The Soonwell B-98V V Mount Battery is a 98Wh capacity battery with dual D-taps and a USB port.
Batteries may not be the most exciting pieces of kit, but they are essential to just about everything we do.
Who is Soonwell?
You are probably like me and have never heard of Soonwell. Soonwell specializes in lighting and power solutions for photo, TV, broadcast and the film industry. They have been around since 2009.
- Capacity: 6600mAh / 98Wh
- Maximum Charge Voltage: 14.8V
- Max output current: 6.6A ,
- 5-level LED charge readout
- 2 D-tap power interfaces
- 1 USB power interface
- Size: 138mm x 91mm x54mm
- Weight: about 0.72kg / 25.3 ounces
There is nothing particularly special about the Soonwell B-98V V Mount Battery. It has a 98Wh capacity, a maximum output current of 6.6A, 2x D-Tap outputs, as well as a USB output.
There is nothing wrong with the batteries build quality, but in my opinion, as far as the outside casing is concerned, it’s not quite as well made as an Anton Bauer or CORE SWX for example.
I like how Soonwell has put finger grips on the sides of the battery. This certainly makes it easier to hold onto when you are attaching or removing the battery.
The battery attaches nicely to V-lock plates and there is no wobble or gaps between the plate and the battery.
The battery has covers for the D-tap and USB ports which is a nice touch. A lot of batteries with D-tap and USB ports don’t have any covers.
If you are only using a single D-tap port you can keep a cover on the other one.
I also like that the D-tap ports are located on top of the battery and not on the sides.
In a nice touch, there is also a written warning about which way to insert your D-tap connector.
He only complaint about the build quality that I have is that I did find it quite difficult to insert certain D-tap connectors into the battery. But, in saying that, this is a problem that I find exists on a lot of batteries, from a wide array of manufacturers.
The battery should charge on any V-lock battery charger. I tried it on Anton Bauer, Sony, and IDX chargers and it worked.
Size & Weight
The B-98V is around the same size and most conventional 98Wh batteries (138mm x 91mm x 54mm), and it has a weight of (0.72kg / 25.3 ounces) which is also fairly common for a 98Wh battery.
The batteries are a nice height and width and this means they will remain streamlined on your camera or battery plate.
With so many mini V-lock batteries on the market that are around 98Wh capacity, the reasons why you would choose a larger sized battery such as the Soonwell would be for the dual D-Taps, and the price.
Is a Chinese battery going to be reliable?
There is no reason why it won’t be any more or any less reliable than any other lithium-ion battery.
The batteries have been properly certified by the relevant governing bodies who look after batteries. What is also nice is that the battery complies with IATA, ICAO, and UN regulations for air transportation without restrictions.
What cells are being used?
I was curious to find out just what cells were inside the Soonwell battery. Soonwell told me that:
All camera batteries are assembled from several 18650 batteries packs. The best manufacturers of batteries around the world are Sony, Samsung and Sanyo. In fact, whether it is Samsung or Sanyo’s batteries, all cells will be divided into three levels of A,B and C. The lower the rating, the cheaper the price and of course the worse the performance. Soonwell only purchases the Class A cells form these top manufacturers and is able to provide the manufacturer’s MSDS report. Below is the Samsung MSDS report of Soonwell B-98V camera battery:Soonwell
I found it refreshing that a company was willing to provide me with documentation and tell me exactly what cells are being used in their batteries. This is something most battery manufacturers wouldn’t do.
Battery Pack: Cells Voltage Management
Battery cells have an unstable chemical composition when a cell is manufactured. This means that its internal voltage is different than other cells. A common method to reduce battery life is to combine all the cells that have big voltage difference into one battery pack.
What Soonwell does, is to collect each cells voltage data, and then group those cells whose measured value error less than 0.001 V into a battery pack.
Battery Durability test
After the battery pack is assembled, the pack is joined with the battery motherboard, and then placed in a durability cycle test room for more than 8 hours.
The Soonwel battery motherboard uses a safety-oriented design with three modules: over-discharge protection, over-charge protection, and short-circuit protection.
Max Charging Voltage Difference
Since battery packs are made up of several battery groups, when charging, all battery groups are charged in turn.
For example, let’s assume a battery packs (MCVD) is 1V, that means that when one group of batteries has already fully charged, the other group might still be at 13.8v, and the motherboard stops charging. In total, the battery pack is only charging to around 93%.
Soonwell claims that with their batteries each group can be charged to 14.78v when any group is fully charged. This means that the whole battery gets charged to 99.8%.
Surely there isn’t going to be that much difference between 93% and 99.8%? Well, yes and no. Wait until your battery had been charged 130 to 150 times (that is normal use for more than half a year). A well-built battery can maintain its full charge, however, a poor quality battery may have its capacity reduced by up to 30%-40%.
According to Soonwell, their batteries have a life cycle of up to 500 charges.
Now, I have no way of independently verifying any of these claims, but Soonwell does seem to have all the correct documentation to back this up.
Soonwell makes quite a lot of accessories for their batteries, including a V Lock Mounting Plate Power Supply Splitter ($103 USD) which is handy if you want to power a camera, or a monitor, or both from a single V-lock battery.
The Mounting Plate Power Supply Splitter has a D-tap, 5V USB as well as two DC outputs, one is 7.2V and the other is 12V. You can mount the plate onto 15mm rods.
Not only do you get a bunch of adapter cables, but Sonnwell also provides an LP-E6 Dummy Battery Pack Adapter.
Other accessories include a BP to AN Battery Adapter ($60 USD) that lets you use Anton Bauer Gold mount batteries, a D-Tap USB Adapter ($16 USD), and a 110cm D-Tap Plug to Barrel Jack Cable for BMPCC ($34 USD).
The Soonwell B-98V V Mount Battery retails for $160 USD. This certainly does make it one of the most cost-effective 98Wh batteries on the market. In fact, I couldn’t find any other 98Wh V-lock batteries on the market that was cheaper than $199 USD.
Soonwell also makes the B-250V V Mount Battery, a high capacity (250Wh) version that is available for $390 USD.
There is a never-ending list of 98Wh v-lock batteries that are available. Here are just some:
Core SWX Hypercore Slim V-Mount Battery $299 USD weight: 0.64 kg
Core SWX Nano V-Mount Battery $229 USD weight: 0.64 kg
IndiPRO Tools Micro-Series V-Mount $239 USD weight: 0.73 kg
SWIT PB-S98S 14.4V 98Wh Dual D-Tap $265 USD weight: 0.8 kg
Intellytech Socanland 14.8V 98Wh $199 USD weight: 0.7 kg
Hawk-Woods Mini V-Lok 14.4V 98Wh $345.60 USD weight: 0.5kg
Hedbox PB-D100V Pro $215 USD weight: 0.78 kg
CAMLAST 98Wh 14.8V $199 USD weight: 0.91 kg
Fxlion Cool Black Series BP-100S $236 USD weight: 0.77 kg
Bebob Factory GmbH V98 $320 USD weight: 0.6 kg
A lot of potential buyers of V-lock batteries are probably going to have a pre-conceived bias that will direct them towards a brand that they know. Buying a battery from a brand you have never heard of is certainly going to make it harder for Soonwell to sell their batteries outside of China.
A battery is just a battery right? If the same cells are being used in a more expensive battery, are you simply just paying for the name on the casing? Maybe.
I couldn’t fault the Soonwell battery. It works as advertised, and most importantly, even though it is very affordable, they are still using high-quality cells inside the battery.
For $160 USD, it is the most affordable 98Wh V-lock battery I have come across. Just how well the battery stands up after a year or so of use is something that will be interesting to see.