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Old 01-18-2023, 09:19 AM   #1
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Portable solar power stations

I see a lot of people adding solar to their campers, but does anyone strictly use a portable solar power station? Something like a Jackery or Bluetti or another brand? Considering this as an option for some camping when we may not have electric overnight while traveling and just need lights and maybe a fan, or the microwave for a few minutes. Seems easier than a generator because there is no fuel source and we can keep it inside where it will run quietly and not disturb anyone or draw attention.
And yes I know it wonít run the AC.
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Old 01-18-2023, 09:40 AM   #2
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IF you get one of those "Solar Generators" for another purpose, there is no reason you can't use it for the RV/Trailer as well.

I just would not buy it........ if only for use on the RV/Trailer.

upgrade the existing system in the trailer/rv for a lot less $$$$$
usually it's the battery storage capacity....... that limits how long you can be off grid.

You may already have most of the components for a portable solar power station on the trailer...
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Old 01-18-2023, 10:21 AM   #3
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Microwave is a no-go unless you are going to get a very expensive, massive Jackery type power station.

Fans and lights should be 12v DC and run off your RV's battery.

If you wanted to power outlets for little things like a TV, then you could turn off all the circuit breakers for things like water heater, converter, Microwave, even refrigerator, if AC, and just power the outlets and do not plug in anything that is designed to produce heat.
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Old 01-18-2023, 10:30 AM   #4
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I see a lot of people adding solar to their campers, but does anyone strictly use a portable solar power station? Something like a Jackery or Bluetti or another brand? Considering this as an option for some camping when we may not have electric overnight while traveling and just need lights and maybe a fan, or the microwave for a few minutes. Seems easier than a generator because there is no fuel source and we can keep it inside where it will run quietly and not disturb anyone or draw attention.
And yes I know it wonít run the AC.
I have one that I built myself. I like it. I use it in the RV while camping without services. It is basically an RV solar system that is portable. I also use it at home when we lose power.

Being in the northeast where there are an abondance of trees, the system allows me to move the solar setup to where ever I want where there is sun. This has included parking lots, in the bed of my pickup, and at the State Park check-in. It is not for everyone, but is especially suited to "hands on" type people.

I have been following the commercial solar generators and they have grown considerably in size and power. They are basically a complete rv electrical system in a box. You can plug them into your shore power receptacle and have no real downside other than running out of stored power.
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Old 01-18-2023, 11:07 AM   #5
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I see a lot of people adding solar to their campers, but does anyone strictly use a portable solar power station? Something like a Jackery or Bluetti or another brand? Considering this as an option for some camping when we may not have electric overnight while traveling and just need lights and maybe a fan, or the microwave for a few minutes. Seems easier than a generator because there is no fuel source and we can keep it inside where it will run quietly and not disturb anyone or draw attention.
And yes I know it wonít run the AC.
Perhaps the OP should give us a specific model of SG. The solar generators of today can range from a tenting-car generator to a whole house generator. You get what you pay for.
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Old 01-18-2023, 11:38 AM   #6
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The only real way to answer this question is to do some math.


A Jackery 1500 will provide 1500WHr at a cost of $1700
Two Jackery portable 100W panels will recharge the Jackery in 10 hrs full sun. for a cost of $600
Being conservative to protect the batteries, the jackery 1500 will operate 1000W microwave or coffee maker and a few lights /water pump for 45 mins.

If you fully charge the SG on shore power and use it for one night before recharging on shore power you should be OK, Two nights might be a stretch.
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Old 01-18-2023, 01:57 PM   #7
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Considering this as an option for some camping when we may not have electric overnight while traveling and just need lights and maybe a fan, or the microwave for a few minutes. we can keep it inside where it will run quietly and not disturb anyone or draw attention.
The microwave draws lots of electricity and won't work unless you buy a $2,000+ Bluetti where you can plug your 30amp directly into the power station. Most power stations don't have the ability to deliver the same power that a generator would. They don't have the plug in connections. The exception would be the Bluetti higher end models. You'd have to run the cord through a window if you don't want to leave it outside.

Power stations generally have only ac and usb connections so you're going to need a standalone lamp and fan. They do work well for that. We have a power station similar to the Jackery that we use for camping to recharge the laptop, phones or run a light and fan. We also use it for emergency lighting at home. (We live in Texas and power is 'iffy'.)

You might be overthinking this. If all you need is lights and fan that run off the battery in your rig, you might just need a battery monitor to make certain you're not running the battery down.

Frankly, what you want to do can be done a whole lot cheaper by buying battery powered lamps and fans for your overnight stays and heating your food on your stove. We have standalone fans and lights that can be charged three ways... usually an internal battery charged by ac or car power port, solar, and backup batteries.

When we had a tt, we'd pull over, cook on the stove and leave the lights and fan on for a short time before we went to bed. We did leave the bathroom light on one night and woke to a dead battery though. That's when we bought the rechargeable fan and lights. They actually come in handy outside the rig too. Our rechargeable fan will run all night long on low speed.
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Old 01-18-2023, 02:04 PM   #8
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we added 200 amp Renogy battery.
RBT200LFP12-BT-US
12V 200Ah Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery w/ Bluetooth
SKU: RBT200LFP12-BT-US


$999.99
This is drop in replacement with phone app. It can be discharged almost all the way with no problems. You cal also recharge it with portable solar
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Old 01-18-2023, 03:05 PM   #9
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For 1,300 dollars you can get a Bluettti 200.

2000W AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter (4,800W Surge)
2,000Wh Capacity LiFePO4 Battery with 3,500+ Life Cycles to 80%
17 Outputs For Multiple Devices
7 Ways to Recharge (AC/Solar/Car/Generator/Lead battery/Dual AC/AC+Solar)
700W Max. Solar Input
1100W Max. Fast Dual Charging (Solar + AC Adapter Simultaneously)

That's is 1.5 hours of coffee making on a 1150 watt coffee maker.

https://www.bluettipower.com/product...-power-station
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Old 01-18-2023, 03:12 PM   #10
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For 1,300 dollars you can get a Bluettti 200.
Be advised that for $1,300 you do NOT get solar panels!
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Old 01-18-2023, 03:20 PM   #11
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In the rv world the weak link is the storage batteries.

We installed a 220 amp battery system(4 GC2 batteries). Added a 12 volt plug in the bedroom and up front. And we carry a 400 watt plug in inverter. Never been used.

Since we have a gas electric fridge we often go two days without pluging in. Cpap user.

I vote for a big battery and new converter if needed.

Those portable systems are a nice coordinated package. However, a lot more expensive then modifying the unit you have.

Our Honda 2200 generator recharges much faster than any solar panel.

When our batteries die I am installing the largest Lithium battery that will fit in the battery compartment. Today 400 amps is about $2000.
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Old 01-18-2023, 03:28 PM   #12
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In the rv world the weak link is the storage batteries.

We installed a 220 amp battery system(4 GC2 batteries). Added a 12 volt plug in the bedroom and up front. And we carry a 400 watt plug in inverter. Never been used.

Since we have a gas electric fridge we often go two days without pluging in. Cpap user.

I vote for a big battery and new converter if needed.

Those portable systems are a nice coordinated package. However, a lot more expensive then modifying the unit you have.

Our Honda 2200 generator recharges much faster than any solar panel.

When our batteries die I am installing the largest Lithium battery that will fit in the battery compartment. Today 400 amps is about $2000.
My system is almost exactly the same. 220 AH from 2x Golf Cart batteries (so 110 AH available). No solar. We also have 2 CPAPs, 1 is 12 volt power supply, the other runs off 400 watt inverter. We also have 300 watt inverter for TV and Roku. We can do two nights without recharging. No electric heating devices though. Propane stove/oven only and stovetop percolator for coffee (which i think is better anyway!)
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Old 01-18-2023, 08:32 PM   #13
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Interesting perspectives. I had not thought of it like a lot of you just laid it out. I guess my next question is I had the typical RV battery on my camper today. We have a simple 30 foot travel trailer 30 amp service. Are you saying I can just get a lithium ion battery the same size to replace what I currently have and it will last much longer than the battery I have now?
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Old 01-18-2023, 08:35 PM   #14
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You would be better off getting lithium batteries for camper.
And building from there.
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Old 01-18-2023, 09:42 PM   #15
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Yes.

A single car battery as you likely have can only deliver about 40-50 dc amps.

A single lithium 100 amp battery will deliver about 90 amps. Almost double.

However, a 200-400 amp lithium battery is about the same size. Almost 4X to 8X the amps. Price about $800 -$1800 at Amazon. Less weigh than one car battery likely.

The down side is they will not fully recharge on older converters. 10-20% less because the voltage is too low. Most folks spend $200-300 for a lithium ready converter.

Any solar would do the trick without the converter.

We have 4 GC2 batteries.
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Old 01-18-2023, 11:35 PM   #16
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Interesting perspectives. I had not thought of it like a lot of you just laid it out. I guess my next question is I had the typical RV battery on my camper today. We have a simple 30 foot travel trailer 30 amp service. Are you saying I can just get a lithium ion battery the same size to replace what I currently have and it will last much longer than the battery I have now?
Yes, you can get a LiFePo4 battery and drop it it. BUT there is much more to it as far as to what your expectations may be. There is a ton of information here on the forum plus YouTube has even more. For me, I switched &relocated to a 200ah LiFePo4, upgraded the wiring, added a 200amp inverter and changed my converter/charger and still spent less than what a higher watt SG cost. A lot planning and adapting but Iím very satisfied in the end.
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Old 01-19-2023, 01:31 PM   #17
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Be advised that for $1,300 you do NOT get solar panels!
Not to mention that you need a model with the right connection to connect to the rv... like this one https://www.bluettipower.com/product...40466591875247 . That plus one of their battery backups.
Or you could go for the one that will really power your rv...https://www.bluettipower.com/collect...battery-backup

Unfortunately, if you're going 'off grid' for just the night, you're not going to be able to have the sunlight required for regenerating the power.
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Old 01-19-2023, 02:12 PM   #18
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Be advised that for $1,300 you do NOT get solar panels!
True, but you are getting a pretty good turnkey system minus the PV panels.

Lets look at what you are getting: (estimated individual component value)

1. 2000 watt inverter 350.0 0

2. 2000watt of lifepo4 700.00

3. multi-method charger 200.00

4. 700 watt mppt 250.00

5. battery monitor 100.00

6. Packaging-compact, portable, expandable Priceless
17 different connection possibilities
and many possible user hacks
Conservative estimate of value 1600.00
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Old 01-19-2023, 06:24 PM   #19
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True, but you are getting a pretty good turnkey system minus the PV panels.
Not arguing with your numbers. However, you have to be careful to get one that you can actually plug your rv into like the BLUETTI AC200MAX Expandable Power Station. Otherwise, you've got to plug in each item individually to the ac connections.
Also, it's going to be very difficult to recharge the unit with solar panels overnight when it's dark.

The OP wants to power the lights, fan and possibly the microwave as he travels and stops overnight without power. A lithium ion battery would be the more practical solution because lights and fans usually run off the battery. For coffee, hopefully he has a propane stove as one of the induction ones will need a plug in connection.
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Old 01-23-2023, 07:50 PM   #20
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I bought a Jackery 2000, as a luxury, for the few nights a year when we are not able to plug in. Our motorhome has four golf cart batteries and a residential fridge. The Jackery makes an off grid overnight fool proof. I plug the rig into it (obviously no AC running). It shuts down when its battery is depleted and then the RV's batteries begin to drain via the inverter... morning comes and we have plenty of power in reserve. Is it expensive? Yes, but lots of things are.

Over the past 6 months I discovered all the other ways it is useful. Portable power has found its way into my projects at least once a month. As an example I moved a deep freezer full of food in an enclosed trailer for an 8 hour trip. I use it for various projects in several buildings that have no power. I use it to power a temporary irrigation system in the back 40. As with most new toys... you buy it for one thing and find many other uses.

In hind site I wish I had purchased a slightly smaller unit as the 42 lbs is a bit much for this old guy to lug around. And I really don't need the full capacity of 2000 watts.

None the less, I highly recommend similar products if you can easily afford them.

I do agree with others who have said that it is not the most effective way to increase you RV's battery capacity. But it sure is easy and has many other uses.
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