Electrical power at art shows

Last year I was set up next to someone who was using a "Deep Cycle (or Cell) Marine Battery to power his lights.  He said it could power the amount he was using (maybe 100 watts) for up to 48 hours between charges. He also needed some kind of a converter.  Anyway, I've been thinking about investing in such a system but I don't know how to get in touch with this guy to pick his brains some more and even the people at Sears don't know very much.  

Does anyone out there use such a system and can they tell me what kind of a battery I would need for maybe 300 watts maximum, what kind of an adaptor and where I could get it?  Thanks.

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  • Here in Colorado I do a couple shows that run to 9:00 or 10:00pm, about three hours after sunset. My tents (2) are custom made with heavier material for rain protection of leather, but they don't allow much light to filter in.  Steve Appel has described them as my '"caves".  I did not want to lug around batteries for short term use, so I first tried Coleman battery lanterns. Their output was too low so I got out my old gas lanterns and two of them hung from the ridge pole now provide a pleasant "hunting lodge" ambiance to a tent full of personal and outdoor leather goods. I know this would not work for jewelry or wall art, but it might for other mediums like wood. I have had favorable comments from clients about the lighting combined with the smell of leather.  

  • This has been discussed before, and one solution was a complete setup in one package. Plug it in to charge it and take it to the show.

    Here's what I have and it works quite well for me.


    • whoa, much cleaner than my piece mill system, thanks for re-posting. 

    • That looks great, Chris.  How long does it power your lights for?  And how many watts do you use?  I have a Duracell power pack and it only lasts for 2 or 3 hours on a maximum of 100 watts of bulbs.

      • We don't light up the booth with it. Up here no outdoor show goes past 6PM, so there's no need to light it up. Diane will use it for some display lights and she has low wattage bulbs, so it lasts all day.

        I use mine for the register and other small items. I can go two days on one charge.

        At indoor shows we always spring the extra $25 to $50 for electricity.

      • None of those all-in-one packs will power a heavy load for very long. The Stanley says "450 Amps", but that's cranking power for a car and not the Amp/hour rating. Those are good for an amp or two draw for a day and that's it.

        The simplest and best packaging I've seen was where someone bought a small metal dolly and strapped a trolling motor battery and inverter to it. That made it easily portable and still compact.

        I did see another arrangement where an artist mounted the battery inside a storage tub with a wooden floor plate, using the reasoning that it made it easier to stow the battery and inverter since it matched the rest of the tubs they used and it was stackable. I think it was for the bottom of the stack ;-)
  • I thought of doing this for years but the weight of the deep cycle battery always stopped me.  Last year I was next to a woman using wheelchair batteries to power her booth.  I use up to 6 lights (LED 7W each) and a fan.  I can power that setup for 3 hours on one 25lb wheelchair battery.  I rarely use both the lights and the fan so I can power either the lights or the fan for 6 hours per battery.  I have four batteries.  I have two in the booth and two are in the hotel room charging.  The charging is a little more hassle than it would be with a deep cycle but I can lift them in and out of the van.  Because I have work under glass that reflects badly if I put lights directly on the work I put a light in each corner of my booth and shine them up to reflect off of the white top.

    Batteries Plus helped me put the whole setup together.

  • And Bernard, if you'll look at the further discussions, Barry Bernstein, just found one of our old ones and posted it above this that covers even more information.

    • Thanks, but how do I find further discussions, and where is that old one posted?  The one "above this" by Rich was posted yesterday and I saw that one.

  • Depending on where it was this might have been my husband? Let me know if you got all the info you need....

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