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I'm trying to figure out how to light my tent. Many of my local fairs do not guarantee electrical access, so I would like to run the set up from a battery or two. I'm thinking of using 2-3 sets of plug-in track lights to light my paintings. I've seen people using marine batteries and inverters and I've seen posts about what people buy, but my understanding of electricity is very limited.

Would someone be so kind as to explain to me how this system works? What do I need to power this type of system for 12 hrs or so? How do I put it together? I'm lost. I look at all of the options and numbers and abbreviations and I get completely overwhelmed. Please help!!!

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Karen do you use one light or is two needed?

You might also check out the new Ryobi Cable lights they have at Home Depot. For $65 you get 3 bright LED lights that can run off their regular batteries or be plugged into an extension cord. They're the lovely Ryobi green, but I bought 3 sets and they work really well. With a 6 amp-hour battery they will last about 10 hours (!)

I have heard good things about the Yeti battery We will probably be upgrading to it when we need to replace our batteries.

I'm in the same vein - we have 2 Ankers which only do part of the job - we use a lot of lighting for our shadow boxes.  So, we're about to get the Yeti 1000 - expensive, but these things are so easy to use and those of us who are electrically challenged just plug in and things work.  Love that aspect.

Diana - it isnt as difficult as you might fear. You just need a few things:
1. A deep cell agm marine battery. These are used becase they are built for devices - like trolling motors or lights - that drain them slowly. I bought mine on Amazon. Here is the description (cant figure out a link on my phone): Universal Power Group 12V 100Ah Solar Wind AGM SLA DEEP Cycle VRLA Battery 12V 24V 48V
2. An AC converter to change it for your lights to use. Mine is an Energizer. Look for one with usb ports plus regular 120 ports. Simething like this: ENERGIZER 900 Watt Power Inverter converts 12V DC from car's battery to 120 Volt AC with 2 USB ports 2.1A shared compatible with iPad iPhone.

3. A charger to recharge the battery: mine is a Schumacher. Amazon desc: Schumacher SSF-1000A 2/6/10A 12V Automatic SpeedCharge Battery Charger

You charge the marine battery. Hook the converter to it. Plug in your lights (or an extension cord), and you have lights.

I use two led strips (3 lights each) i got from Flourish. Lights my tent very well. One battery lasts me for a 3 day show easy plus i charge my phone, Square and sometimes run a fan.

Batteries are heavy: 60+ pounds.


Hi I am not going to point to exact lighting systems. I am an electrician so I am going to speak to the specifics about using batteries to light your display.

You will need a few things to do this.

1. Batteries - Many people will suggest that you use marine deep cycle batteries. You can use these but they really are not you best choice. Marine batteries are hybrid batteries designed to do dual duty as starting/deep cycle and as such they don't do either the best. What you really want are true deep cycle batteries (Most often called golf cart batteries) these batteries are designed to be discharged much deeper than marine batteries and have thicker plates so they will have a longer life. If you use a marine battery you will probably get 18-24 months of use before you start to see noticeable loss of capacity. With golf cart batteries you will see many years of continuous use before you see nay loss of capacity. Best of all the batteries are not much more expensive marine batteries. This is why they are the preferred batteries in the RV comunnities. A source I suggest is Batteries+Bulbs.

2. To use standard 110v lighting you will need a power inverter. Power inveters come in wide range of types, sizes and efficiencies.  This introduces several different considerations

The two most important considerations are efficiency and voltage cutout. Efficiency is the measure of how much of the energy from your battery actually gets to the AC lighting system. Most common modified sine wave inverters are in the 75 - 85% range. What this means is in average 20% of the capacity of your battery is just lost. And the efficiency can actually be much worse under low loads. Good quality pure sine wave inverters have efficiencies in the 90 - 95% range but cost more.  Low voltage cutoff is just as important as the difference between 10.5 and 10 volts can mean hours of use.

3. If you plan to do this often you should consider true 12v LED lighting and by that I mean that it runs directly off 12v with no inverter. The reason for this is in addition to the power losses in the invereter you will also get power losses in 110v LED lighting systems. This is due to the fact that LED lights do not actually run off 110v AC power they run off DC power and often have a wide operating range sometimes as low as 8v. Because of this 110v LED light bulbs have to convert 110v AC to 12V DC and this conversion has inherent power losses. 

I use an EverStart Deep Cycle marine battery (29DC 860 MCA) and a Schumacher power converter (410 watt) to light 2 tracks of LED lights and I've done 3-day festivals without having to recharge the battery. I already had a battery charger for my car battery, so you'll need one of those if you don't already have it. I bought battery and converter at Walmart for about $150.00. 

The battery is very heavy but manageable. The converter has 2 outlets to plug into, and a USB port also. I place the battery on the ground behind a half wall in my booth, connect the red and black clips on the converter to the corresponding posts on the battery, then plug 2 extension cords into the converter. I unplug at night and walk away until the next morning. It works great.

I have a River Power Station by Ecoflow. I power 10 LED GU10 bulbs to light my paintings. I pull about 45 watts total. The River battery let's me run these lights for an entire show day, when I am packing up for the night, I still have 4 hours left. It does need to charge overnight. I got tired of huffing a marine battery around. The River is only 11bs, yes a bit expensive, but good investment. (imho)


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