Untangling Canon's asinine use of proprietary connectors in the AC-E6N AC power adapter

Kit Lens Jockey

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I love Canon cameras, but sometimes their insistence in limiting what people can and can't do with their equipment really pisses me off. This is one of those times.

Alright, so in another thread I was talking about what I was learning about powering and using my EOS R to take long time lapses. But this topic will apply to a lot of different cameras, and will hopefully have a lot of useful info for people, so I'm starting a new thread.

I've been trying to use a cheap third party AC adapter to power my EOS R to take a series of long time lapses. What I've discovered is that the camera seems to still recognize this AC adapter as a battery, not a continuous power source. So long story short, if you leave the camera on for long enough (like 12+ hours) it will still shut off due to a "dead" battery.

My hope is that the official Canon adapter will be properly recognized by the camera as an AC power source and never shut off. So I forked over the $50 to buy a genuine Canon DR-E6 "DC coupler." It is essentially a dummy battery with a cord that is supposed to run to the AC-E6N AC adapter, which then plugs into the wall.

dre6.jpg


However, there's one problem with the AC-E6N AC adapter. First, it's an additional $80-$100. (Yeah, for a simple AC adapter!) Second, it's out of stock pretty much everywhere right now. I figured that wouldn't be a problem because the DR-E6 shown above appears to have a standard barrel style power connector. I've probably got a similar sized connector around the house that I could splice onto my existing AC power adapter to allow it to plug into the DR-E6.

Or so I thought! The DR-E6 I ordered arrived in the mail today. And guess what!? Canon has decided to eschew the common power connector that everyone and their mother has been using for decades in lieu of this monstrosity...

5E4_8184.jpg


Yeah, looks like a normal barrel connector until you look inside, and there's a tiny little pin in the middle. Normally that space would just be open, and a larger pin in the mating connector would slide in there. I have never seen this bizarre power connector before, and I definitely don't have the mating connector for this laying around the house.

I came very, very close to just chopping the end off of the DR-E6 and splicing on a connector that I would have a proper mating connector for. But I don't like the idea of taking wire cutters to the power adapter that I just spent $50 on. So I went back to the internet to try to do some more research and see if there was any possible standard this weird connector adheres to. I found this thread on an astronomy forum where someone ran into this exact same problem...


Just in case that link ever gets broken, it included photo of the connector on the AC-E6N that plugs into Canon's "DC couplers." One weird thing about this photo is this AC-E6N seems to have the connector for the DC coupler right on the side of the adapter itself, while the one I've seen for sale online has a little pigtail wire coming out of it with the connector. Not sure what the deal is there.

ACE6N connector.jpg


After a lot of trial and error, the author finally found this connector for sale online. The connector is known as a JSBJ4 connection. The outer diameter is 5.9mm, the diameter of the inner barrel is 3.0mm, and the diameter of the center pin is 1.05mm.

After looking around online, I found this for sale for those of us in the US:


That connector's outer barrel is listed as 6.0mm instead of 5.9mm, but hopefully being 0.1mm too large won't be a big deal. ;)

Also, it seems like Canon wants to keep the actual specs of the AC-E6N a state secret so you'll buy their $100 adapter, but I also managed to find a photo of the back of the genuine Canon AC-E6N adapter online.

AC-E6N back.jpg


The text is a little hard to read, but it looks like it outputs 8.0V at 3A.

So there you have it! Instead of paying for Canon's $100 AC-E6N adapter, you can splice that connector onto any AC adapter that puts out 8.0V at 3A, and it should power the DR-E6 properly, which you can then use to power any camera that takes an LP-E6 or LP-E6N battery.

Once my connectors come in the mail, I'll try this myself, and report back if this works.

One last thing that threw me for a loop... I also found this youtube video that shows a guy using a commonly found connector coupler to plug an external battery into what appears to be a genuine Canon DR-E6. So now I'm wondering if at some point Canon did use the much more standard barrel connection on the DR-E6 and the AC-E6N. Did they change it just to lock people into buying their $100 AC adapter?? :mad:

 

privatebydesign

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My DR-A4/AC-E4 is the same although it costs a little bit more, output is 12.6VDC@ 2A but has the same connector.

I think they changed it so people couldn't put $4 Chinese no name DC supplies on it then blame Canon for burnt out cameras and demand unjustified warranty claims. Having said that I agree the money they do charge for the proprietary stuff is over the top, I have several Canon cables that cost between $30 and $80 fo no reason other than they have proprietary connectors.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

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I've come across the two different standards for the connectors years ago. It was a issue with many of my products because the more common power supplies would be unreliable, but I finally figured it out. It is a pain when a product appears to be defective due to that smaller center pin, but its not Canon who started it.
 

Kit Lens Jockey

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I think they changed it so people couldn't put $4 Chinese no name DC supplies on it then blame Canon for burnt out cameras and demand unjustified warranty claims.
What, as opposed to Chinese Canon branded DC power supplies? ;)

Having said that I agree the money they do charge for the proprietary stuff is over the top, I have several Canon cables that cost between $30 and $80 fo no reason other than they have proprietary connectors.
If they sold the AC adapter for $30, that would be more than reasonable, and I bet ten times more people would buy the Canon one as opposed to the cheap third party ones people tend to use. And you'd have less fried cameras too. But charging $80-$100 for what is essentially the same device with maybe a little better build quality than what you can get on ebay for $15... What do they expect?
 

Kit Lens Jockey

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It is a pain when a product appears to be defective due to that smaller center pin, but its not Canon who started it.
Not sure quite what you mean by that, but based on the youtube video above, it seems like Canon made a conscious decision to change the connector at some point. It's hard to say exactly why though.
 

privatebydesign

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What, as opposed to Chinese Canon branded DC power supplies? ;)

Well I've taken Canon and Apple chargers to pieces and there is a hell of a lot more circuitry in them than a $4 off brand one, I doubt if they put it all in there for the fun of it...

I don't expect anything, and I don't care what other people do with their own cameras! I will only use Canon chargers for Canon batteries (although I do use off brand batteries with my M5 because it came with them) but I wouldn't use any kind of AC/DC adapter that was third party, not because I am some kind of Canon nut but because I consider it reasonably priced insurance.

Apple are way worse than Canon too, I used to burn through the Magsafe power adapters in about 10 months, I am so happy I have moved to USB-C, that is one of the many reasons I'd like to upgrade to the 1DX MkIII from my MkII, USB-C, I have it on my drone, gimbal, GoPro, laptop, iPad, portable HDD's etc etc, when I travel I can use one charger to charge them all (apart from the 1DX III).
 

Kit Lens Jockey

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Well I've taken Canon and Apple chargers to pieces and there is a hell of a lot more circuitry in them than a $4 off brand one, I doubt if they put it all in there for the fun of it...

I don't expect anything, and I don't care what other people do with their own cameras! I will only use Canon chargers for Canon batteries (although I do use off brand batteries with my M5 because it came with them) but I wouldn't use any kind of AC/DC adapter that was third party, not because I am some kind of Canon nut but because I consider it reasonably priced insurance.

Apple are way worse than Canon too, I used to burn through the Magsafe power adapters in about 10 months, I am so happy I have moved to USB-C, that is one of the many reasons I'd like to upgrade to the 1DX MkIII from my MkII, USB-C, I have it on my drone, gimbal, GoPro, laptop, iPad, portable HDD's etc etc, when I travel I can use one charger to charge them all (apart from the 1DX III).
Hey I would gladly buy a genuine Canon AC-E6N. But try and find one to buy that isn't shipping out of Japan right now.
 

Antono Refa

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I think they changed it so people couldn't put $4 Chinese no name DC supplies on it then blame Canon for burnt out cameras and demand unjustified warranty claims.

Another way to avoid that is to sell the adapter at a small margin over non name Chinese supplier, so customers would prefer OEM.
 
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SecureGSM

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Another way to avoid that is to sell the adapter at a small margin over non name Chinese supplier, so customers would prefer OEM.
If you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
R&D investment into the design, prototyping and quality assurance can be substantial. That cost would have to be absorbed and reflected In the final sale price. it is a convoluted issue.
 

BillB

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If you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
R&D investment into the design, prototyping and quality assurance can be substantial. That cost would have to be absorbed and reflected In the final sale price. it is a convoluted issue.
Another piece of the puzzle is overhead cost for stocking and distributing low volume items. That and dealing with fraudulent warrantee claims from people who fry their Canon camera using cheap knockoffs.
 
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AlanF

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Another piece of the puzzle is overhead cost for stocking and distributing low volume items. That and dealing with fraudulent warrantee claims from people who fry their Canon camera using cheap knockoffs.
Has anyone here fried their Canon camera using cheap knockoffs or know someone who has?
 

SecureGSM

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Has anyone here fried their Canon camera using cheap knockoffs or know someone who has?
There is plenty of evidence exists that poorly designed lithium batteries can cause all sort of issues.
“... “When you are pushing a battery to its limits,” said Nadim Maluf, the CEO of the battery-software company Qnovo, “the margin of error is extremely thin...”
 

Kit Lens Jockey

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If you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
R&D investment into the design, prototyping and quality assurance can be substantial. That cost would have to be absorbed and reflected In the final sale price. it is a convoluted issue.
Oh give me a break. It's an AC to DC power adapter, which have been made for decades. There is no R&D or prototyping. Canon calls up a (reputable) supplier, gives them the specs for the type of adapter they're looking for, and the supplier pulls a design off the shelf, maybe tweaks it a little (for example putting that stupid connector on it), and Canon slaps their name on it.

Even in that photo I posted of the real Canon adapter, you can see it was made by "Phihong Electronics Co."

So no, R&D into the design and prototyping is not substantial. Quality control yes, but I guarantee Canon could sell the AC adapter for $30, the DC coupler for $20, and they would still be making a tidy profit.
 

AlanF

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There is plenty of evidence exists that poorly designed lithium batteries can cause all sort of issues.
“... “When you are pushing a battery to its limits,” said Nadim Maluf, the CEO of the battery-software company Qnovo, “the margin of error is extremely thin...”
We all know about things like that and Samsung is pretty good at frying its own phones. But it doesn't answer my specific question: Has anyone here fried their Canon camera using cheap knockoffs or know someone who has? Even Bryan from The-digital-picture has confessed to using a Wasabi charger to save money, and he isn't a monkey.
 
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Kit Lens Jockey

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Has anyone here fried their Canon camera using cheap knockoffs or know someone who has?
YES. Thank you. I'm so tired of hearing about the mystical dangers of cheap third party accessories when I've never seen one verifiable case of somebody actually damaging their camera from them.

And yes I know someone will probably reply to this with "well I knew of one person that did." But even so, it's still an exceedingly rare occurrence.
 

SecureGSM

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Oh give me a break. It's an AC to DC power adapter, which have been made for decades. There is no R&D or prototyping. Canon calls up a (reputable) supplier, gives them the specs for the type of adapter they're looking for, and the supplier pulls a design off the shelf, maybe tweaks it a little (for example putting that stupid connector on it), and Canon slaps their name on it.

Even in that photo I posted of the real Canon adapter, you can see it was made by "Phihong Electronics Co."

So no, R&D into the design and prototyping is not substantial. Quality control yes, but I guarantee Canon could sell the AC adapter for $30, the DC coupler for $20, and they would still be making a tidy profit.
++++ guarantee Canon could sell the AC adapter for $30, the DC coupler for $20, and they would still be making a tidy profit.

A.M.: that’s an assumption however. They also expect distributors and resellers to make a profit. Grey market operates on prices considerably lower than RRP.
happy to give you a break though
 

SecureGSM

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We all know about things like that and Samsung is pretty good at frying its own phones. But it doesn't answer my specific question: Has anyone here fried their Canon camera using cheap knockoffs or know someone who has? Even Bryan from The-digital-picture has confessed to using a Wasabi charger to save money, and he isn't a monkey.
Alan, burglary is also an exceedingly low occurrence however we tend to take out a house content insurance. It is about risk mitigation.
you are risking to foot an extremely high repair bill if Canon refused warranty support over a non authorised accessories used with your camera.
Samsung exploding batteries: all cases were investigated and supported by OEM and local insurance policies.
 

koenkooi

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There is plenty of evidence exists that poorly designed lithium batteries can cause all sort of issues.
“... “When you are pushing a battery to its limits,” said Nadim Maluf, the CEO of the battery-software company Qnovo, “the margin of error is extremely thin...”

Except we're not talking about lithium or batteries, we're talking about a cable, an AC-DC adapter and for some variants an extra DC-DC converter.
 

AlanF

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Alan, burglary is also an exceedingly low occurrence however we tend to take out a house content insurance. It is about risk mitigation.
you are risking to foot an extremely high repair bill if Canon refused warranty support over a non authorised accessories used with your camera.
Samsung exploding batteries: all cases were investigated and supported by OEM and local insurance policies.
I am asking a genuine straightforward question, not a rhetorical one, has anyone fried their Canon by using a 3rd party charger? I want to know the answer, not get involved in a debate.