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I’m back from Mongolia and I am sad to say that my enthusiasm for the Hyperdrive Colorspace O’s is greatly diminished. As, I mentioned in a previous post I purchased two cases and added OWC 320GB drives. After only the second download (8 GB Sandisk Extreme IV cards) on one of the Hyperdrives the battery light went red and would not hold a charge unless it was plugged in. The other Hyperdrive was fine for two more downloads and then the battery light also went red AND it would not work even when it was plugged it. (After it “rested” for a week I was able to use it with external power but the battery still would not hold a charge.)  Another fellow on the trip also had two Hyperdrives Colorspace O’s and one of them had the same problem (and resulted in losing all of the images he had downloaded), luckily the other was fine. So, it was obviously not an isolated case. (Another woman on the tour had one Hyperspace drive and it worked fine.)

When I returned I immediately tried to contact Hyperdrive to sort out the problem. I used their support email (3 times) but did not get a response for a week. I tried to call but could not connect with a live person.

I finally did receive an email response asking if it could have been the cold weather (a reasonable question) and offered to send me replaceable batteries (greatly appreciated). I responded that it was not a problem of cold weather, that there seems to be a serious battery issue since it happened to three drives belong to two people purchased at different times. (I had put in OWC drives but the other fellow had bought Hyperdrives with drives included.)

I suspect it is either a problem with 220 or, most likely, that we were using a generator for power and that creates extra issues. I was able to charge the Hyperdrives when I returned home to 110 and they are now showing a green battery light. But, they did not work in Mongolia, when I really needed them to work. (Although I had other backup options with me, so it was not a huge problem. I never trust a new system that has not been tested thoroughly.)

As of now, I cannot endorse the Hyperdrive Colorspace O digital wallets (at least for those of us who need alternative power such as generators; I will be testing solar possibilities soon.) A pity.

And, I would like to know if anyone else has had this problem?

I am leaving next month for Myanmar and India and will “test” the Hyperdrives with the replacement batteries and more 220 (my real backup will be with a computer and external Lacie Rugged Drives, as it was in Mongolia).

Hopefully, Hyperdrive will give me a complete answer this week. I will keep you posted.

Update October 2: Still have not gotten a clear answer from Hyperspace. I’m trying!!!

Update November 2/ Dateline Bangkok: Still have not gotten a clear answer from Hyperspace. I emailed them, again, two weeks ago before I left for Myanmar. I just returned to Bangkok and there has been no answer. I emailed them again today.

Update June 20, 2009: I will post a new entry about my contemporary experiences with the Hyperdrives later this summer.

I am leaving for Mongolia next week to lead a photo tour. Of course, I am looking forward it, but at the moment PACKING is the challenge. There will be a wide range of temperatures, challenges with lack of electricity, and small planes with severe weight limitation.

I do not skimp on my camera equipment; I take my full camera bag (a Lowepro Orion AW) hoisting a Canon 1Ds MarkIII with a 15mm, 28mm f/1.8, 24-105mm, 100-400, and my favorite a 16 -35mm f/2.8. (my full equipment list is listed on my website if you are interested), along with a 580 EX II flash, wireless transmitter, Gepe card case, a Singh-Ray polarizer and a Singh-Ray Vari-ND, a couple of Lumi-Quest flash diffuser and bounce accessories, and other sundry items. Yes, it all fits. Very dense at about 25lbs. I am also bringing a Canon 5D that I converted to InfraRed and a 1Ds Mark II as a back up.

Of course I have the battery chargers, extra camera batteries, extra cords, etc. I won’t list all the accessories here. But, I have seen almost everything go wrong in the field so I am prepared.

The next decision was how to back up my images in the field. I have decided not to take a laptop on the tour (I will leave it behind in Ulan Bator in a locked left luggage, well protected in a hard case.) Instead I am taking two Hyperdrive Colorspace O digital wallets — thanks to the advice of Jim Elferdink, author of a number of those Missing Manuals that are essential in my world

Jim suggested: “To save money I bought just the case from Hyperdrive and then bought a 320 GB drive from OWC for about $120. It’s not hard to install the drive and format it.”

He was right it was a cinch to plop the Hitachi drives in the Colorspace O cases (they even give you a screw driver). So now I have two 320GB digital wallets that cost A LOT less than an Epson.

The rest of the stuff is easy to pack .. it is always the camera gear that is thought provoking.

PS: I am not much of a tripod user but I am taking a Gitzo Traveler Tripod 6x Carbon G1550T. It is not the sturdies tripod, but I do not use large lenses and it is the perfect tripod for conserving space and weight.

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