We get asked on occasion why there are not internal batteries in the spectrum. There are lots of reasons, but in summary when you buy the spectrum, you are making a powerful, safe and long-life investment.
Interested in the details - here are 6 great reasons why we have chosen to leave out internal batteries from our motion control.
1) Power requirements and performance
5) Super Cold Shooting
6) Dead Packs don't kill a shoot
1 - Power requirements:
While you will see internal batteries or proprietary batteries for some single axis rigs, or lighter multi-axis rigs, internal batteries don't hold up for the payloads, speeds and performance of the spectrum ST4.
The spectrum ST4 is very power efficient, faster, quieter, and supports heavier payloads than anything with internal packs.
If you are only looking for timelapse solutions, there are a few rigs out there that might do what you want. You will find they have fewer axis of control (driving one motor is easier than driving 4), are noisier (driving motors quietly and powerfully takes energy), and slower (more speed needs more current) than the spectrum ST4.
As we fit more and more into professional shooters toolkits, we have adopted integration to both VMount and Gold Mount batteries - industry standards.
A 95 WH pack will reliably drive your spectrum for 6 hours with all axis moving continuously with heavy payloads. If you are running timelapse, this can stretch out to days.
2 - TSA and air travel
If you have internal batteries, you must carry the equipment on board. You cannot check or your equipment. If you do it can be confiscated. For professionals, this is not always an option.
3 - Longevity and Investment
Batteries are getting better, but they wear out. For phones that you replace every 1.5-2 years, users have learned to expect this as an indicator that it is time to buy a new device. Having internal batteries glued to a multi-thousand dollar piece of equipment is a sure fire way to expire that equipment after a period of time. Manufactures love this as they have built in an annoying trait that pushes users to purchase something new.
eMotimo spectrum ST4 is built to last, not expire. What camera manufacture these days has an internal battery that is not user replaceable?
Sure, you might cheap Hoverboards might to explode or catch fire. Even with great design teams from massive companies, manufactures can have defects that result in fires / explosions. Apple, Samsung, Dell, and every portable battery that I have purchased from Amazon has had battery issues over time. These range from getting puffy and hot, to fires, and injuries.
Batteries and battery design is tricky. Even smaller packs can pose a danger. If you are buying a lithium ion pack that has a few cells and decent capacity, there is a risk of fire with drops / damage, or through issues with suppliers. No motion control company that we are aware of has paid UL (underwriters's laboratory) to evaluate and approve their designs.
At eMotimo we much prefer to encourage users to use UL approved packs that have been fully tested against drops, impacts, and environmental conditions that can affect the safety of the pack.
5- Super Cold Shooting
If you are a hobbyist shooting on vacation, you are likely shooting warmer climates. If you are a pro, shooting in sub-zero temps in the arctic, you need a workhorse that keeps shooting, regardless of conditions. In extreme cold, a battery might only deliver 25 to 50% of it rated capacity. With spectrum, you either carry bigger packs, or swap out smaller packs more often. Internal packs are a big limiter to getting the shot.
6- Dead packs don't stop you
You thought you charged a pack. It is dead. With the spectrum on a professional shoot, you likely have spare VMount or Gold Mount packs for your camera, lights, or monitors. Using industry standard power means you have options to acquire / borrow rent gear from any number of sources to get that shot.