Preventing Damage to SDI Outputs

Summary:

Under certain circumstances, it is possible for the SDI circuitry to incur damage when connected to an accessory and powered without using shielded cables. RED recommends only using high quality, shielded BNC cables that are rated for 12G-SDI signals and only using shielded power cables for powering SDI accessories.  

Make sure power is connected to the SDI accessory at all times before you connect the BNC to the camera. Ungrounded power from SDI accessories can damage the camera’s SDI port. To avoid this possible damage, attach the power source to the accessory before attaching it to the BNC cable. When using RED Approved Third Party battery plates, unplug BNC prior to hot swapping.  

When possible, avoid using P-Tap (also known as D-Tap) cables to power accessories. To avoid damage when using P-Tap/D-Tap, it’s imperative that the connect/disconnect sequence (below) is followed precisely. 

Instructions:

When attaching SDI accessories:

    1. Connect a power source to the SDI accessory; power on the SDI accessory. 
    2. Ensure a power source is connected to the camera.
      • This ensures both are grounded prior to connecting the BNC.
      • The camera's power state does not have an impact on SDI attachment sequence.
    3. Connect the BNC cable to the accessory, then to the camera.

When detaching an accessory mounted to an SDI output, ensure that you remove the BNC connection to the camera before removing power to the SDI device: 

    1. Shutdown the SDI accessory. 
    2. Disconnect the BNC cable from camera. 
    3. Disconnect the power source from SDI accessory. 

When you need to swap out a battery on an accessory mounted to the camera’s SDI port, you must:  

    1. Shutdown the SDI accessory. 
    2. Disconnect the BNC cable from the camera. 
    3. Replace the battery on the SDI accessory. 
    4. Connect the BNC cable to the camera. 
    5. Power on the SDI accessory. 

RED TECH | KOMODO | SDI Port Safety - Quick Tip

FAQ:

Will a Galvanic Isolator protect the SDI port?

• RED has tested various 12G-SDI isolators and, while they do not degrade the signal integrity for cable runs up-to & around 100m, we suggest referring to the manufacturer for the effectiveness of the isolators.

Can I hot-swap camera batteries?

• If you are using REDVOLT BP batteries or similar, yes you can hot-swap these batteries. If you are using a single V-Lock battery that is not powering your monitor you can also change this without impacting the SDI chain. However, if your camera battery is powering your monitor you will need to follow the steps below.

• Attach the battery to the camera, plug the D-Tap into the battery, then attach it to the SDI accessory & power up the SDI device. Once completed you can then attach SDI to the camera.

If my monitor is powered via D-Tap on my V-Lock/ Gold Mount, do I need to follow any different steps?

• Attach the battery to the camera, plug the D-Tap into the battery, then attach it to the SDI accessory & power up the SDI device. Once completed you can then attach SDI to the camera.

What happens if the monitor loses power?

• If your monitor loses power while operating the camera, disconnect the SDI cable from camera, replace the battery, power up the SDI device, then re-connect SDI to camera.

Does the power state of the camera matter?

• The power state of the camera does not matter. The camera can be on or off during any of these processes.

Does the power status of my monitor matter?

• While the power status of the monitor or SDI device does not matter, by powering up the monitor you are ensuring the device has been correctly grounded. Therefore, we suggest attaching power & then powering up before plugging the SDI into the camera.

If my SDI output resolution is 1080p should I still follow these steps?

• This applies to 12G-SDI hardware regardless of the output resolution.

Can I use a 3G-SDI cable if I only output to a 1080p monitor?

• While 3G-SDI cables are mechanically compatible, RED recommends only using high quality, shielded BNC cables that are rated for 12G-SDI signals.

Should I attach my SDI cable to my SDI device first or camera first after I’ve confirmed it’s grounded?

• The order in which cables are attached has no impact on a short circuit. Once the camera & SDI device have been properly grounded, SDI can be connected in any order.

What SDI cables does RED recommend?

• While RED doesn't have any officially approved SDI cables, any 12G-SDI cables that meet SMPTE reference standards should be suitable. We suggest verifying the specification with the cable manufacturer.

What should I do if I think my SDI board has been affected by a power short?

• Please contact RED support HERE.

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