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Re: HHB Portadisc

Subject: Re: HHB Portadisc
From: Walter Knapp <>
Date: Thu, 04 Sep 2003 00:50:50 -0400
Jeremy Minns wrote:
> Thanks for the reply, Walter. Quick and detailed as always. My battery life 
> is much lower than yours and I must now do some more careful testing to 
> find where the problem lies.

It's so low I think there is a problem, where is going to be the 
question. I don't think that everyone will get the same battery life, 
too many variables. But you are getting less than 1/3 what I get.

> The switch is on and the Portadisc appears to be charging. When I put the 
> apparently charged batteries into the Portadisc it shows a full charge. 
> However, this quickly drops. This happens even if I leave it charging all 
> night after the green charge light is completely out.

If that happens with a fully charged 2200 mAh battery that is holding 
it's rated charge, the battery would probably get got enough to burn 
you. And mess up the plastic battery caddy. And the battery would be 
discharging at way over it's design rate. As in drawing several amps. 
So, either you are not getting full charge or the portadisc has 
something bad wrong. I'd also expect the power cord for the portadisc to 
get pretty warm when powering it if it's drawing that kind of current. 
The charger for the Portadisc is only rated at 800ma, so would be 
heavily overloaded. At that full rating for the power supply, the 2200 
mAh batteries should last over 2 1/2 hours. And I know from experience 
that the power supply has plenty of capacity to charge batteries and 
play/record at the same time.

So, something does not correlate, and about the only logical explanation 
is that the batteries, one way or another, are not holding much charge. 
As in not getting above about 20 - 30% charged. Normally the batteries 
on mine are 80% discharged before it drops off 99%.

> I have four new sets of batteries from two different manufacturers and all 
> give less than one hour of recording. I do use phantom power from the 
> Portadisc, by the way.

I would not even think shorting the phantom power would take it down 
that fast. It would be limited by the load resistors.

> Thank you for finding out that I have an HHb distributor right on my 
> doorstep but as a result of gruesome past experiences I would be extremely 
> loath to entrust my precious recorder to a local repair shop. In Brazil 
> they never have the skills nor the spares for specialised work. In the past 
> I have twice had to pay to get my cassette recorder back from the repairer 
> and then had to send it to the States. A friend of mine sent a microphone 
> to Sennheiser's local people last month and they returned it still 
> unusable. I'll check out SK Audio Professional Products but with 
> considerable scepticism.

HHb works entirely with pros, the whole atmosphere dealing with them has 
been different than consumer based companies. Of course I know nothing 
about the one they list for Brazil. That came straight from going to the 
HHb International website and clicking on support. You can find their 
reps for anywhere via their website. Check the place out carefully, but 
you might be surprised.

> I need my recorder for a long trip to Amazonia soon and will see how it 
> goes. If the problems continue and are not the fault of the batteries I 
> will almost certainly send the Portadisc for repair in the States.

If you can find a way, get a test done on the actual stored energy in 
the batteries. It's got to be way low. I have a charger here that will 
do that by putting the battery through a full metered charge cycle, then 
meter a discharge cycle to read out the actual mAh. That's the Maha 
MH-C777Plus, not really one for AA's, it's designed to handle and 
condition all kinds of battery pacs.

BTW, my standard home charger for AA's is the Maha MH-C204F. It's got a 
conditioning cycle that can be set to fully discharge the batteries 
before charging. During that cycle the batteries get quite warm to the 
touch, and it still takes about three hours to discharge the high cap 
NIMH. They would be much, much hotter discharging them in a hour.



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