Author Topic: Power station recommendations?  (Read 1569 times)

evme

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Power station recommendations?
« on: August 26, 2023, 02:03:09 AM »
I've lost power twice recently for >8 hours and it has me looking at power stations to run some basic appliances during my next outage.

Costco has the EcoFlow RIVER Pro Portable Power Station for $649.99:
https://www.costco.com/ecoflow-river-pro-portable-power-station.product.100716905.html

That seems like a decent value as it has 720Wh capacity but also includes a 160W solar panel for recharging.

I bought the EB3A model from BlueTTI (small 272 Wh unit) just to try it, but I'm returning it because it only has enough juice to run a fan (40W) + light (10W) for about 4 hours. I want to get something with at least 2-3 times that capacity, maybe more. I don't want to spend $10k+ on a Tesla Powerwall, but looking for something in the $500-$1500 range. Any recommendations?



nereo

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Re: Power station recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2023, 04:02:20 AM »
Honestly, if price is a primary concern there isnít anything even remotely comparable to a small gasoline powered generator for powering a few circuits for up to a few days a few times each year. And I say this as someone who is actively decreasing our carbon footprint aggressively.

The EcoFlow linked wonít power a fridge or heater, so itís usefulness is limited to recharging electronics and lighting. From an eco-standpoint the embodied energy from the batteries is considerable, and will likely never offset a generators if itís only used on average a couple days each month (if even that much).  For a similar price you can get a portable generator which will put out 4x the power, allowing you to power a fridge, small heater/ac and even a cook plate. You can even legally run it through your existing panel with a simple transfer switch, which most electricians can install for around $300  that will put you well within your budget for a more powerful system. And you wonít have to toss out a bunch of food after each outage due to spoilage.

Counterintuitively, a gasoline powered generator is the greenest option when considering the infrequency of use.

This all of course assumes you can site a generator appropriately. Itís not going to work in an apartment with no roof access.

uniwelder

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Re: Power station recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2023, 04:12:17 AM »
If you have a vehicle you can run an extension cord to, then an ac/dc inverter could work really well. Not the little ones that plug into the cigarette lighter, but the type that connects to your battery under the hood. You can buy them for less than $200 with outputs of 1500 watts. Hereís a great article Iíve referenced several times- https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/02/can-a-pint-sized-power-inverter-replace-a-generator/index.htm

evme

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Re: Power station recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2023, 08:34:23 PM »
If you have a vehicle you can run an extension cord to, then an ac/dc inverter could work really well. Not the little ones that plug into the cigarette lighter, but the type that connects to your battery under the hood. You can buy them for less than $200 with outputs of 1500 watts. Hereís a great article Iíve referenced several times- https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/02/can-a-pint-sized-power-inverter-replace-a-generator/index.htm

That's an interesting idea. I actually have a Chevy Volt (PHEV) which has a 10 kWh battery that would be awesome if I could easily tap into. However, my garage is not easily accessible so it wouldn't be as convenient as a small power station. I guess this would be better suited to a very long power outage whereas I would still like a small unit available for a short outage.

uniwelder

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Re: Power station recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2023, 05:03:17 AM »
If you have a vehicle you can run an extension cord to, then an ac/dc inverter could work really well. Not the little ones that plug into the cigarette lighter, but the type that connects to your battery under the hood. You can buy them for less than $200 with outputs of 1500 watts. Hereís a great article Iíve referenced several times- https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/02/can-a-pint-sized-power-inverter-replace-a-generator/index.htm

That's an interesting idea. I actually have a Chevy Volt (PHEV) which has a 10 kWh battery that would be awesome if I could easily tap into. However, my garage is not easily accessible so it wouldn't be as convenient as a small power station. I guess this would be better suited to a very long power outage whereas I would still like a small unit available for a short outage.

Honestly, it sounds like you just want an excuse to buy a gadget.

GilesMM

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Re: Power station recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2023, 07:51:30 AM »
If you have a vehicle you can run an extension cord to, then an ac/dc inverter could work really well. Not the little ones that plug into the cigarette lighter, but the type that connects to your battery under the hood. You can buy them for less than $200 with outputs of 1500 watts. Hereís a great article Iíve referenced several times- https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/02/can-a-pint-sized-power-inverter-replace-a-generator/index.htm

That's an interesting idea. I actually have a Chevy Volt (PHEV) which has a 10 kWh battery that would be awesome if I could easily tap into. However, my garage is not easily accessible so it wouldn't be as convenient as a small power station. I guess this would be better suited to a very long power outage whereas I would still like a small unit available for a short outage.


You are spot on - you already own a 10 kHw battery!  Just find a way to connect to it which, unfortunately, doesn't seem available yet for the Bolt. I know the Ioniq does it as a friend in Calif used his for four days to power his house.  The Ford F150 offers a connector kit as well.

uniwelder

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Re: Power station recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2023, 08:03:01 AM »
If you have a vehicle you can run an extension cord to, then an ac/dc inverter could work really well. Not the little ones that plug into the cigarette lighter, but the type that connects to your battery under the hood. You can buy them for less than $200 with outputs of 1500 watts. Hereís a great article Iíve referenced several times- https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/02/can-a-pint-sized-power-inverter-replace-a-generator/index.htm

That's an interesting idea. I actually have a Chevy Volt (PHEV) which has a 10 kWh battery that would be awesome if I could easily tap into. However, my garage is not easily accessible so it wouldn't be as convenient as a small power station. I guess this would be better suited to a very long power outage whereas I would still like a small unit available for a short outage.


You are spot on - you already own a 10 kHw battery!  Just find a way to connect to it which, unfortunately, doesn't seem available yet for the Bolt. I know the Ioniq does it as a friend in Calif used his for four days to power his house.  The Ford F150 offers a connector kit as well.

From what I've read, there are inverters available for first generation Volts, but not second.  A generic inverter connected to the 12 volt battery should still work.  Either way, OP still needs to run an extension cord to their house, which is apparently too inconvenient.

SmashYourSmartPhone

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Re: Power station recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2023, 01:15:25 PM »
That's an interesting idea. I actually have a Chevy Volt (PHEV) which has a 10 kWh battery that would be awesome if I could easily tap into.

There are easy inverter kits available for both generations of Volt.

https://www.evextend.com/Emergency-Power-Kit.php

https://www.evextend.com/Gen2-Chevrolet-Volt-Kit.php

You are limited to the power of the DC-DC converter by them, you cannot directly tap the high voltage battery, but the car will provide some limited power and is a good standby generator if you can live within the constraints of about 1500W.

Quote
However, my garage is not easily accessible so it wouldn't be as convenient as a small power station.

Does your car not have wheels and a motor?  Does it not move?

Quote
I guess this would be better suited to a very long power outage whereas I would still like a small unit available for a short outage.

You want an excuse to buy a neat toy.  What do you need with backup power for a short outage?  For under 2-3 hours, don't even bother getting things set up, just don't open the fridge or freezer, and let things stay cold.

If you're suburban or urban, you have city water that's pressurized, so no problems there.  If you're rural and on a well, you should have pressure tanks that hold some useful amount of water, though they can be drained rapidly by irrigation.  Consider that a small inverter won't run a well pump, though.  Or, more specifically, is unlikely to be able to start it.

But I have a better solution that allows you to spend far more money!  Get a Tesla Powerwall installed!  It's an even bigger, more expensive gadget!

trollwithamustache

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Re: Power station recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2023, 02:34:48 PM »

You can also piece-meal it. My internet and router are on a UPS battery, that can ride us through a couple hour power outage. I use a laptop, so no extra screen, but most power outages I can just ignore and not go get the fancy stuff. We also have one of those travel phone batteries if someone needs a charge.

So yea, I did buy the goal zero power station and solar panels. (also for camping).  Honestly I never use it for power outages. If the boss is worried about the refrigerator, then out comes the gas generator.

Just Joe

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Re: Power station recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2023, 02:19:01 PM »
If you want lasting power - say overnight - look at an inverter generator. Quiet, comes in all sizes. Most have an ECO switch that will slow the motor down when the load is low which will save you gasoline. The big ones have a sizeable gas tank. Your neighbors will appreciate the quiet engine too. Many good brands. Honda is my favorite. 

We have a 6500W Kohler house generator with an automatic disconnect, automatic start. Previous owners had it installed. Power goes out and within 30 seconds or so it is running. Runs on natural gas. Used to have it plumbed to a 500 gallon propane tank but Suburban Gas had ridiculous prices here. Out propane tank, in Nat Gas line. Nat Gas is much, much cheaper. Like $3.5K/yr cheaper here.

Our house generator is not an inverter (decade old) so the lawn mower motor inside it runs at 3600 rpm. We have no neighbors so no problems.

We have a Jackery battery station. Nice for camping. Will charge phones and gadgets. Runs LED lamps. Lasts all weekend. I would never try to make heat (space heater or hot plate) with it. Just use fire ($40 butane stove). Good for powering a lamp, TV and wifi in a pinch. The battery will get old from age before we ever wear it out. If it wasn't a gift I wouldn't have it.

We actually have three older APC brand UPS I bought used from eBay for about $40 each. They run the desktop, internet and the TV plus a lamp. Protects against power surges. Had to put new SLA batteries in them when purchased. ~$25 each for the battery. They keep the electronics going until the generator gets fired up and protect from over/under voltage.

We do have an inverter for our ancient little camper. One 12V deep cycle lead-acid battery. Can run the camper furnace for a couple of nights. Lamps for a few hours each evening. Easy to run down the battery if powering a hot plate or coffee maker. See butane stove idea.

For an off the wall idea: our 52 year old electric lawn tractor. Paired with a 36V inverter it can run the fridge overnight or family room all day. Redundant at our house with the generator. I do use the tractor/inverter to power an electric chainsaw and a few other tools as I work around our land. 
« Last Edit: September 08, 2023, 02:26:14 PM by Just Joe »