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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. 

Gary

www.reflectionsimaging.com

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Robert,

If I could impose upon you and your expertise on lighting please.  I have two shows that have some evening hours that I would like to use my lights.  I have two light bars that have a total of 7 LED lights on them each with 50 watt bulbs.  I have three additional single lights with the same 50 watt bulbs.  I would prefer to have an all inclusive system in lieu of the marine battery/invertor system.  I anticipate using the lights for approximately 3-4hrs.  I might want to use a fan during some shows.  What is your opinion of these systems?  http://www.goalzero.com/p/165/goal-zero-yeti-400-solar-generator and http://www.duracellpower.com/mirror/backup-power/default.aspx

Thanks so much

The Duracell pack has a 33A/H battery in it. Assuming your "50 watt" lights are actually pulling about 8 watts each, that's 56 watts, and allowing for inverter inefficiency, your total draw is going to be about 64-72 watts. Using the worst case example of 72 watts, that's a 6 amp draw from the battery which might get you 5 hours operation. Kicking in the three additional lights ups the draw to 96 watts, or close to an 8 amp draw from the battery. Theoretically that should get you 4 hours operation, but in real life, the heavier the current draw, the less that the rated A/H becomes. I would say 2.5-3 hours is all you will get with that sort of load. The all inclusive systems are convenient but don't have the moxie to drive a set of lights for long. Adding fans just drags it down further. A $104 marine battery has 4X the capacity of your linked example.

Let me say thank you Robert for your help to everyone, first of all.

And secondly, I have a 35AH battery and I can tell you it is woefully insufficient for art shows unless you're using 1 or 2 accent lights.

Don't forget Mark either as he's saying the same thing from a little different perspective. Heh, maybe we should co-author a tutorial on battery lighting :-)

Hi All: I've been running

Hi All: I've been running deep cell battery for LED lights using power inverter for several years and get about 8 to 10 hours out of it.  I ran across an artist in FL this winter who was running LED floods in regular sockets straight from his deep cell.  No inverter, no box or controller of any kind.  All wiring in line directly into battery.  Not 12 Volt.  He said he got these LEDs a few years ago and can no longer get them.  He has a few extras.  He has never had a problem in two years. He thus has no power loss/consumption due to an inverter and gets two full days of use. He had a lot of light on all his photography. Not sure of his total draw. I would love to know how to do this if anyone knows. Not sure if the key is the bulb, or matching the load to the battery.

James,

Ah that is the question.... In this thread, many pages back, there was an exhibitor who purchased multiple LED lights and had his brother or brother in law or another family member convert the lights from AC Power to run on DC power. The LED lights that run on 110 V AC have a transformer built into them that converts AC to DC. He wanted to run a straight DC LED lighting system.

He had his electrician family member convert the AC fixtures to DC, but I think they still had standard screw bases after the conversion.... That's a lot of work and if it couldn't be done with free family labor, it wouldn't have been worth the effort. It would have cost too much to do the conversion. That may be why he has no more access to LED lights rigged this way.... And even without inverter loss, you are only getting a maximum (depending on inverter inefficiency - i.e. inverter power cost) of 10-15 % more power out of your light set up.... If you want to spend that money on an electrician (whats the hourly rate of a licensed electrician) to convert your system, have at it... The consensus here was that the cost wasn't worth the benefits unless the labor was free 

Jeri,

It is unlikely you have 50 W LED lights... they would be so bright as to blind you, or so inefficient that they aren't worth having. More likely, you have 8 or 9 Watt LED lights that are equivalent to a 50 Watt incandescent bulb. Meaning you get the same amount of light from the LED light as you would from an old-fashioned 50W light. Only you are getting this light for a lot less energy use. I would advise you to skip trying to convert them to 12 V power. Yes, you lose power from your inverter converting DC to AC. You can minimize that loss by using the smallest inverter with the greatest efficiency possible. Read the bulbs to find the actual wattage of each. Add up all the wattages for your system that you want to create. Then find the highest quality inverter you can buy that has a little bit more capacity than the total wattage of your system... BUT remember that a super high efficiency inverter costs a lot of money, a lot more that it's worth for your use in an LED booth lighting system. And remember to use the battery sizing calculators in this thread. Look back and find them and use them, in addition to the one on this page, that Robert references.

And truly, it boils down to this: if you are using 150 watts of power + the power loss your inverter efficiency costs +the power cost to cool your inverter + the power loss to your wiring system, You are likely going to need two (2) big deep cycle batteries to run your system. You cant cheat the numbers. Lots of light requires lots of power, which means big powerful batteries...

THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH IN THE SELF-CONTAINED LIGHTING GAME More light equals more battery capacity which equals more weight and multiple batteries

And your system has to be designed so that your batteries never go below 50% capacity during your lighting day cycle. Otherwise you damage the batteries and have to replace them more frequently.

I have been using the same set of batteries for 3 seasons now and using a recharger which also "conditions" the batteries. Conditioning is a process which helps partially repair damage done to the batteries from normal wear and tear and occasional use that drops the batteries below 50% capacity.... I am still getting 10 hours out of my lighting system, but I only use it 10-15 times per year.

I'll be at another show this weekend and will take a photo of my lighting set up. I've ditched the articulating drafting table light fixtures that would drop into the top of the ProPanels, and gone back to a couple of 150 watt equivalent CFL lights. It was taking about 8-9 lights before to cover all the walls. The 150 watt equivalent CFLs have a much higher lumens outout, almost 3X as much as the 75 watt equivalents. Even thought the two bulbs are further away, mounted at the top of the center pole in my EZ-Up, the distance is not enough to drop the light level below what I was getting before.

I took an old flip-cart stand cross bar and hung a couple of pendant light fixtures off the ends, then zip-tied the bar at the point where the two sliding posts come together. I scratched using the waste basket diffusers from the past and went with the bare bulb look. The bulbs are about a foot below the canopy top and far enough up that no one really notices them. The key thing is that the light is brighter and even, and I'm able to get 8 hours out of a 27 series battery. This weekend I'll have the two batteries wired together with heavy duty battery cables and have a quick disconnect plug instead of the cigarette lighter style plug to cut down on losses. I'll let you know what the run time is. I suppose I could measure the actual light levels but not sure if that would be meaningful to most folks.

150 W CFLs actually pull how many watts? And rated lumens from Specs are ? at what color temp ? What sorts of losses do you experience from the self-contained ballasts? Inrush energy consumption at start-up?

My 17 W par 38 Led Floods are pushing 1000 lumens each at 5000K color temp (using the propanel light bars, along with 4 ft track light bars and no shade socket fixtures ) Still using 2 105 Amp hr AGM batteries

The lights are Sylvania Soft White bulbs, 3000K (3800-5000 would be nicer), with 2600 lumens, and a 40 watt draw. The ratings on the bulb itself are a little squirrelly as they also give a 120 Volt current draw of 600 ma which would mean a power draw of 72 watts. That 600ma may be the inrush or start up current as a 144 watt draw would be marginal for 8 hours. Al I can say is that I got 8 hours of both lights on one battery, and when the other battery ran out the next day, I was able to switch back to the first battery and get another hour and a half out of it. The slight recovery of an almost ran down battery is normal.

I'll eventually look for a couple of high wattage LED lights as that would extend battery life even further and I could get more light out of the set up. As it is, with the placement of the lights way up high, the tent canopy itself makes a soft reflector and keeps the bare bulbs from being harsh.

Robert, you are pushing your batteries too far, if you are running them until the inverter shuts down...

How do you know how much the batteries was drain. I usually change batteries when I ear the signal. 

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