Although the NEO Rotolight 3 light kit comes with power adapters, I do not use them, the wires are always in the way doing studio work and for outdoor shoots batteries are a must. So which batteries to use was my first question.
My first experience with AA batteries running the NEO’s at 100% output and 6300K:
6 Energizer® Ultimate Li AA $22.50 at Walmart as per manual good for 3 hours
6 Energizer® MAX® AA $5.25 at Walmart as per manual good for 1 hour
The batteries used for the test are the Energizer E91 AA; Alkaline, Zinc-Manganese; 1.5 V; 2.85 Ah
6 of these give me 25.65 Wh and as the NEO max power consumption is 9 Wh, it should be good for 2.85 hrs.
So this is what happened, the NEO has two safety features built in:
1) It prevents overheating by reducing the power consumption by 10% (so li batteries do not explode)
2) It reduces power consumption by 10% if the battery voltage gets low
Safety feature 1 is the main culprit for not using AA batteries, at around 37 to 40 minutes depending on which NEO, it reduces its output by 10% and as the unit cools it switches back to 100%, this switching back and forth plays havoc with the exposure so you have to continuously adjust the camera setting.
After 48 minutes the change battery light came on, this indicates that most of the energy from the batteries was turned into heat due to the build in voltage converter.
Now having a build in voltage converter is a good thing, it means you could use any external battery on the NEO between 10 and 18 volts and plug it into the DC input (not advisable to use a battery lower than 10 volts as most of the energy will be used by the voltage converter to step up the voltage).
Since having spare batteries for my strobies lights
I decided to use them for my second test.