Part 2: Portable Lighting System for Beach Volleyball

This is part 2 in my ongoing DIY sports lighting project and details assembling a 24V DC power supply for the battery charger.  Part 1 of the project can be found here.

Most of the higher power balance chargers for Lithium Polymer (Lipo) batteries require a separate DC power supply.  For our project, we will be using the Revolectrix Power Powerlab 8x2 which can charge at 40 amps per channel.  Feeding this beast requires either an expensive (~$300+) 2000 watt power supply, or a bit of DIY modification to some widely available computer server power supplies to adapt them to the task.  Being as the overall lighting system cost was already running out of control, I decided to adapt powerful and reliable Hewlett Packard DPS-1200FB server power supplies which are readily available used from $20-$30 each.

Introduction: Portable Lighting System for Beach Volleyball

One of the main problems with playing beach volleyball and having a regular job of any kind is the obvious inability to play when the sun goes down.  While much of California boasts fantastically playable weather year-round, when the time changes and the days become short in the winter time, the sun sets around 5:00PM precluding most professionals from playing except on weekends.  I have often schemed in my mind searching for a way to right this injustice.

Given the widespread need for portable sports lighting, I was surprised at my inability to find any viable, cost-effective commercial products.  Recently, the appearance of a wide array of household and automotive LED lighting products got me thinking a viable DIY solution is possible.

In this series of posts, I will describe in detail how to build a battery powered, portable sports lighting system from readily available components.  While this system is designed specifically for beach volleyball, it can be adjusted and scaled for the technical requirements of other sports.  In this first introductory post, I will lay out my overall scheme and discuss some of the component choices that I made.  Subsequent articles will describe all of the modules in step by step build detail.