Rechargeable Battery Pedalboard Power

W.L.Weller

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I set up a pedal board that doesn't require a 9v subscription or a power cable stretching back to the wall tonight. I confess I probably won't get the chance to plug an amp into a generator and play electric music off the grid. But I was so happy with the portability and low noise floor that this is going to be my "outboard" setup for the foreseeable future.

I used:

- a 5v 10,000mAh USB battery
- a 5v-12v step-up converter USB to 2.1mm barrel plug cable https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G3ERI6U/?tag=tdpri-20
- a power supply that uses a 12vdc tip-negative connector to connect to external electricity https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015X9E4VI/?tag=tdpri-20
- a polarity-reversing adapter https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004EBG5QE/?tag=tdpri-20

Caveats:

- Reviews of that step-up DC-DC voltage converter suggest it's only putting out ~600mA at 12v
- I confirmed my assumptions/reading of labels regarding voltage and polarity with a meter before plugging in $$ pedals
- If you don't have enough draw (i.e., you turn off every pedal to play a squeaky-clean verse), the battery I used will turn its output off. I had to get my meter set up and turned on before plugging the USB converter into the battery because the converter itself doesn't draw enough to keep the battery outputting power.
- That's not the exact power supply, I can't find the one I bought online now. If it uses a 12vdc tip-negative connection to the wall, I think it's interchangeable for this purpose. (Hopefully the Vitoos one I linked to comes with a quieter wall wart than the one I actually have)
- If I didn't already have that polarity-reverse adapter, I would have just cut off the barrel connector on the step up converter and swapped the 2 wires. That's how cheap I am.

This whole pile was less than $100 incl. shipping, and almost half of that is the power supply that will come with a wall wart of its own. So if you're just using daisy chains or (g-d forbid) batteries and are considering getting a power supply, one that uses a 12v input to generate its 9-12-18v outputs can also be used this way, for only an additional $40-50. And wow is the battery quieter than the wall wart mine came with (not the Vitoos I linked to, the one I got is so no-name I can't even find it now). This is going to be my pedal power solution for the foreseeable future.
Q94hg7t.jpg
Ezx2ERh.jpg
 

aerhed

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Boulder, WY
I set up a pedal board that doesn't require a 9v subscription or a power cable stretching back to the wall tonight. I confess I probably won't get the chance to plug an amp into a generator and play electric music off the grid. But I was so happy with the portability and low noise floor that this is going to be my "outboard" setup for the foreseeable future.

I used:

- a 5v 10,000mAh USB battery
- a 5v-12v step-up converter USB to 2.1mm barrel plug cable https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G3ERI6U/?tag=tdpri-20
- a power supply that uses a 12vdc tip-negative connector to connect to external electricity https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015X9E4VI/?tag=tdpri-20
- a polarity-reversing adapter https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004EBG5QE/?tag=tdpri-20

Caveats:

- Reviews of that step-up DC-DC voltage converter suggest it's only putting out ~600mA at 12v
- I confirmed my assumptions/reading of labels regarding voltage and polarity with a meter before plugging in $$ pedals
- If you don't have enough draw (i.e., you turn off every pedal to play a squeaky-clean verse), the battery I used will turn its output off. I had to get my meter set up and turned on before plugging the USB converter into the battery because the converter itself doesn't draw enough to keep the battery outputting power.
- That's not the exact power supply, I can't find the one I bought online now. If it uses a 12vdc tip-negative connection to the wall, I think it's interchangeable for this purpose. (Hopefully the Vitoos one I linked to comes with a quieter wall wart than the one I actually have)
- If I didn't already have that polarity-reverse adapter, I would have just cut off the barrel connector on the step up converter and swapped the 2 wires. That's how cheap I am.

This whole pile was less than $100 incl. shipping, and almost half of that is the power supply that will come with a wall wart of its own. So if you're just using daisy chains or (g-d forbid) batteries and are considering getting a power supply, one that uses a 12v input to generate its 9-12-18v outputs can also be used this way, for only an additional $40-50. And wow is the battery quieter than the wall wart mine came with (not the Vitoos I linked to, the one I got is so no-name I can't even find it now). This is going to be my pedal power solution for the foreseeable future.
Q94hg7t.jpg
Ezx2ERh.jpg
I'll never use a wall wart again. My battery powered board is dead quiet and lasts a long long time. Even the stupid RC3 looper is silent.
 

telel6s

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Jun 25, 2003
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Northern Virginia
A thread here on TDPRI a few months back gave me this same idea. I'm just using a 5v to 9v step-up converter that came with negative center plug and then a typical daisy chain. At first I did it almost just for fun -- only cost was the $6 converter. But now I'm doing outdoor farmers market gigs this spring/summer/fall and there's no AC power so everything is run off of batteries. And last Saturday I did an acoustic gig where I had to clear the stage between my sets for groups of people giving short speeches (it was a charity event) and not having to deal with a power cable made life much, much easier.

I've put together a spreadsheet to calculate the draw depending what pedals I'm using. The worst I have is a Zoom multi-effects unit at 300 mA. But the 7 pedal board I used Saturday was just 230 mA including a pre-amp.

I do have one question. I saw someplace that there is a conversion loss when going from 5v to 9v or 5v to 12v such that the 10000 mAh battery at 5v may only be like 7000 mAh at 9v. Does anyone know if I remembered that correctly and if so what the conversion factor is?
 

Pasta Player

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Middle America
I've been working in a very similar vein here for the last month or so, but with resurrected Pignose & Dwarf portable amplifiers, also using small delay or reverb pedals with both... powered by the USB battery banks. The Pignose amp is 9 volts and the Dwarf 18VDC. I've changed tips and polarity as necessary and have even thrown an inexpensive Donner ABY Box pedal into the mix recently to join both types of amps and a delay. No hum, hiss etc. Clean sweet tone. So far I've used a couple of 10,400 mAh and one (supposedly) 20,000 mAh bank... with a 50,000 mAh bank currently on order. The 10's and 20 seem to work great for either single amp plus delay - with the 2-USB port bank but I am looking forward to the 50's arrival this week just to try out.

Songbirdfx.com (Austria) is a great source for the converter cables and the only source I've found for the 18 volt cable necessary for the Dwarf. They also have the polarity changers and various other plug adapters.

I'd be interested in seeing tele16s "spreadsheet to calculate draw" mentioned above, but for now, very happy just running both little amps, each with a delay or reverb pedal at this point.

Here are pics of the Dwarf & its' re-designed back with a switchable 9-12 volt converter in use. It worked well @ 12 volts... although now it uses the 18 volt "BirdCord"® converter cable from SongbirdFX because the switchable cord just didn't allow enough space for another cable. 9 volts for the pedal, 18 volts for the amp from the same battery bank.

NOW.jpg
NBack.jpg
 
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Chunkocaster

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Aug 10, 2018
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In space with Ziggy
I bought a boxking rechargeable power supply about 6 months ago.
They work great, come with everything you need and were built for the job.
Cost me about $80 bucks.
They make them built in to pedalboards too for even more space saving.

I got the separate bank so I can use it on a couple different boards I have.

71U1k8pmDrL._AC_UL160_SR160,160_.jpg

 
Last edited:

rogb

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I've had an original Volto battery pack that has worked perfectly for a few years but reading this I decided to upgrade to the latest Volto 3, after many many recharges, as I couldn't face being without my nearly cordless pedal board if the old power pack suddenly goes south!
Cord to amp or PA> board with Volto> Xvive wireless. Super fast setup, works and sounds great!
 

Steve 78

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Sounds like a great idea. Have you done any tests on what the real life use time is? And is there any way to add a low battery indicator light?
 

telel6s

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I'd be interested in seeing tele16s "spreadsheet to calculate draw" mentioned above, but for now, very happy just running both little amps, each with a delay or reverb pedal at this point.

Nothing fancy. I'm a numbers geek so put together things like this all the time. The mA numbers come from the pedal maker &/or http://stinkfoot.se/power-list. A few are estimates (Rocktron Austin Gold). My Crybaby has a power jack but at only 1 mA a 9v battery last for ever and I don't have to worry about the length of power daisy chain going to it (I place the CB off the side of the board and it only comes out sometimes). I have a separate sheet for acoustic guitar.

PedalDrawTable.jpeg


The Est Run Time row is why I was asking about the conversion factor from 5v to 9v. But even if that is 50% (I don't think it's that high), as long as my 4000 and 10000 mAH batteries are fully charged I'm not too worried about running out of power.
 

W.L.Weller

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Sounds like a great idea. Have you done any tests on what the real life use time is? And is there any way to add a low battery indicator light?

The standalone 5v battery I'm using has a 4 LED status indicator. I played for about 3 hours last night and didn't get down to the 75% charge indicator.

The all-in-one rechargeable pedal power supplies are cool, but I dig my homebrew setup because I already carry and charge that 5v battery with me. All I'm going to have to do next week at the practice space is plug the battery in. And in several years when that 5v battery stops holding enough charge, I can get a new one for $20.
 




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