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Thread: Anyone using an 240->12v inverter for studio strobes?

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    Anyone using an 240->12v inverter for studio strobes?

    Hi everyone,

    I've got some studio strobes, but i want to break the shackles of my lounge room and venture out into the wild.

    Is anyone using an inverter to power studio strobes? And if so, how does it work, how much power does it use, what battery do you use etc?

    I'm trying to avoid spending $1000 on a full-on power supply, so am looking at Jaycar for inverters that might be suitable, and i have some 12V deep cycle batteries.

    Thanks.
    Brett
    Nikon D700 + D90 - Nikon 50mm f1.4, Sigma 24-70 f2.8, Nikon 70-200 f2.8VR, Sigma 18-200mm,

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    I don't use inverters for powering strobes but I use inverters. The power required is largely determined by the load, not the inverter. If the strobes use a lot of power then you will need a big inverter & lots of batteries. No getting around this. $1000 for a power supply doesn't sound like a lot to me when considering power supplies. It is a costly business. Can you find out or calculate the power your strobes use? If so I can give you an idea of what would be required to run it. I can already tell you though that any cheap Jaycar inverter will be a waste of money.

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    Hi Soulman,

    I thought that the Jaycar ones might be a bit light duty.

    I have 3 x 300w strobes, so my non-electronic brain says thats a 900w inverter, but thats probably not right.

    I also noticed that the pure sine wave inverters were many time more expensive than the regular ones that jaycar had, but i dont know what the difference is, and which is more suitable.

    I guess i'm probably asking too much for a good but cheap solution to powering these lights with 12V.

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    Hi Brett,

    Your calculation regarding inverter size is quite correct if the lights use 300W all the time they're running. This is quite a lot of power when you're talking portable though. Running 900W for a couple of hours would require a small trailer full of batteries and many hours to charge them again afterwards.

    Sine wave inverters closely match the quality of power one gets from the mains and are the best choice all round, though many things will run identically on the other type, which are known as square wave or, more commonly, modified square wave inverters. The trouble with the cheap ones is that they are just not very robust. I once had a job requiring a supply for a very small amount of power that needed to be always running. Rather than keep the main house inverter on all the time, we decided to use a little one for just this task. We overrated it ridiculously - by a factor of ten - because we knew it would be a fragile little thing, but even then we blew up 3 of them in a few weeks. The company replaced them cheerfully enough but after the 3rd one, we decided to use an Australian made one from a reputable firm which cost many times more. That was 10 years ago and it's still running.

    There is probably no reason you can't go mobile with lighting, but you may need to look at something that uses less power, or just do what I imagine most other people do and run a generator. Noisy & ugly sure, but simple and reasonably cost effective for many things.

    For reference, a 1000W 12V inverter from Latronics, one of the brands we use regularly, would set you back about $1450, so if you can get something that will run your lights for $1000, then it's probably not a bad deal. Sorry I don't have better news. As I said previously, power is just expensive.

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