Pros and cons of battery-powered lighting

November 15, 2011 by CHAUVET DJ

By Allan Reiss, Product Manager for CHAUVET® Club/DJ

You may have noticed that lighting manufacturers are starting to add battery-operated fixtures to their product lines. Designed to simplify our lives as mobile DJs and add flexibility to our setup, these fixtures also save us time and money. We no longer have to worry about spending time running and taping down power cords, whether or not there will be enough outlets at the venue, or paying for electricity. However, like everything else, battery-operated fixtures have their pros and cons.

PROS
Operates without electricity
Some larger venues charge us to use their electricity. Built long ago, some venues have a limited electrical supply and can only provide one circuit of power — and we all know this is not enough to run all of our equipment.

Saves time and money
These fixtures do not require any cords so you will save a lot of time setting up, running cables and power cords, taping and/or tying cables and power cords and breaking down your setup. As stated above, some venues charge to use their electricity. If you’re running battery-operated fixtures, you won’t have to pay the electricity fee, which means more money in your pocket. The battery in these fixtures is rechargeable so you will not have to spend money to maintain your fixture from wear and tear on cables.

You can place them anywhere
Freedom from cords means you can place your fixtures where you want with no need to worry about having long enough cords. So go ahead, place some under tables, across the room, or just about anywhere. Battery-operated fixtures give you flexibility to create just about any type of lighting design you can imagine.

CONS
Charge it
Before you leave for your gig, you have to remember to charge your fixtures. This is not something you can think about an hour before you have to leave. It takes an average of six hours to get a complete charge. If you forget to charge the batteries, you’re going to be out juice and luck!

Hefty
Battery-operated fixtures tend to carry around a bit more weight than fixtures that run solely on electricity because rechargeable batteries can weigh a couple of pounds.

Lose power linking capability
If all of your fixtures are running on battery power, you cannot power link them. Some battery-operated fixtures will include power connections and cords so you have the option to plug them in and run them electrically. In the off chance you forget to charge your lights, you can plug one into an electrical outlet and power link the rest of fixtures to that unit.

As long as you plan properly, the pros outweigh the cons by a longshot. Investing in battery-operated fixtures will end up saving you a lot of time playing around with cables, money in electric fees, and most importantly, headaches associated with these issues! The hardest part is remembering to charge them, which if you put it in perspective, isn’t that hard at all. Look into these fixtures and consider adding them to your rig — you’ll be glad you did.

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