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Solar Generators / Power Stations - Do you have one? want one?


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A buddy of mine just got one of the new style  "Solar Generators" as an emergency back up for the house (he told his wife)  BUT mostly to use instead of his Genny in his Toy hauler.  While I thought he was nuts at first after he showed my how it worked, I think I am coming around as to the usefulness. 

Before I thought of the solar generator as a big battery and nothing more, but Its actually way better ...

Here is how he made the case to me:

" I use my Genny mostly to Microwave, coffee maker, charge my phone and laptop.  everything else is 12 volt like lights and heater fan at night. I rarely if ever use AC and rarely use the TV, I have the laptop.   The Genny is loud and uses fuel from my fuel station. 

The solar generator can run all my 12V and AC all day and all night and the solar on the roof recharges it daily, if its cloudy for a couple days I can run the Genny, but otherwise the soar generator does it all.  No noise, no fuel, no shaking in the Toy hauler "

The way he is using he might be right ...  I had put 3  170w solar panels on his roof last season feeding his two 6v batteries through an MPPT solar charge controller, but his two batteries would be near dead in 10-15 minutes running his Microwave through his 2500W pure signwave  inverter if he was running lights or charging his laptop, so he always had to use the Genny.  we did the calculations and for him to not use his Genny at all he would need 6   6volt Lead acid batteries, and that was crazy, not just room wise but that near 400LBs of battery. 

But his solar generator has a pure signwave 2500Watt Inverter and a super efficient MPPT solar charge controller and Lithium Iron batteries and it weighs 60Lbs and is portable. 

It can run everything all day, and all night and charges fully every day. No noise, no hassle. He even has an App on his phone to monitor and control it which is nice. 

He just disconnected the Charge controller I had put in and his inverter and ran the wires to the solar generator and he was done. the thing is small and fits in same space his batteries used to fit in.  Best thing is he can take it out and use in his house or even in his truck if he wants to charge the laptop or power tools  while driving 

He is probably gonna change to residential fridge now too since he has the extra power, and they are way nicers than the 3way fridges from a cold standppoint.

So, am I just going Fan boy here, or have you seen the same thing?  these things aren't cheap his was $1400 all in, but the Inverter. battery monitor  and charge controller it replaced was close to $850 all in ... and his two 6 volt batteries were $350 and if he had to go to 6 batteries (add 4 more) with cables and everything that would be easily $800 more.  This thing sounds like a win, and the company says the batteries will last 1000 charge cyscles before going to 80% and basically 10-15 years . Not too bad ...

So what am I missing?

He looked at the Jackery  which I hear is the one most people buy,

he also looked at the Bluetti which is also suppose to be good

but ended up with an Ecoflow Delta 

https://ecoflow.com/products/ecoflow-delta-power-station

ecoflow delta.png

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You just need some LiFePo4 batteries and a math equation.  You need more power coming in then going out.  
 

My system will charge at close to 50Amps when the suns out.

Get an amp meter and do a power audit of what you use each day.  Once you have that you can make a choice.

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I'm on the fence about them. I have a small one that has 150wh and a 150w PSW inverter for backpacking. I have a couple of small folding 60w solar panels to charge it, it's basically just for charging the phone, tablet, camera batteries, maybe drone batteries. It was only $80 but it works as advertised.

Then I bought a 200ah LiFePo4 battery with 2 handles for car/tent camping. It's got tons of power, but at 46 lbs, is a bit more than I want to carry. I built a 100AH LiFePo4 setup with 4x 100ah cells, a BMS, cell balancer, 350w inverter and solar charge controller. I used an Apache waterproof case and it all weighs about 25 lbs, perfect for car/tent camping and I have a 1200w PSW inverter that can plug into either battery. I built it myself because it was cheaper and I wanted to keep the weight down.

The Eco flow is a great unit and it sounds like it's working great for your buddy. That size of unit wouldn't work for me because I'm installing LiFePo4 batteries, etc in the trailer, but it sounds like it's a perfect fit for your friend.

There's a YT channel called Hobotech and he reviews all of the solar gens, solar panels, etc on the market. He does some pretty in depth testing of all of the outputs and features, capacity, etc.

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I think it's kind of a tossup. On one hand, having all of that in one unit is handy and fairly priced, OTOH, if one section breaks, like the MPPT charger or the inverter, you're SOL until you get it fixed or repaired. You'd have to crunch the numbers to see if you could buy LiFePo4 batteries, a battery monitor, inverter and charger for the same money. 

It's obvious in order to keep the price down, they're not using a top of the line inverter, etc but if it all works as long as the battery life, then it was a real bargain.

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Good input @r3meyer and @Lord of the Dunes

I have always been the DIY guy and built a number of solar systems, but the all in one aspect is somewhat appealing.I have done Lithium Ion batteries before, but it seems like the  LiFePo4batteries are fixing some of the issues .

I am completely re-doing an enclosed trailer I have as a toy hauler as a simple setup  for guys weekends and might go with the Eco Flow or something similar - I like the multi-use aspect  ...

 

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I got in on one of these: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/elechive-portable-universal-super-power-station/x/25314191#/ when buy-in was like $1049.  I might see it around when I see my Speed UTV, in 2042 lol.  It's more intended for my Broverlanding though, IDK about using it with a trailer or RV.  Of course, we run the AC all the time when we're RVin' and it's hot out, so in non-hookup places like G the generator is going most of the day anyway (our dogs are our children, and she's convinced they can't handle heat... and I love coming into an AC'ed rig after a ride).  Anyway, the goal of the battery deal (I hate calling them "solar generators") is to run this: https://www.newair.com/products/newair-portable-80-qt-electric-car-camping-cooler and some other camp accessories.  My Broverland trailer has it's own battery, fridge and solar and handles that just fine.  However, I got that NewAir as a supplement for longer trips (I just did over a week in Idaho completely off-grid so I needed the extra fridge space). 

This is the setup on the trailer (this wasn't the ID trip, this was Moonrocks where I was surrounded by "real" RVs and trailers, but it was a test-run):

20210528_140917.thumb.jpg.75a8a39ca49e57e04953b6dbd81811aa.jpg

 

-TJ

 

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I got a used Honda 2000 for $700.00  I put a gallon of gas in it every day and keep my battery's topped off at all times. I usually am at the dunes about 30 days/ year. So that is around $120/year in fuel. I have had my Honda 2000 for about 5 years now and can sell it today for $700.  Let me know when your solar program can beat that.

 

Thanks

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1 hour ago, MWB said:

I got a used Honda 2000 for $700.00  I put a gallon of gas in it every day and keep my battery's topped off at all times. I usually am at the dunes about 30 days/ year. So that is around $120/year in fuel. I have had my Honda 2000 for about 5 years now and can sell it today for $700.  Let me know when your solar program can beat that.

 

Thanks

Agreed, but AOC and Greta are coming for you . . .

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Just now, Fullthrottleguy said:

Agreed, but AOC and Greta are coming for you . . .

That's fine AOC has a nice rack and didn't get that round mouth from eating square meals.

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