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Lithium-Ion Comes of Age
by Alan Lavender

The benefits of the capacity-to-weight ratio of Lithium-Ion battery technology are well documented, but we are now starting to see Li-Ion cells which are capable of higher discharge rates. Li-Ion technology is now more applicable to the demands of the broadcast industry than ever before. Taking advantage of these improvements, and with the increasing demand for more power from lighter battery packs, PAG has launched its own Li-Ion solution. Those familiar with PAG equipment won't be surprised to find that this new battery shows many improvements on Li-Ion technology previously available.

The new PAG L75 Li-Ion Time Battery is a 14.8V 5.1Ah pack which provides up to 75 watt-hours of capacity, making it the most powerful Li-Ion battery for its size that the industry has seen. There is no need for piggy-backing to reach higher capacities, just one PAG L75 will power both a camera and a 35W light. The L75 is the same size as PAG's NMH60, but offers more capacity (75 watt-hours compared to 60 watt-hours) for less weight (680g compared to 880g).

The PAG L75 has been designed for use with the PAGlok system, although adaptors are available for equipment fitted with either the 'Snap-On' or V-Mount.

The L75 is a Time Battery, incorporating PAG's latest capacity indication technology. The unique built-in Power and Time Display provides an accurate prediction of run-time, specific to the equipment being powered, expressed in hours and minutes. The battery's internal computer calculates this by taking into account the charge status and condition of the cells, the operating temperature and any change in load. This is the only capacity indication system with this level of sophistication, and for this reason it is also the most accurate. Away from the camera, the Power & Time Display provides a continually updated and accurate reading of available battery capacity expressed in both ampere-hours and percentage.

The L75 is compatible with System RTI, PAG's in-the-viewfinder Run-Time Information system, which is the only system that accurately predicts when the camera's auto-shutdown will occur; it displays the information expressed in hours and minutes, with a near-end-of-discharge warning. Data stored in the internal computer of any PAG digital battery, such as operating capacity, percentage state of charge and date of supply can also be displayed in the camera viewfinder.

Choosing PAG's latest Li-Ion technology does not mean you will need new, dedicated Li-Ion chargers; all AR Series 2 chargers can charge PAG Li-Ion batteries. This range of charger/analysers was launched in the early part of 1999. It is still the most advanced microcomputer-controlled battery management system available. The latest AR Series 2 chargers already incorporate the Li-Ion charging capability. Older models of AR Series 2 charger can be upgraded to charge Li-Ion batteries, by means of a chip-upgrade. This is a cost effective option for those people who are reluctant to part with good equipment, that has served them well.

All PAG AR Series 2 chargers include PP90 (2.1mm) sockets suitable for the connection of a range of PAG charging adaptors, for other manufacturers batteries. Included in this range is PAG's new Intelligent Charge Adaptor for V-Mount Li-Ion batteries.
With so many battery technologies in the market PAG has developed Automatic Charge Rate Selection, which detects the cell chemistry, state-of-charge, capacity, condition and cycle history using only the battery's negative and positive terminals. The charger then applies the correct regime to achieve a fully charged battery with the maximum capacity potential and extended cycle life. This revolutionary software was developed by PAG's own R&D engineers in the company's UK laboratory and provides the easiest and most efficient way of managing stocks of batteries with varying cell chemistries, voltages and capacities.

The PAG L75 battery can be manually set, allowing the user to choose between extended battery cycle life or extended capacity, automatically overriding the charger's Auto-Charge regime. For the technically minded, maximum capacity is achieved with a charge voltage of 4.2V per cell. Alternatively, the cycle life can be extended by charging at 4.1V per cell, although this gives a slightly reduced discharge capacity (87% approx.).

Contrary to bad publicity, Li-Ion technology is advancing rapidly, and the latest products from PAG are the first to reflect the progress that has been made. PAG's new Li-Ion battery and charging system, with their unique features, are a reliable, safe, versatile and innovative solution to many broadcast power requirements.

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