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

Mt Spokane Photography

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Psst, the answer is no. ;)
I use a 3rd party charger, a USB PD supply from Anker. It cost about $30, so not cheap but its a standard, so shouldn't be a problem. I also received a Canon branded USB-C-PD charger with the grip for my EOS R. I have a cheap Chinese made DC Coupler which I first used on my 5D MK III, then my 5D MK IV, and on my EOS R. It works fine with my Case Relay power supply for cameras with LP-E6 batteries. I would not recommend it with a unknown power supply, but it will probably work with most of them.

My original use for the Case relay was to be able to use a USB battery to power my 5D MK IV continuously with live view operating during the Solar Eclipse. It worked well for that. I also use it in the studio when running continuously with live view.
 

privatebydesign

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I have fried an Apple laptop battery, it split and killed the motherboard, and several Canon NP-E3 batteries using third party chargers. The NP-E3 experience was why I won’t use third party chargers for my batteries and I didn’t use third party Apple chargers again until the latest USB-C PD standard but even then I will not use a ‘cheap’ one.

I use Hyper+Juice blocks for USB-C, not cheap but not expensive.

I have never attached an AC adapter to a camera direct so couldn’t comment on the reliability of that. I was running my 1DX II off the DR-A4/AC-E4 and a PaulCBuff Lithium Extreme true sine inverter today, for what thats worth.
 

AlanF

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I have fried an Apple laptop battery, it split and killed the motherboard, and several Canon NP-E3 batteries using third party chargers. The NP-E3 experience was why I won’t use third party chargers for my batteries and I didn’t use third party Apple chargers again until the latest USB-C PD standard but even then I will not use a ‘cheap’ one.

I use Hyper+Juice blocks for USB-C, not cheap but not expensive.

I have never attached an AC adapter to a camera direct so couldn’t comment on the reliability of that. I was running my 1DX II off the DR-A4/AC-E4 and a PaulCBuff Lithium Extreme true sine inverter today, for what thats worth.
If I may paraphrase Oscar Wilde: To fry 1 NP-E3, Mr. PFD, may be regarded as a misfortune; to fry several looks like carelessness.
 

privatebydesign

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If I may paraphrase Oscar Wilde: To fry 1 NP-E3, Mr. PFD, may be regarded as a misfortune; to fry several looks like carelessness.
Alan, you may. :)

I made a mistake, well I wish I’d only made one! It was two NP-E2’s that I killed.

It was back in the days of my 1VHS’s, you needed an NP-E2 (the NP-E3 and NP-E2 were interchangeable if you swapped the end plate over which was quick and easy to do) to get the maximum FPS but it didn’t come with the ‘optional‘ battery and charger and Canon wanted $400 at the time for the charger with its own kind of proprietary plug, so I got a third party charger and killed two $125 batteries. I then got a 1D which came with the charger so used that for the NP-E2’s and NP-E3’s and never had a problem after.
 

AlanF

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Alan, you may. :)

I made a mistake, well I wish I’d only made one! It was two NP-E2’s that I killed.

It was back in the days of my 1VHS’s, you needed an NP-E2 (the NP-E3 and NP-E2 were interchangeable if you swapped the end plate over which was quick and easy to do) to get the maximum FPS but it didn’t come with the ‘optional‘ battery and charger and Canon wanted $400 at the time for the charger with its own kind of proprietary plug, so I got a third party charger and killed two $125 batteries. I then got a 1D which came with the charger so used that for the NP-E2’s and NP-E3’s and never had a problem after.
I always use Apple and Canon chargers for direct connection to the mains supply. However, I do use 3rd Party ones that plug into USB outlets for charging when travelling or plugging into the car. They are useful being light and I can plug them also into my laptop or an Anker. It seems to me they can't be dangerous as only a low voltage is going into the charger from the USB. But, many of the Chinese USB chargers don't pass electrical safety standards and could be dangerous https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/0...-and-power-banks-rife-on-online-marketplaces/
 

neuroanatomist

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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).
I do like USB-C in that on trips I can charge my R battery in-camera with my 15” MacBook Pro charger. But I guess I’ve had better luck with the MagSafe adapters – the big brick from my 2006 17” MBP is still going fine, as is the slightly-less-big brick from my 2011 17” MBP. Amazingly, the 2006 MBP itself still works fine, although only when connected to the power adapter since I removed the battery after it ‘exploded’ (swelled up to 1.5x normal size) some time back. My youngest uses it for typing practice so he can learn on a real keyboard instead of his iPad.
 

AlanF

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I do like USB-C in that on trips I can charge my R battery in-camera with my 15” MacBook Pro charger. But I guess I’ve had better luck with the MagSafe adapters – the big brick from my 2006 17” MBP is still going fine, as is the slightly-less-big brick from my 2011 17” MBP. Amazingly, the 2006 MBP itself still works fine, although only when connected to the power adapter since I removed the battery after it ‘exploded’ (swelled up to 1.5x normal size) some time back. My youngest uses it for typing practice so he can learn on a real keyboard instead of his iPad.
I miss the MagSafe as USB-C plugs get bent as people trip over the cables and even pull the MacBook over.
 

neuroanatomist

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Well, since we’re in a thread about 3rd party power solutions, there are several products of this ilk:

https://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-Adapter-Connector-Quick-Charge/dp/B07MMKZ8XD

I haven’t gone this route, but I’m considering it for my two older kids (10 and 12), who both have recent-model MB Airs and aren’t as careful as I’d like. Then again, the biggest issue with them isn’t tripping over a cord, it’s that they leave the laptops on the floor where being stepped on is the risk.
 

Kit Lens Jockey

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Ok everyone, my connectors from Digikey finally came in the mail. So here's the rundown of how everything worked.

First, the connector that I linked to in the first post is indeed the correct connector to plug into the Canon DR-E6 DC coupler. So again, this connector is commonly known as a JSBJ4, but the specific part number for the connector I ordered is the Schurter 4840.2221. Here's the connector I got. Also note that they make a similar connector that has a solder tab on the back, but while it plugs in the same, the housing it's in is larger, and it seems like it's made to be mounted in a panel. I thought this would work fine for my uses.

(These pics are not spectacular, but I'm not trying for pro-level macro photos here.)

5E4_8208.jpg


Here it is plugged into the genuine Canon DR-E6.

5E4_8210.jpg


And here is after I cut off the end of my cheap third party AC adapter (8V at 3A), and soldered the connector on to let it plug into the Canon DR-E6. After I took this photo I hit this with some hot glue to prevent any of the pins of the connector from shorting out against each other, and then wrapped it in heatshrink tubing.

5E4_8211.jpg


And finally, the moment of truth. I popped it into my EOS R, and sure enough...

5E4_8212.jpg


The camera recognizes it as a DR-E6, not an LP-E6 battery like the cheap third party dummy batteries. So therefore, hopefully, the camera will stay on as long as it's plugged on, not shut off after a while like it does with the third party AC adapters.

So what does this tell us? As I thought, the actual determining factor as to whether or not the camera recognizes the AC power as a true AC adapter or just a battery lies within the "DC coupler" (dummy battery) itself, not the AC to DC converter that's powering it. So if you need to run your camera for a long time, you should buy a genuine Canon DR-E6. But it's not necessary to shell out the money for the ridiculously overpriced ACK-E6N, you can use any 8V 3A AC adapter with this connector spliced onto the end to allow it to power the Canon DR-E6.

Hope someone gets some good use out of this info. It really pissed me off that Canon charges so much for a simple AC adapter (that isn't even in stock anywhere right now), and then also puts a weird connector on it to make it harder to use another similar AC adapter in place of theirs. So, there you go, you don't need to throw any more money at Canon for their pricey AC adapter.
 

Kit Lens Jockey

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Also here is how to wire the connector onto an AC adapter properly. I'm not entirely sure why the connector has 3 pins, or what that other pin is for. I couldn't find a great diagram of the connector online. But suffice it to say, you can just cut off the unused pin. You just need a positive and negative from your AC adapter.

5E4_82082.jpg
 
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koenkooi

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Also here is how to wire the connector onto an AC adapter properly. I'm not entirely sure why the connector has 3 pins, or what that other pin is for.[..]

It's for extra mounting strength, there's a lot of leverage when using it on a PCB, it would be too easy to rip it off when pulling on the cord sideways. And even then you'd want to drop some epoxy on top, since it's for consumers :)
 
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RGB49

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It's for extra mounting strength, there's a lot of leverage when using it on a PCB, it would be too easy to rip it off when pulling on the cord sideways. And even then you'd want to drop some epoxy on top, since it's for consumers :)
Actually looking at the aboves data sheet the socket would be pcb mounted but third pin is a normally closed contact that opens when the plug is inserted. I have attached the data sheet if anyone wants more info on the socket and plug.
Well done KLJ for all the work sorting this
 

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Kit Lens Jockey

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Yeah I had seen that datasheet, but I didn't feel like it gave a very good explanation of what the other pin is for. Isn't the barrel of the plug that inserts into it metal on both sides? So then it wouldn't actually cause there to be an open between pins 2 and 3 when a plug is inserted? Maybe I'm taking that little electrical schematic too literally. Anyway, at the end of the day, pin 3 just isn't needed for what we're using the connection for, so it's best to just cut it off to avoid shorting anything out.

Anyway, I can now confirm that with the genuine Canon DR-E6 in the camera powered by a third party AC adapter, the battery level shown on the camera doesn't drop even after 12+ hours of leaving the camera on doing a time lapse the way that it would with a third party dummy battery.
 

Valvebounce

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Hi Kit Lens Jockey.
An example idea of a use for third pin would be for something running on internal batteries, plug in the power lead and it switches the batteries off so that you don’t inadvertently charge non rechargeable batteries.
Thanks for untangling this, I have often toyed with the idea of external power for my cameras, keep talking myself out of it as it would probably be another one of those useful but rarely used space fillers! At least now I know what to do if I do go down that road. (y)

Cheers, Graham.
 

Kit Lens Jockey

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Hi Kit Lens Jockey.
An example idea of a use for third pin would be for something running on internal batteries, plug in the power lead and it switches the batteries off so that you don’t inadvertently charge non rechargeable batteries.
Thanks for untangling this, I have often toyed with the idea of external power for my cameras, keep talking myself out of it as it would probably be another one of those useful but rarely used space fillers! At least now I know what to do if I do go down that road. (y)

Cheers, Graham.
Yeah I know there are some uses for sensing whether or not there is a plug inserted, but looking at that diagram, I didn't understand how it would work since the barrel of the plug is metal, so if it slipped in between two contacts, I don't see how it would break those contacts. But like I said I guess I need to look at that diagram more as the conceptual electrical schematic that it is rather than a literal diagram of how the connector works.
 

Valvebounce

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Ah sorry, I misunderstood your previous comment. I guess I should have realised from the fact that you untangled this riddle that you have a handle on electrics / electronics.

Cheers, Graham.

Yeah I know there are some uses for sensing whether or not there is a plug inserted, but looking at that diagram, I didn't understand how it would work since the barrel of the plug is metal, so if it slipped in between two contacts, I don't see how it would break those contacts. But like I said I guess I need to look at that diagram more as the conceptual electrical schematic that it is rather than a literal diagram of how the connector works.
 

privatebydesign

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And finally, the moment of truth. I popped it into my EOS R, and sure enough...

View attachment 190263

The camera recognizes it as a DR-E6, not an LP-E6 battery like the cheap third party dummy batteries. So therefore, hopefully, the camera will stay on as long as it's plugged on, not shut off after a while like it does with the third party AC adapters.

Never thought to check the 'battery' situation with the 1DX II, but sure enough it recognizes the DR-E4.
1.jpg


Meanwhile over on DPReview somebody has recommended this for the E6 output. https://www.amazon.com/Glorich-Repl...anon+6d+battery+adapter&qid=1588606926&sr=8-4 which is reasonably priced and requires no soldering.
 

Kit Lens Jockey

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Meanwhile over on DPReview somebody has recommended this for the E6 output. https://www.amazon.com/Glorich-Repl...anon+6d+battery+adapter&qid=1588606926&sr=8-4 which is reasonably priced and requires no soldering.
I highly suspect that that third party adapter and dummy battery uses the much more common plug that looks like this, but admittedly there's no way to tell from the photos on Amazon, I've just never seen any other devices use the weird connector Canon does. And I have two cheap third party power adapters similar to the one you linked to, and they both have this style of connector.

DCbarrel.jpg


The whole point is that you really do need the genuine Canon DR-E6 dummy battery if you're running very long time lapses. It doesn't seem like the cheap third party alternatives have figured out how to crack the code of getting the camera to recognize them as a DR-E6. The camera thinks they are LP-E6 batteries, so even though they are getting continuous power from the wall, the battery meter in the camera slowly declines over about 12 hours until the camera shuts off.
 

Kit Lens Jockey

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Actually, nevermind, one of the customer reviews shows the connector on that AC adapter straight-on. Sure enough it is the same strange connector Canon uses. Good find! Most of the third party adapters will not plug into the genuine Canon DR-E6. Looks like that one probably would. Wow, there really is no reason to buy the Canon ACK-E6N then.
 

SecureGSM

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interesting.. one of the customer reviews describes the adaptor affecting the noise floor in every video:

"... Reviewed in Canada on October 23, 2018
Verified Purchase
I bought this for my Canon 5d mkiii in order to power it during longer recording sessions of audio/video demonstrations I'm making. Since these are demonstrations focusing on sound character the audio quality is a priority. I find it most convenient to simply run the audio source to the camera input rather than try to align the audio later in post. After recording several sessions I noticed a ground hum significantly louder than the noise floor in every video. This led me on a very tedious troubleshooting journey that lasted the past two nights. Only after hours and hours today it dawned on me that I should check the power instead of the audio chain. As soon as I put the battery in I had clean audio again repeatedly. Next I tried making sure everything was powered using the same ground reference but it made no difference. Since this power supply renders the camera's audio input useless I must give it one star, but it seems it should work fine strictly for video..."
 
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