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Old September 9th, 2012, 06:52 PM   #1
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Portable power?

Hey, quick question. I was wondering if you guys have any options you would recommend for making LED panels portable, preferably on a budget.

Thanks,
Evan
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Old September 10th, 2012, 07:25 AM   #2
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Re: Portable power?

The obvious answer is batteries, but without knowing how big the Led panels are and what type of power connection they have, it is difficult to answer your question. Do you expect to move these panels around constantly or are they going to be set in place? Details.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 08:34 PM   #3
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Re: Portable power?

Assuming low-draw lighting like LEDs, I use a battery-pack/ sine-wave inverter system made for AC-powered strobe lights by Paul C. Buff: Paul C. Buff - Vagabond Portable Power I've powered LED lights, laptops, and a day-long timelapse with my GoPro. The manufacturer doesn't warranty its use for anything other than their strobes, so... YMMV, caveat emptor, and all of that. But it's been a fantastic little unit for my needs.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 09:21 PM   #4
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Re: Portable power?

UPS battery back-up units for computer systems. They're basically a big, cheap, NI-CAD battery with a bunch of AC outlets. If you know what your lights draw and do a little math you can figure out the run time of different models and if it will be adequate. I bought one for about $30 and it runs my camera and laptop from a backpack all day long. All you need to do is open it up and rip out the small alarm that goes off when plugged in devices are running off the battery.

There are specialized solutions that may be more elegant, but this one is pretty darn cheap.
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Old September 12th, 2012, 08:48 AM   #5
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Re: Portable power?

Every UPS unit I've ever owned has had lead-acid gel cells. That's actually better than NiCd cells, because NiCd cells develop "memory" problems after a while and would not work well in a UPS situation.

The typical few-hundred-watt rated UPS systems, designed for PC backup power, often have a 12V battery with around 7 to 10 amp-hour capacity. That gives you (in theory) 84 to 120 watt-hours of power.

If you want more capacity than that, another option would be to buy a larger 12V battery, and use a separate automotive inverter. Inverters in the few-hundred-watts range are relatively inexpensive. A standard car battery would work, but the wet-cell technology is not necessarily the safest or best... at the very least get a battery that is fully sealed (no removeable vent caps). A better choice would be a "deep cycle" battery designed for use in marine applications. These will perform better in a deep discharge situation such as running a load (e.g. LEDs) for long hours. You can easily come up with capacity of a few hundred amp-hours, which provides much more running time than a typical PC-size UPS.
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Old September 12th, 2012, 02:25 PM   #6
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Re: Portable power?

I have two carry-around automotive jumpstart batteries I use for camera power and lights. They are cheaper than buying the same type of internal battery they use alone.

I added a 4-pin XLR panel socket below the cigarette lighter socket connectors. You may find there is an alarm which goes off on some of the newer ones.

The recharge time on these is slow as the supplied charger is usually a small plugpack.
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Old September 17th, 2012, 06:34 AM   #7
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Re: Portable power?

I've been using for some of my LEDs the Paul Buff Vagabond Power Mini Paul C. Buff - Vagabond Portable Power
It's a small compact pure sine wave Lithium power supply. With a spare battery it costs about $350. That's the equivalent of one V mount battery but I can power two or more lights.

I never have to keep my LED lights on for very long time but when I first tested the Vagabond Mini I plugged-int two Socoland 12x12 lights and after an hour I still had 25% of power left, that's with one battery.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 11:16 AM   #8
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Re: Portable power?

A number of the UPS systems use two 12 volt batteries in series which results in 24 volt - so watch connecting an extra 12 volt battery without checking your unit with a volt meter.

(I replace batteries in lots of these units for customers.)
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Old September 18th, 2012, 07:04 PM   #9
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Re: Portable power?

Thanks for the word of caution, Kevin. I'll check mine out before hooking up anything too expensive!
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Old September 20th, 2012, 08:00 PM   #10
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Re: Portable power?

I recently purchased this. It is plastic but seems to be very functional. The light is very bright. Works with some Sony camcorder batteries (which I already have) as well as AA batteries. A lot of good reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/NEEWERŪ-Dimmable-Digital-Camcorder-Panasonic/dp/B004TJ6JH6/ref=pd_cp_p_0
I also ordered this one:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008JRLVQI/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00
Seems like great portable light sources for great price.
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 05:31 PM   #11
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Re: Portable power?

Look at "Tekkeon" power solutions. Love their stuff, powers almost anything.
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Old September 23rd, 2012, 06:02 PM   #12
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Re: Portable power?

Really depends on the LED units. Most efficient option is to avoid AC-DC and DC-AC conversions since you'll lose a lot of power to inefficient inverters/adapters. The great thing about most LEDs is that they take DC and have regulators built in, so you can power straight from DC cells. I have had a lot of luck with 12V li-ion batteries from ebay. They are about 1/10th the price of that paul buff unit and most v-mount options.
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