Solar with either LiFePO4 or portable power station

Stewbod

Member
Aug 28, 2013
15
Davis, California
I currently have a 2005 Fleetwood Yuma TT and the 3-way Dometic 2193 refrigerator only works with 12 or 110 volt power. My trailer service center says the refrigerator gas valve is bad and obsolete (can’t get part). He wants to replace it with a Norcold n323 3-way. Reviews of this unit do not look very good and he wants to install it for almost $2,000. Since we don’t always boondock, I’m thinking that 110 volt will take care of us most of the time. For the times we will not have 110 volt power, I’m considering a portable 12 volt refrigerator. I currently use a Walmart series 24DC deep cycle battery (690 mca) and realize this won’t cut it for 3-4 days of boondocking using the portable refrigerator (Bodega 53 qt). I’m considering purchasing a Jackery 1500 with 100 watt solar panel ($2,000). Alternately, would purchasing a 100 amp LiFePO4 battery to replace the lead acid and adding 100 watt solar panel and an MPPT charge controller be a better alternative? I would appreciate any responses from those of you who have chosen either of these alternatives.
 

rsdata

Active Member
Oct 3, 2011
319
N. KY
consider the Jackery 1000 with 2 solar panels for quicker re-charge cycle

currently costco dot com has an 880 + 290 AND 2 100 watt solar panels for $1149...

the 880 would probably work for your needs and I believe you can charge the jackery AND run it at the same time


check youtube HOBOTECH for reviews on Jackery
 

Johneliot

Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Jan 1, 2022
196
Chico, CA
Good question! I don’t don’t think in this case one is any better that the other. You should be able to get a 100 amp lithium battery, controller an 100 watt panel for a little less. Check renogy, right now 15% off. If you want to charge the battery you’ll need a charger, the Jackery already has a ac charger. Both will be able to be portable. Jackery has a little more amps. I can’t decide. I just went with the suitcase solar set up on mine. I do like it.
 
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Stewbod

Member
Aug 28, 2013
15
Davis, California
consider the Jackery 1000 with 2 solar panels for quicker re-charge cycle

currently costco dot com has an 880 + 290 AND 2 100 watt solar panels for $1149...

the 880 would probably work for your needs and I believe you can charge the jackery AND run it at the same time


check youtube HOBOTECH for reviews on Jackery
Thank you so much for the heads up. This option saves a lot of money and gives me two different battery stations, each useable with the solar panels. 😃👍
 

Stewbod

Member
Aug 28, 2013
15
Davis, California
Good question! I don’t don’t think in this case one is any better that the other. You should be able to get a 100 amp lithium battery, controller an 100 watt panel for a little less. Check renogy, right now 15% off. If you want to charge the battery you’ll need a charger, the Jackery already gas a ac charger. Both will be able to be portable. Jackery has a little more amps. I can’t decide. I just went with the suitcase solar set up on mine. I do like it.
The Jackery sounds good. See the reply from rsdada below. Thanks for your quick reply. 😃
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
303
Niagara Region, ON
There are pros and cons to each. I went the 100Ah LFP battery route because I feel it fits my usage type better, but Jackery does make some nice stuff.

Jackery type devices are convenient, nicely packaged, easy to use, plug & play devices.

Two things to note:

- Many of the Jackery type devices use NMC cells which have lives typically rated in 100s of cycles, while the LFP cells used in standalone batteries have lives typically rated in 1000s of cycles. If you only cycle it 10 times a year this doesn't matter. Even if you cycle it 50 times a year it probably doesn't matter.

- Many of the Jackery type devices are very slow to recharge - the Jackery 880 charges at 200W max but it is nice to see that the 1500 charges at 500W. A typical 100Ah LFP battery will charge at over 700W. If you are charging all day with solar this does not matter but if you have limited charging time with a vehicle or genset this can make a difference.
 

Stewbod

Member
Aug 28, 2013
15
Davis, California
There are pros and cons to each. I went the 100Ah LFP battery route because I feel it fits my usage type better, but Jackery does make some nice stuff.

Jackery type devices are convenient, nicely packaged, easy to use, plug & play devices.

Two things to note:

- Many of the Jackery type devices use NMC cells which have lives typically rated in 100s of cycles, while the LFP cells used in standalone batteries have lives typically rated in 1000s of cycles. If you only cycle it 10 times a year this doesn't matter. Even if you cycle it 50 times a year it probably doesn't matter.

- Many of the Jackery type devices are very slow to recharge - the Jackery 880 charges at 200W max but it is nice to see that the 1500 charges at 500W. A typical 100Ah LFP battery will charge at over 700W. If you are charging all day with solar this does not matter but if you have limited charging time with a vehicle or genset this can make a difference.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. The cycle count is something that concerns me even though the cycles per year would be low for me. Charge time is also an issue as I like to camp in the trees which would limit the number of hours per day that the battery could be charged. 🤨
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
303
Niagara Region, ON
Another way to look at it is 50 cycles a year should still last you over 10 years - chances are something else on it will break before the battery fails.

If solar is going to be your main source of power and you only have one or two 100W solar panels it should not really make any difference.

I might sound pro-Jackery but I find that people (myself included) underestimate the resources required to install a LFP battery system. If all you want is a battery and a solar charge controller then it is not too bad. But then if you want a DC-DC charger so you can charge off your vehicle, and an Inverter so you can have some 120VAC power, etc..., it gets more complicated. A Jackery type device has all that stuff integrated into one easy to use box.

In my mind there is no question that you can build a LFP system that is better than any Jackery, but if a Jackery type device will do the job it might not be worth the effort (or cost). But if you are looking for a project a LFP system can be fun to build.

Another advantage a home-assembled LFP system has is that if one part fails you can just replace that one part. If the charge controller fails on a Jackery type device you are probably looking at replacing the whole thing (not sure what the warranties are like on those).

Looks like Bluetti has LFP based devices if you are worried about cycles: https://www.bluettipower.com/collections/power-stations (not a recommendation - just came up in a quick Google search). The AC200P has very fast charging capabilities as well. But not cheap. And heavy (LFP is heavier than NMC), but 2.0kWh vs the Jackery 1.5kWh.

Sorry for the rambling post but that is what you get on a Sunday morning before I have finished my tea.

Edit: looks like the Bluetti AC200P has a minimum solar input voltage of 35V which would not be ideal for most people.
 
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Stewbod

Member
Aug 28, 2013
15
Davis, California
Another way to look at it is 50 cycles a year should still last you over 10 years - chances are something else on it will break before the battery fails.

If solar is going to be your main source of power and you only have one or two 100W solar panels it should not really make any difference.

I might sound pro-Jackery but I find that people (myself included) underestimate the resources required to install a LFP battery system. If all you want is a battery and a solar charge controller then it is not too bad. But then if you want a DC-DC charger so you can charge off your vehicle, and an Inverter so you can have some 120VAC power, etc..., it gets more complicated. A Jackery type device has all that stuff integrated into one easy to use box.

In my mind there is no question that you can build a LFP system that is better than any Jackery, but if a Jackery type device will do the job it might not be worth the effort (or cost). But if you are looking for a project a LFP system can be fun to build.

Another advantage a home-assembled LFP system has is that if one part fails you can just replace that one part. If the charge controller fails on a Jackery type device you are probably looking at replacing the whole thing (not sure what the warranties are like on those).

Looks like Bluetti has LFP based devices if you are worried about cycles: https://www.bluettipower.com/collections/power-stations (not a recommendation - just came up in a quick Google search). The AC200P has very fast charging capabilities as well. But not cheap. And heavy (LFP is heavier than NMC), but 2.0kWh vs the Jackery 1.5kWh.

Sorry for the rambling post but that is what you get on a Sunday morning before I have finished my tea.

Edit: looks like the Bluetti AC200P has a minimum solar input voltage of 35V which would not be ideal for most people.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I hadn’t thought of some of the issues you bring up involved in building a LFP system. After absorbing the ideas and recommendations made in replies to my questions, I am inclined to go with the simpler, less time consuming and more flexible Jackery option. Have a nice Father’s Day. 😁
 

SteveP

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
May 21, 2015
2,569
Looks like Bluetti has LFP based devices if you are worried about cycles:
I recently purchased a Bluetti EB70S, 716WH, to replace the aux battery in my truck used to run a 12 volt fridge. I chose the EB70S because it uses an LFP battery. In a driveway test with my old Waeco 28L fridge set at 37F, ambient temperature in the low 90s, the fridge was still running after 3 days and 3 hours and the EB70S showed 20% SOC. When I checked 3 hours later the fridge was off but the EB70S still showed 20% SOC. Have used it on two 3 day non camping trips since then with no problems. The EB70S is currently in my bedroom to run my cpap in case the electrical grid is not as robust as Our Beloved Leader in Austin claims. It will run my cpap, through the Inverter with heat and humidication, for 2 nights.
 

Stewbod

Member
Aug 28, 2013
15
Davis, California
I recently purchased a Bluetti EB70S, 716WH, to replace the aux battery in my truck used to run a 12 volt fridge. I chose the EB70S because it uses an LFP battery. In a driveway test with my old Waeco 28L fridge set at 37F, ambient temperature in the low 90s, the fridge was still running after 3 days and 3 hours and the EB70S showed 20% SOC. When I checked 3 hours later the fridge was off but the EB70S still showed 20% SOC. Have used it on two 3 day non camping trips since then with no problems. The EB70S is currently in my bedroom to run my cpap in case the electrical grid is not as robust as Our Beloved Leader in Austin claims. It will run my cpap, through the Inverter with heat and humidication, for 2 nights.
Thanks for the data from you experience
 




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