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is it possible?
Old 05-31-2005, 03:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
markomiscevic
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Is it possible to power flash head with car batery? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
 
 
Re: is it possible?
Old 05-31-2005, 07:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Robert had something like that at HTL...

It was smaller than a car battery, but the same idea, powering his Norman 200B.

http://www.garageglamour.com/portfolios/RBP

Now, if you are asking about a car battery still in the car... don't know...

Chris
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Re: is it possible?
Old 05-31-2005, 08:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes it's possible, but you need an inverter and a few other bits to convert 12-14V DC to 110V AC. You also want to use a deep-cycle battery (like a marine battery) and not a car battery. But it really isn't a home project. The current draw of a set of heads can be pretty severe and you can easily damage a battery or even make it go BOOM if you're not careful. You also have to be careful about how much you drain the battery. Drain them too much and you'll kill them.

Commercial products can be pretty expensive. Dynalite, for one, makes a battery-based power supply that will power 1000 w/s worth of packs or monolights and provide about 200 full power discharges. But it runs around $1500.

I've successfully used a high capacity Uninterruptable Power Supply like those used to keep computers running when the power goes off. But the cost of a UPS that will give you a decent number of discharges isn't any cheaper than the above Dynalite power pack.

I'm looking into a couple of solutions that may be more economical. PM me if you're interested in what I find out, and I'll pass along what I discover.

-Chip
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Re: is it possible?
Old 05-31-2005, 09:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
markomiscevic
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I know people use car battrerys to power radios, tv-s and things like that . I thought on using battery for powering one 500 W head . bhphotovideo offers bowens batery for 650 $ . That baterry can give power for 1500 w heads and for 200 flashes . That is not that much money but i think I will not use it very often to pay it of so Im thinking on cheaper solution like car battery.
 
 
Re: is it possible?
Old 05-31-2005, 10:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, this isn't the cheapest solution, but the inverter that is used in the Alien Bees Vagabond unit could be connected to any 12 volt battery. In fact, it comes with an adaptor for a cigarette lighter. The inverter alone sells for about $200 I think.

I shot a wedding Sunday with the Vagabond powering my lights. Just about exhausted it's battery, so I'm kind of toying with the idea of a marine or golf-cart battery for those long days.

There's also another company that has been advertising a battery-powered interver, similar to the AB unit but cheaper. Maybe somebody here has the link, as I can't remember who it was at the moment.
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Re: is it possible?
Old 05-31-2005, 02:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think this is the thread about that other portable power source:

http://www.garageglamour.com/ubbthre...b=5&o=&fpart=1

...but everytime I've tried the link to the company's website I can't get it to work...

Sam
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What I know about portable power and flash heads.
Old 05-31-2005, 06:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What you use for a battery-based solution largely depends on how much current your strobes draw. I'm generalizing here, but packs and monolights that are in the 500 w/s power range typically draw 7-9 amps. 1000-1200 w/s packs and monolights can draw as much as 14 amps. Lights draw power in surges, as opposed to a tv, stereo, or computer which draws power at a fairly constant rate. You will see this kind of draw after a full discharge and this is what you should base your battery solution on.

The short answer to all of this is that ideally you want a solution that delivers a lot of power quickly and outputs a pure sign wave, as opposed to a stepped sine wave. This is especially true for more powerful lights (those drawing more than 10-11 amps). For lower powered lights, say 500 w/s or less, you can probably get away with a stepped sign wave output.

There are two basic ways to go: You can purchase a decent deep cycle (aka marine) battery and a fairly beefy (~1000 watt) power inverter, or you can go with something like a more expensive UPS. For the remainder of this discussion, I'll assume you want to get at least 200 full power flashes from your solution.

If you decide to go the inverter route, you should seriously consider an Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) or gelled lead acid deep-cycle battery for safety reasons. Plus, you can check them onto an aircraft (be prepared for extra love from the homeland security folks, though). You need three pieces to make this work: the battery, a power inverter, and a battery charger. You'll spend a minimum of $130 for the battery. The more you spend the longer it'll power your strobes. You can buy a 150 lb. battery for about $400 that would probably run your strobes for an entire weekend. Have fun lugging it around though.

Something in the range of a 1000 watt inverter is necessary to handle the current draw problems. A 1000 watt pure sine wave inverter will run you around $300-350. The price of the charger depends on how quickly you want to recharge your battery, but figure at least another $100. Add it all up and you're looking at ~$550. As I said above, for lower-powered lights you may be able to get away with a stepped sign wave inverter. You can get a 1000 watt stepped wave inverter with a built in charger for about $250.

The alternative is to go with a beefy UPS. I have spoken with the staff at American Power Conversions (APC), the largest manufacturer of UPSs in the U.S. In order to draw a surge of 8-9 amps out of one of their units, you need a 1000Va UPS. In order to draw 12 amps you need a 1500Va UPS. For 15 amps you need a 2200Va UPS.

APC happens to make two fairly inexpensive UPSs, a BR1000 and a BR1500, but they are stepped sign wave units and would really only be applicable to lower-powered lights. But, if that's where you're looking, you can purchase them for ~$150 and ~$200 respectivley. The BR1500 is particularly attractive because you can purchase and install an extended battery pack that triples the run time for an additional $125-$150. So, for ~$350 you could put together a reasonable solution that would give you at least a couple hundred full power flashes. It does get heavy though, about 50 lbs.

For more powerful lights, or multiple lights, you really need a pure sign wave UPS with a 2200-3000Va rating. These units run $1500 and up. Plus, they weigh a ton, 70 lbs. minimum.

The benefits of a UPS is that the battery, inverter, and charger are built into one, somewhat stylishly designed, unit. The replacement batteries are readily available and fairly cheap.

The inverter solution ends up looking like some sort of half-baked contraption what with wires and exposed leads lying about. But it is a cheaper way to get clean power.

-Chip
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Re: What I know about portable power and flash heads.
Old 06-01-2005, 02:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
markomiscevic
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thank you very much for you answer. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]
 
 
Yes...
Old 06-05-2005, 09:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yes. You can use an inverter to convert 12 volt DC battery to 110v AC current. You have to make sure you have an inverter that has enough capacity in watts to power whatever you plug into it, whether it is a flash pack, TV, or hair dryer.

Less expensive inverters produce square wave or modified square waves and those are not good for diode/capacitor charging networks (i.e alien bees) but fine for transformer type packs (i.e. Novatrons).

More expensive inverters produce pure sine wave output.

The other way to go is to use a strobe pack that natively runs off of 12 volts. I use a Norman 200B that does this. It has in internal battery, or you can use an external battery of any size from a small 12 volt cell to a car battery, up to a bank of car batteries like in a golf cart. I can shoot 200ws at 1 frame per second for about 800 shots on one full charge.

A gel cell sealed lead acid battery is the best... it is good for deep discharge and it is happy producing high surge current to recharge strobes quickly.
 
 
Re: Yes...
Old 06-06-2005, 12:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Yes. You can use an inverter to convert 12 volt DC battery to 110v AC current. You have to make sure you have an inverter that has enough capacity in watts to power whatever you plug into it, whether it is a flash pack, TV, or hair dryer.

Less expensive inverters produce square wave or modified square waves and those are not good for diode/capacitor charging networks (i.e alien bees) but fine for transformer type packs (i.e. Novatrons).

More expensive inverters produce pure sine wave output.

The other way to go is to use a strobe pack that natively runs off of 12 volts. I use a Norman 200B that does this. It has in internal battery, or you can use an external battery of any size from a small 12 volt cell to a car battery, up to a bank of car batteries like in a golf cart. I can shoot 200ws at 1 frame per second for about 800 shots on one full charge.

A gel cell sealed lead acid battery is the best... it is good for deep discharge and it is happy producing high surge current to recharge strobes quickly.

[/ QUOTE ]


Yep! Exactly...

However, for a good pure sine wave inverter, look at spending around 1500.00 bucks..

Yep,...I thought about doing that once before..

OR,.... you can spend a thousand bucks, and pick up a pair of "Vegabond" batteries with dual inverters made just for the White lightning lights..that weigh less than one of your car battery + sine wave inverter kits do..(plus power strip) for less money! & they come with a shoulder strap too.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

JP
 
 
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