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Friday, 21 February 2020 16:15

Portable Lithium Batteries Add Storage, Convenience Featured

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If you live largely on solar when you’re off grid, and even if you rely on generators, portable lithium “generators” are a great addition to your RV energy arsenal.

But let’s get something straight: No matter what they’re called, these lithium-ion units are not generators. They are high-capacity portable storage batteries with built-in inverters and convenient ports for tapping the energy they store. To charge this battery, you still need a gasoline- or propane-powered generator, a campground power supply, a solar array, or in some cases, your car’s alternator and a 12v DC port, possibly with a separate inverter.

Still, once charged, they can store and deliver hours of power for electronic devices, lighting, fans and mall appliances.

Similar to, Different from House Batteries

Similar to lithium house batteries, the portable power supplies:

  • Store energy sent by generating devices.
  • Can power devices for hours, depending on the draw and the power station’s storage capacity.
  • Allow repeated deep discharges without degrading battery health.
  • Do not off-gas, making them safe for interior use.
  • Are quiet.

There are big differences, too. The lithium portable power stations:

  • Don’t get hard-wired to an RV electrical or charging system.
  • Have handles for carrying.
  • Have built-in inverters for safe, pure sine wave power.
  • Include AC and DC connectivity so devices that draw from them do not have to be plugged into an RV’s hard-wired outlets.

Connectivity

Power ports in each unit typically include:

  • 110v grounded AC power outlets for such items as fans, lamps, computers, printers, coffee pots, hairdryers, C-PAP machines and televisions.
  • USB ports for charging phones and tablets.
  • A cigarette lighter-type power outlet for 12v DC devices, such as rechargeable flashlights and tire inflators.

So you can keep tabs on how much power you’re using and have in reserve, some power stations have digital readouts and/or meters. If not, you can attach a meter such as a Kill A Watt, $20-25.

Inputs typically include a grounded (three-prong) AC receptacle, which you can plug into an RV outlet for recharging from your generator, and a solar input from your panels, whether mounted on your RV or portable.  

Advantages over Generators

Sometimes you just can’t run even a quiet generator—at night, for instance, when neighbors are close, or park if rules forbid it. And you can’t run a generator if you’re out of fuel for it.

A lithium portable battery is likely to have a cooling fan, but it is about as quiet as a laptop’s. Outdoors, it won’t disturb wildlife.

Limitations

On cheaper lithium power stations, a hairdryer or blender may work on a low or medium setting, but not on high. A microwave or air conditioner is almost surely too much to handle except on high-end batteries with a 1,000w AC output. And although a smaller portable battery can power, say, a computer or a blender, it may not handle both at once.

Breakers shut the units off if they’re overtaxed, keeping them from overheating.  

Price of Power

The more capabilities and capacity you want, the higher the price, but the price range is wide.

Here are examples:

Rockpals 240Wh Portable Generator Rechargeable Lithium Battery Pack Solar Generator, $185-200. This Rockpals portable lithium battery can power computers, tablets, cell phones, CPAP machines, small fans, drones and lamps but is not suitable for small appliances, such as hairdryers, coffee machines or toasters. At 5.5 pounds, it’s light enough to take on the trail. Outputs: USB-A (2), 110v AC (2), 12v DC car-type port. Inputs: Wall outlet, car port or solar panel.    

Suaoki G500 Portable Power Station Portable Lithium 500Wh Rechargeable Solar Generator, $500-526. The Suaoki G500 is a versatile all-around unit that can power some small appliances as well as recharge electronic devices. A digital display monitors charging input, draw and reserve. At 22 pounds, it’s not light enough for trail use but it’s quite manageable around the campsite. Outputs: USB–A (2); USB-C (1); 12v car-type port (1); 110v AC 300w (2). Inputs: wall outlet, car port or solar panel.

Maxoak Portable Power Station Bluetti EB150 1500Wh, about $1,400. The Bluetti EB150 is powerful and versatile. With 1,000w maximum sine-wave 110v output through its inverter, the Bluetti can power even wattage-hungry hairdryers and blenders, and tools, such as drill-drivers. With 1,500wh on tap, it can power a laptop for a full day, a fan overnight, and probably even a small air conditioner (not a rooftop unit) for six or more hours. At 38 pounds, it’s portable around the campsite or inside your RV. Digital readouts monitor input, output and reserve. Outputs: USB-A (4); USB-C (1); car-type 12v DC (1); 110v AC (2). Input: Solar panels; wall outlet; car 12v port, but only with an inverter.

  • 2*AC Outlets(Standard AC110V US Plug) for Most Household Appliance under 1000W Such as TV, mini Refrigerator, Household Dryer, CPAP,Drone.1*DC12V for Car Powered Devices like Car Fridge, Car Vacuum Cleaner,1*PD Type-C (Max 45W) for USB-C Devices Such as Laptop MacBook/MacBook Pro & PD USB-C Phones,4*5V3A(Max) USB for phones, Tablets, Camera, Fans, light, etc, Keep Multi Devices Powered in Case Power Failure or Away from a Wall Outlet, Widely Used for Indoor or Outdoor.
  • Solar/AC Recharge: 1)This Power Generator Can be Recharged from the Sun with Solar Panel (Open Circuit Voltage must be 16V~60V(Max),Max 500W,Solar Panel not Included). 2) This Power Station Can be Fully Charged in 10 Hrs by being Plugged into the Wall Outlet.Charge Time varies on the Solar Panel(Higher Power of the Panel, Shorter Charge Time you will Get), eg. 300W Solar Panel: About 5-5.5Hrs. 3*150W Panel in Series: About 3.5-4Hrs. Tips:Car Charge: you need buy a Power Inverter(≥300W) yourself.
  • Other Highlights: 1) MPPT High Efficient Solar Charing; 2) MC4 Solar Charging Cable is Included, No need other Charge Controller; 3) Battery Management System (BMS),Protect from Overvoltage,Overcurrent,Short-circuit, Temperature Control & more Safeguards. 4) LCD Screen to Monitor the Remaining Capacity/Charging/Discharge/Abnormal Status, Error Code will be Showed for any Malfunction; 5)Auto Shut off after Fully Charged; 6) 50/60Hz Frequency Adjustable 7)Size&Net Weight: 14.6*6.5*14.4inch,37.9lb.
Read 63 times Last modified on Friday, 21 February 2020 16:21

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