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#297061 - 09/19/20 11:38 PM Re: More power sources! [Re: Bingley]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3426
Loc: USA
Batteries and power stations have manuals that explain the proper maintenance regime. In my experience, they generally should be recharged monthly and after each use.

My strategy involves the following equipment:

  • Several USB battery banks, some that I have and maintain and some that my family members have and may or may not maintain. This includes a few in my domain that are high capacity, including one that has a 120VAC outlet. The cars each have a smaller one with onboard solar recharging cells.
  • A mid-size (around 8.5Ēx11Ē folded) solar charger that works with any of the USB battery banks.
  • Two automotive jumpstarters. Both are full sized and quite capable. When one reached the end of its service life I was able to take it apart and replace its battery successfully, at a much lower cost than that of replacing the whole unit. Sadly, it looks like the manufacturer doesnít exist any more, and Iím not thrilled with other options Iíve seen so far. Hopefully I can get a few more years out of the units we have.
  • A 4000W generator that Iíve maintained carefully, along with 10 gallons of stabilized gasoline thatís rotated regularly.
  • Two (and when Eldest Offspring is not at college, three) well-maintained vehicles that can make power, two of them with inverters in emergency kits that are in each.

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#297063 - 09/20/20 02:32 AM Re: More power sources! [Re: chaosmagnet]
Bingley Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1441
Nice setup, Chaos! Are you using the jumpstarters as jumpstarters, or do you intend another purpose for them?

-----
PS. I just checked -- it looks like these jump start batteries often have USB ports. Mystery solved.


Edited by Bingley (09/20/20 02:40 AM)

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#297064 - 09/20/20 03:23 AM Re: More power sources! [Re: Bingley]
LesSnyder Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1637
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
Bingley... I added that comment just to emphasize that reliance on one source was not a great idea... a better float charger with a battery monitoring function would have probably given warning, I just cheaped out the system...

my best recommendation... go with a quality generator that is portable and have a back up ( possibly an inverter run off your car)... convert it so that it can be run off a bulk gasoline tank, or propane/natural gas if needed for a long duration... figure how you will supply power to which appliances, and if back feeding through your circuit breakers, label the circuits, and if providing only 120V, change the breakers location to have them on the same 120v feed

I alternated the Honda 2 hours on and 4 off with the neighbors to keep their refrigerators cooled...and ran the inverter for about 3 hours nightly for my use, to power the TV and internet, and a dedicated power strip that controlled two 4x chargers, phone charger, and the 18v Ridgid battery charger for the construction fan... the inverter as a courtesy to neighbors as it is much quieter than the Honda

what frozen food I have was transferred to a 7 day cooler with 4 frozen jugs of water... perishable non frozen to an older 5 day cooler with 4 frozen jugs... I do not try to run my refrigerator, but could if necessary with the back fed 240v... a 120v line is available also and the circuits arranged to be fed by it

the portable inverter generator is my recommendation for the best emergency power source... my worst power outage in the recent years has been for 10 days in 2004... I survived that without either generator, was still working and had to contend with 90F temperatures at 11PM and I was getting to school by 7AM

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#297066 - 09/20/20 03:49 AM Re: More power sources! [Re: Bingley]
Bingley Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1441
Alright, I think I'll get a jump starter battery, a solar, and a power station or two. So even if I lose a few things in the next disaster, I should be OK.

Looks like I'll have to do monthly battery maintenance from now on.

Thanks, guys, for your input! The wind turbine idea seems especially innovative -- I never would have thought of it. I'm in the process of relocating, so I'll pursue the portable options for now.

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#297073 - 09/21/20 01:29 PM Re: More power sources! [Re: Bingley]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3426
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Bingley
Nice setup, Chaos! Are you using the jumpstarters as jumpstarters, or do you intend another purpose for them?


The unit I have is (http://www.powerstationusa.com/brands/Powerstation/product.php?mod=PSX3) (no affiliation). It looks like I was mistaken and the manufacturer is still making them, I just can't find them for less than $100 at Costco any more.

They're surprisingly versatile.

Unlike smaller units, they have a good shot at successfully starting a car with a totally flat battery. They have a USB port, and 12VDC ports that can with an adapter (kept in each car) make more USB power. They both have air compressors and little area lights on them as well. I can run a ham radio HT ("handy-talkie") for at least a week, and a more powerful radio for at least 12 hours of heavy operation.

If I'm providing any sort of IT support at a CERT callout, I can power a laptop with it for a while.

While all three cars have jumper cables, it's much faster and easier to use the jumpstarter, and I think it's a bit safer too, being much harder to accidentally short a 12VDC system.

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#297077 - 09/21/20 08:53 PM Re: More power sources! [Re: Bingley]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2471
I sue phone/ laptop external batteries & the charge from the car method

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#297083 - 09/22/20 03:22 AM Re: More power sources! [Re: Bingley]
Bingley Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1441
I'm glad you shared your product specs, Chaos. I was going to get one of the smaller ones, thinking that was what was available. But this is the sort of situation where size counts.

When I'm ready to make a purchase I'll check back with the hive mind. I know how much fun vicarious shopping is for people who prepare... laugh

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#297090 - 09/22/20 01:42 PM Re: More power sources! [Re: Bingley]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3426
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Bingley
When I'm ready to make a purchase I'll check back with the hive mind. I know how much fun vicarious shopping is for people who prepare... laugh


I love spending your money laugh.

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#297092 - 09/22/20 02:21 PM Re: More power sources! [Re: Bingley]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3426
Loc: USA
I'd like to take a moment to compare what I call a full-size jumpstarter to the smaller ones that seem so popular. The one I have in my car has the following manufacturer specs:

  • 12 VDC
  • 400 cold cranking Amps
  • 1000 peak Amps
  • 18 Ah capacity
  • "Starts cars, trucks, recreational vehicles and boats..." (in the manual)
  • 20 lbs weight
  • Chemistry: Sealed Lead Acid Absorbed Glass Mat

Compared to the manufacturer specs of Big River's "Choice" in much smaller and lighter jumpstarter:

  • 12 VDC
  • not listed: cold cranking Amps (the manual claims 500 "cranking" Amps, which I think is telling)
  • 1200 peak Amps
  • 18000 mAh capacity (18 Ah)
  • Different, contradictory labeling about what kind of vehicle it's suitable for. In one place it says "Works with cars, motorcycles, watercrafts, ATVs, UTVs, SUVs, lawn mowers, yachts, boat, pickup,snowmobiles, etc." In another place it says "ATV, UTV, Dirt Bike, Snowmobile, Adventure, Personal Watercraft".
  • 1.16 lbs weight
  • Chemistry: "Lithium Ion" (see below)


How can the one pound lithium ion jumpstarter provide the same vehicle starting capability as a 20 pound SLA AGM battery based unit? It can't, quite. If your vehicle's battery is not completely flat, many of the lithium ion devices are competent. For larger vehicles, completely flat vehicle batteries, and very cold weather, SLA AGM jumpstarters are substantially more likely to have the cold cranking amps you need to get the vehicle started.

To be sure, lithium ion devices self-discharge more slowly as well as take up less space, weight and money. Furthermore they can last longer, as they are rated for more charge cycles.

In terms of safety, traditional Lithium Ion batteries (sometimes called LiPo, Lithium-Cobalt or LiCo) may not be suitable to store in a car. These batteries can go into thermal runaway at about 140 deg F, which the trunk of your car might reach on a hot summer day. A newer battery chemistry (most commonly called LiFePO4, or Lithium Iron Phosphate) is safe to over 420 deg F. Which battery chemistry does the above Lithium Ion unit use? I don't know. That bothers me. I would avoid buying such a device unless I knew it used the safer LiFePO4 chemistry.

EDITED TO ADD: Please see downthread, it looks like I posted bad information regarding Lithium-Cobalt batteries and thermal runaway.


Edited by chaosmagnet (09/25/20 01:12 AM)
Edit Reason: Errors!

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#297094 - 09/22/20 03:39 PM Re: More power sources! [Re: chaosmagnet]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7346
Loc: southern Cal
My thanks to you all. this is a most informative thread; I am wrestling with many of the same issues.....
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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