Godox has a growing line of products (now including not only LEDs and flashes but even monitors and mics not to mention many types of light modifiers). Our colleague photographer Wess Perry recently published an interesting video looking at some of Godox chargers for their different portable strobes and came back with some interesting results.
Having a portable strobe with a battery gives you a lot of freedom to move without cables and use a strobe outdoors or on location without large power packs and generators. The downside is that they require charging and with it, you need to manage those charges and this might be a little more hands-on than what most people might imagine.
Typically people might take the battery of say an AD 200 PRO put it on the charger and leave it there until they need it thinking that this will keep it charged. While this might work like that it opens up the door to all sorts of issues and dangers.
The Danger and what you should do?
First, you need to understand that high power batteries like many of those used by Godox (and that is true for other brands and other products – think V-mount/Gold mount batteries for example) are potential fire hazards (and in some extreme cases even potentially explosives – we can tell you some horror stories from a few photographer friends of ours who almost got their entire place burned).
Leaving a high power battery to trickle charge in a charger is NOT recommended. Actually, Godox itself suggests that you won’t do that. A drawback to Godox’s chargers is that they don’t give an audible beep when they finish charging but we suggest that you have a timer set to the max charge time (full battery charge) next to the charger and set it to run each time you put a battery to charge. This way you will never leave a battery on the charger for a long time.
Wess even suggest that you should never leave a high power battery charging without physically being in the same room. This is O.K. if this is 30 min to an hour but if you need to charge several batteries or ones which take longer – this can be problematic. We would suggest making sure that if you can’t physically be where the charger is try and minimize the risk by placing the charger in a location that if the battery melts or burns it will not light other things on fire and have a fire alarm installed above (place the charger on a stone or metal surface and there are even special Fireproof Lipo Safe bags although you might need a large one for the charger and close it down for charging with just the power cable going out).
What Did Wess found in his tests?
First the good news. The VC26 charger (for the AD100 PRO), this one has a very minimal trickle charge and very low back feeding into the charger (if you disconnect it from power).
The VC18 charger (for the Godox V850, V850II, V860, V860II-N, V860II-C, V860II-S, V860II-F, V860II-O, and other Speedlite Flashes) on the other hand will drain about 1/5 of the charge of the battery if just left in the charger connected to the power in about a week (this does include the battery own discharge which will happen anyway mind you). If you cut the power to the charger however this goes up considerably and in the same amount of time, the battery will drain completely.
The C29 charger (AD 200/300/PRO) has about the same results (although since they charge more powerful batteries it will take more than a week).
The C26 charger which chargers the AD600 PRO (and the AD400 PRO) is the most problematic. This charger constantly draws between 2-3W even if it is not charging so remove it from the wall when you are done charging.
Wess explains that as a fire alarm technician and electrical engineer keeping such a power hog connected to the AC at all times (even if it worked well until now is dangerous as the components inside the device will get hot and degrade over time).
So especially with the big batteries and chargers like the C26 – only place the battery inside for charging, take the battery out of the charger the minute it finishes charging and take the charger itself off the wall when not in use!
Thanks, Wess for the important tips! we will talk with Godox and see what they have to say and update this post if necessary.
You can find more photography-related technology videos on our photo-tech section here on LensVid.