Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Nikon EH-6 secrets, part1

NOTE / DISCLAIMER:
Opening the covers of the EH-6 power supply, exposes parts with high voltage. So there is actual risk of electric shock, dangerous to your health. I have checked information in this article. I do not take any responsibility of the actual information, the correctness of information, or misusage of it. If you have any feedback, please inform me.

This "cracking project" started when I bought a external power supply for my Nikon D200 camera. The only available model was the EH-6 supply (by Nikon, that propably explains the price tag). For astro photography there also was a need to use D200 directly from the "non-Nikon" DC supply. The current / voltage specs needed for that were same as in EH-6, i.e. 13.5V 5A. Also there was a need to know pin purpose for low voltage connector (that mates the D200 body).

So I decided to "sacrifice" my EH-6 product quarantee, and open the covers... There was most propably SMPS -type power supply inside (based on the small size of heat sink and the high voltage electrolytic capacitor). On the left side, low voltage output cable connects to Nikon D200 (red / black wires).

I measured the DC voltage on the output. It was 13.66V, when supply was not connected to D200. After connecting supply to camera and swithing on it, the voltage dropped to 13.65V. Red wire carries the positive voltage (I call it as "VCC") and black wire is for the ground connection ("GND"). After measuring the voltages on the secondary side of EH-6 supply, it looks that pins have following purpose:

The "NC" stands for "not connected". This is because I did not found any voltage on this pin. I measured the resistance also towards the other pins, no connection found. If this "NC" pin has some other purpose, that I do not know (if you have info, please let me know). The respective pins on the Nikon D200 body are:

Again the "NC" pin was named on the D200 body. This is a pin that I am not sure, where is used to (if you have info, please let me know). The following is a situation where I feed D200 power from the external adjustable DC supply. Voltage reading (13.58V) is on the upper left, and current (0.29A) on the right. Typically the camera drains 0.3A, when swithed on and back TFT display is on. During long "bulb" exposures, the drawn current was about 0.6A. This is two times the "average" value. Current drain is especially important factor (if the camera is used only by batteries)


Conclusion:
What I will do with my EH-6 supply ? For the moment, I'll leave it like it was. If I am not able to find the Nikon specific power supply connector electronics stores, I propably need to cut the secondary wire in half. And to install some suitable good quality two-pole locking connector there inbetween. That would allow to use EH-6 and leave also possibility to power D200 with suitable "non-Nikon" DC-supply.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this clause! Very much for a long time searched data of socket EN-6

p.s. Excuse for English, translated www.translate.ru

Andrey

Timo Kuhmonen said...

Андрей,

This pin layout on power connector should be same also for Nikon D300 and D3. Basicly all those cameras that are using EH-6 supply...

Спасибо, Timo

Anonymous said...

At me Nikon D200, all problem in selection of the tip for this socket, I shall do itself. Timo and you did not try to reduce a pressure? Not 13,5 volt and is less! The camera Will work from lower pressure?

Timo Kuhmonen said...

Do you mean the voltage under 13.5V DC ? I have not tested it....

And the connector at EH-6 supply, I do not know the typet. I assume it is Nikon specific. In the figure, where D200 is power from external supply, I have used normal test lead wires (flexible silicon cable). At the end there is soldered a connecting pin. I took the pin from female BNC connector (75ohm version). I used heat shrink tube around it to prevent short circuit.

chanapong said...

Nikon D200 demo at digital camera blog video

Anonymous said...

hello!!
May be you can help me, i am trying to make an outdoors power suply for my D200 (for long expositions in the mountains)
i have got the specifications of the EH-6 and it says that the rated output is 13.5V and 5.0 A.... 13.5V it's ok but 5.0A its too much, isn't it?? do you know why it is like that if a normal battery supplies 1.5A?
I want to be sure of that because I dont want to "burn" my D200...
thank you!!

Kan said...

First, thank you for you work and info you provided. I am also using a D200 to do astrophotography. I was looking for the pinout of the connector for a while. So, did you find that connector somewhere already?

I went through you blogs quickly. I am very surprised that we are doing many similar things. The dew heater, and plant imaging. Let's keep in touch. My email is UCIKAN@gmail.com.

Btw, I am southern California US.

Timo Kuhmonen said...

Hello anonymous,

Sorry for the long delay to reply (I'll need to check setting at this blog to get email notification when the comment is left. I did not got the notification now..)

The specs at the EH-6 are so, that it would be quaranteed to supply max 5 amps. The sitution I measured with D200, I had not seen this camera setup to take 5 amps (nor even near that).

Maybe there is more amp rating provided in the supply, because it is suitable also for other Nikon bodies (and the current requirement depends on the setup each user has).

I would estimate it would be possible to feed this camera also with rechargeable batteries, like NiMH cells. Just put the needed amount of D-cells in series, i.e. n*1.2V.

I could power D200 also with the 12V car jump starter kit. There is even more capacity. Typically around 15...20 Ah.

But in any case I recommend to use a fuse before connecting power to D200. A rating of 3amps should be OK.

Timo Kuhmonen said...

Hello kan,

I have not found the suitable connector. I begin to be quite convinced now, that it is Nikon specific part. I have not seen "third party" -manufactured supplies for Nikon. If a defect power supply is found somewhere, I think that's the only way to get suitable camera plug.

I have not decided to build my own plug. I am going to cut original secondary wire of EH-6 in half. Then I'll install two pole connectors in between. Lemo will make suitable ones, on "multipin" -connector series.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this information.
I am not surprised it is a Nikon specific connector. I think I will try and make one myself.
Also I am going to try and hook a 12 volt battery with a fuse and see if I can drive my D200 with that. Thanks for the pin outs!
The EN-6 power supply from Nikon is way too expensive. Pity.

Timo Kuhmonen said...

Hi Anonymous,

When you're finished "connector project", drop a note here for results...

Anonymous said...

Hi All! Great posts!

I have chopped off the EH-6 connector and applied 12v and as little as 5v to the camera and it works just fine. If you find a connector that fits it, that would be great!

rollin said...

Dear All,

I just want to the Danube Delta in Romania for several weeks to picture birds. Problem was to have enough energy to keep my Nikon D3 going with a AFS VR 200-400 lens. This takes a lot of juice so I used 2 7,5 AH lead batteries. One to picture with while the other one was in the base camp loading on solar power (with a Flexcell, nice stuff). This worked till one batteries dropped below 11,2 V. The D3 locked up completely. Also my backup D2x locked (nothing to see on the LCD-screens, completely blank). The internal battery was in the camera and almost fully loaded when this happened.
After several days, we found a solution. If this happens, you have to take out the internal li-battery for at least 24 hours and everything will be as normal except for time and date. Altough Nikon did not want to confirm this, this is the only way to do a hard reset on (at least) the Nikon pro bodies.

I thought this could come in handy for some. And many thanks to Kuhmonen for sharing his experience !

Rollin

Timo K. said...

Hello Rollin,

Thanks for comments. I was not aware that some Nikon SLR may behave like this. Are you definitely sure it was reason of dropped external supply voltage ? I need to check my D200, if it behaves like that...

PS:
Have a successfull bird photography trip!

Rollin said...

Hi,

Yes, I'm certain it was the drop of voltage. Maybe not the first few minutes, but after a while the camera locks up. In this case espacially when the AFS and VR were in action (so maybe the drop was even bigger, afterwards, lead battery gave 11.23 V when not in use).
This was the case with a D3, a D2x and a D2xs. I suspect Nikon wants to punish people that use batteries without internal microprocessor. Normally, when one uses Nikon-gear, you have only the EN-EL4 or the EH-6, and power cannot drop below 11.1 v.

I'm going to make a small device that stops power when voltage drops below 11.5 v with a warning signal. Being in such places and not be able to use the camera for 24 hours is a pain in you know where ;-)

Rollin

ps: I'm back already.

Timo K. said...

Hmm, interesting. What kind of implementation you have in your circuit ? I need simimar circuit also, to prevent D200 and other astro equipment drawing lead acid battery at voltages below, approximately 11.5-12V. I considered putting high current relay (or a FET -switch)....

were you using third party batteries in Nikon, when you met this locking problem ?

rollin said...

Hi,

sorry for the delay. My father is a master in electronics, he will draw the circuit for me. As soon as I have it, I'll mail it to you. He was talking about a simple comparator-circuit, whatever that can be.

I was using nikon-batteries at the time of course.

Rollin

Timo K. said...

Thanks Rollin, waiting to hear from you then...

Anonymous said...

Kitos for the output voltage of the EH-6! Very helpful!

You can use a Quantum flash cable "SD-10" to get the plug that works, also comes with a curley lead. Not as cheap as making your own, but does work well. They don't sell too many of them so you might find a dealer that has had one on the shelf long enough to sell it cheap?

The WT-4b wireless link also uses the same plug and 13v which was the reason I was looking to check the voltage coming out of the EH-6 before hooking the SD-10 to the WT-4b and letting the smoke out... The good news is that it does work.

Did you ever get the circuit to cut the power if the voltage dropped to 11v?

rgds
Max

Timo said...

Hi Max,

Thanks for SD10 info....

The power supply project is ongoing here, not completed yet (daily work takes most of time now...).

I have not found a suitable "ready-to-use" connection for voltage cutting. It looks I need to make it "from beginning". I will update here the situation later.

Anonymous said...

Ei kesta!!

A lot of the low voltage cut offs work on the basis of a comparitor... there might be an easier way with a series of LEDs that show you the voltage for you to turn it off... failing that, perhaps a voltage regulator with the right type of profile might be easier?

Anyone else reading this might try google "Low voltage cut off" as the key words.. :-)
max

Trond said...

Hello.
Great info on the insanely expensive EH-6. I seriously doubt that the 11.5 voltage is the source of the blackout problem. I just tried 12 and 9 volts on my D200. They both worked fine. I believe the camera has an internal regulator that regulates the DC-voltage down anyway. As long as you don't go below the voltage regulators minimum input voltage, you should be ok. What could be the problem is that the lead acid batteries were completely depleted, and couldn't supply any current to the camera, resulting in a brown out/black out. I tried to turn down the current when supplying the camera with 12V. I got an error on the LCD when i tried to take a picture, also resulting in the mirror staying up. When i inserted the battery, everything was fine.

Paul said...

Just entering the D200/D2x experience, "graduating" from DCS620, 760, D100. Thank you for pinout solution, as I am always looking for "make-it-work" power solutions not dependent on OEM supplied gear. It IS, after all, only electrons going through wires. For D200, would it not be just as easy to make connections for power through the MBD200 AAA insert? There are only two battery contacts with plenty of space for a two-wire pigtail to be left in place even if using AAA batteries. The pigtail could then have whatever connector end you need to mate to your power source(cheaply bought from Radio Shack or similar).
Cheers,
bronikon@gmail dot com

Timo Kuhmonen said...

Hello Paul,

Do you mean powering camera with empty MS-D200 cartridge, wired outside of camera ? That's also possible.

This method is not the best for me. First - the battery grip in astrophotography setup would just add unnecessary extra weight. Second - the voltage at external EH-6 connector matches to other requirement of my astro gear. All are running with 12V car battery.

Cheers, Timo

Paul said...

Timo: I did not know your system requirements/limitations, but external power connection through MBD200 is a viable one. It was easy to carve a cable connector out of wood and some bits of wire. I tested a 9V battery, which turned the D200 on, but failed to take picture(mirror hung), possibly because of connection issues, but I have not tried 12V or higher yet. I am eagerly awaiting arrival of D2x for which I don't have batteries or power supply, hence my(our)unorthodox attempt to work around the expensive Nikon solution.

Poul said...

You can also buy a cheap EN-EL3E replacement, cut it open and solder wires from the output terminals to a connector that you can hook up to an external battery. I do that with my D700 for timelapse photography. You need to cut a little hole at the edge of the battery compartment cover for a wire exit to be able to close it.

Trying to do the same with my D3s it seems like I must have subtly damaged the replacement battery in the process since the camera won't use it even though it charges ok. So instead of forking out $30 for another battery for a second attempt I think I'll make a plug for the DC IN and hook my external battery up to that instead since that seems less failure prone. Hence my search for info on the connector and AC adapter specs which lead me here. Thank you very much for posting this info! Given the ridiculously overpriced accessories it's a pleasure working out hacks... :-D

Poul said...

Mini Tamiya + utility knife = success. It isn't a perfect fit for the pins, but close enough for me. Sits snug and seems to connect reliably. It's possible to plug it in the wrong way, but I have colored (red/black) wires to the plug and stuck a small drawing of the camera connector pin-out inside the protective rubber cover to remind me of the polarity.

Again, thanks a bunch for posting this info - exactly what I needed to get the job done.

John said...

Great information. Trying to find a source for any Nikon connectors is like looking for hens teeth!
If you are able to find a source for the camera power connector please pass on the info.
Thanks for the great work.

John
Hurricane, UT

Jason said...

You can find the Nikon power source on Amazon. I just bought a used one for $14. There is still a used one left and plenty of new ones for $27
Thanks for posting this great blog. Helped me out greatly. Going to be shooting some star trails this weekend will let you know how it works.

Anonymous said...

I found some quantum sd10 power cables on ebay for $12 with free shipping, just need to hack off the quantum battery connector and rewire to whatever connector you want.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180414934112&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information.
I purchased a SD10 power cable and found a mating socket locally which I used to attach a 10 cell NiCad pack to the camera. This works ok for up to 2.5 hours of continuous use (astrophotography) but does not store enough power for long duration time laps use.
I attempted to use a 12 VDC power supply rated at 6 amps to power the camera (D200) for time laps and the camera control program could not trip the shutter. The camera worked fine on the internal battery as soon as the external power supply was removed ???
The lowest I let my external pack drain is 12.6 VDC and the camera works properly at that voltage.

GizmoDave

Anonymous said...

GizmoDave: I think you need to add one more NiCad cell to your circuit. The camera really wants 13.x volts, and 10 cells at 1.2 volts isn't quite enough.

and did you check the actual output voltage of the 12v power supply? it could be lower than 12v.

Andrew Doran said...

I was able to run my D2x from a 11.1 volt Lithium Polymer hobby battery for an all day outdoor time lapse shoot. I used a "3s" 5000mAh li-po battery available at hobby stores to power the Camera all day, shooting a 5 exposure bracket sequence every 15 seconds for 10 hours. The camera draws about 400mA shooting this, with the image review on. I made my own connection with a JST hobby connector. Triple check the polarity when you plug in the battery!

Timo K. said...

Thanks for many of you, about good ideas and comments. Andrew, what kind of temperature did you had in all-day run ?

I have (unfortunately) problems with my Nikon D200. It jams the mirror into "up" position, after the camera has been in low temps for couple of hours (typically -10 to -20C degrees).

Next wintertime I will double check this power feeding without batteryback installed (although I feed camera from ext supply).

rollin said...

Finally, my father made the comparator. If someone is interested, I can sent a scheme by mail.

It will shut off the power when the input drops below 11.85 V. The Nikon will switch to its internal battery and shut down when the Li-ion is empty. To avoid hysteresis, the comparator will switch on again when the input is above 12v

Timo K. said...

Rollin, thanks for info. Is it possible for you to put schematics to web, since it would available for larger group of people ? If not - I could pass my email to you.

Using 11.85V limit would be too low for my purpose, 12.25...12.5V would be better for lead acid car battery.

Vinod said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Timo wrote:

"This pin layout on power connector should be same also for Nikon D300 and D3. Basicly all those cameras that are using EH-6 supply..."


WOW CAREFUL - D300 uses the EH-5 which outputs 9V 4.5A.
Info here on this page is great and thanks for it Timo, but careful with assumptions :)

PDF instructions and spec sheets available here:
http://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/13948

Joao
joaoalves[at]gmail

Andy said...

Currently I'm working on a "wireless" equivalent for the EH-6a. Cutting the need for the AC cord. The concept is simple - but I want it to be portable : battery + (small) DC/DC converter to optionally raise it above the 13.5V (from 12V). Or go with a more compact battery (< 12V) and use a 12V step-up converter

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharpshutter/5778984091

The challenge is to find the matching cable & plug -- the SD-10 sell on eBay for > $50 !!

Vinod said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Timo Kuhmonen said...

For powering Nikon DSLR's, I have gone also for LiPO batteries. Project ongoing: http://tiku-astro.blogspot.fi/search/label/litium-polymer

Anonymous said...

Timo,

My EH-6 has the camera connector pin-out diagrammed on the label on the supply and it agrees with yours.

Beatrice Harris said...

Here is another deal with all your needs. You should visit the link where you will get special discount.
Canon Dealers in UK