The 2012 Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park series ended four weeks later with a crowd of people dancing in a warm rain to Ray Greene and his band.
It was a wonderful way to end to the concert series … With the heavy rain waiting until we were packing up the truck … Mother Nature’s own sigh of relief it would seem!
The buzz that had showed up in the self powered monitor went away with an upgrade to a sine wave inverter … it turned out that a very slight buzz was audible when some of my gear was plugged into either of the modified sine wave inverters that I had started the project with … A very quiet humm or buzz I had thought was “normal” when using a high gain sound system … Plugging any of the “offending” pieces of gear into the new sine wave inverter silenced them! … At least while running off of the battery power.
Plugging into a standard wall outlet …even a dedicated electrical “tie in” at some of the larger venues I work would get a noise of some sort … At times almost inaudible … But there if you really listened for it. Hmmmm… (Well buzzzzzzz actually!) …
Something else to think about!
Aside from that buzz the systems worked amazingly well … The “To good to be true” kind of amazingly well … With run times between 4.5 and 6 hours per day … And never coming close to using up the battery reserves … At least according to the inverter’s built in meters.
I had been powering what I thought was a decent amount of gear, about 6,0000 watts of loudspeakers and amplifiers, a mixing board, some processing equipment, all the band’s instruments and amplifiers … And after the first show … Even their cell phones! (I had been a little worried at the start and had not been willing to take those kinds of chances!)
So what next?
2012 was going to be my second year of providing one of the sound systems for the Reading Street Faire … A wonderful day of local bands playing to the home town crowd on a gorgeous Indian Summer day in early September.
(I have a few clients that would love to learn that weather secret!)
The town supplies a gasoline generator for the event and I supply a couple hundred feet of power cord, some cable ramps and a couple of carpet runners to get the generator as far away from the stage and audience as possible.
This year I set the batteries up at the stage and had the DPW folks leave their generator … Just in case.
My idea was to run my batteries dry … If I could!
I brought in the same PA I had used for the event in 2011, a much larger sound system than the one I had used for the Elma Lewis series in Franklin Park.
A 12,000 watt sound system … Two pairs of three way concert speakers, two pairs of subwoofers, six stage monitors … plus all the band’s amplifiers, pedal boards … even an electric keyboard or two … Rock and Roll stuff!
As a bonus … the Master of Ceremonies / DJ wanted to set up his system too!
Perfect … This should drain the batteries in no time!
Well … I thought it would!
About three o’clock in the afternoon the DPW guys asked if we were going to need the generator … And with the inverter’s meters all showing 90 – 100% full … I let them take it … They had a longer day going than I did … And I was not going to need it by the end of the event.
Even with all that gear running for 6 hours the battery meters still showed full … This was just not making any sense … with the kill a watt meters recording a little over 5 kWh of power used … Without putting much of a “dent” in the battery reserve!
My intuition was starting to tell me not to believe the inverter battery meters.
I needed to find out what was going on … Before running out of “juice” somewhere!
Hmmm … I wonder if AAA would give me a jump start!