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Thread: Battery generator to run an amp

  1. #1

    Default Battery generator to run an amp

    My cello-playing wife and I play weddings, usually using a Bose L1 compact or a 30W UltraSound if only the classical guitar needs a boost. Sometimes, power is hard to come by in outdoor locations. Since we already have amps, spending $700 on a 3-channel portable seemed a bit much, so I picked up a 250W rechargeable battery generator with a "pure sine wave inverter." It worked ok with the 30w amp, but once I added the mixer and plugged in the mando (phantom power) and guitar, it created an incredibly loud buzz through the guitar channel (using a Kremona piezo on the bridge). I didn't even get to the point of adding the cello.

    Has anyone else tried this approach, and what did you do to make it work?

    Thanks.
    Old Wave #527
    Cervantes Milenia PE
    J. Alvarez classical guitar
    Michael Kelly Legacy-O

    "The sound of the mandolin is a very curious sound
    because it's cheerful and melancholy at the same time." -- Rita Dove

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  3. #2
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Quote Originally Posted by fhaz View Post
    My cello-playing wife and I play weddings, usually using a Bose L1 compact or a 30W UltraSound if only the classical guitar needs a boost. Sometimes, power is hard to come by in outdoor locations. Since we already have amps, spending $700 on a 3-channel portable seemed a bit much, so I picked up a 250W rechargeable battery generator with a "pure sine wave inverter." It worked ok with the 30w amp, but once I added the mixer and plugged in the mando (phantom power) and guitar, it created an incredibly loud buzz through the guitar channel (using a Kremona piezo on the bridge). I didn't even get to the point of adding the cello.

    Has anyone else tried this approach, and what did you do to make it work?

    Thanks.
    I'm afraid I would have suggested getting the portable sound system or amp with a (rechargeable?) battery.

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  5. #3
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Not personally but, the Honda Petrol powered Generator at a fair distance from you on an extension cord should get the job done..

    Maybe you can Rent one for the gig.. ?

    For our peace vigil hour, every week, when around christmas holiday time, the christmas tree light peace sign,


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  7. #4

    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    I’ve played a couple of outdoor gigs on a Honda generator. We did have to limit the number of PA speakers we plugged in to avoid tripping a breaker.

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  9. #5

    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Can’t troubleshoot by telelpathy, but a couple of generic things to check. In anything small signal audio, grounding is vital, but sometimes not obvious. Your battery-inverter setup is ‘floating’, unlike power from a wall outlet. Often, the inverter will have a separate case ground that may be used for equipment sensitive to this. Second, you can’t just tie grounds together; this doesn’t work. My guess is those are the first things to check.
    Beyond that, although ‘pure sine wave’ is pretty good, the innards are still switching power at what amounts to a high audio frequency, and variable amounts of this appear superimposed on the mostly smooth wave, and this also depends on how much power is being used. Your 30W amp may be using, say 100W and the other stuff is? If the design is good, if you overload it to the point the output gets corrupted, it should have shut off.
    I know this isn’t telling you exactly what to do, so if you have an electroniker friend, I’m sure that you’ll get it working without much fuss.

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  11. #6

    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Thanks. This at least points me in some directions. I'll poke around on the ground idea.
    Old Wave #527
    Cervantes Milenia PE
    J. Alvarez classical guitar
    Michael Kelly Legacy-O

    "The sound of the mandolin is a very curious sound
    because it's cheerful and melancholy at the same time." -- Rita Dove

  12. #7
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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    This would do it for you, but might be a tad expensive: Milwaukee Tool MX FUEL CARRY-ON 3600W/1800W Li-Ion Battery Powered Portable Power Station Generator W/ 2 Batteries - about $3,000.00
    Eastman MD505w/K&K, MDO315 w/K&K, MD415GD, Emando (JBbouvier) 5-string

  13. #8
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    I already did this to build a battery powered inverter package that I use to power my acoustic amp for weddings, outdoor gigs, etc. It's on this thread. Pictures of it are on post #48 on the second page.

    IMO an inverter is superior to a generator - no noise, no fuel to carry/spill/smell/start a fire, no exhaust fumes containing CO.

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  15. #9

    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Fascinating. I just read over the posts. I may need my EE brother to help me on this, but certainly worth looking into. Thanks!
    Old Wave #527
    Cervantes Milenia PE
    J. Alvarez classical guitar
    Michael Kelly Legacy-O

    "The sound of the mandolin is a very curious sound
    because it's cheerful and melancholy at the same time." -- Rita Dove

  16. #10

    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    FWIW you can get a Gemini portable battery-powered PA tower for around $499 on sale (currently $699) or a Bose S1 portable for around $599. The Bose sounds amazing but the Gemini has quite a bit more power for an outdoor setting. Neither is likely to be able to handle a large outdoor setting but either is fine for a small gathering. A friend has the Bose and I have the non-battery version of the Gemini. I figure in a few years when I retire I’ll pick up one of the battery units for use at my place in Montana when I want to get beyond extension cord range from the cabin. One of my mixers (Behringer) can run on battery power also and so can my pedals.

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  18. #11

    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Thanks, NDO. I'll check out the Gemini. A friend recommended the Bose S1, but it has only two channel inputs. We need three. A battery operated mixer? Hmm.
    Old Wave #527
    Cervantes Milenia PE
    J. Alvarez classical guitar
    Michael Kelly Legacy-O

    "The sound of the mandolin is a very curious sound
    because it's cheerful and melancholy at the same time." -- Rita Dove

  19. #12
    Registered User Rob Meyer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    I have been using a Behringer 1002B battery powered mixer and a pair of Roland Cube Street EX battery powered amps for a number years now. Sound is great and powerful enough for a wide variety of venues were line power is unavailable. Have used it for solo as well as three piece band shows.

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...yx-1002b-mixer
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...ered-combo-amp
    Rob

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  21. #13

    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Yup, the 1002B is the mixer I got for battery use. Just about all the portable PAs have only two main inputs.

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  23. #14
    Registered User Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Bose S1 Pro runs on battery power and is a killer powered speaker PA

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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    If you can find a Carvin Stage Mate it's battery powered and 3 inputs. I have the battery out of mine so it's lighter, but there is a plug on the amp and I wired up a cord that I can clip to any battery if I want to play without plugging into the wall.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Our acoustic 4-person band has played outdoor gigs for the last 10 years or so, as such we had to figure out a solution for this early on...

    We do have a more formal plug-in sound-system system, but our battery based system is simply 3 Roland Cube Street speakers, which each mix up to 2 dynamic mics, so we have the ability to run 6 mics there. These are used with 2 Sennheiser e 935 mics for our ladies' voices and 4 Audix OM2 mics for our mens' voices and for instruments.

    My double bass has an on-board pickup/pre-amp and an onboard mic; on those rare outside occasions when a bass amp is needed, it uses a separate dedicated Roland Micro Cube Bass RX.

    With all this we have easy access to good volume purely on AA battery power. Batteries for the speakers usually last for about 20+ hours in real use. This set of speakers works so well, and it is so easy to transport and manage, that we rarely use our more formal plug-in system.

    The key to using small speakers successfully is to raise them up to above waist level, so they aren't shooting sound into peoples feet and legs.
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  29. #17

    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    I've used a car battery and 600W inverter on a small dolly. Hang a beach towel over it because it looks a little ugly.

  30. #18
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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Correction on the Carvin, It should have said 3 mic inputs, but it also has a 1/4" that will take a high Z.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  32. #19

    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    dhergert, I looked at the Roland Cube Street and wondered how it handled acoustic instruments, since it includes settings strictly for electric guitars. Your post reassures me this is a solution to consider. Thanks!
    Old Wave #527
    Cervantes Milenia PE
    J. Alvarez classical guitar
    Michael Kelly Legacy-O

    "The sound of the mandolin is a very curious sound
    because it's cheerful and melancholy at the same time." -- Rita Dove

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  34. #20
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Unless you require lots and lots of power or a very long duration, batteries systems (e.g., lead-acid or lithium batteries) are pretty hard to beat. They are completely silent, unlike fossil-fuel generators -- and no super-long extension cords are required. They generally introduce no nasty issues, like ground loops, on their own. Batteries typically weigh less than a fuel generator, and are kinder to the local environment. Just make sure that you have a high-quality inverter, which won't introduce additional electrical noise into the system.

    So, a "battery generator" (an integrated rechargeable battery/inverter solution) is a great choice, not a bad one. However, bad things can happen to the power quality when you approach the current limits of the system. And that might be what is happening in your case, unless the "pure sine" inverter is cr*p, which is another possibility. But the most likely possibility, already discussed earlier in the thread, is that you have some funky grounding issues, quite possibly arising from the rest of your sound equipment not being all referred to a COMMON ground. Check especially for any sound equipment that gets power from things with two-pin (and not three-pin) electrical plugs: these would be the suspects. Things that plug in with "wall warts," for example, might be electrically floating and pickup up interference.

    Good luck tracking it all down!

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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Quote Originally Posted by fhaz View Post
    dhergert, I looked at the Roland Cube Street and wondered how it handled acoustic instruments, since it includes settings strictly for electric guitars. Your post reassures me this is a solution to consider. Thanks!
    You're welcomed!

    All of the Roland Cube (and Roland Micro Cube) speaker systems that we've gotten have one phono-plug channel which is setup as an instrument channel which has a full 3-knob equalizer as well as separate knobs for effects, delay/reverb, amp-voicings, gain and volume. One of the amp-voicing choices is a MIC (clear) setting, which is used when a mic is plugged into this channel.

    On the Cube Street, the 2nd channel is a dedicated combo-phono/XLR mic/line channel which includes separate knobs for bass and treble equalizer, for delay/reverb and for volume.

    So the Cube Street fully supports dual mics if that is what is desired.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [Our recent arrival]

  37. #22

    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    You're welcomed!

    All of the Roland Cube (and Roland Micro Cube) speaker systems that we've gotten have one phono-plug channel which is setup as an instrument channel which has a full 3-knob equalizer as well as separate knobs for effects, delay/reverb, amp-voicings, gain and volume. One of the amp-voicing choices is a MIC (clear) setting, which is used when a mic is plugged into this channel.

    On the Cube Street, the 2nd channel is a dedicated combo-phono/XLR mic/line channel which includes separate knobs for bass and treble equalizer, for delay/reverb and for volume.

    So the Cube Street fully supports dual mics if that is what is desired.
    The one I was looking at has two XLR/1/4-inch combo plugs, plus a third stereo 1/4-inch plug for keyboards (with no tone controls). We plug in the mando with an XLR, the guitar with a 1/4-inch and the cello is usually 1/4-inch (her nicer cello used XLR, but she only plays it indoors). I'm curious how well the guitar or cello would work in that third, line-in input. It'd be nice not to have to get yet another (battery operated) mixer.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Old Wave #527
    Cervantes Milenia PE
    J. Alvarez classical guitar
    Michael Kelly Legacy-O

    "The sound of the mandolin is a very curious sound
    because it's cheerful and melancholy at the same time." -- Rita Dove

  38. #23
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    You're missing the obvious answer. Make sure you use heavy duty extension cords.

    https://news.pickuptrucks.com/2020/0...generator.html
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  40. #24
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    & the Motor-generator will keep the freezer & Fridge working when the power goes out..

    Squirrel to ground ..
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  41. #25

    Default Re: Battery generator to run an amp

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    You're missing the obvious answer. Make sure you use heavy duty extension cords.

    https://news.pickuptrucks.com/2020/0...generator.html
    Here’s a cute idea helping to advance Darwinian evolution by enticing the less-alert to run their trucks in the garage - on short extension cords to the house. Unfortunately, this concept is also going to backfeed and give some linemen a surprise. Lawyers are salivating.

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