How many of you have batteries that require charging? How many of you have more than one, more than two? How many of you are sick and tired of dealing with all of the tangled mess of cables that always seem to intertwine while in storage? And on shoots, how many times have you tried to find an outlet for each of your batteries only to discover the venue doesn’t quite have enough? Especially on video shoots where you have multiple batteries for cameras, monitors, lights and who knows what else!
All of us! This is how I started to deal with this multiple cable disaster.
I know it doesn’t look like much, buts its the only bag that I had laying around not doing anything at all.. Its the bag that came with my Nikon D70s Kit. I love and cherish it because it was my first DSLR purchase. And now I can reminisce every time I need to charge my batteries!
Lets take a look inside before I made any modifications.Its not that large of a bag so we are fairly limited to the amount of power sucking devices we can dock at one particular time without spilling out all over the place. Eventually I would love to merge this system into a Pelican case, but this is great for now.
At this point in the game I removed the padded dividers in the bag and inserted two power strips. I chose to plug one strip into the other and only use one plug to power the entire bag. If you are nervous about this simply leave both power strip cables hanging out of your bag. Once the strips were snuggly in place I replaced the padded dividers. My power strips are pushing up into the dividers so be careful not to let the divider touch the prongs on whatever you are plugging into the strip! I added two strips so I could avoid the outlets next to the dividers to avoid this problem. You can see some rubber bands on the strips, these are to hold down those terrible chargers that have the box at the plug end vs a box mid cable. I like to put the rubber band over the box just in case it starts to slip around and unplug itself in transit. (I do this with my hard drives at home as well. More than once something has brushed against my power strip and unplugged a drive in use. Not good for their health..)
Now plug in all your stuff! I coiled up each cable and tucked it into one of the spaces in the bag. I will probably go back and rubber band each length of cable to itself to avoid the bad looking like a rats nest.. This part might take a bit for you if you are picky like me. You will see in photos below, that there is a place for everything, so getting the correct cable in the best spot to organize your bag is critical. (Or you could just wing it and see what happens!)
Time to hide it all! Cut a piece of cardboard to the size of your bag and lay it on top of your dividers. This will both create a little table for your equipment and hide all the extra lengths of cable you do not need anymore!
Now its time to place in the chargers and plug them into their respective cable. Like I starred above, I don’t’ have a lot of space for multiple chargers so I just added the 3 packs I used the most, and strung in a iPhone/iPad cable and my Quantum Turbo cable. FYI the tops of the dividers in this bag are about two inches below the rim of the bag so i still have some space to place all of my chargers without having to worry about them sliding out of the bag.
Once all of your batteries / devices are plugged into their respective charger, all you have to do is plug in the one (or two) power strip cables into the wall and you are good to go! Keep in mind that I haven’t been using this system for very long, so I’m still learning some of its limitations. For example, some of the power packs produce a fair amount of heat when they are charging so it is good to keep an eye on the bag to make sure the inside doesn’t get too hot. If it does you might think about adding a couple of sealed water bottles to absorb some of the heat. If it gets super warm dismantle it straight away! So far my combination has worked very smoothly. I’m super happy with this one bag to carry and meet most of my charging needs!
Version II of this concept may incorporate a couple mini extension cords to give me the flexibility to add additional chargers on the fly. Your second shooter may need to charge something as well and its always a good idea to leave your gear in one location vs spreading out to find another outlet and risk leaving something behind on a shoot. (Which I’ve done several times…)
Find your own personal way to keep your gear charged up so you can Keep Shooting!