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Author Topic: Mobile flash power pack question...  (Read 1781 times)

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« on: June 25, 2012, 06:47 »
0
hi,

I don't have money for the expensive power packs dedicated to studio flashes... there is a viable non expensive alternative??

I use outside mainly a 300W studio flash and an 80W slave. I believe one of the cheapest alternative is a 12V, 45Ah car battery and a 400W car power inverter, or a PC UPS.... they are reliable??? Especially the car battery and inverter they can take say 150-200 flash shots at full power?

Your experience in this matter is very appreciated

Nick,
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 06:54 by nicku »


« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 07:49 »
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If you want to do it cheap, first I'd consider if you really need a flash.  Perhaps what you want to do can be acomplished with a large reflector.

If you want to go with a flash (yes the 'pro' units are crazy expensive), I'd suggest checking out alien bee flashes, or more specifically the vagabond power pack.  They have a very compact and reasonably priced battery unit that you can plug regular studio lights into. 
http://www.paulcbuff.com/vagabond.php

I haven't tried out that specific battery pack but I have used the flashes a bit and was pleasantly surprised at the build quality.  Yes they are cheapish but they are a well built type of cheap.  Perfect for microstock.
for comparison a light and battery will put you back around $600
A hensel light and battery will cost you $3800

« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 08:00 »
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There's loads on the net about this. Most cheap inverters produce a square wave, instead of a proper sine wave. I wouldn't want to plug any electronic gear into that. It could cause damage.
A so called "leisure  battery" is better than a car battery as it's designed to be "deep cycled" that is more or less fully discharged before being recharged.

« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 11:06 »
0
If you want to do it cheap, first I'd consider if you really need a flash.  Perhaps what you want to do can be acomplished with a large reflector.

If you want to go with a flash (yes the 'pro' units are crazy expensive), I'd suggest checking out alien bee flashes, or more specifically the vagabond power pack.  They have a very compact and reasonably priced battery unit that you can plug regular studio lights into. 
http://www.paulcbuff.com/vagabond.php

I haven't tried out that specific battery pack but I have used the flashes a bit and was pleasantly surprised at the build quality.  Yes they are cheapish but they are a well built type of cheap.  Perfect for microstock.
for comparison a light and battery will put you back around $600
A hensel light and battery will cost you $3800


Long time user of Alien Bees and the Vagabond power pack. I agree, the Vagabond is the way to go. Perfect for location shoots and hangs nicely from your light stand (always sand bag your stands). Try to spring for the Buff Einstein 640 over the Alien Bees. It is the BEST value in photo lighting there is. If you are serious about photography, find a way to buy them.

« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 11:18 »
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I have the flash... i am interested only in the power pack. The Computer UPS???? anyone....

I had used before the inverter  where i could reach with the car... only operating two 80W slave flashes, (and no dammage to the units) but not with the big 300W unit.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 11:22 by nicku »

grp_photo

« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 12:24 »
0
as already pointed out I wouldn't use an inverter because it can easily damage your equipment even it worked in the past. Dedicated akku-flash-lights like you get from all major companies are much more safe, reliable and easier to use.

« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 15:11 »
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You're getting good advice here. Don't use the inverters unless you're willing to lose your flash. I've used one of those battery packs used to jump start a car (it also has a couple of plugs, lights, radio and air compressor). The second time I used it with one 300 w flash it blew the fuse on the flash. Needless to say, I've never tried it again since.

Ed

« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 17:38 »
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A Vagabond should work with your flash.

I have an Elinchrom Ranger AS Speed and I absolutely love it but it's not an inexpensive solution.

« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2012, 00:39 »
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Thanks guys for the advice... very helpful. How about a petrol generator? or the UPS???
« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 01:44 by nicku »

« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2012, 05:16 »
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There are all sorts of pitfalls using any equipment in a way it wasn't intended. If you don't exactly understand the problems then  I reckon you're better off leaving things alone.

Generators are mainly meant for powering things like light and power tools. They can give nasty voltage spikes if things suddenly get disconnected. Like someone tripping over a lead with the wrong plugs used, etc, etc.
They can asphyxiate you with CO if they're used indoors as well.

UPS output MAY be OK wave form and voltage wise, but again they're not designed for outdoor "rugged" use. Wrong sockets and so on. They're (mostly) designed for computers to give enough power to shut down properly, not really to supply varying amounts of power.

Get the proper gear. You and your equipment will be safe that way.

« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2012, 14:47 »
0
There are all sorts of pitfalls using any equipment in a way it wasn't intended. If you don't exactly understand the problems then  I reckon you're better off leaving things alone.

Generators are mainly meant for powering things like light and power tools. They can give nasty voltage spikes if things suddenly get disconnected. Like someone tripping over a lead with the wrong plugs used, etc, etc.
They can asphyxiate you with CO if they're used indoors as well.

UPS output MAY be OK wave form and voltage wise, but again they're not designed for outdoor "rugged" use. Wrong sockets and so on. They're (mostly) designed for computers to give enough power to shut down properly, not really to supply varying amounts of power.

Get the proper gear. You and your equipment will be safe that way. The price...100 Euro

Today i tested one 300W studio flash with a 600VA (380W max output) UPS equped with a 12V/7.2Ah battery.

The result:

over 240 full power bursts ( 25% of them with the 60W assist light on) And the battery was not dead yet... i just stopped testing.

The test was made like in a real outdoor scenario... short 5-10 bursts, long bursts, asist light on, off, etc... time of the test was around 2 hours.

No problem with the UPS , strobe unit, fuses, overload prottections etc....

I believe a 1000VA (600W) dual battery UPS unit will do the job for two 300W flash units.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 02:00 by nicku »

« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2012, 14:48 »
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I bought a Mustek PowerMust 1060 UPS ( 2 x 12V 7.2 Ah batteries inside) to use it as a power pack...

result after 3 outdoor photo shooting sessions:

I did not manage to empty the batteries ( more than  300 pictures/ shooting session using a 300W strobe; mostly at full power ), not even a slight problem with the UPS or the strobe unit....  the difference between a dedicated Power pack and the UPS is around $1000.

what can i say.......

OM

« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2012, 08:00 »
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FWIW. Here's a compatibility chart for Innovatronix (Tronix) converters.

http://www.innovatronix.com/compatib.asp

I've seen some models advertised here (in NL) and they cost 400 to 500 but perhaps the larger power models with extra features are more expensive. Personally, I have no experience with these or battery powered (studio) flash units.

« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2012, 05:04 »
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Ok..... results after 6 months and dozens of photo shoots using the UPS:

1. Strobes OK
2. UPS unit OK
3. The batteries inside OK (not weakened )

.....................................  :-\ :-\ :-\



 

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