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Archive 2010 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)
Gregg Heckler
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


I wasn't too excited about running my Elinchrom RX-600's from a Vagabond or ordering an Innovatronix from offshore so I decided to build my own. This normally would have cost about $600 but I: Had the Pelican case (I got it free), won a new Samlex pure sine wave inverter on eBay for 1/2 the price, bought a 20 amp battery for 1/2 (my customer), got a ANL fuse holder and 125 amp fuse for $15.00, #4 battery cables from Pep Boys, Schumacher battery charger. I had one of our guys at work make me a custom label. It cost me about $275.00. It works great. So far I tested it with one RX-600 and can't tell any difference in recycle times. I'm still going to make a decal to go over the inverter opening as it was very difficult to cut through the plastic case cleanly. I'm looking forward to taking my show on the road.
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Edited on Apr 18, 2010 at 05:23 AM · View previous versions



Apr 18, 2010 at 02:19 AM
Csae
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


This looks very well build, and it seems with your luck, came out alot cheaper.

I've been meaning to build something like this myself, but i'm getting by for now on a much cheaper version.



Apr 18, 2010 at 02:31 AM
JohnR84740
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


I'm wondering if there is any advantage of using the 600 Watt inverter over the 300 Watt version? I'm planning on running 2 600 WS lights out of one pack.


Apr 18, 2010 at 04:27 AM
Gregg Heckler
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


Thank you. I used to be an electrician and I'm a sales manager in the electronics industry so I have some experience with this stuff. I wish it could be smaller and lighter but that's the trade off for more power.

Yes there is an advantage with a bigger inverter. Faster recycle times, less stress on your equipment, etc. It all depends on how fast you want them to recycle and if you want to run modeling lamps for short periods of time, fans, etc. The disadvantages however, are size, weight, cost, and finding a case to put it in. But I think it's worth it so far.

If anyone needs help just let me know.

Edited on Apr 18, 2010 at 05:27 AM · View previous versions



Apr 18, 2010 at 05:17 AM
brett maxwell
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


Great job, very functional. For cosmetics it would have been nice to move the outlets, lights, and switch to the outside rather than just cut a big hole. You also have plenty of room to put a charger inside.


Apr 18, 2010 at 05:24 AM
michael_antoi
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


I am aware that I need a sine wave inverter for my portable pack. But I'm wobdering what the difference is between the various types of inverters. Some are cheap and some are very expensive for the same wattage. For Example would something like this be suitable to power an Alien Bee 1600?

http://m.ebay.com.au/Pages/ViewItem.aspx?aid=170385920393&sv=Pure%20sine%20wave%20inverter&emvcc=0



Apr 18, 2010 at 06:40 AM
shatterkiss
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


brett maxwell wrote:
Great job, very functional. For cosmetics it would have been nice to move the outlets, lights, and switch to the outside rather than just cut a big hole. You also have plenty of room to put a charger inside.


I'd probably be looking for a cover for that panel as well, especially to weather-seal the outlets...ideally a springloaded cover, like you see on outdoor household power outlets. At the minimum I'd want a cover for the power switch just to keep it from being toggled accidentally. The rest looks pretty slick!



Apr 18, 2010 at 11:09 AM
Gregg Heckler
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


To answer Michael's question. Yes there are different quality and performance levels of inverters just like there are cars. Most are either made in Canada or Korea/Asia or both. Depending on how much you want to spend you probably don't want to go much over 600 or 700 watts because they will get too big and heavy after that. The things you want to look for are good voltage stabilization i.e. 120vAC +/- 3%, a high a surge or peak power i.e. 600 watt inverter with a 1,000 watt surge. This is important as studio strobes draw their power when recycling for a momentary period. Then other features like built in GFCI or a GFCI receptacle for safety. Based on price and features, the two top guys I researched (they are customers of mine as well) are Samlex and Xantrex (Prowatt SW Series). Both have 600 or 700 watt units with GFCI. The Prowatt is a great deal but there are few reviews. The ones they do have are good though.

Yes Simon, I was going to put a watertight plate on it but the opening is too long for a standard plate so I'm going to have to make something. But I also plan on not being out in the rain so it will be mainly for physical protection. Thanks for responding.

Edited on Apr 23, 2010 at 12:21 AM · View previous versions



Apr 18, 2010 at 03:38 PM
Csae
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


What kind of battery are you running and what kind of charger would you recommend ?

My understanding is that there are some chargers that float the battery, to keep it from discharging or running out or something ?

Also, you've plugged in a fuse, thats actually something new, i had not seen in previous builds. Is that fuse between the battery and the inverter ?

I have the perfect case for this setup, but i am not sure where to purchase and what specific items to purchase.

I was also looking at the 600w samlex, because of its peak wattage, however picking a battery and proper charger is proving to be more difficult then picking the inverter

I've been running a pretty good "simulated" sine-wave UPS for now, just in case of emergencies, definitely need a pure. But the case i had lying around was pretty cheap, 60$? and has wheels and a nice compartment.

Not to hijack your thread, your build is definitely more appropriate but maybe my case will give you ideas.





Apr 18, 2010 at 09:52 PM
Gregg Heckler
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


Actually your case was exactly what I was looking for but I could find one.

As far as a battery is concerned, what you want depending on how many flashes you need is typically a 17 to 21 amp 12vDC Sealed Lead Acid battery. These are typical for motorized wheel chairs, gold carts, and things that require a deep draw and need to be recharged over and over. Mine is an Enersys 20 amp. Yes, you really should put a fuse between the battery and inverter on the + side. I don't know what strobes you have but you definitely wouldn't want to power anything digital on a modified sine wave. They might work for a while but not for long. As far as the charger is concerned you want anything from a 1.5 to 3 amp 3 stage charger. You can go with a quick charger but it's not best for the battery. There are several like the Schumacher 1.5 amp I bought or the Battery Tender and others. For a battery look at www.houseofbatteries.com. A 20 amp battery is around $50. and the charger is $30. Many of the Marine and RV supplier carry this stuff, Pep Boys, etc.



Apr 18, 2010 at 10:06 PM
 

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bacilonur
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


Just curious, why did you choose a 125A fuse? The Samlex should have an internal fuse around 30A +/- 5A, which defeats the purpose of having an external fuse that's easier to replace or inspect.


Apr 19, 2010 at 05:22 PM
Gregg Heckler
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


Yes it does have an internal fuse but I read somewhere (can't remember where) to add an external fuse of this amperage for this type of set-up. I talked to a tech at Samlex and he was OK with it.


Apr 19, 2010 at 05:45 PM
brett maxwell
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


I agree that it makes more sense to have the lower rated fuse in the place where it's more convenient to replace. The only way you'll ever blow that 125A fuse is if you had a short in the length between the fuse and inverter. Even in that case, a fuse of similar rating to the internal one would do, or 5-10A less so it will go first.


Apr 20, 2010 at 01:46 AM
Seanzky
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


What are the adverse effects if there isn't an external fuse?

I just ordered the same inverter, a 12v 21A battery, and a charger. I don't know yet which case to use. I might just use one of my tackle boxes for a... ummm... misleading look? Hehe.



Apr 20, 2010 at 02:50 AM
Csae
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


If i may ask, what charger are you getting ? where from ?

I've located a source for my inverter, and a nice 18Ah battery, as well as cables but not a charger in sight have i found. 20$ shipping to canada is pretty good too.

My current components :

http://www.altestore.com/store/Inverters/Off-Grid-Inverter/300-to-999-Watts/Samlex-600W-12V-Pure-Sine-Wave-Inverter/p1045/

http://www.altestore.com/store/Deep-Cycle-Batteries/Batteries-Sealed-Agm/Universal-UB12180-12V-18AH-20HR-Sealed-AGM/p1997/

http://www.altestore.com/store/Cables-Wiring/Battery-Interconnects/Sunwize-Battery-Interconnect-Cable20-8-Blk/p1683/

The extra fuse is a nice safety, but a bit redundant i think... Maybe not. If the cables are sealed, whatever surge would only happen at the inverter level i believe.



Apr 20, 2010 at 03:12 AM
Seanzky
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


This is the charger I bought: http://www.batterystuff.com/battery-chargers/12-volt/marine-chargers/SC1500A.html

This is the battery I bought: http://www.batterystuff.com/batteries/upc-telecom/PSH12180FR.html

I'm assuming that charger will work for the battery you linked to as well since it says there that it does regular (dry or wet), gel cell, etc. I paid a little extra for the gel cell battery I chose hoping that I can position it anyway I can to make a really compact power pack. But we'll see how it goes.



Apr 20, 2010 at 03:22 AM
Seanzky
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


By the way, Csae, did you know the battery you found will take 1-2 weeks to stock?


Apr 20, 2010 at 03:27 AM
HawaiianOnline
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


Has anyone ever had any cooling issues on the inverter? The only reason I'm asking is I am thinking about just going with an open tray on my setup. Everything will be secured to the tray, but the inverter will be exposed to allow normal cooling.


Apr 20, 2010 at 08:06 AM
Seanzky
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


I was thinking that, too, but I'm afraid of moisture and dust.


Apr 20, 2010 at 11:15 AM
Csae
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · DIY Portable Power Project (AC Rover)


From my understanding, the samlex inverter runs really cool, and has fans that kick in for the heavy duty times. I haven't heard of it being an issue. Aslong as you don't seal it up, an open case when running is probably a good idea, or some sort of airflow, like the OP has.

Moisture would be an interesting concern, dust should not.

And yeah i noticed the batteries i wanted being out of stock, but i wasn't planning on ordering stuff up anytime soon, so i can always pick other ones if needed. I am wondering if the cables i picked will fit though, seems theres some special fittings on some of these things.



Apr 20, 2010 at 03:46 PM
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