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Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator
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thebigben
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

Anyone with the 720Wh battery tried fitting it under the bench? Also has anyone tried this? https://www.costco.com/.product.100716886.html

Seems like a good deal for 1400wh capacity + inverter + charge controller + cooling fans + MPPT controller + easy to resell down the line.
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thebigben
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:39 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

I placed an order for the $700 Costco deal. Considering it is less than the price of an equivalent capacity Lithium Ion battery, seems like itís hard to go wrong.

I currently have two very large FLA batteries that are struggling to hold a charge, and Iíd like to add solar, so this was a great callout.

Will update on fit when I receive them next week. Thanks!
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Howesight
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

"Portable Power Station"?!! Didn't we used to call these batteries?

It just bothers me that the manufacturers of these batteries with accessories are referring to them as "power stations" or similarly-misleading names. There are a lot of unsophisticated people who don't realize, until they buy the "power station", that they have to go home, plug it in, and only then have "power" in their "station". The marketing materials then use W/h to make the units appear to have more power than they do. All deep-cycle battery companies use amp/hours to allow apples-to-apples comparisons. Not so with Yeti, River, etc. It's not right.


Here's a real portable power station:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



By comparison, here's a battery with a handle with attached inverter and accessories so that you can tell your envious friends that your 18-pound flashlight will definitely outlast the power in their wimpy REI headlamps.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Old technology in a wanna-be slick package with a handle on top.

It reminds me of when television manufacturers used to put a handle on top of a 50-pound TV and call it "portable". Fine for Ward Cleaver to move, not so much for June Cleaver. The Beaver? Forget it.

I'm sure it's a fine product, but wish the marketers would call it what it is - - a battery with a handle and gew-gaws.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:35 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

Howesight wrote:
"Portable Power Station"?!! Didn't we used to call these batteries?

It just bothers me that the manufacturers of these batteries with accessories are referring to them as "power stations" or similarly-misleading names. There are a lot of unsophisticated people who don't realize, until they buy the "power station", that they have to go home, plug it in, and only then have "power" in their "station". The marketing materials then use W/h to make the units appear to have more power than they do. All deep-cycle battery companies use amp/hours to allow apples-to-apples comparisons. Not so with Yeti, River, etc. It's not right.


Here's a real portable power station:

[img]https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/2186634.jpg[/img


By comparison, here's a battery with a handle with attached inverter and accessories so that you can tell your envious friends that your 18-pound flashlight will definitely outlast the power in their wimpy REI headlamps.

[img]https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/2184138.jpg[/


Old technology in a wanna-be slick package with a handle on top.

It reminds me of when television manufacturers used to put a handle on top of a 50-pound TV and call it "portable". Fine for Ward Cleaver to move, not so much for June Cleaver. The Beaver? Forget it.

I'm sure it's a fine product, but wish the marketers would call it what it is - - a battery with a handle and gew-gaws.


I get your point, there is a terminology "break down".
These are a storage unit for electric, yes ...... a battery.
I initially scoffed at them just like you are.
Then I realized that I needed what they provide.

1) a clean, neat, organized and functional storage battery.

2) multiple power outlet designs

3) a 12v dc to 110 ac outlet

4) a solar controller

5) ability to power device while charging

6) multiple ways to charge
A) 110 ac shore power (very fast charge)
B) 12v dc vehicle cigarette lighter while underway
C) portable (or permanent mounted) solar panel while stationaryor underway
D) from another alternate power source. (Generator, stirage bank, etc, )

I have come to really like this unit, it isn't a lot of power and won't meet long term needs without a recharging source hooked up.
The portability you scoff at is absolutely perfect for my situation.
I am off this Sunday on a journey in the Prius and will take along my portable unit and electric TruckFridge.

Yes, the name is misleading but the concept fills a need in many peoples lives.

Is it fir extended stationary off grid boon docking without solar or constant travel?
No, it isn't.
Is it a fast easy solution for a day or two of light use without power input? Absolutely.

Dave
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:18 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

Dave, that seeming anomaly is because there is a small error in the TP41 label you showed.

They reversed the order of the DC amp draw.
It can run on 12/24 volts, either one.
On 12 volts it uses 3.8 amps, on 24 volts it draws 1.9 amps.

Mark



djkeev wrote:
I have my Dometic CF11 ......
I find it curious that this small 1.1 cf unit sucks 2.2 amps 30 watts at 12v
And
My big Truck Fridge TP41a sucks but 1.9 amps 45 watts at 12v
I guess the Wattage factors in?.......

..........

Dave
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:34 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

thebigben wrote:
Anyone with the 720Wh battery tried fitting it under the bench? Also has anyone tried this? https://www.costco.com/.product.100716886.html

Seems like a good deal for 1400wh capacity + inverter + charge controller + cooling fans + MPPT controller + easy to resell down the line.


so if I'm correct this is 120Ah of storage on top of 1200w peak inverter? plus solar charger? In theory if you wanted you could wire the van to have outlets/usb etc all terminate to under the bench seat then just drop in the device with its extra battery and plug those in then boom the van has power? + have inputs from either solar on roof or charge from alternator while driving...

120aH of Lipo battery storage for 700$?
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jayinduluth
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:12 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

WestyWanter wrote:
thebigben wrote:
Anyone with the 720Wh battery tried fitting it under the bench? Also has anyone tried this? https://www.costco.com/.product.100716886.html

Seems like a good deal for 1400wh capacity + inverter + charge controller + cooling fans + MPPT controller + easy to resell down the line.


so if I'm correct this is 120Ah of storage on top of 1200w peak inverter? plus solar charger? In theory if you wanted you could wire the van to have outlets/usb etc all terminate to under the bench seat then just drop in the device with its extra battery and plug those in then boom the van has power? + have inputs from either solar on roof or charge from alternator while driving...

120aH of Lipo battery storage for 700$?


I think your math is wrong, aH is watt-hours / volts, so 1440 / 28.8 = 50aH. There are more specs available on the ecoflow site -
https://ecoflow.com/products/ecoflow-river-pro-portable-power-station
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:43 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

This illustrates why having the Watt-Hour ratings can be a valuable plus for comparing overall storage capacities.
In the case of this product an amp-hour rating isn't straightforward.
Since the device in question has different output voltages available the amp-hours would be different for each voltage.
It appears the internal storage voltage is different from all the others as well.

Mark

jayinduluth wrote:
WestyWanter wrote:
thebigben wrote:
Anyone with the 720Wh battery tried fitting it under the bench? Also has anyone tried this? https://www.costco.com/.product.100716886.html

Seems like a good deal for 1400wh capacity + inverter + charge controller + cooling fans + MPPT controller + easy to resell down the line.


so if I'm correct this is 120Ah of storage on top of 1200w peak inverter? plus solar charger? In theory if you wanted you could wire the van to have outlets/usb etc all terminate to under the bench seat then just drop in the device with its extra battery and plug those in then boom the van has power? + have inputs from either solar on roof or charge from alternator while driving...

120aH of Lipo battery storage for 700$?


I think your math is wrong, aH is watt-hours / volts, so 1440 / 28.8 = 50aH. There are more specs available on the ecoflow site -
https://ecoflow.com/products/ecoflow-river-pro-portable-power-station
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ProspectiveOwnergon
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 12:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

Teardown of the ecoflow.

https://youtu.be/sDb0BaJ3NRQ
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djkeev Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:40 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

ProspectiveOwnergon wrote:
Teardown of the ecoflow.

https://youtu.be/sDb0BaJ3NRQ


Great find! ^^
Saves me tearing it apart to see what is inside.

I've been using my EcoFlow for about two weeks now.
No surprises, it does exactly what .i wanted it to do and thought it would do.
It is REALLY NICE having refrigerator onboard on a daily basis for drinks and food.

The only downside is that I haven't yet wired in an ignition controlled lighter outlet so I can charge the EcoFlow while driving.

I also have a 110 v AC Shore power plug designed for boats that I want to mount on the Vans side panel behind the drivers door somewhere.
This will be handy for charging the unit without removing it from the Van or running an extension through a window at night.
I currently bring the EcoFlow in to charge it every few days.

All of this wiring needs to happen before I head West in the Fall.

Color me pleased, yes, I know that I could have more capacity for about the same money if I had DIY'd something. But this little package is just so portable and handy to have.
I'm not limited to using the refrigerator in only the Van.

In the short testing period to date, This has ended up being the ideal power solution for me.
I never liked the complexity or space my house power took up in my 86 Weekender.

(I did end up getting the additional battery making my EcoFlow River a "Plus" model.)

Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:26 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

The big difference between a boat through hull and a car isÖ the boat hull is non-conductive. Itís much safer to keep it simple and route a cord to a dry space like the license plate hatch, then use a system of tags ďremove before flightĒ to manage the cord application. You have to do that with a through hull anyway.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:31 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

Glad to hear it fits your needs so well. It should make the "Go West, young man" much more enjoyable.

Could this work for you?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2021 1:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

mine shows up tomorrow!
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2021 2:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

Same here. A bit disappointed capacity wise, but excited to see how long it can drive my TF49.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:42 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

A pattern is developing, I am getting four days of daily use.
10 - 14hours a day.
I shut it off at night and every morning it cools off the box and keeps it cool all day.

This system is until I wire in a lighter socket and a shore power plug.

Dave
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thebigben
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 9:08 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

..and Iím returning the battery back to Costco. The battery is really too small.

Itís also Lithium Ion, which generally doesnít last as long as a Lithium Iron battery. From what I understand, the units shipped through their kickstarter were Lithium Iron.

For the same price ($700), I ended up buying a 100ah LiFePO4 battery + RedArc Ignition Switched Charger with MPPT. I like the ability to easily add more capacity down the line, for just the price of the battery.

If you go the EcoFlow route, keep in mind you still need a battery separator for alternator charging (which is limited to only 10a with EcoFlow).
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 11:56 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

Just tried out my new Bluetooth AC30 at Adventure Van Expo. It powered my mini rice cooker in a home test, and did really well powering my 35qt Dometic. Itíll work well until I wire I up my solar stuff. Itís nice to be able to move the power source around.
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Vanlife Geek
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 12:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

I went with a cheapo brand, Aligoo 300Watt Portable Power Station generator with 12V Car Jump Starter power bank, 266Wh lithium backup battery, Pure Sine Wave AC/DC outlet. It's on sale right now on Amazon for $159, https://amzn.to/35EFkpJ.
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Even though I have two house batteries, sometimes when it's cloudy they don't get charged enough from solar, so this is my backup. I'm trying not to kill my AGM house batteries by running them down too low. It actually works great!

One feature I really like is the watt consumption readout on any device that is plugged in. For example, now I know my big "Endless Breeze" 12v fan uses 15 watts on low, 22 watts on medium and 32 watts on high. I always wondered how much some of the devices draw and now I know. My fridge uses about 70 watts during startup, but settles down to around 43 watts after a couple of minutes. It also will tell you how long it will last based on the current draw and how long it will take to charge based on current input.

One reason I chose this particular model is that it comes with an attachment to jump start the van should the starter battery become low over a long camp. I can use jumper cables from one of the house batteries (and have) but this is way easier. I experimented with using it to power my fridge and it could probably go for nearly a full day before it runs out of juice.

I did have to figure out a hack to keep it going when powering the fridge... it has an auto shutdown feature 60 seconds after no load is detected. Of course the fridge doesn't run constantly, so it would turn off between fridge cycles. To fix this issue, I discovered I could plug in my phone via USB and that would prevent the unit from shutting off automatically between fridge cycles, even when the phone is fully charged.

I always have my 2000w gas generator if all else fails. Overkill? Naw, I like my gadgets!
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I just finished a two week camp and got to use it extensively and it worked like a champ. I'm not sure about other brands, but this one will function fine while being charged. I experimented with plugging it into a 12v receptacle to charge while the fridge was plugged into the unit and it worked fine and would still charge with the fridge load.

Anyway, I thought I'd share this inexpensive one for those that don't want to spend a fortune and don't have huge power requirements.
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thebigben
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 4:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

Now you have my wheels turning. I think I might try adding one of these portable battery packs to my house battery setup under the rear bench. At least to the charging portion.

It would be nice to have a small reserve that is also removable.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2021 8:02 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Power Devices aka Solar Generator Reply with quote

Woke up this am to my first real test of the eco flow pro running my 63qt ARB. 20 hours on 120 and the eco pro is down to 35%. Fridge was in shade, opened 3-4 times. Based on my fridge and my conditions, Iím going to estimate that this might stretch me into 1.5 day of fridge power.

Not sure if this is a success or not. I really didnít know what to expect in real use.

Sadly I canít get solar to charge it. Any ideas? I bought the mc4 to Zamp adapter to plug into the unit. My zamp just flashes the ďbattery not detectedĒ b01 alert. Plugged the panel into my van and confirmed panel is working. 🤷‍♂️

Cheers
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