Let me start off by saying I have very little working knowledge of off-grid power solutions. I’m thinking about adding a power station to my build to power/charge lights and electronics as well as a future fridge and possibly an electric blanket or pad. All the power stations I’ve found are expensive and have limited capacity. While solar may be a future addition, I’m not planning to add that right now so I’m looking for something simple, economical, and with enough capacity that I don’t have to stress about running out of power for most trips. I’m also not looking to commit to a full-on dual battery set-up right now.
Does anyone have any hands on experience with one of these?
Looks like it’s made from a Renogy battery and Texas instruments BMS. It’s a one-stop-shop for powering DC stuff with plenty of capacity at a great price. If I wanted to add AC equipment later I could add an inverter. Any smarter folks out there see any pit falls I don’t? I’d need to get some kind of LiFePo4 charger, and maybe even a warmer of some kind to make sure it works at colder temps, but it seems like it checks all my boxes.
Any and all feedback or suggestions of other solutions are much appreciated!
The “too good to be true” question occurs to me as well. I have a Goal Zero 1500 with a 200AH solar briefcase at a cabin, and a Jackery 1000 with 2X 100watt panels for a backup and portable solution (backup at the cabin and to use in the GFC while on the road). Solar panels are cheap, although needing to add a charge controller will add to the cost if/when you upgrade. For me a solar charging option and AC output were a must. The great thing about both my options is that they include both AC&DC output, overload protection and the controller all in a neat, easy to store and transport package. The Jackery is my ‘cheap solution’ and it is orders of magnitude more expensive than the option you are looking at (the Goal Zero double that). All I can say is both of the systems that I have have exceeded expectations…which is the key word here. When I am at my cabin (Utah…plenty of sunshine) I power a larger Dometic portable fridge, wife heats water in an electric pot for coffee and dishes and we run minimum lights with the Goal Zero. On sunny days we can use an instapot to cook dinner. After two days of clouds at the cabin I decided I needed a backup so I added the Jackery…although I only recharge the Goal Zero with solar (I can and do recharge the Jackery while driving). Anytime you start to heat stuff it really drains the battery. So expectations is the key word. My personal recommendation would be save money until the next Jackery 20% off sale (which seems to happen a couple times a year) and go that route. If that isn’t an option I’d recommend really nailing down your power requirements and determining how much charge you will generate (how much of your time is driving and how much stationary in camp?)…could be the system you listed will work for your needs.
Only negative comment I have on Jackery is that their solar panels are only water resistant while Goal Zero are waterproof…although there is no reason you couldn’t connect the Jackery to a waterproof panel.
Last comment. Cold temps certainly affect battery capacity and performance but, as I understand it, the real issue with cold temps and lithium batteries is not charging them while cold. I solve that by keeping the Goal Zero inside my cabin and recharging the Jackery in the cab of the truck while driving…because warmers consume part of the electricity I am trying so hard to store and use for other things. Again, a point in favor of easily transportable self contained systems like Goal Zero or Jackery because I don’t have to worry about something bouncing around and shorting the connection between the controller and a separate battery.
Great breakdown. If cost were not a consideration, I’d definitely go all in on a large Jackery/Ecoflow/Bluetti/etc system and never have to worry about it ever again. That might just be the best option - save up and get a complete system that can do it all rather than piecemeal it as my needs evolve.
I agree. I had a hybrid F150 before my current Lightning, and while it was cool that the truck would turn on when it needed to recharge the Jackery… it also meant that in the middle of the night, it would turn on to restart the Jackery… which usually woke me up. If I had it to do over again, I would have got the biggest Jackery I could to run the refrigerator, heating blanket, and charge stuff and not run out at night.
I have a Lightning now, so will be interesting to see how that does with camping power consumption.
That battery seems like a sweet deal in a really well thought out box. That being said: I doubt it will be a complete solution for you. I am just some dude on the internet so take my opinion for whatever that is worth, but here is what I would want to upgrade after looking at that battery.
Likely you will want a faster charger, both from solar and a charger at all that will plug into the wall.
Also, I would be nervous about bare terminals just kicking around in my truck bed so I would want to build a box around that battery.
Third: the power level monitor is almost certainly voltage only, which for a lithium battery is really mediocre. I did it for a while and it’s a recipe for killing your battery.
Last: while inverters are awesome, our campers are really tiny, so I have had a really hard time finding a place that I feel comfortable mounting something with unfused 2awg wires hanging off of it.
I took the plunge and ordered the Dr. Prepare setup. As an aside, it pains me to type that ridiculous brand name. Fingers crossed it is decent quality. It will be my house battery which will mainly power my ARB fridge and diesel heater.
I recommend the EcoFlow brand for batter/power supply/inverter. Very easy to read the panel, to set up and provides a variety of DC/AC and USB charging options. It’s been very reliable for me and I charge it on house AC before leaving on a trip, then have 300 w of solar panels (3) on top of GoFast while on the go, and whole system works better than expected. I have this model of EcoFlow: