How can I maximize battery life for my Avatour capture system?

There are options to increase the battery life of your Avatour system, up to and including permanent AC power for continuous operation. This article outlines those options.

A typical Avatour capture system consists of a 360 camera and/or a mobile device depending on which version of the kit you have. Each component has its own battery, and all must be powered to provide a 360° feed to the Avatour session. 

Depending on the specific devices used, different power options are available and as hardware options continue to evolve,  we will update this article regularly to reflect new options as they become available.

TL;DR: What gear gives me the longest battery life?

The Pilot One and Insta360 One R devices permit external power via USB-C. External power can be provided either by additional external batteries, or by an USB-C AC power adapter.  With sufficient wattage, AC power can allow the camera to run indefinitely. Specific hardware recommendations can be found below.

Battery Options for Cameras

Pilot One

The Pilot One does not feature a swappable battery, but does support external power via USB-C port, with or without a splitter to enable Bluetooth connection.  This can include a mountable option which we detail below in the external charging section.

Screenshot 2021-11-02 205758Note: To enable continuous operation of the Pilot One, you must use an AC adapter with at least 45w of power and a "PD" (Power Delivery) USB-C output. If using the Anker adapter included with your Avatour kit, you must use the USB-C port on the adapter, circled in this photo.

Insta360 One X

The Insta360 One X camera cannot support external power, so it is limited to battery power only. The standard One X battery lasts a little over an hour. However, it's easily removable, so that spare charged batteries can be "hot-swapped" with only a few seconds of stream downtime. Spare batteries are inexpensive and readily available, and are shipped with all of our Avatour kits.

Insta360 One X2

The Insta360 One X2 camera is very similar to the One X, but it has some crucial differences when it comes to power options. Its standard battery lasts longer, almost 90 minutes in our tests. And while it does have a "hot-swappable" battery like the One X, replacement batteries are not available yet - not from third-party vendors and not from Insta360 itself. And while it does have a USB-C connector, in our tests, it is impossible to use a splitter to connect both power and data to the camera.

As a result of these deficiencies relative to other options, we can't recommend the X2 for situations where sessions longer than an hour are required.

Insta360 One R

The One R has two battery options, and also can support external power under certain conditions.

Spare batteries are available directly from Insta360 in both a regular and high-capacity ("Boosted") format. The "Boosted" battery is particularly effective, as it lasts more than 2 hours in an Avatour session, and has a built-in GoPro-style mount which makes for a lighter and simpler setup. On the downside, it is harder to swap than the One X and One X2 batteries, requiring dismounting of the camera. 

Unique among the Insta360 options, the One R supports external power during an Avatour session. This enables much longer run-times with an external battery, or continuous operation when connected to AC power. See the below section for these options.

External Charging Options

External Batteries

Currently, the Insta360 One R is the only model that supports an external battery. Usage of this, requires a USB-C splitter, enabling the data cable to still be used. We have tested and validated several splitters designed for USB-C headphones, including this one and this one. We cannot guarantee that other devices might work.

Additional Power

Now that we can get power to our devices, we need something that can supply power. If you're planning a stationary application, of course, you can simply hook up to AC USB adapters. But for portable use, we need an external battery.

71DVgdL5tEL._AC_SL1500_Ulanzi has come to the rescue with an excellent external battery pack that is designed to be mounted on a tripod. Their BG-3 Power Stick features a 10,000mAh battery and two power connectors.

In our tests, it has powered an Avatour kit continuously for over four hours. It's relatively lightweight at 460g, and mounts directly inline with the tripod and mount.  This piece works with all versions of the kit including the assembled Pilot One camera below.

IMG_2036

Pilot One camera assembled with BG-3 power stick and Bluetooth USB C splitter

Shopping List

Here's a complete shopping list to enable continuous AC or external battery-backed power for your Avatour kit, including US Amazon links where appropriate:

Feel free to reach out to us at support@avatour.live if you have unique needs or other questions about hardware solutions.