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Old 19-02-2019, 17:15   #1
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Portable Power Banks

Are there any forum members that have experience with Portable Power Banks?

I have 220W of solar charging 300Ah battery bank of which 100Ah is available (current use is about 80Ah through the night) from 200Ah house bank as 100Ah is the engine battery (currently using flooded marine batteries). My current needs are met and my batteries are fully charged by noon in the med so I have a lot of charge ability going to waste. I could just add another battery but space is limited in my battery area and other areas already have their uses.

I have seriously considered a wind gen which would be ideal for the evenings but then again this is dependent on wind so not fully reliable. Have considered lithium but the initial cost, although high would be okay, if there were guarantees and no issues requiring replacement. Having considered all the options such as wind gen, portable gen, I believe in simplicity and minimizing any unnecessary things. So the idea (just that at this stage) is to add another solar panel 110W and buy a Power Bank (they come in many sizes). They appear to take around 10+ plus hours to recharge by solar so two days+ depending on size (150W/300W) charging after use. They are essentially similar to large phone batteries with a lot of versatility in terms of uses and charging options.

I welcome your thoughts. Many thanks.


p.s. Have also posted this on another forum
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Old 19-02-2019, 17:55   #2
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Re: Portable Power Banks

So really you have a 200ah house bank and a separate 100ah starting battery?

Current needs are being more than met by current setup. Though I’m wondering if you are really getting full by noon, that seems a bit fast. Do you have your panels on tracking mounts? How do you know they are full?

Why are you considering more generation ability? Are going to add some new load?
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Old 19-02-2019, 19:16   #3
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Re: Portable Power Banks

Quote:
Originally Posted by mat jam View Post
Are there any forum members that have experience with Portable Power Banks?

I have 220W of solar charging 300Ah battery bank of which 100Ah is available (current use is about 80Ah through the night) from 200Ah house bank as 100Ah is the engine battery (currently using flooded marine batteries). My current needs are met and my batteries are fully charged by noon in the med so I have a lot of charge ability going to waste. I could just add another battery but space is limited in my battery area and other areas already have their uses.

I have seriously considered a wind gen which would be ideal for the evenings but then again this is dependent on wind so not fully reliable. Have considered lithium but the initial cost, although high would be okay, if there were guarantees and no issues requiring replacement. Having considered all the options such as wind gen, portable gen, I believe in simplicity and minimizing any unnecessary things. So the idea (just that at this stage) is to add another solar panel 110W and buy a Power Bank (they come in many sizes). They appear to take around 10+ plus hours to recharge by solar so two days+ depending on size (150W/300W) charging after use. They are essentially similar to large phone batteries with a lot of versatility in terms of uses and charging options.

I welcome your thoughts. Many thanks.


p.s. Have also posted this on another forum

My understanding is that with flooded lead acid batteries 50% is the max one can discharge them, so your usable bank size would be 100 and 50, not 200 and 100. If your night usage is 80 then you don't have much room to move.
I would add more battery capacity, your existing solar will easily cope.
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Old 19-02-2019, 19:25   #4
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Re: Portable Power Banks

Adelie,

The panels are mounted flat at the stern above the cockpit. They are high efficient panels (Sunpower?) from SVB costing about 280 Euros each after tax. I chose these panels for their rating and small size (1037 x 527 x 46 mm). I was quite surprised how well they work. Here in the eastern med sunrise 6am / sunset at 7pm - they start charging a little after until a little before and even on overcast days they pull in a good charge. I monitor the panels/batteries more than a dozen times a day on my charge regulator as I just installed them last summer. I sail during the summer months.

The main reason for thinking about the Power Banks is the ability to have spare charge capacity and to do something with the excessive power generation. And to have a separate portable power source. For instance being able to charge my phone, tablet; using this as opposed to my inverter for appliances, keeping my tablet charged and using it under sail at night in the cockpit to conserve the battery banks by turning off my nav gear leaving only the VHF, running lights on.

I ask because they are inexpensive, reliable, portable and I would rather not add more batteries, not use the diesel, or any other fuel based devise. My research into wind gens leaves me unsure because of the cost, more gear on deck, maintenance/wear and reliant on wind. I am also in the process of simplifying my boat more towards reliability thus have removed my remote windlass for two sets of wired controls, etc.
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Old 19-02-2019, 19:27   #5
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Re: Portable Power Banks

Uncle Bob,

Current usable is 100Ah based on two battery house bank of 200Ah. I would rather not add more batteries because of weight. Please read my reply to Adelie.
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Old 20-02-2019, 05:02   #6
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Re: Portable Power Banks

The good ones are **not** cheap, in the sense of $ per Ah per year of service.

Yes lighter due to using a LI chemistry, but not good value.

Battle Born in a box would be better, just pay attention to voltage input, at the low end gives more longevity.

A pair of Deka / Duracell **much** more robust and a fraction the price, just heavy
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Old 20-02-2019, 18:18   #7
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Re: Portable Power Banks

john61ct,

I was thinking about something like a Suaoki Portable Power Station. Cheap, portable, reliable back up power source. They seem geared towards campers. Curious why no boaters have ever talked about them, whether there are any issues for boaters.
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Old 20-02-2019, 21:39   #8
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Re: Portable Power Banks

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john61ct,

I was thinking about something like a Suaoki Portable Power Station. Cheap, portable, reliable back up power source. They seem geared towards campers. Curious why no boaters have ever talked about them, whether there are any issues for boaters.
Not a power source. Just a battery in a box, plus an inverter & some ports.

What, 4-500Wh? maybe, verify with a load test

maybe run some LED lights and a fan, recharge your phone a few times.

Ask for a link to a replacement batt when that's dead.

Stand by my previous comments, really get to understand how this stuff works, don't fall for the hype
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Old 20-02-2019, 21:47   #9
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Re: Portable Power Banks

john61ct

I appreciate the info. I asked as I have no experience with these units and what they can do. Many thanks.
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Old 21-02-2019, 08:31   #10
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Re: Portable Power Banks

Matt -

I have had something like this for more than a year and it sounds like what you are asking about.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IW408R0...e-fd1cbe9073d1

While it was pricey and is just another item to move around and take care of, I like it and use it for quite a bit when in the yard, camping, and when working on the boat. I previously had a cheaper small Li-ion power pack which had a PWM inverter to plug in 120V AC devices. The PWM created a squared AC current that the laptop and some other things would not work on. The power bank I now have is pure sign and will run the MacBook Air, charge the phones, cameras, and some LED lights for two or three long evening uses before needing to be re-charged. btw - The red charge display is pretty bright in a dark cabin.

Take their 288 kWh with a big grain of salt and do read the reviews. It should run a 100W device for 2.88 hours, but when I tried it with an old TV, I got about 1:45. Obviously, the 500 W max discharge is too small for a small microwave. I tried running the 3.5A Multimax tool on it and no surprise that it barely operated. On the upside, you probably could charge it off your existing solar by just swapping plugs as needed.
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Old 21-02-2019, 12:16   #11
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Re: Portable Power Banks

Replacement batt available?

If used frequently / deeply discharged, likely LiPo, may only last a year before dropping capacity a lot.

Lots of DIY examples out there, bigger batt, replaceable of course, choose the inverter and other outputs that actually suit your needs, faster recharging etc.

one example https://www.expeditionportal.com/for...3#post-2494320
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Old 21-02-2019, 12:40   #12
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Re: Portable Power Banks

We carry a power bank (8000mAh) for an emergency jump if we happen to drain the batteries down (never needed to use it yet!).
We have another smaller one that we use to quick charge the laptop or use to power the depth finder in our explorer dinghy instead of installing a permanent battery.

The 8000mAh version would probably do what you need to charge your phone, tablet etc. and are inexpensive.


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Old 21-02-2019, 12:52   #13
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Re: Portable Power Banks

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Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
We carry a power bank (8000mAh) for an emergency jump if we happen to drain the batteries down (never needed to use it yet!).
We have another smaller one that we use to quick charge the laptop or use to power the depth finder in our explorer dinghy instead of installing a permanent battery.

The 8000mAh version would probably do what you need to charge your phone, tablet etc. and are inexpensive.


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Old 21-02-2019, 14:00   #14
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Re: Portable Power Banks

Yes those little jumpstarters / portable powerpacks can be very valuable for those uses.

The OP was about expanding House bank style capacities, and the ones that are closer to being able to do that cost well over a grand, but share in the cost-benefit issues I outlined.

And at those prices, you would think replacement batteries would be available?
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Old 21-02-2019, 14:06   #15
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Re: Portable Power Banks

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Replacement batt available?

If used frequently / deeply discharged, likely LiPo, may only last a year before dropping capacity a lot.

Lots of DIY examples out there, bigger batt, replaceable of course, choose the inverter and other outputs that actually suit your needs, faster recharging etc.

one example https://www.expeditionportal.com/for...3#post-2494320
The device I have contains 21 (LiFePo4s) and a battery management system. I can relate that after more than a year of use, the length of time it runs all of my loads has not changed enough to be noticeable. LiFePo4s on a BMS should be good for at least 2,000-3,000 charge cycles and I expect to get at least 6-7 years out of it.

btw - This is exactly the type of unit the OP asked about.

I work with Li-Ion enough to hav built my own but have yet to see a DIY with a matched BMS, with all the parts, and skill required, which would be worth the time I want/need to put elsewhere.
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