July 1, 2013

ACK-E6 compatible AC to DC Coupler for Canon - Review

ACK-E6 compatible AC to DC Coupler w/ Canon EOS 7D
As I had mentioned in the ACK-E2 compatible AC to DC Coupler for Canon - Reference sometime ago, an AC to DC coupler is the most efficient solution for time lapse photography, very long exposures of star trails or in studio shooting tethered to a computer. As long as you have a wall power socket nearby, then you have no reason to want your camera to get into power saving mode, neither to get your camera battery(ies) exhausted.

Having used an ACK-E2 compatible DC coupler with Canon EOS 50D for quite a long time and for many applications, when I purchased the EOS 7D it was natural to search for an equivalent product, which is the ACK-E6 AC to DC Coupler.
However, the presentation of this specific ACK-E6 compatible AC to DC coupler is meant for illustration only, mostly to convey the idea and not to promote the product itself, as it is a generic after market product of which you may find numerous variations on line.

Once again, for any readers unfamiliar with the concept, the DC coupler replaces the camera battery and enables the camera to draw power directly from an AC power source via an AC adapter/power supply.

The ACK-E6 Coupler
The ACK-E6 DC coupler is compatible with Canon EOS 60D, new 70D, 7D, 6D, 5D MkII, 5D MkIII or simply with all EOS cameras utilizing the LP-06 battery pack.

DR-E6 compatible DC Coupler top
The DR-E6 DC coupler is nothing more than an empty LP-E6 battery-pack outer shell connecting with a cable to the AC adapter. It serves only as a medium for the battery contacts inside the camera.
However, the specific DR-E6 DC coupler illustrated here is exactly the same as the OEM part, being both compatible with the on camera battery socket and with the respective BG-En battery grips due to the variable positioning of the connecting cable.
DR-E6 compatible DC Coupler bottom view
The bottom side view, reveals the contacts marked with + & - and the opening with a small hook on the other side which permits the proper positioning of the connecting cable, as we shall see later on. 
ACK-E6 compatible AC to DC Coupler kit
The ACK-E6 compatible kit includes an AC adapter with connecting cable ending to a male plug, the fore mentioned DR-E6 DC coupler which replaces the LP-06 battery pack, also equipped with a connecting cable ending to a female plug and finally a power cord.
Usually the AC adapter operates with a variable input from 100V to 240V AC while the power cord is equipped with the appropriate plug for the country it is intended for. In any case, being detachable the power cord can be replaced with an appropriate one at will.
DR-E6 DC Coupler & AC adapter plugs
In the photo above we can see both the DR-E6 female plug on the left and the AC adapter male plug on the right.
ACK-E6 compatible AC to DC Coupler kit connected
All cables connected. The total length from AC plug to DR-E6 DC coupler is 3.35 m (~11 ft).
ACK-E6 AC Adapter label
As the DC coupler serves only as contacts to the battery socket of the camera, what really matters when selecting an after market / compatible product is the quality of the AC adapter / power supply. The AC adapter should bear CE / Rohs accreditation marks and deliver the specific voltage and Amperes required by the camera.

Using with a Camera

DR-E6 DC Coupler cable side out
When the DR-E6 DC coupler is going to replace the in camera battery, the cable should be entangled in the small plastic hook at the corner of the coupler. This will make it protrude from the side of the coupler when inserted in the camera battery socket.
DR-E6 DC Coupler in camera installation sequence
Since the DC coupler replaces the camera battery pack, all it needs to be done is to remove the original battery pack - the LP-06 in this case - and insert the RD-06 DC coupler in the battery slot of the camera as with the EOS 7D pictured above.
There is a small rectangular opening on the camera body, beside the battery door hing, sealed with an elastic rubber flap. As we can see in the lower-left photo above the flap is attached only on one side permitting it to hing upwards. After inserting the DC coupler cable into the opening the battery compartment cover can be closed easily (lower-right photo).
Connect the DC coupler cable to the AC adapter cable, then to your wall outlet and you are ready to shoot.

Using with a Battery Grip

DR-E6 DC Coupler cable straight out
In case the DR-E6 DC coupler will be used with a battery grip the connecting cable should be left  to go straight out.
DR-E6 DC Coupler in battery grip installation sequence
Both batteries should be removed from the grip and the DR-E6 DC coupler should be inserted in the left battery socket for battery grips loading from the back like BG-E6 or BG-E7 (top photo above) or the outer socket for battery grips loading from the side like BG-E11 or BG-E13.
Similar to the camera body, there is a rectangular slot on the left side of the grips (looking from the back) sealed with an elastic rubber flap. The flap is not hinged but can be pressed inwards to allow for the cable to come out and the battery door close and lock (lower photos). Same goes for the side loading battery grips. Although the DR-E6 DC coupler will load differently there is provision for the cable to be driven out from the side.

Something that should be mentioned is that the camera does not recognize the ACK-E6 compatible AC to DC Coupler neither as a compatible battery nor as an AC power source. When turned on the camera reports 'Battery unrecognized; continue?' with a Yes/No prompt. Which means there is no identifying chip in the DR-E6 DC coupler. Further, when proceeding, the battery capacity meter reads empty but all camera functions operate flawlessly. Battery recognition or battery level indication is not really of significance in this case, since the power supply is continues and any monitoring would be only iconic.

Very low price compared to original Canon product.
Very Decent quality.
Compatible with BG-E6 (5DMkII), BG-E11 (5DMkIII), BG-E13 (6D), BG-E7 (7D), BG-E9 (60D) and BG-E14 (70D) Battery Grips

Not recognized by the camera firmware as a battery or AC adapter at startup.

I'm using this ACK-E6 compatible DC coupler for long sessions indoors and for quite some time, without any problems up to now. So I can recommend it to users of EOS cameras that would like a continues power supply.
I'm sorry Canon but I don't really see any technological breakthrough or advanced electronics to justify the US$ 180.00 asked for the original ACK-E6 made also in China, Malaysia or wherever. Proprietary devices offering compatibility and safety assurance have a premium but US$ 180.00 is a rip off. Therefore, in this respect, the choice of a compatible solution seems more logical.

I hope you found the reference useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos & Photosynths: © 2013 S.C.Vlachos

Price & Availability:
Prices for ACK-E6 compatible DC Couplers vary from as low as US $ 11.90 to as much as $ 29.90
However higher prices do not always guaranty better compatibility and/or quality. My suggestion is to check well for AC adapter certification and build quality before committing to buy as well as checking AC adapter output voltage before connecting to your valuable camera.
ACK-E6 DC Coupler  is available from Amazon and also from eBay

Referenced Articles:
Canon EOS 7D Camera Reference

Relevant Articles:

ACK-E2 compatible AC to DC Coupler for Canon - Reference

Aputure AP-TR3C (TC-80N3 compatible) Timer Remote Controller for Canon

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for the review! I wasn't sure about buying one.