Forums > Photography Talk > lighting equipment on location

Photographer

Matthew John

Posts: 25

London, England, United Kingdom

wanting some info from anyone that has had a similiar issue..

i have elinchrom heads that i use in studio i also have a tronix battery pack..works fine
on location in the uk however.... i cant travel on a plane with it

now iv looked into the elinchrom quadra system which looks fantastic
but if im traveling to a country where the main voltage output
is 110v-120v a lot lower than the uk
it doesnt seem that the quadra system is going to be much use either
due to not being able to get a charge in the battery.

obviously the place im travelling to is a small island so renting equipment is non existent.

any info would be much appreciated

Apr 11 13 02:30 am Link

Photographer

realistgva

Posts: 441

Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva, Switzerland

I have a tronnix mini and no problem to take it on the plane with 1 brx-100.

Regarding the quadra I don't see the issue they have a multi voltage charger from 110-240V the have also a pricy charger to charge it in the car

Apr 11 13 02:44 am Link

Photographer

FotoMark

Posts: 2978

Oxnard, California, US

Matthew John  wrote:
wanting some info from anyone that has had a similiar issue..

i have elinchrom heads that i use in studio i also have a tronix battery pack..works fine
on location in the uk however.... i cant travel on a plane with it

now iv looked into the elinchrom quadra system which looks fantastic
but if im traveling to a country where the main voltage output
is 110v-120v a lot lower than the uk
it doesnt seem that the quadra system is going to be much use either
due to not being able to get a charge in the battery.

obviously the place im travelling to is a small island so renting equipment is non existent.

any info would be much appreciated

Alien Bees makes a lithium powered battery pack, I don't know if that would power your lights?

Apr 11 13 03:13 am Link

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Photographer

Robb Mann

Posts: 10666

Baltimore, Maryland, US

realistgva wrote:
I have a tronnix mini and no problem to take it on the plane with 1 brx-100.

Regarding the quadra I don't see the issue they have a multi voltage charger from 110-240V the have also a pricy charger to charge it in the car

Yep. My Quadras came with the multi-volt charger, with an extra, decidedly Non-American alternate power adapter.

Pricy? What Eli stuff isnt?

Apr 11 13 03:26 am Link

Photographer

Images by MR

Posts: 7773

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

I do a lot of outdoor location shooting with just a single speedlight power by 4 double A's.   Compact & very easy to travel with and set up.

Apr 11 13 03:32 am Link

Photographer

Loki Studio

Posts: 3021

Royal Oak, Michigan, US

The Innovatronix website confirms that the current models have chargers with auto voltage adjustment from 100 to 240.

http://www.innovatronix.com/index.php/c … x-explorer

Apr 11 13 03:36 am Link

Makeup Artist

ArtistryImage

Posts: 2836

Washington, District of Columbia, US

Images by MR wrote:
I do a lot of outdoor location shooting with just a single speedlight power by 4 double A's.   Compact & very easy to travel with and set up.

Tenured wisdom... if you are traveling it is hard to beat the weight to performance ratio of speedlights... I have AB's and a vagabond II, this system is fabulous and can easily drive several heads for well over a hundred pops (sans modeling lights) but it's heavy, very heavy... Thus I always work with a lighting assistant if I have to go this route...

A single Speedlight with a shoot through umbrella can be an ideal solution... especially nice with Nikon's CLS... highly integrated... very easy to configure...

hope this helps...

Apr 11 13 09:52 am Link

Photographer

Feverstockphoto

Posts: 595

London, England, United Kingdom

Yep check out Vagabond mini, i have flown with it in cabin, clear plastic bag and airline printout about requirements/watts etc... See here mention elinchroms http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_ … 1314-11226

Apr 11 13 11:21 am Link

Photographer

Seniorbrucio

Posts: 104

Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Quadras are multi voltage so no issues.

Apr 11 13 11:36 am Link

Photographer

Michael Fryd

Posts: 3882

Miami Beach, Florida, US

Vagabond Mini is rated for 120W continuous output.

If the light attempts to draw more than this, the mini will reduce voltage (perhaps as low as 65VAC).  If your lights need more than 120W, or don't tolerate low voltage, they won't work with the Vagabond Mini.

Apr 11 13 03:35 pm Link

Photographer

DEHphotogaphy

Posts: 80

Washington, District of Columbia, US

Quadras are multi voltage thus no problem. I have used mine in both Europe and the U.S. with no trouble.

Apr 11 13 04:41 pm Link

Photographer

Jabari J Hunt

Posts: 527

Chicago, Illinois, US

Another vote for the Vagabond Mini, I love it!  Small, compact, and relatively cheap compared to other options.

http://www.paulcbuff.com/vm120.php

Apr 14 13 09:54 pm Link

Photographer

fullmetalphotographer

Posts: 2788

Fresno, California, US

I have used Fedex or UPS to ship gear to different locations. If I can't do that then there is going the strobist way.

Apr 15 13 12:15 am Link

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Photographer

Robb Mann

Posts: 10666

Baltimore, Maryland, US

Keep in mind the the Vagabond mini lithium is not compatible with the Elinchrom Quadra.

Apr 15 13 05:40 am Link

Photographer

intense_puppy

Posts: 864

Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Barebulb speedlights like the Quantum range or Sunpak 120J?

There are adapters for those to fit your existing modifiers.

Apr 15 13 05:58 am Link

Photographer

1k-words-photograpy

Posts: 354

Leesburg, Virginia, US

You can get Vagabonds in the higher voltage. But I might try speedlights. It needs to be a pretty important gig for me to pack my profotos on a plane. It's not the checked bag charge, I'm always scared to death of them going missing or being damaged.

Apr 15 13 06:47 am Link

Photographer

SEI Photos

Posts: 312

Kalispell, Montana, US

I use speedlights and umbrellas on light stands.  If I really have to be careful, then I use my photoflex combo umbrella holder and flash base attached to a compact tripod.  30" umbrella fits neatly into rollaboard suitcase (as will my tripod).  Works well enough to make a difference and isn't a travel hassle.

Apr 15 13 06:58 am Link

Photographer

RSM-images

Posts: 4226

Jacksonville, Florida, US

.

Rent a power pack at your destination -- perhaps strobes as well.

.

Apr 15 13 07:52 am Link

Photographer

Camerosity

Posts: 5316

Saint Louis, Missouri, US

Matthew John  wrote:
wanting some info from anyone that has had a similiar issue..

i have elinchrom heads that i use in studio i also have a tronix battery pack..works fine
on location in the uk however.... i cant travel on a plane with it

now iv looked into the elinchrom quadra system which looks fantastic
but if im traveling to a country where the main voltage output
is 110v-120v a lot lower than the uk
it doesnt seem that the quadra system is going to be much use either
due to not being able to get a charge in the battery.

obviously the place im travelling to is a small island so renting equipment is non existent.

any info would be much appreciated

FotoMark wrote:
Alien Bees makes a lithium powered battery pack, I don't know if that would power your lights?

Photogenic just introduced a new Lithium-Ion powered sine wave inverter. Since it's a sine wave inverter, not a battery pack, I would think it would work with your Elinchorm strobes - but I don't know for sure.

Since the inverter is battery-powered, you'd still have to be able to charge the battery.

http://www.photogenic.com/item/140/575/ … 8ah-120wh/

Apr 15 13 08:01 am Link

Photographer

AbstractedRealism

Posts: 37

Salisbury, Maryland, US

Images by MR wrote:
I do a lot of outdoor location shooting with just a single speedlight power by 4 double A's.   Compact & very easy to travel with and set up.

Soooo much this.  Compact, fairly cheap, and works great.  You can even make a DIY diffuser or buy one if an umbrella doesn't work for your situation.  Best of all you can then set it up on a tripod, light stand, or even just hold it yourself.  I've even done shots where I put it on the ground or wedged in it a tree or between exposed studs in an old house.  Plus it's super easy to add in a second or third...

Unless for some reason you need a MASSIVE light I highly recommend this...

Apr 15 13 08:07 am Link

Clothing Designer

GRMACK

Posts: 2164

Bakersfield, California, US

Camerosity wrote:
Photogenic just introduced a new Lithium-Ion powered sine wave inverter. Since it's a sine wave inverter, not a battery pack, I would think it would work with your Elinchorm strobes - but I don't know for sure.

Since the inverter is battery-powered, you'd still have to be able to charge the battery.

http://www.photogenic.com/item/140/575/ … 8ah-120wh/

Wow!  That looks like an exact technical copy of the Buff Vagabond Mini right down to the specs of 8.8 AH.

Only issue is it lists $160 more than the Vagabond Mini. sad

I have a couple of the Buff units and they do seem to run all day long without issues in the desert running two heads into one unit each - other than I cannot use the modeling lights in the flash heads so those have to be turned off or unscrewed.  Still, I can overpower the desert sun with a softbox on a 1800ws head at 25 feet and get f/22 easy.  No way with a camera mounted speedlight at those distances.

Those portable inverters are pretty remarkable little things.  I leave them attached to the light stands as they are very small packs.

Apr 15 13 08:47 am Link

Photographer

Michael Fryd

Posts: 3882

Miami Beach, Florida, US

Camerosity wrote:

Matthew John  wrote:
wanting some info from anyone that has had a similiar issue..

i have elinchrom heads that i use in studio i also have a tronix battery pack..works fine
on location in the uk however.... i cant travel on a plane with it

now iv looked into the elinchrom quadra system which looks fantastic
but if im traveling to a country where the main voltage output
is 110v-120v a lot lower than the uk
it doesnt seem that the quadra system is going to be much use either
due to not being able to get a charge in the battery.

obviously the place im travelling to is a small island so renting equipment is non existent.

any info would be much appreciated

Photogenic just introduced a new Lithium-Ion powered sine wave inverter. Since it's a sine wave inverter, not a battery pack, I would think it would work with your Elinchorm strobes - but I don't know for sure.

Since the inverter is battery-powered, you'd still have to be able to charge the battery.

http://www.photogenic.com/item/140/575/ … 8ah-120wh/

Like the Vagabond Mini, Photogenic's Ion Pure Sine Wave Inverter is only rated at 120W Continuous Power Max.  If something doesn't work with the Vagabond Mini, it probably won't work with Photogenic's version.


When it comes to battery powered inverters things are more complicated than most realize.

You need to know whether your device requires pure sine wave power, and whether or not that's what your inverter produces.

You need to know the maximum peak power draw for your inverter and the maximum continuous power draw.  (Hint: neither of these are directly related to the  Watt Second rating of the strobe).

You need to know what happens when either of the above are exceeded.

Most studio strobes are designed to have a very large peak power draw.  This allows them to recharge quickly.  Unfortunately, this peak is typically much more than an affordable battery/inverter can produce.

Buff gets around this by current limiting his inverters.  When the inverter sees a high demand it reduces voltage (perhaps as low as 65VAC).  Buff's lights are designed to work at these low voltages.  They reduce their peak demand so they don't overload the inverter (as a result they take longer to recharge). 

Many studio strobes don't like these low voltages, and won't work with the Vagabond.

Apr 15 13 08:51 am Link

Clothing Designer

GRMACK

Posts: 2164

Bakersfield, California, US

Michael Fryd wrote:
......
Most studio strobes are designed to have a very large peak power draw.  This allows them to recharge quickly.  Unfortunately, this peak is typically much more than an affordable battery/inverter can produce.

Buff gets around this by current limiting his inverters.  When the inverter sees a high demand it reduces voltage (perhaps as low as 65VAC).  Buff's lights are designed to work at these low voltages.  They reduce their peak demand so they don't overload the inverter (as a result they take longer to recharge). 

Many studio strobes don't like these low voltages, and won't work with the Vagabond.

Good to know.

I once tried to use the Vagabond Mini with an electric staple gun.  No go.  Gun wouldn't fire at all.  Instantaneous current draw must be like a dead short to the inverter so it wouldn't supply the current to the solenoid to fire the thing at all.  Thought I broke it, but it worked again with the studio heads when I plugged them into it to check.

Guess that one or two second time to build full power in the Buffs over the other brands was a good idea when he did it back in the 1980's to keep from blowing circuit breakers (although I still manage to do that at times!).  That and the throttling down of the modeling lights during the capacitor charge.

Apr 15 13 09:05 am Link

Photographer

Michael Fryd

Posts: 3882

Miami Beach, Florida, US

GRMACK wrote:

Good to know.

I once tried to use the Vagabond Mini with an electric staple gun.  No go.  Gun wouldn't fire at all.  Instantaneous current draw must be like a dead short to the inverter so it wouldn't supply the current to the solenoid to fire the thing at all.  Thought I broke it, but it worked again with the studio heads when I plugged them into it to check.

Guess that one or two second time to build full power in the Buffs over the other brands was a good idea when he did it back in the 1980's to keep from blowing circuit breakers (although I still manage to do that at times!).  That and the throttling down of the modeling lights during the capacitor charge.

Even at 1 to 2 seconds per charge, the buff lights peak at around 15 amps each.   Most circuit breakers allow momentary surges above the rated value.  This means that two Buff lights normally won't blow a 20 amp circuit breaker, even though there is a 30 amp peak just after they both fire.

Underneath it all, there's physics.  The faster the recharge, the higher the current draw.

All Paul Buff lights have about the same peak current draw, regardless of Watt Second rating.  The peak was chosen to provide the fastest recharge time, without blowing typical circuit breakers.  His higher WS lights, simply take longer to recharge.

My suspicion is that most mid range lights are tuned for common circuit breakers, and hence all mid-range lights will have about the same peak demand.  The innovation in Buff's lights, is that they understand that under brown-out conditions (low input voltage) they should reduce peak demand and recharge slowly.  Some other lights will crash or malfunction under low voltage conditions.

Apr 15 13 10:16 am Link

Photographer

MC Photo

Posts: 4144

New York, New York, US

intense_puppy wrote:
Barebulb speedlights like the Quantum range or Sunpak 120J?

There are adapters for those to fit your existing modifiers.

+1

Apr 15 13 12:11 pm Link

Photographer

LC Studios 501

Posts: 4

North Little Rock, Arkansas, US

To each his own, but I just can't see lugging my Novatrons and umbrellas around with me for every shoot.

When on location outdoors, usually I use one Canon speedlite. If I'm shooting indoors, usually hotel rooms...I use 2 Canon speedlite portable flashes with a AA batteries. I like to bounce them off the ceiling. They give me all the lighting I need. Never had any problems at all.

I like using portable flash because I can just grab my camera bag and go. They don't take up valuable space if I need to shoot indoors, and they give me nice quality lighting that works to my satisfaction.

Apr 16 13 06:43 am Link

Photographer

Camerosity

Posts: 5316

Saint Louis, Missouri, US

Michael Fryd wrote:
Even at 1 to 2 seconds per charge, the buff lights peak at around 15 amps each.   Most circuit breakers allow momentary surges above the rated value.  This means that two Buff lights normally won't blow a 20 amp circuit breaker, even though there is a 30 amp peak just after they both fire.

Underneath it all, there's physics.  The faster the recharge, the higher the current draw.

All Paul Buff lights have about the same peak current draw, regardless of Watt Second rating.  The peak was chosen to provide the fastest recharge time, without blowing typical circuit breakers.  His higher WS lights, simply take longer to recharge.

My suspicion is that most mid range lights are tuned for common circuit breakers, and hence all mid-range lights will have about the same peak demand.  The innovation in Buff's lights, is that they understand that under brown-out conditions (low input voltage) they should reduce peak demand and recharge slowly.  Some other lights will crash or malfunction under low voltage conditions.

If the number of flashes is more important than recycle time, there's a device called the Wein Magic Bus that might work with a sine wave inverter to reduce peak current draw (and increase recycle time) to increase the number of flashes.

The Magic Bus (which is school bus yellow, btw) is from Wein Products Inc., an innovative little company that back in the 1960’s gave us Acufine and Diafine developers – and later on a variety of products including the first “affordable” flash meters and the first infrared flash triggers. The company is still around, but I don’t know whether the Magic Bus is still manufactured. I see them on eBay from time to time, and I have two of them.

You can plug two monolights (or, back in the day, two power packs) into the Magic Bus. It will cause them to recycle sequentially rather than simultaneously. Their purpose is to reduce peak current draw and avoid blowing fuses and circuit breakers during recycling. (Of course current draw occurs during recycling, not during discharge – which uses the power stored in the capacitors.)

As I said, I don’t know whether the Magic Bus would work with a battery pack or sine wave inverter. Maybe someone else does?

Apr 16 13 03:38 pm Link

Photographer

E H

Posts: 659

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

FedX whatever you need to the place you are staying at,,, just a thought.

Apr 16 13 03:45 pm Link

Photographer

Michael Fryd

Posts: 3882

Miami Beach, Florida, US

Camerosity wrote:

If the number of flashes is more important than recycle time, there's a device called the Wein Magic Bus that might work with a sine wave inverter to reduce peak current draw (and increase recycle time) to increase the number of flashes.

The Magic Bus (which is school bus yellow, btw) is from Wein Products Inc., an innovative little company that back in the 1960’s gave us Acufine and Diafine developers – and later on a variety of products including the first “affordable” flash meters and the first infrared flash triggers. The company is still around, but I don’t know whether the Magic Bus is still manufactured. I see them on eBay from time to time, and I have two of them.

You can plug two monolights (or, back in the day, two power packs) into the Magic Bus. It will cause them to recycle sequentially rather than simultaneously. Their purpose is to reduce peak current draw and avoid blowing fuses and circuit breakers during recycling. (Of course current draw occurs during recycling, not during discharge – which uses the power stored in the capacitors.)

As I said, I don’t know whether the Magic Bus would work with a battery pack or sine wave inverter. Maybe someone else does?

It sounds like this product shuts the power to all but one monolight.  Once it's recharged, power is turned on to the next light.  When it is recharged, the next light is turned on, etc.

Unfortunately, I don't think this will solve the problem.

The fundamental problem is that the peak from a single monolight can easily peak at 15 amps (1,800W).  This is more than an affordable battery/inverter can handle.

On top of that, many modern monolights are computer controlled.  They may need a second or two to boot up, and may not boot up to the same state they were in when powered off.

Apr 16 13 04:26 pm Link

Photographer

Beautyfier

Posts: 3

Barrie, Ontario, Canada

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBeautyfier

Photogenic similar to Vagabond Mini tested and reviewed, check it out!

May 01 13 07:45 pm Link

Photographer

Michael Fryd

Posts: 3882

Miami Beach, Florida, US

Beautyfier wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBeautyfier

Photogenic similar to Vagabond Mini tested and reviewed, check it out!

The ION seems to be very similar in functionality to the Vagabond Mini, but at a higher price point.

May 01 13 09:33 pm Link