that was in my battery pack, being told it would give me more flashes, I got a PowerSonic 12140 it gave 207 full power flashes before the auto shutoff and then another 17 before a shutoff again and then another 8 flashes so 232 at full power. Not bad I am keeping this and the lithium as a combo. The lead acid faster and better for quick work the lithium more flashes a little slower working .

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    I have an update when I heard someone was getting 2.5 seconds with the Stark battery I called Stark 3.5 seconds was slow I sent in my battery and was told the elinchrom charger was not as good and they sent me a smart charger. I am now getting slightly faster about 3.1 at full poser just off the lead acid but close enough I am very happy. I will probably get a second stark battery when funds allow.

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    It's a bit of an old thread but I am having difficulty finding a suitable Ranger RX AS Speed Lithium replacement in the UK (or Europe). Has anyone located a supplier over on this side of the pond?

    Thanks,
    Pat

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    Same here. I work in the field, and am frankly getting tired of the RX batteries' ridiculous weight.
    Shooting MF and wide-open however kinda keeps me in the 1200ws range - exploring maybe the Profoto D1
    now. Might there be any other options readily available?

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    Re: Elinchrom Ranger Lithium Battery

    Well, Tracerpower in the UK are not able to provide a suitable replacement:

    "Thanks for your reply and photos. I'm sorry to say that I don't think our battery packs are suited to your application. While we have batteries that are similar size (12V 12Ah LiFePO4), the battery packs you have listed and the power requirement of the lighting equipment looks to take very high amounts of power for a very short time (during flash). Sadly, our batteries cannot offer as much as 1000W of output. The largest we can offer is 360W, found on the BP2564 - 12V 16Ah LiFePo4 battery."

    No joy

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