As we all know, battery-powered lighting is nothing new. From back when we were using Joker battey belts, many companies have been offering battery solutions for lights and other applications and have for quite a long time. The downsides of battery power have always been output strength and run time, especially with higher draw lighting systems. Many of these batteries would only allow running of these units at reduced levels because of the battery’s voltage output or required multiple batteries to facilitate increased run times or full voltage. In other cases, the battery was either too heavy or too cumbersome to meet the needs of run-and-gun production styles. Enter the HCL-435 from Block Battery: a mobile, low-profile battery solution to fit the rigors of today’s set without sacrificing strength in the process.
The HCL-435 by Block Battery is a dual-voltage 435 watt-hour lithium-ion battery capable of delivering power at either 20v – 27v or 48v DC. This in and of itself is nothing new. Multi-voltage battery systems have existed for some time. What’s really surprising about it is its size and that is the first thing you notice about the Block Battery. At 17” x 8 ¼” x 3 ½”, the battery is about the size of a Skypanel S60 ballast. It is a little bit heavy, weighing in at 15 lbs, but isn’t too out of the ordinary with FXLion’s Mega Battery coming in at a little over 17 lbs. Every facet of it seems to have been designed specifically to work with the S60 from its size and shape to the fact that it has a Skyplate ballast mount built directly onto the unit. Though this would be great with any Skypanel system, it also makes mounting the battery on other lights or stands using a Skyplate Mafer Clamp adaptor a breeze.
As I said earlier, the HCL-435 can output at either 20v – 27v or 48v. Previous low-profile systems designed by companies like Anton-Bauer could only output at 24v which is fine for some camera and some lights but only allowed Skypanels and other 48v LEDs to run at half strength. On the flip side, other 48v output systems would run the light at the full output but have been very unwieldy and impractical. The Block Battery will run the S60 for about 1 hour at full output all while being able to attach directly to the back of the light. Being dual output, the battery will also run such units as the Litemat 4 Plus and Litepanels Astras, both 24v lights, at 2+ hrs and 4+ hrs respectively as well as the Hudson Spider Redback at half power for 2+ hrs. All of these outputs and draws can get confusing so to simplify use for the operator: Block Battery installed a display to track draw, voltage level, and remaining power. This makes it really easy to assess how much run time you have left on any given battery. The only downside here is that the battery does take 2 hrs to reach a full charge using a separate charging unit and cannot be run and charged simultaneously. Unless you have more than one battery, strategic recharges will be necessary to keep the day running smoothly.
All in all, the HCL-435 is a great modular power system which combines strength and versatility in a way that no other battery has yet. Though primarily designed for optimal Skypanel usage, it can also be used to run other units at high output for longer times than previous units without sacrificing mobility. Expressway rents the battery with all available hookups to run the lights mentioned above and any of us would be happy to answer any questions about the battery.