An Easy Rechargeable Battery Kit for the HDV-Z96 LED Light

Z96 LED lightI recently picked up a Z96 LED light to use in my video productions, and I immediately packed it with five lithium AA batteries (yes, it takes five of them). I shot a few short videos, and one longer project. When the lithiums finally sputtered out, I decided to take advantage of the Sony L series mount on the rear of the Z96 and buy a proper rechargeable battery system for it.

I had never used a “Sony L series DV battery” mount before. I was not familiar with NP-F570 or NP-F770 batteries. It was all an alien language to me. Hardcore video people tend to throw around obscure battery terminology like it’s common knowledge, but I was totally green to all of this talk.

I really hate throwing out spent AA batteries. I especially hate playing money for stuff that I know I’m going to be throwing away. Don’t worry. I don’t throw dead batteries in the trash can. I recently collected a bunch and brought them to a Best Buy in Manhattan, where they claim to dispose of them properly.

Some of my gear (like my Lectrosonics transmitters) require lithium AA batteries. There’s just no way around. But this didn’t seem necessary with the HDV-Z96. I looked into putting a battery system together, and it was really easy to do, and pretty darn affordable too.

I ended up getting Watson batteries and a Watson charger. The main reason I chose this brand is that it was the cheapest deal I could find. The secondary reason I chose this brand is that I already own some Watson stuff, and I’ve found it to be decent. So if you’re looking for an easy way to get a rechargeable battery system for your Z96, simply buy the two items I’ve linked below:

1) The Watson Charger for L & M Series Batteries

2) The Watson NP-F550 Lithium-ion Battery

That’s it! Just buy those two things and you’re done. However, I would strongly suggest getting more than one battery. I bought three. I just wanted to have enough to shoot for a full day without having to feed any disposable batteries into the light.

The charger is pretty nice. It comes with a car lighter adapter so you can charge it with a vehicle or another battery. It also comes with a European AC plug adapter, which is pretty sweet if you happen to be jet set like Philip Bloom ;)

I read the manual, and it says for the best battery life just be sure to recharge the batteries at least once every two months. You don’t have to worry about messing up their life cycle by only using half of the energy, or anything like that. Just keep them charged up, and they’ll be happy.

And hey… Thanks for checking out my site! I’ve got more gear reviews on the way. I’ve got a new Sescom cable with headphone monitoring, and the new Rode VideoMic Pro too. The only thing I need is a HDSLR, and I’ll be able to share all of this cool stuff with you. In the meantime, I guess I’ll keep talking about batteries. The thrill ride never ends.

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Writer, musician, photo taker and video maker. When not writing somewhat longish articles for this blog, I write incredibly short things on Twitter: @SamMallery

4 thoughts on “An Easy Rechargeable Battery Kit for the HDV-Z96 LED Light”

  1. Yeah I use sony batteries on my 2 LED camera lights, about the size of yours right there, and I have to say they last forever. Like 3-4 hours. I think that’s amazing. I’d suggest after the first charge to just leave it on and run it all the way down while you’re watching TV or something. Good way to be prepared and know about what time frame you’re dealing with. I think the time increases after the first charge/rundown of the battery – at least with some rechargables.

  2. “I’d suggest after the first charge to just leave it on and run it all the way down…” Awesome idea, Chad. That seems like a worthwhile experiment. I’m giving it a go right now. I put in a fully charged Pearstone battery and turned on the Z96 at full blast twelve minutes ago. I’ll let you know when it starts dying.

  3. Okay. I fired it up at 3:30PM and it died exactly at 5:22PM. The Pearstone NP-F550 lasted precisely 1 hour and 52 minutes running the Z96 at full blast. What was great is that the battery just quit and the lights all went dark. When the batteries started dying when I was running the Z96 on lithiums, instead of just dying and going dark, the lights would slowly start to flicker. It would seem like it was working, but then it would flicker, which was annoying. I like this fully alive or fully dead thing much better.

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