The Battery Revolution and Why DJs Should be Charged Up About It!

by Neil Smith the Dandy DJ

We’ve all had it happen. Walk into a nice, upscale venue that should have the best of everything, start searching for where the source of our electricity will come from and then it’s face-palm time! Insert your specifics here, but it’s usually outlets that don’t work, horribly loose connections, no faceplates, entire junction boxes hanging loose right out of the wall (which coincidentally happens to have burn marks going up it) or my favorite – it’s connected to a wall switch somewhere and in the middle of your set, someone throws that switch by accident and before you can safely run around and turn all your gear off so it can be restarted correctly, they flick it all back on and cause additional stress to your gear!

There are entire industries built around protecting us from the hazards of this ancient, outdated system of delivering energy! Power conditioners, surge protectors, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), not to mention the power cables themselves (have you priced a 12 gauge extension cable lately?).

Then there’s the issue of protecting your connections from moisture and the fact that not connecting things in a dry and proper manner can be a serious safety hazard (fire, electrocution, tripping hazard, etc) which also increases our costs for insurance!

These are all reasons why I’m looking forward with bated breath to the near-imminent BATTERY REVOLUTION that stands to set us free, and in many ways already has!

In example, right now my entire wedding ceremony system which I purchased many years ago, runs on its own battery power and I have had situations just in this past year where I have had to run the speakers for several hours to serve a remote dinner hour and then another instance this year where a storm knocked out the power to the entire neighborhood and it never returned! These smaller-scale battery powered speakers (Samson Expeditions if you must know) along with my battery powered microphone receivers (Audio Technica System 10) and a briefcase full of rechargeable flashlights which I always carry, 2 fully charged laptops and a mp3 player lasted all night and saved the occasion!

Battery-powered uplights are already in high use and quickly becoming the standard, eliminating hours of work and tons of ugly wiring.

The newly-introduced line array speakers from JBL, The EON ONE PRO, is touting 6 hours of battery life at full volume. I personally own two of the EON Ones (not the new pro model) which the new battery powered models are set to replace and not only do they sound great, they’re perfect for the types of events I do (weddings and corporate events not usually exceeding 200 people). I would love to not need to plug them into an outlet! I predict that other manufacturers will be following suit quickly.

What About Dance Lights?

Seeing as how most of our dance lights are led and draw very little power, I’m predicting that entire light shows will be battery powered within the next couple of years. I could see this easily being implemented with an all-in-one light show solution such as the Chauvet Gigbar. Many of these fixtures internally convert standard 120v ac to 12v dc (sometimes 18v) which makes them prime candidates for running on battery power.

With the advances in capacity, output and safety of rechargeable batteries growing in leaps and bounds while becoming cheaper and cheaper each year (have you heard about the new sodium – based batteries?) I’m going to predict that what is only currently being accomplished by a few rather crafty DJs making their own power solutions, will become almost commonplace before this decade is through and certainly by the middle of the 2020’s!

We will be rolling in with complete self-powered systems and will no longer be hauling heavy crates of power cables, no longer be on our hands and knees routing and securing cables of any kind, no longer spending money on expensive protection solutions, and enjoying lower insurance rates because we’ll be operating more safely than ever!

This extra time and capacity we’ll be saving will, in turn, allow us to better serve our clients as we will have more room to transport additional items and more time to set them up and tear them down (photo booths, uplights, dance floors, staging – let your mind go wild)!

The Battery Revolution is here! Are you as charged up about it as me!?

Thanks and best regards,

Neil Smith, DANDY DJ and PHOTO BOOTH