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Old 02-26-2021, 01:27 PM   #1
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Portable power station

I recently bought an "east coast" boat and had it shipped to the PNW. It has electric stove plus AC/heat pumps...but no inverter. Our boating season usually begins in the spring and runs to early fall, so many weeks and months cruising and living on board. All of our boats have had inverters, used mostly for making coffee and reheating leftovers for lunch. I recently got a quote for installing an inverter, all to ABYC standards, and it came to $4,800...just to reheat coffee!

Then I learned about portable power stations; basically, a lithium battery in a case with built-in inverter and an assortment of charging inputs and outputs (AC/12VDC/solar). They are available is a range of sizes between 1000-3000 watt output with 1500-3000 Wh capacities. Cost is between $1200-$3000. The one I'm looking at delivers 1000 watts with 2400Wh capacity.

https://www.bluetti.com/collections/...-power-station

This new technology seems like a great solution for getting occasional AC power without running the genny. Not only do we get pure sine 120VAC power but we also get added battery capacity! Since we visit marinas in-between anchoring, we should have no trouble recharging the power station from our shore power hookup. Plus, the power station would get some charge when we run the generator to charge up the house batteries. Is anyone using one of these units on their boat or RV? What am I missing?
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Old 02-26-2021, 01:46 PM   #2
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Seems pricey for just an inverter install but I did mine myself.
Rather than spend all that for a cup of coffee, why not time your battery charge with cooking time. We run the genny for a half to full hour in the morning and at dinner so we can use the microwave. Our stove is propane.
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Old 02-26-2021, 02:08 PM   #3
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My plan too. Boat has a household fridge supposedly runs 1 amp @120VAC. Equates to 10 amps @12V DC from the inverter plus losses, so 11-12 amps. Figure 50% duty cycle (hopefully it's better than that,) 144 AH per day out of the batteries just for the fridge. I've added 230 usable AH in the house bank (4 GC2's down to 50% SOC) and 400 watts of solar, and a 2000W/80A inverter charger. That means I'll have to run the genset for a while, but not all the time like the PO must have. Also no engine input to the water heater. So I'll probably run the genny for an hour at breakfast and dinner for the microwave and hot water. Hopefully that stays ahead of demand. Boat also had an electric stove that didn't appear to work correctly (knobs didn't always turn on the burners) so I'm swapping that for propane. Installing the inverter has become quite a project. I can see why a certified marine electrician might charge $3800 to install a $1000 unit.
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Old 02-26-2021, 02:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwboater View Post
I recently bought an "east coast" boat and had it shipped to the PNW. It has electric stove plus AC/heat pumps...but no inverter. Our boating season usually begins in the spring and runs to early fall, so many weeks and months cruising and living on board. All of our boats have had inverters, used mostly for making coffee and reheating leftovers for lunch. I recently got a quote for installing an inverter, all to ABYC standards, and it came to $4,800...just to reheat coffee!

Then I learned about portable power stations; basically, a lithium battery in a case with built-in inverter and an assortment of charging inputs and outputs (AC/12VDC/solar). They are available is a range of sizes between 1000-3000 watt output with 1500-3000 Wh capacities. Cost is between $1200-$3000. The one I'm looking at delivers 1000 watts with 2400Wh capacity.

https://www.bluetti.com/collections/...-power-station

This new technology seems like a great solution for getting occasional AC power without running the genny. Not only do we get pure sine 120VAC power but we also get added battery capacity! Since we visit marinas in-between anchoring, we should have no trouble recharging the power station from our shore power hookup. Plus, the power station would get some charge when we run the generator to charge up the house batteries. Is anyone using one of these units on their boat or RV? What am I missing?
Why not just add to your house bank and have a good inverter, that's all you are really doing.
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Old 02-26-2021, 03:04 PM   #5
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Richard,
You purchased an AT34?
Move the gen start battery to fwd of gen, in the ER.
Add a 3rd 4D battery, in the tank room (2 port, 2 stbd)
That will give you a total of 600amps or usable/dependable 300amps for the house usage.
Add in a 2KW inverter in the overhead of the tank room. Add on a couple of solar panels to the pilot house roof. Solar, switchable to the microwave or galley 120vt outlets. Presto, you will live happily ever after.
That's what I did.
I also put in a 30amp in the galley to assist in doing the "30 amp dance"
Assuming you have the standard NL generator, the output is rated real close to 50amps.
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Old 02-26-2021, 03:22 PM   #6
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Richard,
You purchased an AT34?
Move the gen start battery to fwd of gen, in the ER.
Add a 3rd 4D battery, in the tank room (2 port, 2 stbd)
That will give you a total of 600amps or usable/dependable 300amps
Add in a 2KW inverter in the overhead of the tank room. Add on a couple of solar panels to the pilot house roof. Solar, switchable to the microwave or galley 120vt outlets. Presto, you will live happily ever after.
That's what I did.


No disrespect intended, but that is exactly what I want to avoid...to add battery capacity, a new inverter/charger, plus solar panels, controller and monitoring, would gobble up a lot of cash and labor to get it up and running. These portable power stations can do it all and with zero modifications to the boat’s AC/DC systems.
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Old 02-26-2021, 05:02 PM   #7
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No disrespect intended, but that is exactly what I want to avoid...to add battery capacity, a new inverter/charger, plus solar panels, controller and monitoring, would gobble up a lot of cash and labor to get it up and running. These portable power stations can do it all and with zero modifications to the boat’s AC/DC systems.
Well go ahead and get one and report back to everyone. I like them for emergency engine starting, but for the way we cruise, makes no sense. A robust inverter system did. But that's us.

As someone else said, if you are $$ adverse why not just run the generator? You can do a lot more with it than battery pack, and you already own it. Charge batteries, heat water, turn on the heat, put a load on the thing; you gotta use 'em or lose 'em.
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Old 02-26-2021, 05:51 PM   #8
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Not sure what kind of inverter the portable unit has, but there are now 2 kinds - one old technology transformer type and one newer technology transistor switching type (not sure that is the proper term). They can both provide pure sine wave. The transformer types are heavier. I had one of the transistor types that was about 1/2 the cost of a decent transformer type and it lasted about a 1 1/2 years with relatively light use. Transformer type is going on 4 years now. If I had to do it over again, I would buy the largest Magnum pure sine wave transformer type that I think I would ever need.
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Old 02-26-2021, 06:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by nwboater View Post
No disrespect intended, but that is exactly what I want to avoid...to add battery capacity, a new inverter/charger, plus solar panels, controller and monitoring, would gobble up a lot of cash and labor to get it up and running. These portable power stations can do it all and with zero modifications to the boat’s AC/DC systems.
Do it all for how long? Just looked at one 1500w @$1500 that runs at 1000w and takes 10 hours to recharge. here is a review, is this what you are looking at?
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Old 02-26-2021, 06:19 PM   #10
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Hi Nwboater,

Better check the power required to operate an electric coffee maker. A cursory search shows ~1kw (ignoring inefficiencies) needed. So you're proposing to add a $1200 (min) power supply to make coffee? Seems REAL pricey to me.

Like somebody already said-fire up the generator. If you're on the hook, you'll probably need to charge your house batteries anyway. If you desire 110VAC off-grid without running your generator, add an inverter. WAY better solution to this (IMHO) non-problem.

I think the simple answer to your question "...anybody using one of these things?" is NO.

Regards,

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Old 02-26-2021, 06:38 PM   #11
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They make a lot of sense. I just bought a small one for my son to use camping. Neat packages at reasonable prices these days.

Make sure you have an appropriate energy budget and understanding of what can and can't be done. Also check charge rates. Some of the ones I looked at had puny chargers and long recharge times.

My concern is that they're essentially throwaway consumer items. I'm sure my son's unit will be discarded in a few years.

If I had a boat like yours I'd swing for a permanently installed inverter.
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Old 02-26-2021, 06:44 PM   #12
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Just remember, portable Lithium batteries were the cause of the dive boat fire in California. You don't want to leave these batteries unattended on a charger.
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Old 02-26-2021, 06:47 PM   #13
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It would be easy enough to check the specs to see if one of these could be used.

But assuming it could, then should you? That depends on you, but where I see these as being the ideal thing is a situation like this:

1) You go out camping with buddies every weekend, and each time you take a different person's vehicle/boat. You want to always have your own little power station along. Perfect! Super portable, and you can easily charge it up during the week at your land home, then it will take you through the next weekend with plenty of power for your "devices."

2) You are on a temporary trip. Maybe delivering a boat, or something like that.

3) You are in a mad rush and need to grab something now that you know will work, and be completely independent of a (presumably dodgy) electrical system. Maybe it's a boat you just bought and this will salvage a long-planned weekend trip, then later you will have time to re-work the system.

Of course if you just want one, then that's valid too.

Thing is, these are usually quite expensive for what you get (amp-hours wise). What they are, is cute, quick, and simple.

They are so tempting. It's funny because a friend and I were just saying to each other. "Oh those Jackery power stations are so cute; are we sure we don't have any use for one?" Our answers were both no, so at least for now, no cute Jackery power station.
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:07 AM   #14
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The simplest way to make coffee is with a SS 8 cup espresso pot (makes 4 std sized cups) .

There fast and the sound calls when finished.

If your range is not yet propane a Sea Swing stove with a gas burner is quick and can be used for many other chores.
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Old 02-27-2021, 08:46 AM   #15
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$4800 for an inverter install seems like a lot.

Our inverter/charger (2000PSW/70A) cost in the neighborhood of $700 (IIRC) and the installation was mostly labor... with a few bits and pieces of DC and AC cabling, fuses, etc. thrown in. I don't have an exact figure in front of me just now, but I'd guess maybe $1600...

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Old 02-27-2021, 09:09 AM   #16
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No disrespect intended, but that is exactly what I want to avoid...to add battery capacity, a new inverter/charger, plus solar panels, controller and monitoring, would gobble up a lot of cash and labor to get it up and running. These portable power stations can do it all and with zero modifications to the boat’s AC/DC systems.
I am not offended at all.
Have fun and keep us informed.
You might consider buying 2?
Dan.
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Old 02-27-2021, 09:17 AM   #17
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The simplest way to make coffee is with a SS 8 cup espresso pot (makes 4 std sized cups) .

There fast and the sound calls when finished.

If your range is not yet propane a Sea Swing stove with a gas burner is quick and can be used for many other chores.
Brand name please?
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:29 AM   #18
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Just remember, portable Lithium batteries were the cause of the dive boat fire in California. You don't want to leave these batteries unattended on a charger.

Oh, come on. There was no such conclusion in any of the reports. That's speculation, and/or your opinion.
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:35 AM   #19
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I think he portable power pack is an interesting idea, but agree you need to check the specs carefully, and also reviews. How many times could you crew coffee before it needs a recharge? And how long will it take to re-charge. Also, I would confirm that it's an LFP (LiFePO4) battery inside, and not NMC or LFC. Although there was no finding that batteries caused the Conception fire, I do think large, non-LFP batteries pose a danger on a boat.
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:39 AM   #20
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The simplest way to make coffee is with a SS 8 cup espresso pot (makes 4 std sized cups) .

There fast and the sound calls when finished.

If your range is not yet propane a Sea Swing stove with a gas burner is quick and can be used for many other chores.
You mean this kind? I use a Technivorm at home and a press pot on the boat, but am always looking to up my game.

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