Car Power Inverter

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by fourone3, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    I have a chance to record a house being demolished. Only problem is, I have only my laptop and a MOTU Traveler. I know the battery on my lappy will not last throughout the demolition.

    Is it a good (safe) idea to use a power inverter? If so, would I simply determine what my equipment draws to figure out which inverter would be best to use? I have to admit I know very little about the subject.

    Have any of you tried this before? I'm guessing I'm setting myself up for noise being introduced, but it's really my only option, other than record just a few hours.

  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Use a dynamic mic and get a UPS. Just turn the beep alarm off. If it's a demo you'll have to ensure your phone and wireless card are off. Don't want any premature booms!
  3. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    That's a great idea! Thanks so much for the suggestion :)
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Also, the battery on your laptop will last much longer than you think if you turn the screen brightness down to it's lowest setting and you make sure your wireless card is off. The latter (pc wireless and cellular phone) you have to do anyway in a demolition area as my facetious comment is actually factual. Radio signals are banned due to the possibility of accidental detonation.

    At any rate, a UPS is pretty handy to have anyway provided you can deactivate the beep.
  5. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    What's not to like about the first part of that? (No, not just the demolition) It awesome to see someone else who would see this as an opportunity to do something challenging.

    Inverters are usually OK. Big ones aren't cheap, so add up your wattages and if you don't plan on using it for anything else - don't buy one too much bigger than your requirements. (But adding 10%-20% to your total would be prudent)

    I've used inverters before without any issues. Several hours may be taxing on your car battery if there's a big load on it. Make sure you have your jumper cables with you (and someone to stick around until your car starts), just incase. In my case, I was parked outside a venue recording a/v going on inside the building - so when the band took a break every hour or so, I could let my van idle during that time to keep the battery topped off. That's probably not really a option for you since you're recording something 'environmental'. You obviously can't have your vehicle running while you're recording - unless your car idles really quietly and you've got sufficiently long mic cables and sufficiently directional mics to avoid picking up the car.

    Anyway, sounds like fun.
  6. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    Well, it went OK. I ended up just borrowing a PMD661 from a friend and used my Rode NTG2. I wasn't sure where to set up, and at the last moment I was told, "well, here we go!". I then had to scramble to get things situated.

    Because the house was coming down about 10' behind me, I rushed to set up. I couldn't see the LED very well and I actually ended up recording too hot. I haven't had a chance to go through the device again, but there must've been a limiter.

    All in all it was awesome, though. As a bonus, someone came with a chainsaw to cut a tree down. So I got some chainsaw sounds and a small tree falling :)
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