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Tips & Tricks

A Portable, DIY Solution to Organize All Your Battery Chargers

By Hanssie on July 20th 2015

I have a drawer full of chargers at my house, which theoretically makes it easy to find a charger when I need one. Yet, more often than not, I find myself wading through cords, and plugs, never actually finding the one I need at that moment. Add to that madness the sheer amount of chargers and batteries needed if you’re out on a long shoot or traveling and this is the likely situation in your car:

Photo by Matthew Saville

Photo by Matthew Saville

[REWIND: HOW I ORGANIZED MY PHOTOGRAPHY ACCESSORIES (ONCE AND FOR ALL)]

Turns out, I’m not the only one that has this issue and in the following video, the Vimeo video team shows us how they built a portable battery charging station to alleviate some of the chaos. Not only is it portable, but when not in use, it can be hung out of the way. You’ll need to know your way around Home Depot (or any other hardware type store) and how to use power tools. The project costs about $113 (you can see the list here) if you already have the tools and the project looks fairly simple.

You can take your charger situation from this:

battery-charger-organizer

to this:

DIY-battery-charger-board

Watch Quick Tüts: The Solution to Your Battery Insanity

Do you have a method of organizing your battery chargers and plugs? Comment below and let us know!

[Via ISO1200/Vimeo Video School]

About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Dave Haynie

    I do use 3rd party batteries, so I have more than enough batteries for any camera that’s going with me on a weekend. You may find some of the 3rd party cells use slightly different chemistry than the OEMs, so there can be small incompatibilities between chargers. That’s usually of the nature that the OEM charger doesn’t fully charge the 3rd party battery, which leads to a shorter run, though can actually extend the battery’s life a small amount (at least for Lithium cells). But always worth double-checking long before you’re away on a trip without your charger!

    At home, I have all my original chargers in a box somewhere, and use a Watson dual-cell charger that sits with adapter plates for Canon LP-E6, Olympus BLN-1 and BLS-1, Fujifilm NP-95 and NP-50, and Panasonic VW-VBG6 batteries. I also have a portable version of the Watson charger, but usually bring along the big one if I’m in danger of running low even with 4-6 spare cells. The Watson chargers are, in general, more capable than OEM chargers and don’t have the issue with slightly different battery formulations if you’re using 3rd party batteries.

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  2. Samuel Sandoval

    lol…. bring extra power strip would be helpful to charge all the devices

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  3. David AKESSON

    Creative way toward efficiency!

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  4. Alex Beckett

    I built mine into a flight case, it’s a lot more packable and allows me to throw it into the car/an aircraft hold without having to worry…

    http://www.alexanderbeckett.com/alexbeckett/files/2015/07/11709743_10153453094234061_3337729730049147946_n.jpg

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    • Dustin Baugh

      I like that a LOT better. Although I still don’t see why so many of you carry so much stuff to charge.
      I’m guessing it’s depending on the type of photography. With landscape I just need lots of camera batteries and my phone to provide Geotagging. Maybe a tablet if I loaded info or maps on it.

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    • Moise Oiknine

      Just go out and shoot a wedding and you will see why we have so many types of batteries.

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    • Michael Stagg

      Nice setup Alex!

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    • Alex Beckett

      Dustin – Weddings/commercial jobs are the main reason. When you have back to back events and you’re staying away between them it’s really useful to be able to charge things. I often get back to a hotel room at gone midnight and the last thing you want to be doing is faffing trying to plug everything in.

      The other major problem is that cheap hotel rooms often only have 1 plug socket. With this I can charge everything from one place.

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    • Moise Oiknine

      Alex, can you repost that link, i can’t seem to open it up

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  5. Natalia SMith

    I love the idea, however, i’m not quite sure about fixing the wires. So you can remove the actual charger and unplug the wire, but then it still will be attached to the board. And if you need to take your chargers to a wedding, for example, you can’t be possibly carrying the whole board around :)

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    • Andre Queree

      Yes, fastening the cables to the board seems a bit permanent. You can get velcro cable ties, which would be a better idea if you want to remove the chargers easily.

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    • Moise Oiknine

      The point of this project is to keep everything in one travel friendly place. if you wanted to take your chargers this would be the easiest way. If you only have 2 or 3 chargers this is not the project for you. If you are shooting a wedding and charging batteries as you go you are risking a lot. I have spent enough money replacing chargers that I preferred to invest in extra batteries and not rely on waiting for another to charge. Your assistant will also leave things charging somewhere and there goes another lost charger…with batteries…

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    • Natalia SMith

      I agree with you Moisee, my station looks like a mess when I charge all my batteries. I, however, have enough batteries to cover the whole wedding day. But I take only four chargers win me, two for my cameras, and two by flashes and triggers, and one extension lead to make sure they don’t go all around the venue. At home, though, I have numerous chargers, to charge my battery sets simultaneously. Hence, the ideas of the board would be ideal for me at home, however, I could not imagine myself carrying the suitcase of equipment plus the board at the venue.

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    • Graham Curran

      I wouldn’t like to go to a wedding and have to rely on unattended chargers for my power. You never know when a fuse trips or someone unplugs the master plug. Much better to have enough capacity for the day.

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  6. Kim Farrelly

    I can add this one to the list of ‘things I’m planning on DIYing up this year’ so, although I’d have to hide the wires behind the board. I have a one plug four [shortish] leads solution for my chargers when I need to travel with some. Usually one 8 bay AA/AAA, two LP-E6 & two NP-W126 chargers.

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  7. Tyler Friesen

    I need to do this.

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  8. robert s

    I have a different mindset. 3rd party wasabi batteries are inexpensive and so good. instead of carrying chargers, I just have more than enough batteries. I charge them before a weddings and just carry that. 6 for stills cameras (1500 clicks each) and 5 for each video camera. I never used all of them in any wedding.

    I only carry 1-8xAA NIMH charger JIC and I have more than enough spare eneloop batts. chargers are too bulky and you need to find an outlet and going back and forth to see theyre charging. I think thats the wrong way of going about it. chargers stay at home. I mean look at that big azz board! nice idea but far from practical. just buy batts.

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    • Moise Oiknine

      Your methodology for having plenty of batteries is the best way to do it, but what do you have at home, a charging station? this is a great way to keep things in order at home. With the advantage of making it travel ready is just a plus in my eyes, especially on longer than 24 hours trips, even more so when traveling by land vehicle. Just one plug and it all gets charged.

      Well done, I was looking for another DIY project that would help me.

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    • robert s

      @moise oiknine

      at home all the chargers sit on a shelf. 3rd party chargers are cheap as chips.
      ive been on trips and never had to use more batts than I use at a wedding. not even half. I just carry that 1 NIMH charger for 8 batts. and ive been to many countries as my wife is a travel agent.

      I never went to any trip and shot more than 4000 images (ever!) or 3 hours of video footage and that doesnt add up to half the batteries I take for a wedding.

      so I dont see any reason to carry a big azz charging board. but im sure others will see the benefit of it.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      That big board doesn’t look “Travel Ready”. I need something a bit more compact. The hard part is charging while camping and the car is off. I’ve found that those standalone car jumpstarters work really well.
      Check amazon for “Mobile Power 2001 Instant Boost 400 ” With the wasabi batteries and charger you can charge off the 12v cigarette adapter and never fire up the inverter. That plus some USB ports takes care of camera batteries, Anker, phone, GPS, and tablet. Then you plug the whole unit into the car to charge as you drive the next day.

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    • Michael Stagg

      I also use this method as well. I have two original Canon batteries and two Wasabi batteries that swap in my camera’s battery grip. I have two chargers, that’s it. I’ve never had a shoot that required me to need recharging during a session. Charge ’em up the night before and I’m good to go!

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