How do you get power nowhere near an outlet?

Discussion in 'Photo Assignments & Technical Challenges' started by AJ_Sartor, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. AJ_Sartor

    AJ_Sartor TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone. This is my first post and I'm pretty new to photography so all help will be greatly appreciated. I was wondering how you plug things in on location to get power? I wanted to do some shots in the middle of the woods with some lights and a small fog machine, but have no idea how I would go about doing that. My first guess was a generator, but those are pretty expensive from what I've seen and I don't really have a large budget. All advice would be helpful. Thanks.


     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You can probably get battery packs for the lights, but you might need a generator for the fog machine...
     
  3. WhiskeyTango

    WhiskeyTango No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There's probably no really cheap way, sadly... Your choices are a) generator b) inverter & batteries c) battery powered versions of the equipment you want to take.

    For reasonably low current draw, and inverter might be the way to go, but the more power you need, the less practical it gets. It also depends on how sensitive the items are you're plugging in. For lights and a smoke machine, a low-end inverter or generator is probably fine. For more sensitive electronics that don't use an AC to DC adapter, you'd want a sine wave inverter, which start getting expensive fast...

    I camp a lot in remote places, so I already have an inverter setup. It works really well for what I use it for. It consists of a 1500W inverter and (2) high capacity deep cycle sealed lead acid batteries. That combo, though, will run you about as much as a cheap generator...

    Maybe see if there's a local rental center that you can get a generator from... preferably a Honda. They start easy and are quiet... at least compared to most.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you're going to use either an inverter or generator, make sure it is a pure sine-wave output type and NOT a modified/square sine-wave type.
     
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  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That is certainly the recommended type of inverter if you are going to be powering strobes. But if they are just using regular 'constant' type lights and a fog machine, then a regular inverter would be fine (and a lot cheaper).

    You could get something like THIS, and hook it up to a 12v car battery.
     
  6. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Keep in mind there are two flavors of inverters. Modified Sine Wave, which some electronics don't like (best case, they just don't work... worst case, you smoke it), and Pure Sine Wave, which obviously costs more.
     
  7. Sagitta

    Sagitta TPF Noob!

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    Why not just buy some blocks of dry ice for the 'fog'? Then you can focus solely on the lights, which if they're just needed for 'ambience' can be as simple as battery operated / solar lamps.
     
  8. Landwomble

    Landwomble TPF Noob!

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    Use a computer UPS. I've done shoots using this for lights, smoke, etc and they work well. Get a big industrial one second hand and be aware they're bloody heavy!
    APC make good ones.

    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 2
     
  9. Gavjenks

    Gavjenks TPF Noob!

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    Be aware that whatever you buy, it should be rated for significantly ABOVE the operating, continuous current draw of your fog machine.

    Motors require a big spike at first to get them spinning, which may last a few seconds, and your inverter or whatever needs to be able to supply that current up front to get the thing working. Otherwise it will strain against the motor standing still indefinitely and draw way more than the rated power, burning out very quickly. I'd aim for at least double the continuous current draw of the fog machine. More if possible within budget.

    None of the cheaper inverters designed for just operating flashes are likely to work. One that is meant to run multiple modeling lights, or a large industrial UPS as mentioned would be better. Or a generator.

    A sufficient inverter + battery will probably run you about $200-300 to have enough juice and amperage capacity to run a 400 watt fog machine for half an hour. And might weigh 30+ pounds.

    A cheaper and sketchier option might be to buy an inverter only that is advertised as being able to do pure sine wave from standard car batteries, then hook them all up yourself.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  10. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ten month old thread.
     
  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Fifty year-old respondent: Tronix Explorer 1200 pure sine wave inverter and battery. Eight years old, still going strong, after one battery replacement last year after seven years.
     
  12. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Wild current bush
     

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