With the introduction of NMX firmware .22 (and later) we decided it was best to turn the Power Save function OFF by default for all three motor ports. We did this as a 'better to be safe than sorry' measure because with the Power Save option OFF you will get the absolute best HOLDING POWER possible from the motors (some customers were experiencing trouble with heavier loads). However this does come at a power consumption cost.. With the power save off the NMX will consume about 300mA per motor driver on top of approximately 150mA for core functions.
What is Power Save Mode?
With Power Save ON the motor drivers will automatically turn off when they are not actively moving a motor. This primarily saves energy when using the system in a 'Shoot Move Shoot' timelapse mode as the motors are at normally at rest, only moving for a small percentage of overall time. In Continuous timelapse or in Video mode this setting won't have much effect because regardless of the Power Save mode the motors are constantly in motion during run time in these modes.
How to turn Power Save On/Off
Power Save is inside the Slide, Pan or Tilt options (top of the joystick screen)
Each of the 3 motor ports can be independently toggled on/off so if you have no motor connected to the motor port definitely turn Power Save ON! There is no need to consume power if your not using the port.. Notice immediately the NMX motor port light will turn off indicating that the motor driver is currently off on the particular port.
Is it dangerous to turn the Power Save ON?
Not really, you'll notice our standard 19:1 motors have decent holding power even when the motor driver is off. The motors will not simply 'release and spin freely' when the motor driver is off. You can test this out and get a feel for it by disconnecting the motor and twisting the rotary axis or pushing the slider cart by hand to see how much force it takes to move it. It's possible to displace with some force but not necessarily easy.. worse case scenario the rig would slowly creep along or slump, it would never 'free fall'
Okay, so if the motor can hold it's position with Power Save ON am I good to go?
Not always, if you are doing very small SMS timelapse incremental moves against gravity with say a heavy lens or a heavy dolly cart what can happen is the driver will move the motor a tiny bit to the next position but when the motor driver turns off it can potentially slump/slip back a bit. It's a difficult line to draw a definitive line when this will happen and when it will not therefor when in doubt keep the Power Save OFF. If the motor is able to hold it's load and your moving WITH gravity (for example; down hill on a slider or a big lens that is tilting down) then it's safe to say Power Save ON is a-OK!
The NMX is getting very warm with the motor drivers on!
This is normal. When the motor driver is on it does produce heat. The motor drivers are thermally bonded to the aluminum top of the NMX which acts as a heat sink. It's not uncommon for the top of the NMX to reach temps upto 95 degrees with all three motor drivers running. Although this feels quite warm to the touch it's not enough to harm you or the NMX.
There's faint noise that sounds like an old TV?
This is normal. When the motor driver is on and actively holding a position there will be some harmonic frequency output by the motor driver. It will vary based on the motors position in tone but it's nothing to be concerned about.