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Tascam DR-680 in the field

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  • David Michael
    Hi Having recently acquired a Tascam DR-680, I thought I would share my first field experiences with the unit. I am currently wrapping up a trip to Alabama
    Message 1 of 12 , Jun 15, 2010
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      Hi

      Having recently acquired a Tascam DR-680, I thought I would share my
      first field experiences with the unit. I am currently wrapping up a
      trip to Alabama where I have used the Tascam DR-680 for a couple of 4
      channel overnight recordings and I'm happy to say that it has
      performed like an absolute star.

      Before I gush on about this recorder, it has one particular
      operational quirk that is troubling and worth paying attention to. If
      you pull the AC plug while it is recording, and do not have internal
      batteries installed, everything you have recorded is lost. Gone. There
      is no incremental file closing like the Fostex FR2-LE. It even says so
      in the manual. I cannot begin to imagine how engineering thought this
      might be okay, but there it is. Perhaps the techniques for incremental
      file closing are challenging for the hardware architecture and the
      imagined use case for this machine was attended operation.

      For the unit to actually save your recording, you must either press
      stop, or it must go through it's shutdown process. The good news is
      that there is a clean switchover from AC power to internal batteries
      so when (and only when) you have batteries installed, and the AC plug
      is removed, the unit will go through a proper shutdown process and
      consequently save your files. This quirk matters especially when you
      are using an external battery to power the unit via the AC adapter. If
      this external battery completely discharges and you do not have
      internal batteries... you have been warned :). So remember to have
      your internal batteries installed - even if you are using an external
      battery pack! I tested the unit with some pretty seriously drained AA
      batteries and it was still able to get through the shutdown process.

      There are some other minor quirks worth mentioning. The headphone
      volume moves in discrete increments (it is not continuous). This is
      very annoying. The monitoring operation is cumbersome - soloing
      requires pressing and holding a small button for each channel. The
      unit by default also seems to record a master LR mixdown track (why?).
      The channels that you record-enable are not saved when powering off
      leaving you to deselect the LR master and any channels you do not want
      to record (like 5 & 6). And finally, the backlight does not turn off
      if you have the AC power plug in. What this means practically is that
      if you are running the machine from an external battery, the backlight
      will keep a quiet vigil, draining a bit more battery than you want it
      to. But all said, these are minor annoyances, some of which can be
      fixed by firmware, for a machine that performs rather nicely,
      especially for the price.

      There are some other pitfalls to be aware of - perhaps Paul Dickinson
      can comment on his experiences here.

      So on with the gushing. As reported earlier on this list, the preamps
      are extremely quiet in high gain mode (-127dBu - A-weighted) and you
      can tell. While I have not measured the self noise quantitatively, I
      can say that using this in combination with AT4022's has produced some
      of the clearest recordings I have to date. While it is certainly
      possible that I have become better at my fieldcraft, to my ears, the
      recordings it has been producing are outstanding and have remarkably
      low noise. A real test of the unit would be to record in very quiet
      situations (which Alabama is not). This is something I hope to do this
      fall or in the winter.

      The power consumption is also fairly reasonable. I also do not have a
      real quantitative measure of the current draw, but I was able to get
      30+ hours of continuous operation from a 12Ah battery. Additionally,
      this unit was left outside for 2 days in little more than a plastic
      bag in 100% humidity and 90 F temperatures with no discernible
      performance hit.

      So to wrap this little review up, I am incredibly pleased with the
      Tascam DR-680 so far. While it's operating system is not great, it
      definitely could be worse. If you, the operator, are very very careful
      and can avoid a catastrophic file loss from pulling the AC plug, then
      this machine performs admirably in some very challenging conditions. I
      would recommend this machine to most anyone - even if you dont need 6
      channels in the field. Now if only the cost of a 64GB SD card will
      drop below $100.

      I will post some recordings as soon as I have them mixed down.

      Cheers
      David
    • Scott Fraser
      Message 2 of 12 , Jun 16, 2010
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        << If you pull the AC plug while it is recording, and do not have
        internal batteries installed, everything you have recorded is lost.
        Gone. There
        is no incremental file closing like the Fostex FR2-LE. It even says so
        in the manual. I cannot begin to imagine how engineering thought this
        might be okay, but there it is. >>

        This is certainly true for any recording via computer to hard drive as
        well, so it's not a "feature" exclusive to the Tascam. The system has
        to write some data to the header of the audio file and/or the media
        directory at the conclusion of the recording in order to have a valid
        file. Think of it like the finalizing process for a CD burn, though
        much faster. Realistically, pulling the power cord while in record
        seems as unlikely as popping open the car hood while on the freeway.
        Losing an audio file should not be an unexpected consequence of such
        absentmindedness.

        Scott Fraser

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Paul Dickinson
        To follow up on David s post: I agree, the headphone gain-stepping is a real bother. Tascam should fix that. It should also remember the track record arming on
        Message 3 of 12 , Jun 16, 2010
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          To follow up on David's post:

          I agree, the headphone gain-stepping is a real bother. Tascam should
          fix that. It should also remember the track record arming on shutdown.
          Folder navigation is a pain too- I had several instances where I had
          to play 'find the file' because the unit recorded in a different
          folder than the one I thought I had set it to record in. Fortunately
          the latest firmware update cleared up some of the front knob/top wheel
          confusion by making more setting values accessible on both, but they
          should just make them identical in function- when you're working out
          of a bag, the top wheel can be hard to get to. I had a couple other
          issues with it (mostly to do with the user interface), but failed to
          write them down, and it's been out of my hands for 3 weeks now- so
          I'll have to get re-acquainted when I get it back.

          My unit developed some noise in the 1&2 channel preamps when phantom
          power was engaged. So now I have the dubious distinction of being the
          first (to my knowledge) in for warranty service. And sadly, Tascam
          won't have it back to me in time for my trip next week to the U.P.

          I encountered a cockpit error with my first few days of recording with
          it regarding the low/high gain settings: I was thinking of it in terms
          of boosting gain (amplifying noise, like on a video camera) rather
          than as a gain pad (like on a microphone). So I used the low gain
          setting and got lukewarm results, compared to recordings I did later
          in high gain settings. I never met a microphone pad I liked, and that
          now extends to the high gain setting of the DR-680.

          David, regarding the AC power removal, did you have the unit out on an
          overnight drop and lose power due to external battery pack dying? If
          so, I've seen a DIY mod for the HD-P2 that I'm sure will work for the
          DR680 as well. I can't find the link, but essentially it's an 8-
          battery sled terminated with 2- AA battery-sized wooden dowels. You
          also have to cut a notch in the battery lid for the power cord.
          Feeding in through the dummy batteries gives the advantage of always
          being able to monitor battery levels, and no drain from the backlight
          being always on. You end up using 2 less D cells than you would with
          the standard 12v external, but still have the same Ah rating. Don't
          know what kind of conversion takes place inside there between the 12v
          external/9.6v internal, though- or how that will impact battery life.
          Sonic Studios sells a ready-made version of it for $250.00: http://tinyurl.com/2clyrd8
          (the link will give you a visual idea of the concept). They
          recommend Alkaline cells though, and I just can't go there.

          We'll see how mine behaves when it comes back- I'm confident that
          Tascam will resolve the phantom issue. My overall impression is that
          it's a great recorder for the money, and to get an increase in sound
          quality with the same level of functionality will require a
          significant price-point jump.

          Pd
        • Paul Jacobson
          ... The Tascam HDP2 writes data to CF every second. If you experience a loss of power the most you ll lose is a second or two, so this is a DR680 feature
          Message 4 of 12 , Jun 16, 2010
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            On 17/06/2010, at 1:19 AM, Scott Fraser wrote:

            > This is certainly true for any recording via computer to hard drive as
            > well, so it's not a "feature" exclusive to the Tascam. The system has
            > to write some data to the header of the audio file and/or the media
            > directory at the conclusion of the recording in order to have a valid
            > file.

            The Tascam HDP2 writes data to CF every second. If you experience a loss of power the most you'll lose is a second or two, so this is a "DR680 feature" rather than a "Tascam feature". It might be a limitation of processor power and the number of tracks - there is obviously an overhead incurred in writing the headers to each channel every second, and this would be 4 times higher if you were utilising 8 tracks vs a stereo pair.

            cheers
            Paul
          • Scott Fraser
            Message 5 of 12 , Jun 17, 2010
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              <<The Tascam HDP2 writes data to CF every second. If you experience a
              loss of power the most you'll lose is a second or two, so this is a
              "DR680 feature" rather than a "Tascam feature". It might be a
              limitation of processor power and the number of tracks - there is
              obviously an overhead incurred in writing the headers to each channel
              every second, and this would be 4 times higher if you were utilising 8
              tracks vs a stereo pair.>>

              OK, so this is a distinctly different approach than writing to a hard
              drive. There must be a constantly evolving temporary table of
              contents, which then becomes the finalized table in the event of loss
              of power. Anyway, implementing internal batteries seems the answer if
              stability of mains supply is really a problem.

              Scott Fraser

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • hartogj
              ... Hi David, The manual says a new file is started every 2GB, which to me implies that at that point the previous file is closed, and therefore the most you
              Message 6 of 12 , Jun 17, 2010
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                > you pull the AC plug while it is recording, and do not have internal
                > batteries installed, everything you have recorded is lost. Gone. There
                > is no incremental file closing like the Fostex FR2-LE. It even says so
                > in the manual.

                Hi David,
                The manual says a new file is started every 2GB, which to me implies that at that point the previous file is closed, and therefore the most you would lose from a power failure is the last 2GB of your session. Are you saying that in actuality you could lose more than that?

                John Hartog
              • corticalsongs
                I will need to double-check this, but I seem to remember loosing everything if the power is pulled, even previously recorded files in the session. Let me run a
                Message 7 of 12 , Jun 18, 2010
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                  I will need to double-check this, but I seem to remember loosing everything if the power is pulled, even previously recorded files in the session. Let me run a test again to verify.

                  > Hi David,
                  > The manual says a new file is started every 2GB, which to me implies that at that point the previous file is closed, and therefore the most you would lose from a power failure is the last 2GB of your session. Are you saying that in actuality you could lose more than that?
                  >
                  > John Hartog
                  >
                • corticalsongs
                  Now after a couple of years of use, I just wanted to update this. I have tested this and indeed, it is only the *last* file that is lost when the external
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 27 8:45 AM
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                    Now after a couple of years of use, I just wanted to update this.

                    I have tested this and indeed, it is only the *last* file that is lost when the external battery dies. All other files that have been written (in 2GB chunks) are saved.

                    David

                    --- In naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com, "hartogj" <hartogj_1999@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > > you pull the AC plug while it is recording, and do not have internal
                    > > batteries installed, everything you have recorded is lost. Gone. There
                    > > is no incremental file closing like the Fostex FR2-LE. It even says so
                    > > in the manual.
                    >
                    > Hi David,
                    > The manual says a new file is started every 2GB, which to me implies that at that point the previous file is closed, and therefore the most you would lose from a power failure is the last 2GB of your session. Are you saying that in actuality you could lose more than that?
                    >
                    > John Hartog
                    >
                  • Gregory O'Drobinak
                    Trond & all: There is another issue with using external batteries with the DR-680 that you need to be aware of. If a lead-acid (AGM or gel cell) battery is
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 27 10:04 AM
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                      Trond & all:

                      There is another issue with using external batteries with the DR-680 that you
                      need to be aware of.

                      If a lead-acid (AGM or gel cell) battery is left on well past its 'safe'
                      discharge voltage, the DR-680 does NOT deal with the low input voltage properly;
                      it doesn't switch over to the internal batteries as one might expect, until
                      things are too late. As the external battery voltage drops, the recorded sound
                      is filled with increasingly large amounts of terrible glitches, then the audio
                      mutes altogether. Not a pleasant thing to listen to.

                      There are two solutions to this problem with lead-acid batteries. One is to
                      build an in-line circuit for the battery supply that cuts off the supply to the
                      DR-680 when the voltage drops to about 11.6 volts. Then the internal batteries
                      will take over properly from the external battery. The other way is to use a
                      battery that has excess capacity to handle extended recording times before it
                      reaches its safe discharge voltage. My rule-of-thumb is to allow for about 1 AH
                      of battery capacity for each hour of recording time, based on using 4 mics with
                      phantom power. You should be safe with that amount. As an example, I did a 14
                      hour drop at Seney with 4 mics under phantom power using a 22 AH AGM battery
                      with no issues. So use the biggest battery you can handle. BTW, the power
                      consumption of the DR-680 does not scale exactly linearly with the amount of
                      mics used since the recorder uses a fair amount of power even when not using
                      phantom power.

                      My lab measurements put the power consumption of the DR-680 at 0.96 watts (800
                      mA * 12 volts) when using all 6 mic inputs with phantom power. So my
                      rule-of-thumb for battery capacity is pretty darn close. I always like to have a
                      safety factor when dealing with one-of-a-kind recording opportunities. :>}

                      I don't have any experience with using the BP160 lithium battery pack that David
                      has mentioned, but based on the data sheet one could expect about 15 - 16 hours
                      of run time for the DR-680 using 6 mics with phantom power. The BP160 has
                      built-in circuitry that should mitigate any problems with the cutover to the
                      internal batteries of the DR-680.

                      All of this boils down to price versus size and weight. One can buy almost five
                      22 AH AGM batteries that each have equivalent capacity to the BP160 battery
                      pack, but they are heavy and bulky compared to their lithium counterpart.

                      As for toxicity, all batteries have some toxic chemicals within them. All
                      batteries should be disposed of at a proper disposal facility after they are no
                      longer usable. BTW, I have never had any health issues using and handling AGM
                      (lead acid) batteries. One can recycle them at many battery shops for free; the
                      internal contents are then used to make new batteries.

                      Finally, here are some links for the curious:
                      http://www.batteryweb.com/manuals/techman.pdf

                      http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/health_concerns


                      I hope that this helps to elucidate the subject of batteries and the DR-680.

                      Best regards,
                      Greg O'Drobinak




                      ________________________________
                      From: corticalsongs <david.michael@...>
                      To: naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Sat, April 27, 2013 10:45:27 AM
                      Subject: [Nature Recordists] Re: Tascam DR-680 in the field


                      Now after a couple of years of use, I just wanted to update this.

                      I have tested this and indeed, it is only the *last* file that is lost when the
                      external battery dies. All other files that have been written (in 2GB chunks)
                      are saved.

                      David

                      --- In naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com, "hartogj" <hartogj_1999@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > > you pull the AC plug while it is recording, and do not have internal
                      > > batteries installed, everything you have recorded is lost. Gone. There
                      > > is no incremental file closing like the Fostex FR2-LE. It even says so
                      > > in the manual.
                      >
                      > Hi David,
                      > The manual says a new file is started every 2GB, which to me implies that at
                      >that point the previous file is closed, and therefore the most you would lose
                      >from a power failure is the last 2GB of your session. Are you saying that in
                      >actuality you could lose more than that?
                      >
                      > John Hartog
                      >




                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Luis do Carmo
                      I use NP-1 s by Varizoon, but I once found and added to my favorites an interesting thread on this specific subject at another group I follow.
                      Message 10 of 12 , Apr 27 2:21 PM
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                        I use NP-1's by Varizoon, but I once found and added to my favorites an interesting thread on this specific subject at another group I follow. http://jwsoundgroup.net/index.php?/topic/13669-batteries-for-tascam-dr-680/
                        Luis



                        ________________________________
                        From: Gregory O'Drobinak <gmodrobinak@...>
                        To: naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2013 2:04 PM
                        Subject: Re: [Nature Recordists] Re: Tascam DR-680 in the field



                         
                        Trond & all:

                        There is another issue with using external batteries with the DR-680 that you
                        need to be aware of.

                        If a lead-acid (AGM or gel cell) battery is left on well past its 'safe'
                        discharge voltage, the DR-680 does NOT deal with the low input voltage properly;
                        it doesn't switch over to the internal batteries as one might expect, until
                        things are too late. As the external battery voltage drops, the recorded sound
                        is filled with increasingly large amounts of terrible glitches, then the audio
                        mutes altogether. Not a pleasant thing to listen to.

                        There are two solutions to this problem with lead-acid batteries. One is to
                        build an in-line circuit for the battery supply that cuts off the supply to the
                        DR-680 when the voltage drops to about 11.6 volts. Then the internal batteries
                        will take over properly from the external battery. The other way is to use a
                        battery that has excess capacity to handle extended recording times before it
                        reaches its safe discharge voltage. My rule-of-thumb is to allow for about 1 AH
                        of battery capacity for each hour of recording time, based on using 4 mics with
                        phantom power. You should be safe with that amount. As an example, I did a 14
                        hour drop at Seney with 4 mics under phantom power using a 22 AH AGM battery
                        with no issues. So use the biggest battery you can handle. BTW, the power
                        consumption of the DR-680 does not scale exactly linearly with the amount of
                        mics used since the recorder uses a fair amount of power even when not using
                        phantom power.

                        My lab measurements put the power consumption of the DR-680 at 0.96 watts (800
                        mA * 12 volts) when using all 6 mic inputs with phantom power. So my
                        rule-of-thumb for battery capacity is pretty darn close. I always like to have a
                        safety factor when dealing with one-of-a-kind recording opportunities. :>}

                        I don't have any experience with using the BP160 lithium battery pack that David
                        has mentioned, but based on the data sheet one could expect about 15 - 16 hours
                        of run time for the DR-680 using 6 mics with phantom power. The BP160 has
                        built-in circuitry that should mitigate any problems with the cutover to the
                        internal batteries of the DR-680.

                        All of this boils down to price versus size and weight. One can buy almost five
                        22 AH AGM batteries that each have equivalent capacity to the BP160 battery
                        pack, but they are heavy and bulky compared to their lithium counterpart.

                        As for toxicity, all batteries have some toxic chemicals within them. All
                        batteries should be disposed of at a proper disposal facility after they are no
                        longer usable. BTW, I have never had any health issues using and handling AGM
                        (lead acid) batteries. One can recycle them at many battery shops for free; the
                        internal contents are then used to make new batteries.

                        Finally, here are some links for the curious:
                        http://www.batteryweb.com/manuals/techman.pdf

                        http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/health_concerns

                        I hope that this helps to elucidate the subject of batteries and the DR-680.

                        Best regards,
                        Greg O'Drobinak

                        ________________________________
                        From: corticalsongs <david.michael@...>
                        To: naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Sat, April 27, 2013 10:45:27 AM
                        Subject: [Nature Recordists] Re: Tascam DR-680 in the field

                        Now after a couple of years of use, I just wanted to update this.

                        I have tested this and indeed, it is only the *last* file that is lost when the
                        external battery dies. All other files that have been written (in 2GB chunks)
                        are saved.

                        David

                        --- In naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com, "hartogj" <hartogj_1999@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > > you pull the AC plug while it is recording, and do not have internal
                        > > batteries installed, everything you have recorded is lost. Gone. There
                        > > is no incremental file closing like the Fostex FR2-LE. It even says so
                        > > in the manual.
                        >
                        > Hi David,
                        > The manual says a new file is started every 2GB, which to me implies that at
                        >that point the previous file is closed, and therefore the most you would lose
                        >from a power failure is the last 2GB of your session. Are you saying that in
                        >actuality you could lose more than that?
                        >
                        > John Hartog
                        >

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • corticalsongs
                        Good info Greg. I think your 15-16 hour estimate is probably right on the money for 6 mics and phantom power with the BP160. And yes: weight, price, and
                        Message 11 of 12 , Apr 27 5:47 PM
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                          Good info Greg. I think your 15-16 hour estimate is probably right on the money for 6 mics and phantom power with the BP160. And yes: weight, price, and battery life - pick 2.

                          Another plus with the Bixnet batteries is they have solar panel charging options.

                          --- In naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com, Gregory O'Drobinak <gmodrobinak@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Trond & all:
                          >
                          > There is another issue with using external batteries with the DR-680 that you
                          > need to be aware of.
                          >
                          > If a lead-acid (AGM or gel cell) battery is left on well past its 'safe'
                          > discharge voltage, the DR-680 does NOT deal with the low input voltage properly;
                          > it doesn't switch over to the internal batteries as one might expect, until
                          > things are too late. As the external battery voltage drops, the recorded sound
                          > is filled with increasingly large amounts of terrible glitches, then the audio
                          > mutes altogether. Not a pleasant thing to listen to.
                          >
                          > There are two solutions to this problem with lead-acid batteries. One is to
                          > build an in-line circuit for the battery supply that cuts off the supply to the
                          > DR-680 when the voltage drops to about 11.6 volts. Then the internal batteries
                          > will take over properly from the external battery. The other way is to use a
                          > battery that has excess capacity to handle extended recording times before it
                          > reaches its safe discharge voltage. My rule-of-thumb is to allow for about 1 AH
                          > of battery capacity for each hour of recording time, based on using 4 mics with
                          > phantom power. You should be safe with that amount. As an example, I did a 14
                          > hour drop at Seney with 4 mics under phantom power using a 22 AH AGM battery
                          > with no issues. So use the biggest battery you can handle. BTW, the power
                          > consumption of the DR-680 does not scale exactly linearly with the amount of
                          > mics used since the recorder uses a fair amount of power even when not using
                          > phantom power.
                          >
                          > My lab measurements put the power consumption of the DR-680 at 0.96 watts (800
                          > mA * 12 volts) when using all 6 mic inputs with phantom power. So my
                          > rule-of-thumb for battery capacity is pretty darn close. I always like to have a
                          > safety factor when dealing with one-of-a-kind recording opportunities. :>}
                          >
                          > I don't have any experience with using the BP160 lithium battery pack that David
                          > has mentioned, but based on the data sheet one could expect about 15 - 16 hours
                          > of run time for the DR-680 using 6 mics with phantom power. The BP160 has
                          > built-in circuitry that should mitigate any problems with the cutover to the
                          > internal batteries of the DR-680.
                          >
                          > All of this boils down to price versus size and weight. One can buy almost five
                          > 22 AH AGM batteries that each have equivalent capacity to the BP160 battery
                          > pack, but they are heavy and bulky compared to their lithium counterpart.
                          >
                          > As for toxicity, all batteries have some toxic chemicals within them. All
                          > batteries should be disposed of at a proper disposal facility after they are no
                          > longer usable. BTW, I have never had any health issues using and handling AGM
                          > (lead acid) batteries. One can recycle them at many battery shops for free; the
                          > internal contents are then used to make new batteries.
                          >
                          > Finally, here are some links for the curious:
                          > http://www.batteryweb.com/manuals/techman.pdf
                          >
                          > http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/health_concerns
                          >
                          >
                          > I hope that this helps to elucidate the subject of batteries and the DR-680.
                          >
                          > Best regards,
                          > Greg O'Drobinak
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > ________________________________
                          > From: corticalsongs <david.michael@...>
                          > To: naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com
                          > Sent: Sat, April 27, 2013 10:45:27 AM
                          > Subject: [Nature Recordists] Re: Tascam DR-680 in the field
                          >
                          >
                          > Now after a couple of years of use, I just wanted to update this.
                          >
                          > I have tested this and indeed, it is only the *last* file that is lost when the
                          > external battery dies. All other files that have been written (in 2GB chunks)
                          > are saved.
                          >
                          > David
                          >
                          > --- In naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com, "hartogj" <hartogj_1999@> wrote:
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > > you pull the AC plug while it is recording, and do not have internal
                          > > > batteries installed, everything you have recorded is lost. Gone. There
                          > > > is no incremental file closing like the Fostex FR2-LE. It even says so
                          > > > in the manual.
                          > >
                          > > Hi David,
                          > > The manual says a new file is started every 2GB, which to me implies that at
                          > >that point the previous file is closed, and therefore the most you would lose
                          > >from a power failure is the last 2GB of your session. Are you saying that in
                          > >actuality you could lose more than that?
                          > >
                          > > John Hartog
                          > >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                        • Raimund
                          Hi Greg, Yes,
                          Message 12 of 12 , Apr 28 10:29 AM
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                            < One is to build an in-line circuit for the battery supply that cuts off the supply to the DR-680 when the voltage drops to about 11.6 volts.>

                            Hi Greg,

                            Yes, that's indeed a good idea - not only for preventing strange effects on the recorder, but also for protecting the battery itself. Draining a lead-acid battery below a critical voltage level can permanently damage it. There are fortunately low voltage disconnect battery guards available that can prevent the complete discharge. I'm using this model:
                            http://www.kemo-electronic.de/en/Car/Modules/M148A-Battery-guard-12-V-DC.php
                            There seem to be similar products also by other manufacturers:
                            http://www.powerwerx.com/batteries-chargers/dc-low-voltage-disconnect-lvd.html

                            Regards,
                            Raimund
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