Run all your gear on location with this 1200 Watt DIY portable power station

Jun 17, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Run all your gear on location with this 1200 Watt DIY portable power station

Jun 17, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Portable power for use on location is always a fascinating topic. Over the last few years we’ve seen more battery-powered portable strobes from companies like Godox and Profoto, USB power banks are ridiculously cheap, and we’ve even seen ones that can put out 120-240v AC. Some of us also have our own solutions for powering gear on location.

But have you thought about building your own portable power station you can take out on location to charge or power your kit? If so, this one from Matt at DIY Perks should interest you. It’s capable of supplying up to 1200W to charge or power pretty much anything you might want to throw at it. Even a microwave!

The system is based around 21700 type lithium-ion cells, developed by Tesla and Panasonic. It’s the highest energy density of lithium-ion battery available today. Initially announced in 2017, the 21700 cell is rapidly replacing the 18650 as the battery cell of choice for many portable power gear manufacturers. As with all lithium-ion cells, however, they can be extremely dangerous, so have a go at building this (or anything using lithium-ion cells) with care – and Matt says in the video that you build this at your own risk.

Matt’s build is powered using 84 of these cells, put together in seven sets of twelve cells. Bringing them up to 50v DC with a lot of capacity and a lot of current output capability. This is then converted to 120v or 240v AC for through an inverter to power whatever device you’d want to plug into it that you’d normally plug into a wall socket in your house. It also provides Type-C USB for charging up your USB devices without requiring a separate charger.

While Matt’s version might be a little overkill for most of us, it looks like a fun project and should be able to be scaled down quite easily. Or up, if you need even more portable power!

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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