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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Portable electric power stations

    I couldn't find an existing thread on these, but several discussions of Jackery type power stations in the RV thread...

    Our recent 3-day power outage has me thinking about picking up a rechargeable portable electric power station for such outages - I could use it to power the modem and router, some lights, recharge phones, etc. I have a small gas generator that works well for running the garage fridge, but not big enough to also run stuff inside the house, and would have to run a lot of long extension cords inside too.

    Recommendations on brands, sizing, other things I should be aware of? Anyone have a link to a good FAQ on these things?

    This sale on an Anker got me thinking about it more. Decent deal/ decent quality?
    https://slickdeals.net/f/16353979-an...ommentsSection
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2020
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    in a freezer in Italy
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    For use around the house I'd just get a better generator. The "portable" aspect of this is cool, and it'd probably be great for uses that require portability, but for home? I don't see the appeal.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ųtzi View Post
    For use around the house I'd just get a better generator. The "portable" aspect of this is cool, and it'd probably be great for uses that require portability, but for home? I don't see the appeal.
    The advantage I see is cheap and lightweight, and no power cords all over the house, running through the window from outdoors.

    A bigger inverter generator would be $2000+. Portable power pack thing $200.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Fraggle Rock, CO
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    7,291
    Prolly worth doing a little research to determine what devices matter the most, what their draw is, and how long you'd be able to use them in the even of a prolonged outage with each device you're considering. I mean, a router draws very little power so I bet you could run one of those and charge your phone/laptop for a couple days with that anker unit but not much else.

    edit: Bet the folks in the RV thread in the ski forum would be able to tell you all about this stuff
    Brandine: Now Cletus, if I catch you with pig lipstick on your collar one more time you ain't gonna be allowed to sleep in the barn no more!
    Cletus: Duly noted.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    590
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post

    Our recent 3-day power outage has me thinking about picking up a rechargeable portable electric power station for such outages - I could use it to power the modem and router, some lights, recharge phones, etc. I have a small gas generator that works well for running the garage fridge, but not big enough to also run stuff inside the house, and would have to run a lot of long extension cords inside too.

    Recommendations on brands, sizing, other things I should be aware of? Anyone have a link to a good FAQ on these things?

    This sale on an Anker got me thinking about it more. Decent deal/ decent quality?
    https://slickdeals.net/f/16353979-an...ommentsSection
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    The advantage I see is cheap and lightweight, and no power cords all over the house, running through the window from outdoors.

    A bigger inverter generator would be $2000+. Portable power pack thing $200.
    Charging your phone and intermittent modem / router use is about all a $200 power pack
    will be good for. If it is strictly for the house, no boondocking, get the generator. If it is
    only for charging phones and modem / router usage, your existing generator should be able
    to handle that too.
    Quality powerpacks run about a $ a watt. So when you've gotten up to a decent sized powerpack
    you're up to the price of the larger generator.

    Just my take.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    1,802

    Portable electric power stations

    I have a goal zero 1400 lithium. While Battery life is not super long for high demand appliances, it will power my phone, Mac, router etc for several days. If itís sunny, Iíll run a line from a panel array to recharge. I have found that itís best to have a 1000 continuous 1500 peak inverter for most applications. Anything less than 1000 and youíre constantly messing with stuff to prevent overload. And, you can run high demand gear for short stints.

    Edit to also add the appeal to me was primarily cost. Ie I have power for my camp trailer, misc tailgating, outdoor parties, and emergency home use all in one unit.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    here and there
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    17,944
    Genverter and a Jackery.
    watch out for snakes

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dystopia
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    18,927
    F150 lightning

    But seriously if you are trying to power your home there are three options.
    1 permanent generators
    2 small generator with a manual throw switch
    3 small generator with a dangerous double male extension cord. Not for the feint of heart, but it works. Make sure you shut off the main and then power only the needed circuit breakers. If it’s 120v then you only get half the breakers on your panel.
    PS Highly illegal. And possibly dangerous.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    18,202
    Pretty slick:

    Is it radix panax notoginseng? - splat

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    208 State
    Posts
    2,475
    Have you looked into small nuclear power plants like the ones designed to power remote radar stations?

    https://military-history.fandom.com/..._Power_Program

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    1,361
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    208 State
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    Quote Originally Posted by pepperdawg View Post
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    Wasn't that design developed at the University of Utah?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    livin the dream
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    5,343
    Itís very common for commercial buildings to have a large battery backup setup - IE buildings not big enough or important enough to have a full generator setup. The battery backup is only for life safety: enough juice to run egress lights, fire alarm (typically a stand alone system), bring the elevators down to L1, etcÖ

    Iím surprised there isnít an off the shelf residential optionÖ


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  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars
    Posts
    3,755
    Get an electric car that has the vehicle to load ability and a bi directional charger.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2022
    Posts
    1,152
    Eco flow? Seems to be popular with the YouTube crowd.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Nhampshire
    Posts
    7,352
    Quote Originally Posted by nickwm21 View Post
    Itís very common for commercial buildings to have a large battery backup setup - IE buildings not big enough or important enough to have a full generator setup. The battery backup is only for life safety: enough juice to run egress lights, fire alarm (typically a stand alone system), bring the elevators down to L1, etcÖ

    Iím surprised there isnít an off the shelf residential optionÖ


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Powerwall?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    19,469
    If you have a 220v outlet in the garage you can plug the generator into that outlet and port power to the panel. Just make sure to open the service breaker. You can port out 110v to the panel if that what itís outlet has.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Shuswap Highlands
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    3,979
    Quote Originally Posted by 4matic View Post
    If you have a 220v outlet in the garage you can plug the generator into that outlet and port power to the panel. Just make sure to open the service breaker. You can port out 110v to the panel if that what itís outlet has.
    You can only do this if you have a shut-off to the main power feed. Better yet, hire a professional sparky to set up the panel correctly. Risk to injure or kill a service tech trying to restore the power, without killing your connection to the grid first, is very real.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    19,469
    Right. I have a generator that came with the house but no transfer switch. It has a dedicated 220v input but the risk isnít worth it.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Southeast New York
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    10,559
    I use the dangerous double male into the dryer outlet and turn the main breaker off. It would be almost $10k to get the Generac, permits, new breaker box and have a town certified electrician do the work. Yes, the town has a list of electricians you have to choose from. The Generac (or similar) also has to be on a concrete pad 20 feet from the house and can't run on gasoline, it has to be propane.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Nhampshire
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    7,352
    Backfeeding is a good way to injure your local lineman and is also illegal in many places. Also, good luck with insurance if anything happens during that period.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Southeast New York
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    10,559
    Yup fully aware but, $10k+ is a tough pill to swallow.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dystopia
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    18,927
    Quote Originally Posted by schuss View Post
    Backfeeding is a good way to injure your local lineman and is also illegal in many places. Also, good luck with insurance if anything happens during that period.
    True.
    But zero risk to the lineman if you kill the main. Also true that lineman aren’t likely to be killed by 120 or even 240. They also work with gloves from an insulated bucket truck. Often working on live 480 or more.

    Also true. Installing a dedicated transfer switch is around $1k and guarantees safety and is legal.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,361
    No need to backfeed for reasons above - buy an interlock kit<$100 - have electrician install it. Its basically a piece of machined steel that allows either/or (street vs generator)

    Still will need to buy a 220 outlet, double ended cord long enuff to outside and needful breaker.

    We run entire house (minus range and central air) off an 8500Kw portable w/o issues.

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  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    On another tangent.
    Posts
    3,391

    Portable electric power stations

    In short you get what you pay for, so don't go cheap. Define your real needs. Short term or long term? Multiple purpose or specific needs?

    Between off grid camping trailer power and prolonged power outages, Iíve spent a bit of time, energy, expense and research going down this rabbit hole.

    Last year (2021) we had to heavy snows/ice storm that put us out of power on 2 occasions (including Christmas Eve) for up 20 hours or so.

    Combined with solar panels (off and on), I ran our boiler, WiFi and lights by running my F150, connected to a Dual Input DC to DC battery charger, lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePO4) 100Ah BattleBorn battery and 2000W inverter. I was surprised at how little gas it consumed in idle vs expectations. Iíd be curious to know how that consumption was to a generator. I let the truck run for 15-30 minutes or so and then rest for a while and let the battery run stuff. Rinse and repeat.

    This set up is essentially portable and modular. I mounted the inverter in the truck bed, along with running a cable from the truck battery to a 'power center/junction box/fuse box' with multiple ports for USB, DC. lights & inverter connectors (using Anderson plugs). I can charge eBikes, run basically anything anywhere and charge the camper. The Battleborn battery goes in the trailer with another charger and inverter. Between panel & portable solar panels, I can generate up to 300 watts of solar power in various configurations.

    We had a few fluctuations this week during the last storms and I was getting ready to set it up again, but was definitely wanting a smaller power center as a UPS at least. For the most part generator seems like just another thing to have sitting around for potentially years between uses and maintaining, where any vehicle is essentially a generator, portable and can be used for back up power (short term), camping, trailhead or parking lot tailgating, etc.

    Regarding portable power centers, Iíd take a hard look at Bluetti power centers. One thing they have compared to others is the ability to run devices while charging. Not all do. The smallest Bluetti EB3A has UPS capability which is a pretty nice option ($239). Video Review.

    When I get back from a Dawn patrol ski, Iíll post some really good reviewers and YouTube links.

    Edit: Good reviewers of batteries and off grid power

    Jasonoid

    Will Prowse

    Professor Hobo


    A '
    Kill-A-Watt' is a very useful device to help you determine required loads on whatever you hope to keep running or charged.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Alpinord; 01-04-2023 at 12:42 PM.
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