Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
We are going to be doing Howard Alan's new Spring Shadyside show in Pittsburgh next weekend. It's an outdoor show, hours are till 8 or 9 p.m., and they recommend that exhibitors bring lighting.
Does anyone have any experience with power sources for electricity at outdoor shows? We've heard that a marine battery can be used, but that we'll need some kind of converter so we can plug our lights into it. Also a charger.
Any input would be very helpful!! Thanks!!
Dave, I tried this with some CFL's. Each was about 35W. Equivalent of 100W. The B&D Power Pack just din't hold up. It only has a 7.5aH battery, or something like that. If you don't have the Power Pack, or just bought it, hook up all your lights, turn it on and give it a time test. Hope you have better luck.
Further down there is mention of the Xantrax 1500. Good unit with the case, wheels, inverter/charger built in.
Don't use a Battery. Use A Battery pack, the ones they use to jump a car Battery. Plug it into a wall plug days before so it can be fully charged. Charge it in the Motel. Use 5 -60 watt Floresent bulbs and it will last 8 hours. Also a RV fan will run on the same back up for 9 hours. Walter
I'll reply with some brief information, Emily, to give you something to work on until others with a bit more first-hand experience than I can reply.
If you go to any marine/boating store you can get detailed information about this. In a nutshell, you would need a marine battery and an inverter (not converter), plus a charger for the battery (so you can plug the battery into an AC outlet overnight for recharging). The battery and inverter are amazingly lightweight and compact, and not expensive. Assuming your power draw is not outlandish, total cost outlay is less than $250. It will help if you can tell the friendly sales rep what your total power load is for all your lighting (this is measured in amps, or amperes, and is listed on the labels of the lights you are using).
Some (not all!) shows allow a gasoline-powered generator that can handle a higher power load, but they are much more expensive: The best of the lot, a Honda 2000 ei, is about $1000 used and close to $2000 new. (Presumably, one could be rented.)
Because of exhaust and weight/space/noise issues associated with any generator, the marine battery/inverter/charger solution is a much better one if your power considerations are more modest.
The cheapest and lowest-tech solution is to go out and buy portable battery-operated lanterns. Each runs off 4 D-cell batteries, and you can hang 'em from the supports on your tent with bungee cords or zip ties. They provide a broad, fluorescent light source that may not be the best solution for a jeweler, but if this is a one-show requirement, they may get you through the night. Good luck!
I'd check with Howard's office to see if they do still allow generators. The last time I did the show they did but that was about three years ago. 954-472-3755.
Digital Jury Services
I just picked up some lights for my booth, and plan to run them on a Black & Decker Power Pack. The lights I got are swing-arm lamps from Office Max and I plan on using 60 watt day-light CFLs in them. Right now my local Lowes has the power packs on sale for $75. The lights and bulbs come to about $16 each. I found a 3/8 inch bolt inserts into the bottom of the lamp, or the lamps can be inserted into a piece of 1/2 inch conduit - which I think is the same size as Pro Panels. I use gridwall and plan on attaching 3/8 bolts to the panels with gridwall panel hinges.
I've found that even in bright sunlight coming through my white tent, some pictures just look better with a light on them. Inside shows sometimes have shadows, depending on where the overhead lights are. I will probably use the lights inside and out at most shows. Just another 2 boxes to carry, and a few more cubic feet of space filled in the back of my truck!
You can buy 12 voit bulbs at Home Depot and a fixture to hold them. We use a bar that spans the front of the display to hold the light bar. I got ahead of my self about the 60 watt bulbs. That is for you have regular power and you are limited to 200 watts of power. As far as how do I plug into the Battery back up, change the plug on the light bar you choose to plug into your battery back up.
Heading out to a show so this reply will be quick (you may have gotten your questions of me answered by others): The marine battery is light enough for almost anyone to carry. Generators are quite heavy.
I don't recall Honda capacity, but I have a 5 gallon gas can that I fill at a gas station when I arrive at a show, and that gets me through 2 days with a little left over. As Larry mentions, you should always have gas and a quart of oil with you if you're going to run one. (You'll also need a long extension cord, a power strip (if you're running >2 outlets) and runners (rubber mats that will cover the cord so no one steps on it and trips). So it's a chore.