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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Powering an amp with a battery and inverter?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Zesty feline, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. Zesty feline

    Zesty feline Tele-Meister

    Oct 12, 2015
    I want something for farmers markets, what type of battery would I need? Say something like a Deluxe or a Gibson GA20 etc.

    Would it be small enough to fit in the cab or?

    I don't want a buskers amp/don't want solid state.
  2. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    It all has to do with the amount of watts per hour needed. How big of an amp, watt wise and how long you want to play. I live off the grid and run my tube amps off of batteries through an inverter 100% of the time. The first thing you should know it that tube amps runs full wattage all of the time, whereas a SS amp watt usage goes up as volume goes up, so it does not use it's full wattage until it is cranked to about the max.
    Zesty feline likes this.
  3. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    I have been mildly looking into something similar over the past year, but for both acoustic and electric. I was totally impressed with the new lithium battery powered Bose S1 P/A on a busy street in
    Portland, Oregon a few months ago by a busker. This should work with a Tech21 Sans Amp pedal for electric. FWIW.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  4. GuitarPix

    GuitarPix Tele-Meister

    Oct 1, 2015
    Calgary, AB
    Zesty feline likes this.
  5. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    IMO this needs to be clarified.

    The "wattage" being discussed is NOT output power. It's power *consumption". With most tube amps this is a significantly higher number than the amp's maximum rated clean output power. And it does not matter whether you turn the amp up to "2" or "10" - consumption with a tube amp does not vary.

    But you also have to be concerned with current and having cables that can handle it, with very short cables between batteries and inverter. You need the amp's power consumption and current draw - THEN look for an inverter that can power it and last what form of batter power you'll need.

    FWIW Every Farmer's market gig I've ever done had normal regulated AC power available. I've done fairs where generators were used - there I always used a voltage regulator.
    Zesty feline and Obsessed like this.
  6. Zipslack

    Zipslack Tele-Meister

    Jun 8, 2011
    Deep-cycle marine battery with plastic box, float charger, inverter (250W or better), and a 2-wheel dolly or small wagon. That should work...what we used for keyboard & amp when my daughter was in marching band.

    Of course, you could get a small 3-5W battery powered amp and be better off. Nobody at a farmers market is really going to fret over your tone.
    Zesty feline and FiddlinJim like this.
  7. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 24, 2010
    Strangely enough, I just bought a pair of 12SJ7's (12V 6SJ7, add a 12SL7 and a couple of 12V6's) to build a GA20 type amp to run off a 12V laptop power supply. The wasted energy of going through the power transformer, heating the rectifier tube and rectifying the AC is eliminated by stepping up the 12V to the proper high voltage with a set up module also saves on weight also, no power transformer. Almost makes using tubes on batteries worth while. Add to that the losses of converting the battery voltage through the inverter you are looking at double the battery cost and added weight.One other thing, some inverters do not produce a sine wave, it heats up the power transformer and probably makes too much electrical noise.

    You do not mention one important thing, how long you will be playing. Play for five minutes and anything will fit in the cab. As said, power is normally available, I am guessing there is more than guitar going on. And just for fun,

    Zesty feline and Obsessed like this.
  8. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Good point @Silverface . Yes, we are talking watt consumption. This is on back of the amp, typically near the power cord or power cord plug in. Volts times amps will give you the wattage if the watts consumption is not written. Part of the formula that also needs to be addressed is the inverter's efficiency. The inverter uses a certain number of watts when it is on too.
  9. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Another good point. A modified sine wave inverter is dirtier AC electricity than normal power line electricity, whereas a true sine wave is much cleaner and even better than most powerline sources.
    Caveat: I'm not sure about power down under though.
    Zesty feline likes this.
  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    Add a bank of solar panels to help squeeze an extra few minutes into the batteries as you play...

    might be some notes here

  11. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 10, 2018
    In space with Ziggy
    If you can set up near your car just get a inverter for your car and use your cars power.
    srolfeca likes this.
  12. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    When I did the truck driver thing, I tried a Vibro Champ in an inverter that plugged into the cigarette lighter. Can't report on the sound because it overloaded the inverter instantly.
    From what I remember about inverters, you need one with a lot, like double, the wattage rating you think you need. Maybe they're rated for peak power instead of continuous, or the numbers are inflated. The ones you can actually use for anything have large wires hooked directly to the battery.
    And you'll drain a battery dead really fast if you're not running the truck.

    Honda makes some nice quiet generators. :)
  13. Zesty feline

    Zesty feline Tele-Meister

    Oct 12, 2015
    So for something like a deluxe you would want an inverter rated for at least 200 watts or so to handle that maximum wattage fluctuation right? why not go 300 to be safe.

    And as for batteries, what should I be looking into, if it could last 3 hours I would indeed be satisfied but it all depends on the physical sizing really.
  14. draggindakota

    draggindakota Tele-Meister

    Jun 28, 2017
    Lehigh Acres, Florida
    What about using one of those little Honda inverter type generators? I used one, a 2200w, for 10 days last year after Irma last year and it was very quiet and fuel efficient and is supposedly very clean power.
  15. 1955

    1955 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 10, 2010
    I was reading a little on the newer "inverter-style" generators- they are lighter, quieter, smaller, but much more expensive.

    One thing they do is give you cleaner AC back and conserve fuel according to what you are powering. They are also safer with some more modern devices.

    The older Hondas (made in Japan I think) get a lot of good reviews, however some of the newer ones I've heard start guzzling oil after a good amount of use.

    But the newer Hondas get good reviews if you don't run them a whole bunch, so for busking gigs the Honda inverter generator draggindakota mentioned might fit the bill, plus I think they can be linked together for more power with less db noise than traditional generators.

    The older Honda engines are still going strong for a lot of folks.

    I know very little but from what I could tell shopping around, it seems like the old style tradtional generators are more time-tested and with enough power you can get a lot more out of them. There is also less stuff t go wrong in the way of electronics.

    Say you have a 1/3 hp submersible pump that runs 800 continuous but needs a peak of 1300 to kick on, it would be safe to have 2000 max watts on tap, plus you could power a few other small things.

    The vehicle style cigarette lighter inverters (different from inverter style generators) can possibly be damaged if you hook up anything over their rated handling like Bobby Z said.

    You are better hooking directly to the battery in those situations up to a certain point, but it would probably need to be a good deep discharge type battery and they will only feed power until they drop to a certain level before they shut down.

    It's hard to beat the battery powered convenience of amp/pa options out there today, though, but it takes some adjusting to if you really love tube amps like I do.

    The inverters that are powerful are pretty pricey.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
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