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Powering Off Grid Ceremonies


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Powering Off Grid Ceremonies

There are more than a few beautiful outdoor ceremony locations (particularly in Canmore and Banff) that have no outlet available. We can provide 75 to 100 feet of extension chord by request, however off-grid power may be necessary. Over the years we have tried a number of different remote power solutions. We’ve determined through experience that a battery bank is by far the best solution for wedding ceremonies. Battery banks are available through 1st in Entertainment as a package add-on or separate rental.

Mobile Battery banks

battery-load-bankThis option is highly recommended for a wedding ceremony for a number of reasons.

Pros

• Quiet, battery banks make virtually no noise. Our battery bank has a small fan that creates the same level of noise as a laptop computer. It’s inaudible in an outdoor ceremony situation.

• Ample power for professional audio systems. Our battery bank generates 1000 watts of power, our ceremony audio system uses about a third of the available power.

• Our battery bank supplies ample run-time for a one to two hour wedding ceremony. Our bank has been tested for five hours with our ceremony audio production equipment.

• Reliable, once charged our batteries are very consistent. Batteries don’t have any moving parts and we can tell if they are defective before being used. Nothing is 100% reliable but our battery bank has more redundancy than a gas generator. Our battery bank can contain up to two batteries.

• Our battery bank is easy to move with the use of wheels. The bank can be moved by hand as it weighs about as much as one of our pro-audio speakers.

• Battery banks can be used with our high quality speakers and UHF wireless microphones (handheld or lapel). UHF is the industry standard in wireless technology. We are able to run the highest quality commercial audio equipment with a battery bank. No audio compromise is necessary.

• Fast to setup and easy to work with. All you have to do is flip a switch.

• In our opinion battery banks are more eco-friendly than gas generators. The batteries are recycled at the end of their lifespan.

Cons

Battery banks are fairly ideal for ceremonies but there are a few considerations.

• Batteries have a limit, they are useless once drained.  They do not charge back up again instantly. Our battery bank has ample power for specific equipment for a specific length of time – additional power consumption may not be recommended. You should check with us before your event if you wish to power additional devices. For example even a simple laptop computer shortens the run-time. Everything you plug into the battery can have an effect on run-time.

Gas Generators

GeneratorWe often have gas generators in stock, however we don’t consider them ideal for a wedding ceremony. That being said a number of companies make quality generators.

Pros

• Generators supply ample power for longer periods  of time. In some cases larger generators are only option when large amounts of power are needed.

• They can be quickly refilled for even longer run-times if additional fuel is on-hand.

• Their are many quality generator on the market.

Cons

• Even the latest “wisper” inverter style generators are somewhat noisy. Additional noise isn’t desirable during a wedding ceremony.

• Generators take a bit more time to setup especially if a start-up issue is present.

• They aren’t as easy to use as a battery bank. You may have to choke and prime your generator.

• Well maintained quality generators are reliable but have very little redundancy. All audio production relies on the generator.

• Generators tend to emit a gas odour that can be transferred to clothing during transport.

Battery powered PA system

battery-powered-pa-ceremonyThese seem like a great idea but they suffer from audio quality issues. We have learned from experience that the microphones can cut out. Simply put, no-one seems to make a quality battery powered system right now. We have tried a number of these systems out and found them to be poorly made. For this reason we don’t offer them. Pro audio manufacturers have currently stayed away from the technology.

Pros

• Very portable and fast to setup

• More than enough battery run-time for a wedding ceremony, many claim eight hours or more. These systems have more than enough run-time for a ceremony.

Cons

• Low quality audio. These system don’t come close to producing the sound clarity, volume and coverage of standard pro audio speakers. Our industry standard JBL, Yorkville, QSC or EV speakers are simply superior.

• Low quality wireless microphones. VHF (very high frequency) microphones are susceptible to interference, which means that they can cut-out periodically during speech. These microphones have cut-out on us on a number of occasions – we do not like them and avoid using them. UHF (ultra high frequency) microphones are vastly superior and do not suffer from the same reliability same issues. Nearly all battery powered PA systems come equipped with VHF wireless microphone systems and cannot be used with a UHF microphone. Some only feature handheld microphones and are not equipped with wireless lapel microphones. It’s not unusual for a marriage commissioners to require a lapel microphone.

• These systems cannot power any additional electrical devices. For example a laptop or IPOD would have to run on it’s own battery power. Some laptops can die in less than an hour. Some ceremony musicians require power.