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I got lots of great ideas from this site on running my booth lights from a Deep Cycle Marine battery.  Here's the setup that I pulled together.


From Amazon

Charger - Schumacher SC-10030A SpeedCharge Automatic Charger and Maintainer 5 yr warranty

Inverter - Wagan 1000 Watt Continuous Power Inverter Model 2294 1yr warranty


From Walmart

Battery - Everstart MAXX-29.   Also a battery box.  18month warranty


From Home Depot

EcoSmart 18-watt LED Flood E*  Model # ECS 30 V2 WW FL 120 Internet # 202670523

Store SKU #406027 Equivalent to 90 watt flood  3000 degrees Kelvin 5 year warranty


With this setup I am running 6 lamps in black swing arms from Flourish.  I tested this setup and am able run in excess of 10 hrs, actually got to 12 hrs before I shut the system down.

The inverter and charger are much larger than you might need but I wanted something that was robust.  Charge time runs 5-8 hours after I have run the battery to the 50% point indicator on the charger.  The inverter is much more than needed but I wanted to run it at less than rated capacity to help keep heat down.  I put the battery under my ProPanel work table and there isn't a heat issue.

After the first two shows I took a piece of 1x12 pine board, added casters/rope pull and strap the battery to it so that I can pull it in and out of the show for charging in the evening.  Left room to put my cooler on it.

It is HEAVY, something like 70# or so and keep that in mind as you are taking it into and out of your vehicle for charging back at the hotel or wherever. 


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Those LED bulbs are fairly pricey -- what's the incandescent equivalent in wattage? 10 hours is great on one battery. That's a great rig for battery.

I'm testing a low wattage bounce light this week. Six CFLs in pairs, mounted down the centerline of the canopy with Manfrotto clamps on a Flourish lightbar designed to bounce off the roof. I'm running on 110 VAC though, this weekend we have power.

I'll be interested to see how well this produces a soft light. Will take pix and post later on... If it doesn't work, it's back to halogen track for a while. These should run a bit cooler and draw less power though, if it works.


Wattage equivalent is 90W on the LED's.  I sampled all of the bulbs that they had and this gave the best color of light (3000K) compared to some of the other bulbs at HomeDepot.

The challenge with CFL's is the wattage/draw.  I had 35W CFL's that were 125 watt equivalents.  Basically only got about 5-6 hours out of one battery.  While the LED's are pricey they don't appear to be as fragile as the CFL's and should last as long or longer.

It all boils down to power draw and size of the battery.

Shows here, when they have power, are charging $50-75 so it should pay back in about a year for me.



Neat, Gary, thanks for sharing!

I was just reviewing some facts about LED lighting, and thought you might want to consider that:


CFL's last about 8000 hours (about 8 times that of incandescents)

LED's last upward of 50,000 hours (about 6.25 times that of CFL's)


So though LED's cost more up front, they have the ability to more than pay you back from their long life span.


Some things to consider, though:  Both CFL's and LED's are JUST like incandescents in one way - there can be a big difference in build quality from brand to brand, and from model to model.  I really don't try to keep track of incandescents with an eye to using their warranty, nor CFL's either, but for LED's, with the high price (and the idea that the high price is worth it for their long lifespan), yes, I would keep that receipt and use the warranty if necessary.


Heat is what kills both CFL's and LED's.  If you cover their cooling vents, LED's will pay you back by losing lots of their lighting power.  CFL's are inefficient used in fixtures that are too tight or confining for the same reason, and will also lose lifespan and light from overheating.


I'm looking to add a 12V rig to my show setup soon myself, so keep the good data coming!




Why do you say 3000K is the best color of light? I'd think you want to match daylight as closely as possible. "Full Spectrum" lights are 5500K. I know that the blues & greens in my stones don't show as well in warmer light.



I tried all of the bulbs at Home Depot and the ones that worked best for my photographs were the 3000's.  The higher temp ones were to blue for my taste.  It is one of those YMMV things and HD is good about returns.  So buy one of each and give them a try.  Good news is the prices are coming down.


Gary, Thank you, thank you, thank you for such a concise listing of exact items and specs!  Although I don't have any immediate plans to implement this battery system, it remains in the back of my mind as a possibility.  I am bookmarking this discussion for the future!


What's the advantage of running an inverter & 120V lights compared to running 12V bulbs?



When I started this I had the swing arms that were 120V so did it with 120.  If you go the 12v route it gets harder to find pure 12 volt lighting fixtures that don't also include a transformer in each light assembly.  I did find some by doing google searches but found the costs to be pretty hard to swallow.  If I remember correctly something with two fixtures, 4 lamps per fixture, plus lamps was in the $600-800 range.  And the lamps didn't have the overall lumen output of the 120 volt ones that I got at HD.

They did look nice though.  Brushed alluminum with graceful arching arms.  But the price.....



Do you think that your set up would run two sets of these track lights for 12 hours?


Probably not, Jeff. The specs don't say whether or not it's 120VAC, or what the wattage of the luminaires are. I suspect they are 50W each, so you'd be drawing 300W, plus the amperage of the inverter. Most of the Lowes and Home Depot fixtures are halogen not LED.

So much depends on the power draw of the inverter, the wattage of the bulbs x the number of bulbs, and the size of the battery that it's impossible to predict exactly how much time you'll get out of a system.

However, experience tells me that the average 6 bulb halogen system running on a single battery with an inverter goes between 4-6 hours -- maybe -- before the battery runs below the 50% mark. Some inverters will quit with a fault warning at this point.

You're better off with low draw luminaires, such as LED bulbs or CFLs if you are looking for longevity. I'm sure Gary will chime in as well.

Jim is spot on.  The tracks are fine.  Just need to use LED spots.  And I could get 6 hours easy but 8 would be pushing it.  Make sure whatever you buy will take the bulbs that you purchase.  I like the PAR lamps from Home Depot.  If memory is correct they are 17W/90W equivalent.  I bought track and these fixtures off of Amazon. NUVO TH223. I like the open design of the fixture and it is less weight.  They are made by Satco.  Bit hard to find but look good.  Also don't know how you plan to attach but I like the extension arms I got from ProPanel.

Okay, I'm glad I asked cause I was going to start getting the parts to put together my own rig. I already bought two sets of those track lights and an extra light for one of the tracks. So I'm trying to power 7, 50W bulbs for about 10-12 hours, and charge that night with enough power to do it all again the next day. Is it possible to set it up similar but with a stronger battery, inverter, and or charger? I've also searched "portable rechargeable inverter" and came up with a few all-in-one products that didn't get great reviews. Not sure if any of those are strong enough. Trying to spend less than $500. Thanks again for the help.


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