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Car and tractor batteries.

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Goph704, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. Goph704

    Goph704 Active Member

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    Okay, so it's been a while, sorry folks, I've been waist deep in a severe summer season and this is the first time I've been able to come up for air in the past few months. That being said.....

    I've got to wire dressing room lights on to a moving cart and my power source has to be mobile as well. Of course I can't show the wires because that might risk taking away from the Magic of the theater and as far as I can tell all my floor pockets are too far downstage to be of much use. A drop circut might be possible, but We're moving the carts in front of a white and pal blue background set.

    Now the fun part. I'm getting a rough estimate of four carts with about twelve 60 watt bulbs a piece on each ( of course i haven't seen the drawings yet, are you kidding?) so I need about a total of 720 watts ( i think) per cart times four. Now there might be two other carts that are added in later but that's all still in the conceptual stage. ( God i love my job.) The cheapest car battery I can find is running me about 20 bucks, and that's only for a 4 volt. A 12 volt gets me up to 40 bucks easy, making my total bill for less than ten minuets worth of effect around $160, its possible but I need better options.
    Also note this is only one of the six major lighting effects going on, including 8 lights boxes a wall of sconces and a car on stage, so I can only push the batteries so hard.
    Since this is summer stock we don't really have the budget to make this a show about tractor batteries and car batteries on stage so if there are any cheaper or more efficient ways to do this I'm open to suggestions.

    Basicly Help!!!!!!
    Show goes up in two weeks


    _Goph.
     
  2. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Do these carts line up against each other for the scene? (close enough to be jumpered?) Any chance of using a fake set piece to hide the wiring? I'm thinking along the lines of some object which would fit the theme of the scene and would cover or conceal a power feed.
     
  3. bslproductions

    bslproductions Member

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    Hey,

    The first thing I would look at is the lamps. Look for a whole sale lamp that you could use to replace the globe lights with. Same look, lower wattage. You probably don't need the full 60w each if its a prop mirror, just needs to glow. Bulbrite may have some low watt lamps that would give the same look (link). There are also several other off-brand manufacturer's you can find on google.

    If you can lower your overall power draw, you may be able to come up with an easier solution.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Call a local car parts shop, you might be able to borrow some old batteries that would hold more then enough charge for all you need.
     
  5. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    I would also look at using led's as the light source.
    Marine batteries are a better alternative or anyone who uses batteries in groups since if one goes bad you need to replace all of them or else the older batteries cause charging problems on the new battery, SO many times you can find a few good older batteries that are being disposed of as part of a set.

    Sharyn
     
  6. n1ist

    n1ist Well-Known Member

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    I would look at alternative bulbs - warm white LEDs in pingpong balls, or 12V lights (check RV and marine sites as well as alternative energy sites). You are not looking for illumination here, just for the effect, so they don't have to be as bright. If you can stay at 12V, that gets the inverter and it's inefficiency out of the picture. Lower wattage both reduces the battery size and cable size.

    For batteries, you really need deep-cycle ones as car batteries are designed for high current short duration like starting an engine. Better choices are marine or gel cells. For used ones, try looking for someone who maintains commercial UPS systems in data centers; they change the batteries on schedule so they often have good ones that are too old to trust for keeping the computers up but will work fine. A marina or golf course may have some older batteries; also someone who uses electric fork lifts or pallet jacks.
     
  7. Goph704

    Goph704 Active Member

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    Location:
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    Since I've gotten a little more information today here goes. We're hoping to use 60 watt lamps, however we've also got 25 watt-ers and 12 watt bulbs in the back, The ping-pong lights are out because they're not going to give the effect of dressing room lights, but the 25 watt might. A cable drag will work for the two spare wagons ( which are included ) but the four main Wagons/ Carts ( dressing rooms) still can't have a wire run to connect them together. LED's are out since we live in North Carolina and there's nowhere really to purchase large stocks of them Cheaply. ( Unless I'm wrong) The marine or Gel cells sound interesting I'm going to go do some research on those right now, but that's more information. Thank you all for a quick reply and I'll keep you posted as I find out more.
    -Love
    Goph.
     
  8. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    Goph704 likes this.
  9. n1ist

    n1ist Well-Known Member

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    12 60W bulbs comes out to 60 amps of 12V DC, not counting any inverter and cable losses.
    That's a lot of batteries (and weight). 12 25W bulbs is 25A. Watch out for the ratings on batteries - car batteries specifying "cold cranking amps" can only supply that for a few seconds. Others should only be discharged at some fraction of their rating to avoid overheating or damage.

    As for where to purchase them, there are many sites on the internet. I found these with a quick search for 12V A19 bulb.

    ACE Hardware has 50W 12V bulbs available at
    SYLVANIA LIGHTING 50WIF/12V MARINE BULB 50W
    and these guys have 25W 12V bulbs: Regular A19 Pear Shape Low Voltage (Below 120V): 25 Watt 12v A19 Frosted 25A19IF12V @ Northwestern Lighting
     
  10. Goph704

    Goph704 Active Member

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    Location:
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    Thanks everybody we're using two Marie batteries and a slew of 25 watt bulbs. the show goes up tonight and I am Quite zen about everything. It's great to have a site like this thank you all. Noa I'm going to go get into my blacks.
    -Goph
     

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