Bull City

Lithium Ion Power Stations

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I just saw a review of the Jackery Explorer 160, a portable power station, with a bank of lithium-ion cells rated to supply 167 watt hours. It's light and can be recharged with a 12 volt car plug or a home adapter or a solar charger. I think I want one. They also make larger models. Here's the 240 Wh model I'm thinking about:

https://www.jackery.com/products/explorer-240-portable-power-station

I have a 27′ simple sailboat with a 12 volt system that runs running lights and two LED cabin lights. It has a switch panel connected to a small golf cart type battery by wire leads. How would I connect it to one of these power sources? Would I just connect the wires to a 12 volt cigarette lighter type plug and plug it into the power station 12 volt socket? Is life that simple?

363526117_powerstation.thumb.png.bab96ac3a77cd337e89d6fb27faf020d.png

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Bull, I'd be curious to see how you like one if you get one. I've been watching the goal zero products for awhile now, but just haven't been able to justify the price, or exactly what I would do with one. The Jackery stuff seems a bit more affordable than the goal zeros.  https://www.goalzero.com/product-features/portable-power-stations/

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It's that simple. However, I would suggest that you keep a female cigarette lighter socket pigtail attached to your golf cart battery so you can easily swap back and forth between the two batteries. 

Keep in mind that you shouldn't be drawing heavy currents through a cigarette lighter plug and that they generally don't lock, so you should have some positive means of clamping the plug into the socket.

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1 hour ago, Bull City said:

I have a 27′ simple sailboat with a 12 volt system that runs running lights and two LED cabin lights.

Do you want the inverter? 

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Um, this is Lithium-Ion, NOT LiFEPO4. I'm guessing you know the difference.

I wouldn't put this on my boat.

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33 minutes ago, Sparrow50 said:

Um, this is Lithium-Ion, NOT LiFEPO4. I'm guessing you know the difference.

I wouldn't put this on my boat.

IIRC, he's got NMC batteries aboard for his Torqeedo already. If toting an extra around anyway it might be worth asking if one could be used to power the lights.

No idea if this product is any good but looks like a type of thing that might also work if the integrated inverter bit isn't required... https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-72000mAh-Portable-Generator-Technology/dp/B0791WDZTW/ref=sr_1_13?keywords=power%2Bbank%2B12%2Bvolt&qid=1582779272&sr=8-13&th=1

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9 hours ago, IStream said:

It's that simple. However, I would suggest that you keep a female cigarette lighter socket pigtail attached to your golf cart battery so you can easily swap back and forth between the two batteries. 

Keep in mind that you shouldn't be drawing heavy currents through a cigarette lighter plug and that they generally don't lock, so you should have some positive means of clamping the plug into the socket.

Good idea on the golf cart battery. I would not have the two wired in at the same time, and may just recycle the old one.

The only on-board uses I see for the Jackery (or other brand) are: running lights, 2 LED cabin lights, recharging hand held VHF or cell phone.

9 hours ago, weightless said:

Do you want the inverter

My ignorance may show here. The purpose of inverter would be to run AC appliances. If so, yes. It would be nice t have something like this to use at home in the event of a power outage, for lighting.

8 hours ago, Sparrow50 said:

Um, this is Lithium-Ion, NOT LiFEPO4. I'm guessing you know the difference.

I wouldn't put this on my boat.

It's my understanding that LI is a danger during high discharge, which I don't anticipate. Re-charging would be at home, same as I do for the Torqeedo batteries. The only time I would take this would be for night sailing or an overnight.

8 hours ago, weightless said:

IIRC, he's got NMC batteries aboard for his Torqeedo already. If toting an extra around anyway it might be worth asking if one could be used to power the lights.

No idea if this product is any good but looks like a type of thing that might also work if the integrated inverter bit isn't required... https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-72000mAh-Portable-Generator-Technology/dp/B0791WDZTW/ref=sr_1_13?keywords=power%2Bbank%2B12%2Bvolt&qid=1582779272&sr=8-13&th=1

The Torqeedo batteries have a USB port, so I think you could charge a cell phone from one of them, but I don't know how I would connect one to the boat's wiring. If these power stations have 200 or so watt hours, that would be very ample.

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If everything you want to power is 12 v DC this is more than you need.  I think it's capacity is rated at ac so would be less DCThis has a inverter to power small AC things.  If all you want is DC a jump pack might be better. it should do what you want but has more than you want so costs more.

 

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12 hours ago, Slick470 said:

Bull, I'd be curious to see how you like one if you get one. I've been watching the goal zero products for awhile now, but just haven't been able to justify the price, or exactly what I would do with one. The Jackery stuff seems a bit more affordable than the goal zeros.  https://www.goalzero.com/product-features/portable-power-stations/

Besides boat use, it would be handy at home in the event of  a power outage. I would probably keep it at home, and only take it to the boat for an overnight or weekend.

SAer Woxbox (see his boat TERRAPIN in "Show your boat sailing thread" ) uses a ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator Lithium Portable Power Station, 280Wh

https://www.rockpals.com/products/rockpals-300w-portable-power-station

image.thumb.png.4bb8daf9c95630929cb334edad9f18e2.png

 

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Every Chinese nouveau brand has an equivalent. Renogy, Suaoki, Woxbox, you name it. 

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2 minutes ago, IStream said:

Every Chinese nouveau brand has an equivalent. Renogy, Suaoki, Woxbox, you name it. 

Maybe I wasn't clear, Woxbox is one of us Anarchists.

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8 minutes ago, Bull City said:

Besides boat use, it would be handy at home in the event of  a power outage

Sounds to me like you're mostly sold on this already. Seems reasonable enough.

FWIW, my preference would be to get component bits -- a pack of headlamps and nimh batteries, a power bank or two, and a small inverter or two.

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1 hour ago, weightless said:

Sounds to me like you're mostly sold on this already. Seems reasonable enough.

It does seem like a good solution for someone like me.

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2 hours ago, Bull City said:

Maybe I wasn't clear, Woxbox is one of us Anarchists.

No, you weren't unclear. I meant to say "RockPals" and got mixed up.

Edited by IStream
Bad grammar.

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240 Watt hours / 12 volts nominal = 20 A.hours unless I'm missing something. Because most of these are useful A.hours (i.e. discharge it down to 20% or so, thus 16 A.hours useful amount. With LED lighting and LED nav lights you should be OK for 1 night anyway.

But   3 x Incandescent nav  lights is worst case @ 1 amp each. 3 lights x 1 amp x 12 hours = 36 A.hour - more than the battery can supply for 1 night.

If you have a masthead tricolour with one incandescent bulb that's still 12 A.hour. Doesn't leave much for interior lighting.

Switching to LED nav lights would be a big benefit with such a small battery bank. Or maybe you don't sail all night, just a few hours after sunset?

 

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At this point, I can see arguments for incandescents for only two lights on the boat: the steaming light (cause the engine's running anyway) and maybe the deck light if it's mounted very high up and takes a halogen projector bulb.

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1 hour ago, Zonker said:

Switching to LED nav lights would be a big benefit with such a small battery bank. Or maybe you don't sail all night, just a few hours after sunset?

Zonker, you are right, the LEDs would be a good move, although we rarely sail at night. I've got a couple of Weem & Plath small oil lamps too!

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19 minutes ago, IStream said:

I can see arguments for incandescents for only two lights on the boat: the steaming light (cause the engine's running anyway)

I think BC is using electric propulsion.

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1 minute ago, weightless said:

I think BC is using electric propulsion.

Good point. Even on a boat with an alternator, these days the only conceivable reason not to replace the steaming light with an LED is because it hasn't burned out yet and you don't want to go up the mast. 

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25 minutes ago, weightless said:

I think BC is using electric propulsion.

You are correct, sir!

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I ordered the Jackery power station for just over $200. I've played with it at home, and it seems pretty good. 

My boat has two storage cabinets. The port cabinet has the wire to the panel, and has a wood base where the PO had a big battery box had been. I made a cradle to hold the Jackery, so that it's strapped in, and the display and 12v plug are easy to see and reach.

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Once you hit empty, there is no going back until you are ashore. All these products charge at insanely slow speeds, this one does a bit better and made my final cut. I choose TalentCell 12V Lithium ion battery PB120B1 instead as I preferred to trade off the inverter for the much smaller size.

Realize charging this from your boat engine is pretty much out of the question, as it takes forever.

 

 

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Captain, thanks. I have a 27' H-Boat. No inboard, just a Torqeedo. I'll charge this at home, and bring on board for the occasional overnight. At home it would be handy for power outages.

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A rookie question.

I saw a small AC unit that operates at 7.5 Watts. If I run it off of a 150 Wh power station, will it run for 20 hours (150 Wh ÷7.5 W =  20), assuming the power station is fully charged?

Thanks,

N. Tesla

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A small swamp box / evaporative cooler? Do they work in NC in the summer? The math looks okay.

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7.5 watts is a very small fan. It will be a mini swamp cooler. 

We just bought a Jackery 500 or 600 unit. My wife uses a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. So we use it for camping and on our sailing co-op Catalina 27's to avoid flattening the house battery. About 3-4 nights of CPAP use with the heater on (~6A @12 VDC). Plus it has USB outlets to charge phones, tablet for navigation.laptop for the kid. Quite impressed really. A phone takes 1% of the unit's charge, the laptop took about 24%. Charges in about 3 hrs with 120v input. 

We were supposed to be sailing this week and we were going to take it along. But I got the call that elective surgery is back on, and today had my intestines put back where they were last fall. 

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7 hours ago, Zonker said:

7.5 watts is a very small fan. It will be a mini swamp cooler. 

We just bought a Jackery 500 or 600 unit. My wife uses a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. So we use it for camping and on our sailing co-op Catalina 27's to avoid flattening the house battery. About 3-4 nights of CPAP use with the heater on (~6A @12 VDC). Plus it has USB outlets to charge phones, tablet for navigation.laptop for the kid. Quite impressed really. A phone takes 1% of the unit's charge, the laptop took about 24%. Charges in about 3 hrs with 120v input. 

We were supposed to be sailing this week and we were going to take it along. But I got the call that elective surgery is back on, and today had my intestines put back where they were last fall. 

Zonker, I'm happy for you and your intestines. Get well soon!

Sailing here this weekend is off - hot as Hades, swarms of power boats.

I got the Jackery 240 with 240 Wh (not the 150 I thought). So far I like it. I just noticed that their website says it will power a small USB fan for 40+ hours.

9 hours ago, Slick470 said:

@Bull CityWhat small AC unit is that?

I was looking at an evaCHILL "Personal Air Cooler." Swamp box sounds like a good  description.

https://evapolar.com/en/evachill/

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1 hour ago, Bull City said:

I was looking at an evaCHILL "Personal Air Cooler." Swamp box sounds like a good  description.

https://evapolar.com/en/evachill/

Bull, evaporative coolers will help somewhat in humid environments but they add extra humidity indoors where you may not want it. I've considered one on and off just to try it since they are much less expensive and have lower power requirements, but I always pause since it is already so humid on the boat. They really work best in dryer climates. 

If you get one, please let us know how it works out for you. 

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42 minutes ago, Slick470 said:

Bull, evaporative coolers will help somewhat in humid environments but they add extra humidity indoors where you may not want it. I've considered one on and off just to try it since they are much less expensive and have lower power requirements, but I always pause since it is already so humid on the boat. They really work best in dryer climates. 

If you get one, please let us know how it works out for you. 

Slick, I wondered about that too. Being from Virginia, you know how dreadful it can be in the summer. I wonder if a plain old fan would be better.

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2 minutes ago, Bull City said:

Slick, I wondered about that too. Being from Virginia, you know how dreadful it can be in the summer. I wonder if a plain old fan would be better.

The air might be a bit cooler with one of these but if the outside relative humidity is close to 100% it probably won't be much better than just a fan. As a kid working at summer camps we used to put a box fan in front of a tray full of ice. Same general principle, but you are starting with ice, so it cools the air more. I think these little box coolers just have tap water in them, so they wouldn't work as well. 

I also don't need anything else trying to grow mildew on my Naugahyde.... 

I have a bit more of a robust 12V system on our boat than you do and one of my current projects is to install fans throughout the cabin. Some of the newer ones seem pretty energy efficient. 

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On 7/4/2020 at 10:19 AM, Slick470 said:

I have a bit more of a robust 12V system on our boat than you do and one of my current projects is to install fans throughout the cabin. Some of the newer ones seem pretty energy efficient. 

What are you looking at?

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@Bull City I bought some of the Caframo Boro series fans. At full speed they are listed at .27 amps. That is pretty low. Hopefully they move enough air. Anything will help though. 

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55 minutes ago, Slick470 said:

@Bull City I bought some of the Caframo Boro series fans. At full speed they are listed at .27 amps. That is pretty low. Hopefully they move enough air. Anything will help though. 

Slick,

I ordered one of these: https://www.caframobrands.com/707chwbx.html

My Jackery has an AC outlet. The fan draws 0.35 amps, so I should be cool for many hours.

Thanks for the tip!

BTW, Slick has significance for me. Back in the early-ish 1980s, we would go on beach vacations every year with my sister and her family. While playing in the surf, we decided that we needed Beach nicknames. My brother-in-law was Skippy, my oldest boy, an 8-year-old blond was Q-Tip, his little brother was Creature, and I was Slick.

B.C. 

1944375984_ScreenShot2020-07-06at8_48_38PM.png.dc486011e00a33aca9b3b7d2aeefca6d.png

 

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The 707 last quite well. The Bora tended to die after a few years of steady use (12 hrs/say sort of thing) but the multi speed was nice as a berth fan. 

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@Bull City I went with the Bora because I wanted something that I could hard wire into each berth and also had enough of a cage around it to prevent the kids from hurting themselves. It may also have been the model that kept me comfortable on the ride north from Bermuda in Cruisin Loser's previous boat. Between that fan and the pilot berth with lee cloth, I was a happy sleeper. 

Slick for me is an old camp nickname. I still have friends from that time period in my life who still call me by that name. Sometimes I wonder if they even remember my "real" name. 

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For cooling you can also go full 'MacGuyver' with a 2 litre bottle stack on a board in the front hatch and a good wind scoop.  Doesn't drop humidity but does drop temp.

https://interestingengineering.com/cooling-device-made-2-liter-bottles-uses-zero-energy#:~:text=The Eco Cooler uses 2,out how it works below.&text=Video Player is loading.

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