How many batteries can I fly with? Maybe more than you think – IBC 2018

With regulations changing all the time it can be hard to keep a handle on what you are allowed to take on board a plane. Currently (September 2018) the regulations say you’re allowed to take up to 15 (fifteen!) Li-ion batteries on as hand luggage, provided they’re all under 100Wh. Now this is isn’t a hard and fast rule, some airlines and countries set their own regulations.

However you’re also allowed up to three batteries that are rated from 100Wh to 160Wh. Again, these have to come into the cabin with you and one has to be physically attached to the device it powers.

So if you absolutely maximise your allowance you’d be looking at nearly 2000Wh of power in your hand luggage – not much room left for a trashy airport paperback but good to know, especially if you’re headed for a shoot where mains electricity will be in short supply.

Power up

One battery you’ll certainly not be taking anywhere near an aircraft is the Hypercore XL from CORE. Intended for use on high draw cameras and lights, it has a whopping 293Wh capacity and can handle a 12A discharge current.

The Hypercore XL’s LCD display shows an estimated runtime based on a 30W load. Nearly 10 hours should be enough to get that shot. Right?

When connected and loaded the battery’s LCD screen shows how many minutes of runtime you have left, which changes to tell you how long it will take to charge when it’s plugged in to a charger. When unplugged the screen shows how long you’d be able to run on a dummy 30W load. CORE suggest that on a 3A charger it will take four to five hours to fully charge the battery.

Power down

The Hypercore XL also features a sleep mode. There are accelerometers inside that detect when it hasn’t been used for 48 hours and trigger a hibernation mode to slow down the rate of self-discharge and prolong the lifespan of the cells inside.

You’re about to be very popular on set with people who need to charge their phone.

The SMBUS protocol is supported by the Hypercore XL,  so with a compatible camera you’ll be able to see battery runtime as a percentage or minutes left in your viewfinder. There are also D-Tap and USB ports for sharing some of that power with other devices.

Handle with care (and a credit card)

Heavy, but handholdable.

With such a high capacity it’s not a battery you’ll be able to take on a plane – it’s simply not allowed. Even getting one shipped out to you is more expensive than a regular battery as the carrier has to have a certificate to handle dangerous goods. That will cost an extra $75 US per shipment, though it’s worth bearing in mind that a shipment can contain any number of batteries. Time to set up that group buy perhaps… Ground shipping within the US is easier and less expensive, though obviously not suitable for international customers.

CORE Hypercore XL price and availability

The Hypercore XL is shipping now, priced at $799 US – we’ll have a review on the site in the next couple of weeks. Do you feel the need for more power? Let us know in the comments below.

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