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Is battery power clean power?
Old 25th April 2011
  #1
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Cursed Lemon's Avatar
Is battery power clean power?

I'm not sure how else to ask the question, so that'll just be it.
Old 25th April 2011
  #2
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DrewManchu's Avatar
 

I'm no expert but I've always been told that battery power is the cleanest power. Dunno if thats cuz theres no "house current" in the mix?
Old 26th April 2011
  #3
I have a little experience with that, matter of fact alot. My studio runs on solar power, with a battery bank in the basement. No connection to the grid at all.

Whistle clean, yeah.
Old 26th April 2011
  #4
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theBF's Avatar
 

Battery power is generally very clean. There is no Alternating current from the power grid being converted to Direct current, and then filtered to remove the 60Hz pulses and the 120 Hz pulses that come from the rectifier circuit.

Now a battery can make noise, but it comes from chemicals acting at the atomic level moving electrons.

So as a rule of thumb battery power is clean as a whistle, but you still might need to connect the equipment to ground (Earth) to help keep out noise in the air from magnetic and electromagnetic sources being induced in wires.

BF
Old 26th April 2011
  #5
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I'd say def yes...a friend makes valve hifi amps, and when he tests them he turns all his mains off and runs off big batteries in his workshop
Old 26th April 2011
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

+1 here as well!

Off grid, solar and wind and battery powered! Extremely clean power!

Jeff



Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I have a little experience with that, matter of fact alot. My studio runs on solar power, with a battery bank in the basement. No connection to the grid at all.

Whistle clean, yeah.
Old 26th April 2011
  #7
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battery power is very clean DC , but many installations use a poor quality conversion to AC so you can end up with pretty bad battery based systems.
Old 26th April 2011
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddageek View Post
battery power is very clean DC , but many installations use a poor quality conversion to AC so you can end up with pretty bad battery based systems.
Try an Exeltech inverter, then.
Old 26th April 2011
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I have a little experience with that, matter of fact alot. My studio runs on solar power, with a battery bank in the basement. No connection to the grid at all.

Whistle clean, yeah.
Hah! Amateurs. I have a large room full of hamster cages, with each wheel connected to a small generator. I sell over 10,000 hamster-watts back to the power company every month. I also mold and fire the droppings into decorative statues of famous serial killers that I sell, giving the proceeds to a local stripper's charity.
Old 27th April 2011
  #10
None of us have nearly your initiative, Dean, I think we'd all be first to admit it. Or there would be a competition to be first. You know what I mean!
Old 27th April 2011
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I have a little experience with that, matter of fact alot. My studio runs on solar power, with a battery bank in the basement. No connection to the grid at all.

Whistle clean, yeah.

Did you start that way or gradually move towards being off the grid? I know a family who designed their house, but decided to wait for solar power until they had enough money to be totally off the grid.
Old 27th April 2011
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I have a little experience with that, matter of fact alot. My studio runs on solar power, with a battery bank in the basement. No connection to the grid at all.

Whistle clean, yeah.
I'm thinking that your solar power set up supplies AC to your gear, though -- unless you've really gone crazy and torn apart the power supplies in all your gear so it can run directly from a DC supply. Which, you know, I'm doubting.

I don't doubt that it's pretty clean as AC goes, but the quality of the DC supplied to circuits is still going to be dependent on the power supply circuits of your gear and how well it deals with the electrical lingua franca of 60 Hz AC 120 (assuming you're hear in the States as I believe you are).


One of my dayjob clients is a live sound engineer whose fairly large solar powered house is a net supplier of electricity to the local grid. They pay him. (Not much, but even a few bucks a month is enough to make you think.)
Old 27th April 2011
  #13
Built it that way from the ground up-- that's the only way I really see it working.

Any decent sized system will cost you 7 or 8 or 9 thousand dollars anyway, by the time you've gotten the panels and batteries and inverter and all-- usually, for a new building, it's the point when you have to lay out that kind of money to bring power to the property that you chose to set up your own system instead.

If you're already on the grid, seems to me... you've got a choice every month: "Do I pay the $100 electric bill? Or do I shut it off and pay 8 grand for my solar system?" Eh....

Also, there's the custom/efficiency angle-- all the house/studio's "systems" run on the 12 volt DC that is solar power: lighting, refrigerator, water pumping... so if the inverter (for 120 volt AC) ever fails, well, the tape decks won't work until it's fixed, but at least the place is cozy and the band can party on... trying to run a "normal" refrigerator, or a house that's set up for "normal" ("hideously wasteful") power consumption with a photovoltaic array can be a tough one.

I was lucky in that the phone lines were run up my road (underground) ages ago, just no power lines... so I was buying a field and a woodlot, right? Not a prime piece of real estate for building, I mean, heaven's, there's no power!!!
Old 27th April 2011
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I have a little experience with that, matter of fact alot. My studio runs on solar power, with a battery bank in the basement. No connection to the grid at all.

Whistle clean, yeah.
That rocks. How many panels did you need? How much was the system in general? I'd love to do something like this in the future.

EDIT: NM just saw your post above, thanks.
Old 27th April 2011
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
... unless you've really gone crazy ...
I think that's, uh, settled... too late to change anyone's mind, anyway....

Actually, you'd never know anything was up, you hit the switches, the lights go on, all the gear in the studio is perfectly "normal" in every way... and this very conversation shows you how much times have changed, when I built the place in '95 I didn't breathe a word, not one little inkling that anything was unusual.

I didn't want to be a "science experiment" or a martyr for green energy or any of that-- it had to be about the sparkling, enrapturing, compelling quality of the audio, first and last. These days, obviously, solar power is much more common and accepted. Craziness, though... that's an eternal value.
Old 27th April 2011
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
Hah! Amateurs. I have a large room full of hamster cages, with each wheel connected to a small generator. I sell over 10,000 hamster-watts back to the power company every month. I also mold and fire the droppings into decorative statues of famous serial killers that I sell, giving the proceeds to a local stripper's charity.
Is your hamsters name Stavros by any chance?
Old 27th April 2011
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
Built it that way from the ground up-- that's the only way I really see it working.

Any decent sized system will cost you 7 or 8 or 9 thousand dollars anyway, by the time you've gotten the panels and batteries and inverter and all-- usually, for a new building, it's the point when you have to lay out that kind of money to bring power to the property that you chose to set up your own system instead.

If you're already on the grid, seems to me... you've got a choice every month: "Do I pay the $100 electric bill? Or do I shut it off and pay 8 grand for my solar system?" Eh....

Also, there's the custom/efficiency angle-- all the house/studio's "systems" run on the 12 volt DC that is solar power: lighting, refrigerator, water pumping... so if the inverter (for 120 volt AC) ever fails, well, the tape decks won't work until it's fixed, but at least the place is cozy and the band can party on... trying to run a "normal" refrigerator, or a house that's set up for "normal" ("hideously wasteful") power consumption with a photovoltaic array can be a tough one.

I was lucky in that the phone lines were run up my road (underground) ages ago, just no power lines... so I was buying a field and a woodlot, right? Not a prime piece of real estate for building, I mean, heaven's, there's no power!!!
Really? That's fascinating (about the 12 VDC amenities. Makes sense.
Old 27th April 2011
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I think that's, uh, settled... too late to change anyone's mind, anyway....

Actually, you'd never know anything was up, you hit the switches, the lights go on, all the gear in the studio is perfectly "normal" in every way... and this very conversation shows you how much times have changed, when I built the place in '95 I didn't breathe a word, not one little inkling that anything was unusual.

I didn't want to be a "science experiment" or a martyr for green energy or any of that-- it had to be about the sparkling, enrapturing, compelling quality of the audio, first and last. These days, obviously, solar power is much more common and accepted. Craziness, though... that's an eternal value.
Well, tell me, Joel, what happens when I'm right in the middle of the take of my lifetime at your studio -- and there's an eclipse!?!? Huh, huh? What then?

heh


If I was you, I think I'd make me a whole bunch of those "$5 mic preamps" that supposedly sound so good because you have to slap 25 bucks worth of batteries on them (and don't sound so good with the typical cheap project AC-to-DC power supply). I mean, I'm assuming your 12VDC supply is pretty well regulated... I'm excited by the possibilities... heh
Old 27th April 2011
  #19
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toneguru's Avatar
Joel, have you noticed the price coming down to equip a home with Solar power?

Also, if the total outlay to get off the grid is $10k and the utility bill is $100/month than it makes sense to go Solar. It seems to me that you get a 12% return on your investment. Not to mention that the utility bill will go up every year with inflation and new taxes. So after a thirty year period the return might be closer to 15 or 20% when factoring in the new taxes and inflation.

Also, did you get subsidized for any of that?

Either way I think you are brilliant.

- Cheers
Old 27th April 2011
  #20
So, how long do the batteries last running the studio if the sun isn't out?
Old 27th April 2011
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
If you're already on the grid, seems to me... you've got a choice every month: "Do I pay the $100 electric bill? Or do I shut it off and pay 8 grand for my solar system?" Eh....
HAHAHAH!! I wish!! My electric bill averages $600 a month here near
Washington D.C. And thats my house, where there is no gear.

Hey, it makes the Gas prices seem low. "Only 5 bucks a gallon today? Great!"
Old 27th April 2011
  #22
Sky
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Sky's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I didn't want to be a "science experiment" or a martyr for green energy or any of that-- it had to be about the sparkling, enrapturing, compelling quality of the audio, first and last. These days, obviously, solar power is much more common and accepted. Craziness, though... that's an eternal value.
That's awesome Joel. I've got the urge to do something similar with my studio / office - figuring 2-3KW should be enough, with mostly daytime sessions.

Sky
Old 27th April 2011
  #23
The cost for doing this gets cheaper by the minute, now that photovoltaic panels are being cranked out en masse... good place to explore the possibilities is Backwoods Solar Electric Systems , they've got different price ranges and sample installations... I didn't personally get any subsidies, no, but various states have various tax break programs and like that.

The deal with the battery bank and the sun: the sun acts like a massive trickle charger during the day, so you've just got to be dimly aware of the "state of charge": when the system is at 13 volts+, things are james dandy, when it drops down to 11- volts, time to fire up the back-up generator. The bleak December is a time of topping off the battery bank with the generator-- spring, summer & fall there's enough sun to take care of everything.

There have been people who've asked me, "Gee, sounds good... but what do you do at night?"

And another angle, it's all modular, you can size a system for whatever your needs are, add to it later with more panels.

I guess my cover at this point is thoroughly blown.

But an eclipse... that just sounds like your own bad karma!
Old 27th April 2011
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

Ha! Yes, your cover is solidly blown at this point my friend! :-)

As Joel says, to be dimly aware of your state of charge is an understatement. My system is roughly sized (battery wise) to provide enough power for a couple of weeks at minimal usage if we are experiencing low solar or wind input.

But, admittedly that is such a general and subjective statement. I, as well as Joel are in constant state of awareness of our power levels. It becomes second nature, after awhile, to look at the simple tasks in the home or studio that consume energy and budget ones needs.

I have become much more in touch with mother natures cycles and natural rhythms and operate accordingly. In other words, if it's a really sunny or windy day, I will do laundry or finish up some editing on my last project. Sounds a bit complicated but it's not. It's actually fun!

The batteries are the weakest link in an off grid renewable energy setup and have about a 7 to 10 year life span. I have been off grid for almost 12 years and finally had to replace my battery bank two years ago. The price of batteries has not gone down that's for sure, but yes there seems to be drops in solar components. That is good news because as Joel says, these systems are modular and be added to and expanded!

Back to the original OP, yes there seems to be (at least in my system) very clean power and very little noise in all of my components in the studio. I noticed a huge difference when we moved and went off grid and when I say "off grid" I am telling you that I am over three miles away from the nearest power line!

Peace~Jeff


Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
The cost for doing this gets cheaper by the minute, now that photovoltaic panels are being cranked out en masse... good place to explore the possibilities is Backwoods Solar Electric Systems , they've got different price ranges and sample installations... I didn't personally get any subsidies, no, but various states have various tax break programs and like that.

The deal with the battery bank and the sun: the sun acts like a massive trickle charger during the day, so you've just got to be dimly aware of the "state of charge": when the system is at 13 volts+, things are james dandy, when it drops down to 11- volts, time to fire up the back-up generator. The bleak December is a time of topping off the battery bank with the generator-- spring, summer & fall there's enough sun to take care of everything.

There have been people who've asked me, "Gee, sounds good... but what do you do at night?"

And another angle, it's all modular, you can size a system for whatever your needs are, add to it later with more panels.

I guess my cover at this point is thoroughly blown.

But an eclipse... that just sounds like your own bad karma!
Old 27th April 2011
  #25
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Boschen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
Try an Exeltech inverter, then.
Or a Kako Blueplanet--great boxes, at least for the gigantic arrays I install on. I run the serial and ethernet cabling for these systems in prisons and schools. The power is clean as it gets.

I've also run concerts from a small portable solar station that can be towed
behind a truck. Plenty of juice, even when the clouds moved through.

No hum, no ground issues, no emission, no problems.
Old 27th April 2011
  #26
Sky
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Sky's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martini Hill View Post
But, admittedly that is such a general and subjective statement. I, as well as Joel are in constant state of awareness of our power levels. It becomes second nature, after awhile, to look at the simple tasks in the home or studio that consume energy and budget ones needs.

I have become much more in touch with mother natures cycles and natural rhythms and operate accordingly. In other words, if it's a really sunny or windy day, I will do laundry or finish up some editing on my last project. Sounds a bit complicated but it's not. It's actually fun!
Talk about living every moment with intention - what a great fringe benefit of growing and harvesting your own power.

That would actually be one of my key reasons for going off the grid, along with having a DC-powered production room - no more noisy UPS units or grounding issues with the right gear. Pretty much any device with a wall wart can be run from batteries; i.e networked Mac Minis or laptops with a whole lot of plugins.

Jeff and Joel, thanks for sharing this aspect of your studio lives.

Sky
Old 27th April 2011
  #27
Gear Nut
 
pistolgrip's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I have a little experience with that, matter of fact alot. My studio runs on solar power, with a battery bank in the basement. No connection to the grid at all.

Whistle clean, yeah.
coolest thing ive ever heard thumbsup
Old 27th April 2011
  #28
Where can I buy my very own dean roddey statue of Charles manson? It would go quite well with my jack the ripper

By the way, I hear that rabbits generate more torque. You should look into that upgrade

Peace
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
Hah! Amateurs. I have a large room full of hamster cages, with each wheel connected to a small generator. I sell over 10,000 hamster-watts back to the power company every month. I also mold and fire the droppings into decorative statues of famous serial killers that I sell, giving the proceeds to a local stripper's charity.


Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz.com App
Old 27th April 2011
  #29
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Andy O'Neil's Avatar
 

Is battery power clean power?

I read an article recently about Cake (the band) recording their latest release from a solar powered house/studio that they purposely built.

Could be a good read for anyone that is interested in making the move. If I remember correctly, they still used the grid for backup if necessary.. But that gets balanced out by the power credits they get from pumping excess solar power back into the grid in the high times. Not sure if I got that right but I think that was the gist of it!

Anyway, definitely sparked my interest.. Would like to go this way if possible for my first studio build.
Old 27th April 2011
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I have a little experience with that, matter of fact alot. My studio runs on solar power, with a battery bank in the basement. No connection to the grid at all.

Whistle clean, yeah.
My respect to you man !
I hope sooner or later many follow you ! you are a pioneer
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