Ensuring there is enough power for every piece of gear while on set is easy, but what if a shoot’s location is moved to someplace away from the convenience of outlets? A battery is needed of course, but they can be expensive and have limitations. So can one be built?
While most modern lighting and production gear is battery-powered and very mobile, some shoots still can extend well beyond the lifespan of those included packs. Matt from the YouTube channel DIY Perks has shared a video that details how to build a 1200 watt portable power bank that will provide enough juice to power pretty much anything while on location — even a microwave.
The PC case-sized battery backup is built using 21,800 type lithium-ion cells developed by Tesla and Panasonic since they have the highest energy density per cell currently available. These batteries can be charged and recharged hundreds — if not thousands — of times, which ensures an incredibly long lifespan.
According to the video, the case and power capacity of the build can be scaled up or down depending on the project or desired use case that the power supply will be needed for. It is worth noting that these battery types can be dangerous since if they happen short, the cells can get incredibly hot or even catch fire. Therefore, anything built with these types of batteries needs to be done with a high level of care and with extra safety measures employed.
As Matt says in the video, regardless of how many safety measures one takes, anything done DIY is a “build this at your own risk” type of project.
For the project shown in this video, Matt uses 84 lithium-ion cells connected together to create seven sets of twelve cells. This arrangement creates a 50v direct current (DC) with an impressive amount of charge capacity and output ability. That current can then be converted to 120v or 240v alternating current (AC) through an inverter to power whatever devices are on hand or need to be run off the pack. In this particular build, Matt includes connections for normal wall socket power plugs and a USB-C type connection to power USB devices like a new laptop or smartphone.
With this particular build, the DIY Perks team even powered a Playstation 5 and display while simultaneously charging a laptop, smartphone, and running several lights. Perhaps a tad overkill, but to be fair, if a photographer or videographer had a power pack like this on a remote set, they’d find a way to use every drop of juice it could offer