Using the Explorer XT SE with two monolights

We test out Innovatronix's Explorer XT SE pure sine wave inverter battery pack with a pair of Bowens Gemini GM400 monolights.

The Tronix Explorer XT SE is made by Innovatronix, who make a number of solutions for portable power supplies.


  • 1200W peak power, recommended up to 2400Ws.
  • Clean 24V source for a pure sine wave, which is efficient enough to generate around a thousand flashes at full power from 300Ws units.
  • Can take a charge from mains or from a car charge.
  • Can also be used to power laptops, printers and battery chargers.
The Tronix Explorer is handy for powering those impromptu photo shoots

Box Contents

Not much to this unboxing: our unit was the 230V version which came with a bag, power cord and instructions. With no learning curve needed for knowing how to use the kit, it gives you more time to get out there and start shooting. (As long as you remember the initial charge!)


There are sockets on the back for mains supply with a kettle lead cable, and a 14V DC connection for use with charging from a car or the Tronix Auxiliary Battery. All the controls are fairly intuitive when it comes to the front panel of the Tronix, there are two plugs for plugging in your lights. A power button above this, and a three light LED section next to it stating your usual colour coding, red, yellow and green for the battery’s charge status. There is also a green LED to let you know when it is charging.

Lighting Rumours editor, David, helping me with some testing


As I often play around with small aperture sizes with a ND variable filter to bring down the ambient and still be within the camera’s shutter speed, I need a little bit of extra power to push through the effects of the filter. Having this battery pack in my reserves meant that I had the option to play around with this idea further than the results I could get with speedlights. What I wanted to test more was how much time you would have to be waiting whilst the unit recycles your chosen light, especially when you start pushing that light’s output even more, or start using two lights at the same time.

After its initial charge, it will charge up between 3 and 5 hours. To test its usefulness, I took a Bowens Gemini 400 and tested the recharge time at each full power stop.

Power Seconds
1/32 0.8
1/16 1.6
1/8 2.8
1/4 3.8
1/2 6.8
1/1 7

The XT SE can take two of the Bowens Gemini 400s. For this, the test involved stepping up one light a stop each time till we ran out of power stops, brought it back down to the next test phase and brought the other light up a stop again. Measured using a stopwatch and a trigger in hand.

L1 L2 t L1 L2 t L1 L2 t L1 L2 t L1 L2 t L1 L2 t
1/32 1/32 12.1
1/16 1/32 9.1 1/16 1/16 19.3
1/8 1/32 10.9 1/8 1/16 25.1 1/8 1/8 32.4
1/4 1/32 20.8 1/4 1/16 28.7 1/4 1/8 34.2 1/4 1/4 45.9
1/2 1/32 27.4 1/2 1/16 33.4 1/2 1/8 39.1 1/2 1/4 51.6 1/2 1/2 50.0
1/1 1/32 28.8 1/1 1/16 27.8 1/1 1/8 27.4 1/1 1/4 33.1 1/1 1/2 35.9 1/1 1/1 50.6

L1 = 1st light’s power level, L2 = 2nd light’s power level, t = recycle time in seconds. 1/1 = 400J.

Also goes well with a Bowens and a Westcott 7' to light an entire group

It may not necessarily be one of the faster recharge rates for an external power source, but it will give you some practice on small talk with models whilst you wait for the next shot.


The Explorer XT SE is a good bit of kit to keep around. It gives you that option to take your studio outdoors with you and allowing you to expand your creativity. At 8.2kg, its not a light thing to lug around with you, so make sure you have a car/friend/packmule to get this around unless you want a cheap alternative to the gym. This extra weight however, can keep a stand from turning into a sail which can come in handy here in Edinburgh.

Another benefit of using the Tronix to power your equipment indoors on location is that some places wont allow you to use their power sockets as your equipment hasn’t been tested by them. This then allows you to always know that you can still go ahead with your photoshoot regardless of the electricity availability.

The only thing I could find a problem was with using the two Bowens Geminis at the same time. It wasn’t happy with another light being plugged in and turned on after you had already been using one light. I had to make sure that they were both turned on at roughly the same time to allow usage of both.

At time of printing the price is £369, which is a manageable amount seeing that the small Travelpak to power the 2 Bowens Gemini 400s comes to £470. This gets you a lot more power with some extra weight and size, but saving you some money for that lift to get you to the photoshoot.

David Monteith-Hodge
David Monteith-Hodge is an Edinburgh-based photographer.