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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Hall

Step-down Voltage Converter

I did a project in Berlin, Germany a little bit ago and I wanted to share a cool little gadget that helped us a lot.  In some older areas of Europe, the power is not very stable or consistent.  This isn’t normally a problem when shooting in the US with American gear because it’s all ratted for 110v @ 60Hz power cycle, and most fragile electronics already have a transformer built into the AC plug.  It isn’t as simple dealing with US gear in a different power environment and in our case ( 240v @ 50 hertz).   In the past I’ve seen adapters smoke/melt, computer plugs pop into a sparkler show, and batteries leak due to power surges and overheating.  On our shoot, we needed to have our cameras plugged into house power (due to the length of time we would be shooting)  with no problems.  We also needed the same assurance for our charging batteries, and computers running media management (all American gear).  My simple solution was a $30 EU-to-US power transformer to both step-down the voltage and change the hertz cycle of the power in lieu of simply using a cheap plastic power adapter that just changes the prongs.  This little, affordable device did all the heavy lifting for our fragile circuitry.  All our gear had to do was run the way it was designed to run.  Would the gear have been fine with just cheap adapters? Maybe…but I wasn’t going to risk it with our crazy schedule.

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