Steadicam Pilot BP-U conversion
When I purchased my Steadicam Pilot it came with the AA battery option which allows you to run the sled mounted monitor using 10 standard AA batteries in a removable pack on the sled.
I found that dealing with AA batteries was too much hassle, they are very fiddly to replace in the field as well as being particularly awkward to charge if you decide to use rechargeable AA’s.
Owning four Sony BP-U60 batteries for my EX1 I decided to have a go at modifying the Pilot to use one of those, meaning that I’d only have to charge one type of battery. I expect a U60 will also run the monitor for much longer than the AA’s, although I haven’t actually tested that yet.
Having a U-60 mounted to the sled also means that I could run the EX1 from that single battery if required with the use of a lead running from the power outlet on the Pilot’s stage to the EX1′s power input socket.
I’m happy to have a U60 in the camera as well though so I haven’t bothered making such a lead yet.
The first thing I did was to order a Dolgin EX-V, this is a simple plastic receiver plate with a wire coming out of one end. You can order various connectors to go on the wire, but the standard 2.1mm jack is perfect for the Steadicam Pilot and plugs straight into the socket on the Carbon post.
To fit the EX-V I simply removed the AA battery holder from the sled and then removed the four screws holding the lower part of the battery holder. This leaves the upper part which is perfect for mounting the EX-V too and still allows the whole assembly to be slid back onto the sled and tightened in position.
To mount the EX-V I first removed it’s backing plate and the drilled four small holes in line with the Pilots battery mount, then simply screwed the two together allowing the screws to self-tap into the plastic of the EX-V. I might use nuts, bolts & washes in the future, but for now this seems a strong enough solution.
Once that’s done it’s just a case of screwing the EX-V back together again and running the wire into the Pilots socket.
The batteries fit really snugly into the EX-V and remain solid without any movement at all. I might try to add some kind of latch to make it impossible for them to come out without a definite two handed action, but there’s no way the battery will fall out under normal use.
Update – Flipping Battery!
It suddenly occured to me that I could flip the battery mount up the other way on the sled, this will stop the BP-U60 from hitting the ground and makes it a lot easier to monitor remaining power by pressing the U60′s power button. The rig still seems balance okay both statically and dynamically so only time will tell if I run into any problems with it in use.