H4nsp Battery Life Issues

Discuss the Zoom H6, H5, H4, H4n, H2, H2n, and H1. Please don't "post and run". Participate in the discussion. Thanks.
Post Reply
iSickles
new to this board
new to this board
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:31 pm

H4nsp Battery Life Issues

Post by iSickles » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:36 pm

Greetings,

We have purchased two H4n recorders and are experiencing serious battery life issues. Most of our audio is recorded using Sennheiser lavalier mics, so we set the device to record in phantom power, 48khz/24bit, stereo, wav files, alkaline batteries (Firmware v 1.72). For some reason, we are lucky to get an hour of recording. When we power on the device using nearly full batteries, the device will show full charge for a moment and then minutes later it will go down to 2-bars and sometimes down to 1-bar or even Low Battery and shut down completely. On two separate occasions with both of our devices I’ve experienced the following:

While packing my equipment for a shoot, I will check the battery life of the device by powering it up. It will show 2 or 3 bars. I will arrive at my shoot and power up the device only to have it show no power. I’ve have a large bag of nearly full charged alkaline batteries and I will go through all of them with no effect. The only thing that works is a set of completely new batteries. It will power up just fine and stay on to record.

I was really flustered when this happened to our first device and thought that it was just broken, but when it happened with our second device I knew there was a serious problem. I’m either doing something wrong or these devices are prone to malfunction with phantom power-wireless mics. With the first device, we will barely get 1 hour of recording if we have brand new batteries. I have not tested our second device and I've just updated the firmware to v1.90, though I did not see any mention of battery life improvements. Is this all because of the 48v phantom power setting? I've searched the archives here but I did not find anyone else experiencing this same situation. Also, our devices did not come with the wall-plug. I work at a corporation and both our Zooms were ordered online, probably second-hand. I'm wondering if these are just broken or if these are known issues.

We are at a point now where we cannot rely on the Zoom and are having to revert to a camcorder to record audio separately. Please let me know if there are any suggestions to resolve this issue.

Thank you.

Wulfraed
Yoda
Yoda
Posts: 2841
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:18 pm
Location: Kentwood, MI

Re: H4nsp Battery Life Issues

Post by Wulfraed » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:17 am

iSickles wrote:
Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:36 pm
We have purchased two H4n recorders and are experiencing serious battery life issues. Most of our audio is recorded using Sennheiser lavalier mics, so we set the device to record in phantom power, 48khz/24bit, stereo, wav files, alkaline batteries (Firmware v 1.72).
You fail to specify the microphone model(s), but to my knowledge, most lavelier microphones either have a small battery, or use the equivalent of "plug-in power"; but do not use full phantom power. Further more, you later state you are using /wireless/ microphones. All the wireless systems I've looked at contain their own power supplies so do not need phantom power.
For some reason, we are lucky to get an hour of recording. When we power on the device using nearly full batteries, the device will show full charge for a moment and then minutes later it will go down to 2-bars and sometimes down to 1-bar or even Low Battery and shut down completely. On two separate occasions with both of our devices I’ve experienced the following:
Do you have the battery type setting correct for the type of batteries (manual page 128)?

Due to the voltage curve difference between alkaline and NiMH, devices can behave improperly if set to the other style. (Alkaline start at 1.5V but rapidly drop, and continue dropping to 0.9V; NiMH may only start at 1.2V, but they tend to hold that until nearly dead at which point they rapidly drop to 0.9V -- So if set for NiMH, Alkalines will report full, then as they fall below the 1.2V level show as empty; conversely, set for Alkaline and running NiMH may not ever show full, and show empty when the battery is below desired recharge state).

While packing my equipment for a shoot, I will check the battery life of the device by powering it up. It will show 2 or 3 bars. I will arrive at my shoot and power up the device only to have it show no power. I’ve have a large bag of nearly full charged alkaline batteries and I will go through all of them with no effect. The only thing that works is a set of completely new batteries. It will power up just fine and stay on to record.
Likely a silly question, but it needs to be asked: You are fully turning off the device, and not accidentally moving it into the "hold" state?
I was really flustered when this happened to our first device and thought that it was just broken, but when it happened with our second device I knew there was a serious problem. I’m either doing something wrong or these devices are prone to malfunction with phantom power-wireless mics.
I have to reiterate: I know of no WIRELESS microphone sets that require phantom power from the end recording device. If the microphone itself needs phantom power (or more likely plug-in power), that power is supplied by the transmitter pack that goes with the microphone. Receiver packs normally have line-level outputs from their own internal power supply.
Also, our devices did not come with the wall-plug. I work at a corporation and both our Zooms were ordered online, probably second-hand. I'm wondering if these are just broken or if these are known issues.

We are at a point now where we cannot rely on the Zoom and are having to revert to a camcorder to record audio separately. Please let me know if there are any suggestions to resolve this issue.
Per page 15 of the manual, a new/in-box H4n comes with a starter SD card, foam screen, microphone stand adapter (tapered rod that screws into tripod socket and lets you shove the unit into a common microphone clip), the AC adapter, a USB cable, and a case for the main body.

If you didn't get all those parts, then you are not getting the units from used or grey-market sellers who are opening the packages and removing stuff to sell as extras. In those cases, you can not trust anything about the equipment -- and blaming Zoom is unfair when the background of the device is unknown. With a full/sealed box, you would at least have the option of trying to have Zoom service check them out during warranty period.

In the meantime -- I'd recommend not storing them with batteries installed; and suffer having to set the date/time on arrival at the recording site.
--
Baron Wulfraed
IISS Elusive Unicorn (detached)

Superscope PSD-300; BOSS BR-600, Zoom HD16cd, Zoom R16, BOSS BR-800, Zoom H2n
Now to learn to play an instrument

greenA2
dues paid
dues paid
Posts: 285
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:21 pm

Re: H4nsp Battery Life Issues

Post by greenA2 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:57 am

If I may jump in as I have also used Sennheiser lavaliers, specifically the ME-2, it takes phantom power, not just plug in power, I have an XLR converter to power it from my H5 or from mixers. I got this microphone as part of a wireless kit, but have also used it straight through the XLR converter for recording, I guess that's why the OP calls it 'wireless' but in fact is using it without the wireless transmitter and receiver. I know the wireless kit has to be used with non-rechargeable batteries and wonder if the same applies to handheld recorders when they are used for Phantom power.

Given a choice I involve a small mixer when recording multifile (4ch mode), and powering any phantom powered mics from the mixer. This might not be an option for the OP.
Zoom A2, H5, YouRock Guitar

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests