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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Electricity at Shows and Events.

Many of the shows we attend as merchants give us a long selling day. Many are  private events and we camp with or behind our booth. One thing always gets us some special attention. While everyone else is burning noisy propane lanterns or wee battery powered fluorescent lights, we have bright lights that make the pieces easy to see. I got the secret from my friend Kerry of Firehorse Pottery, but I'm constantly being asked about it.

We have a regular car battery that we picked up for $69 two years ago (2009) a 750watt Power inverter (mine even has a USB port), a power strip, and extension cord and at home, a 2amp slow trickle car battery charger. Typically we go to an event, use the inverter to first power the 110 volt plug-in high powered air mattress pump, then set it up for lights, computer and cell phone charging. Typically we get 3 evenings of light using 2 full spectrum fluorescent lights that burn about 38 Watts each, a few hours of laptop charging, and nearly unlimited cell phone charging. Some of the events we do are over a week long though and we plan on picking up a second battery later this year to help carry us through the long shows.

Kerry uses a Marine Deep Cycle battery, which will apparently last longer, but I found it too heavy to manage. I'd rather have 2 lighter batteries.

When it's all over, we go home and slow charge the battery to get it ready for the next event. It's really nice and over time it's less expensive and more convenient than running extension cords and purchasing electric from the campground.


  1. Another good and useful blog. I have no electric at my studio and I've been wondering about batteries. Thanks!

  2. Welcome Dan, I'm not sure I'd do well in a studio without electricity, I'm a big whimp. I need my electric wheel, dehumidifier and a few fans!

  3. Very smart and environmentally friendly. Generators are just obnoxious and really takes the peacefulness out of an art event.

  4. Good tip here! I can't believe Dan has no electric, she says as she goes out to turn on her A/C.....

  5. You might consider getting a solar battery charger rather than another battery. That way you can be charging your battery at the show.

  6. Good thought Lori, We were considering looking for a solar charger too, but the 2nd battery must happen. Sometimes we're not in a sunny enough location to use solar.