Powering your modular in the middle of nowhere

Live patching, designs, and techniques that push the performance envelope.

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zmansfie
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Powering your modular in the middle of nowhere

Post by zmansfie » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:40 pm

Hello. I'm thinking about giving a little live modular performance outside. The problem being is that there is no electricity anywhere near. We have a generator but I am weary of plugging my 6 thou worth of modular directly up to some generator. I was hoping you fine people would have any advice, wisdom, to help; specifically in regards as to what I would need to do to ensure that I have good power and am not going to fry my gear. Thanks

JohnLRice

Post by JohnLRice » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:20 pm

You should seek out some of the folks that put on the Modular On The Spot shows. I know at least one of them uses a Honda or Yamaha inverter generator because they are small, light, quiet and provide clean power.

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zmansfie
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Post by zmansfie » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:41 pm

Thanks. Will do a little more research. I do have a generator but it's not a nice one. It looks like those hondas are over a thou. Don't want to spend that much on something that I will only use once. Or on the off chance of the zombie apocalypse.

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ObfuscatedVisuals
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Post by ObfuscatedVisuals » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:53 pm

Get a small UPS to put between the generator and your gear

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wsy
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Post by wsy » Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:44 pm

If it's an "only use once" then alkaline D-cells. Stack 10 of them to make 15 volts. Since they're good for 12 amp-hours, with any decent
sized portable rack you will have 2 to 6 hours of play time available.

And frankly, with batteries, you can't get a quieter power supply. :-)

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Post by otoskope » Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:01 pm

I sometimes use two laptop power packs (USB 5V + variable DC Li-ion power packs), which give 16V, and two in series give me -16V..0..+16V. 16V is fine for my +-15V system (OK according to the maker - it's a Bugbrand). They last for hours and hours, and it's quite a big system.

You can easily do the same with 12V power packs if you have euro.

For powerpack brands, check Anker - those are the ones I use. Available on Amazon.

Also, I have used a 2.1 MiniRig speaker setup. They go loud enough for a picnic gig, with maybe 50h battery time!
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ObfuscatedVisuals
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Post by ObfuscatedVisuals » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:11 pm

Why not use a car battery and an inverter? I've used such a setup for portable shows in the past to power my gear and an amp and it worked great!

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Post by DubRules » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:30 pm

ObfuscatedVisuals wrote:Why not use a car battery and an inverter? I've used such a setup for portable shows in the past to power my gear and an amp and it worked great!
This..!!!!

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Post by wsy » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:55 pm

DubRules wrote:
ObfuscatedVisuals wrote:Why not use a car battery and an inverter? I've used such a setup for portable shows in the past to power my gear and an amp and it worked great!
This..!!!!
Well, a real car battery will only handle this for a few cycles. But if you have a deep-cycle battery, yeah, this will work just fine.

.... assuming your power supply brick is OK with the more-like-a-square-wave output that most inverters put out. Some are OK with it, some
are emphatically not OK with it (they burn out!) and some just let a lot of buzz through. There's no predicting which is which and some pairings
work better than others.

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Post by Phil999 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:16 pm

I'm surprised to read these replies.

There are very good solutions available since some years. Probably the best is the combination of lithium based power packs with 9-20V 4A output and a Eurorack power supply that accepts 12-20V. You can recharge these power packs with solar power if you have such panels. In the summer, or in countries with lots of sunlight, you can maintain a modular system and a small recording studio for months!

And it's affordable. One single power pack is about $200, an entire solar system around $1000.

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Post by wsy » Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:32 pm

The reason I suggest D-cells is that I can get a dozen Ray-O-Vac (very good quality) D-cells for about $14 USD. Adding the cord
and soldering direct to the cells (use once, remember) and I've got a system for under $25.

Everthing else reusable comes in at about 10x that cost.

PERSONALLY (and if I wanted to use it more than once), I would probably go with a Harbor Fright power box if I thought my power
brick could handle it. About $100:

http://www.harborfreight.com/5-in-1-por ... 62747.html

I have the previous edition of this unit and it's darn handy. I did have to replace the lead-acid battery pack inside a year or two ago but
by then I'd had it for five or six years and abused the heck out of it.

But again, it's $100 and unless you can run your modular off +12 (i.e. cigarette lighter) then you're still going to depend on your power brick
being able to cope with non-sine-wave power and that's a bit of a risk.

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Post by PrimateSynthesis » Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:24 pm

While batteries aren't regulated. They are extremely quiet, produce very clean DC, and are way more efficient than turning DC to AC back to DC. If it's Eurorack, then you can use two 12V batteries to get -12V and +12V.

The best choice are the AGM batteries used in motor homes. They are widely available in 12V in many different sizes. They also make them in 24V and 48V, but I've never heard of 15V or 30V. But there are other 15V batteries.

If you have a generator, even if it isn't nice, it should produce AC that is close to a sine wave. I've successfully run computers and small sound systems off a crappy generator by running it though an 8/3 cord to a power conditioner:

https://www.tripplite.com/products/powe ... tioners~23

That would less expensive than buying a pair of 4D batteries.

Make sure it, and the generator you are using, can handle enough current. One of the most common mistakes people make, regardless whether they are running power tools are DJ equipment, is that they do not use a heavy enough extension cord.

You can also rent a generator.
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Post by wsy » Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:50 pm

I should add that I've actually done this - a friend has a house outside of Londonderry, NH and on occasion he'll have a big late party with
a bonfire out in the woods. A couple of times, I've brought a portable setup out to the bonfire and improvved "for the trees" till my fingers got cold.

Some of the best compliments I've gotten were from some couples (of whatever gender) making out, I paused for a bit and they
said "oh, please don't stop."

When you become make-out music, ..... well, let's just say it was "special", in a good sense.

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Post by zmansfie » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:27 pm

Wow. Thanks for all the replies. I especially love the idea of just stacking some D cells together. I think I will actually do that when I get my skiff made. The easiest route seems to be to just add a conditioner to the generator, or get the power box. I will also have to power the speakers and a little mixer as well. Thanks for the reassurance.

When you become make-out music, ..... well, let's just say it was "special", in a good sense.
Ha ha. I can only hope I can stir those types of feelings with my modular. I as of yet have only been able to make people feel mildly uncomfortable.

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Post by aokjoey0 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:55 pm

zmansfie wrote: Ha ha. I can only hope I can stir those types of feelings with my modular. I as of yet have only been able to make people feel mildly uncomfortable.
Well, that's good too.Just not as cuddly...
Better than being ignored.... :-)
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Post by ObfuscatedVisuals » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:04 pm

My sounds once stirred a woman who was waiting for a bus across the street from the venue to come over to the show and to dance topless in front of my rig. :miley:

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Post by aokjoey0 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:12 pm

ObfuscatedVisuals wrote:My sounds once stirred a woman who was waiting for a bus across the street from the venue to come over to the show and to dance topless in front of my rig. :miley:
See? THIS is why I got into music!!
I started with trumpet, but it turns out modular synths elicite nudity.
:bananaguitar:
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Post by ObfuscatedVisuals » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:20 pm

aokjoey0 wrote:
ObfuscatedVisuals wrote:My sounds once stirred a woman who was waiting for a bus across the street from the venue to come over to the show and to dance topless in front of my rig. :miley:
See? THIS is why I got into music!!
I started with trumpet, but it turns out modular synths elicite nudity.
:bananaguitar:

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Post by aokjoey0 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:31 pm

:eek:
Note to self: be careful what you wish for...
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Post by ObfuscatedVisuals » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:34 pm

aokjoey0 wrote::eek:
Note to self: be careful what you wish for...
I knew this guy who opened for Sheep on Drugs once back in the day .. he did a solo theremin set.. afterwards he was complaining about how he was only ever swarmed by sweaty nerds after a gig.. :doh:

Also.. during my aforementioned set I had no idea what was going on until I stopped playing and took my helmet off and did a double take at what was going on in front of me! :lol:

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Post by annanniemodular » Mon May 01, 2017 5:53 pm

Check out my vids! do a lot of playing out in the middle of nowhere.

don't know if this has already been said, but I use a portable car jump starter and an inverter.


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Post by ersatzplanet » Tue May 02, 2017 10:08 am

If it is a 12V system like Eurorack it is pretty easy. Get two 12v batteries. The best are video light batteries that are rated in the 12-14 Amp Hour ratings. This means 1 Amp for 12 to 14 hours. Car or motorcycle batteries will also work. Mount them to a hand truck to make life easier. Then wire them like this:

Image

Disconnect your current supply from the bus and wire that in.

A simpler version is to use a switching supply like the TipTop uZeus that uses a 12V DC wall wart and wire one battery into it.
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Post by zmansfie » Wed May 03, 2017 3:06 pm

annanniemodular wrote:Check out my vids! do a lot of playing out in the middle of nowhere.

don't know if this has already been said, but I use a portable car jump starter and an inverter.

That is very inspiring stuff.

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Post by strat_barrett » Fri May 26, 2017 10:04 am

I've been using a Cotek 1kW inverter running on a good quality 12V leisure battery with no problems so far, make sure there's a good ground connection


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Post by Parnelli » Sun May 28, 2017 3:37 pm

If you want to run small equipment off of a small generator then then just run it through an isolation transformer 1:1. It will dampen noise and remove unwanted interference from said generator, and totally isolate your equipment electronically from it.

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