So I’ve been using Alien Bees with their original Vagabond power pack for a few years. Last year I decided to split up the Vagabond so I could have one pack per head, so I wouldn’t have to run extension cords, and have more capacity for each head as well. Recently I found a very good bag to put the inverter and battery into that makes this work a lot better! Here’s a run-down of how to make your own power pack for a Alien Bee, White Lighting or any other monolight strobe.
What you will need:
- 16 Gauge or thicker wire. Speaker wire can even work, although it’s good to have one side black, one red when you are putting it together.
- (2) Anderson Connectors – Slip-fit connectors that are simply amazing. You can find them at hobby shops and at specialty electronic parts supply stores (NOT at Radio Shack, they are worthless for these types of things.)
- (2) inline fuse holders.
- (2) wire nuts
- (2) crimp fit terminal connectors (battery connection)
- 25 amp blade fuses that fit in your fuse connectors. They make mini ones, which are nice and small. Also out there are fuses that have a LED on them that light up when your fuse is blown. Sometimes this just happens and when you are trying to setup lights in the dark, it’s nice to be able to see that in the case that you blew out a fuse. Can save some frustration!
- 12 Volt Sealed Lead-Acid battery. 15ah suggested for Alien Bee 1600′s, 10ah could work for AB 800′s, 7ah can work for a AB 400. I get about 250 pops or so at full power from the 15ah battery with an Alien bee 1600. Lead is expensive right now, you are basically paying the same at most battery shops locally that you would buying online these days.
- True / Pure Sine wave inverter, 150w continuous output (or more)
This is the best I’ve found it’s , small, light, 300w capacity –
AIMS 300 Watt PURE Sine Wave Power Inverter
- American Tourister toilitries bag from Wal-Mart. This bag fits perfect for the 150w inverter and 15ah battery that come in the original Paul Buff Inc. Vagabond power pack. You could probably find something that fits better with the smaller inverter listed above and a smaller battery but for the parts I’m using it fits sung and well.
I have a set of Anderson connectors at the end of the wire going to the charger. I’ve cut the wire coming out of the charger and put Anderson connectors on those as well for a quick connect to the charger. As for a charger you can just get a car/marine battery charger at any store. I go for the 2-4-6 amp chargers. If you have a 15ah battery you can charge at up to 6amps, 4 amps for a 10ah battery, 2 amps for a 7ah battery.
Other than that, just follow the wiring diagram and you’ll be all set.
If you want a faster recycle time, then you can get a larger inverter. If you want more capacity you can get a bigger battery. It all depends on the size and weight you are willing to lug around.
Power pack specs:
12.2 lbs (15ah battery, Samlex 150w inverter)
I am not an engineer, electrician or by any means qualified to design any sort of electrical systems. Use this information at your own risk.