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Breaking Portable Solar Power Station Testing!

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(@mike)
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Everyone... I just received a Jackery Explorer 1500 with four 100-watt solar panels for testing and review. Watch for a quick review in my Saturday RVelectricity column where I'll go over the details of what it is and how it's supposed to work. 

So will testing change my mind about the usefulness of something that's often called a "Solar Generator"? Or am I still going to give them a thumbs down (no these are not really generators)? I do all my experiments with an open mind and a test bench full of gear, so I really don't know what's going to happen. But come back to this page for updates.  

 
This topic was modified 2 months ago 4 times by Mike Sokol

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 TIM MCRAE
(@TIM MCRAE)
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Thanks Mike {for what you do} and double thanks for starting your own Forum! Not a FB fan ...!


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 Mike Johnson
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Thanks for doing this Mike as I have been considering a "solar generator" to serve as a supplemental power source for my 10 cu ft residential fridge, CPAP, and lights in the event of  boondocking a night or two.  Also we have lost campground power a time or two.  My rig has 100 amp hr of lead acid batteries with an 1800 watt Xantrex pure sign wave inverter which is typically enough for an overnight stay without power, unless I need the furnace of course!


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 Mike Sokol
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I have a Vitrifrigo 12-volt DC cooler size fridge/freezer which I’ll try to power with the Jackery 1500. In theory the Jackery should be able to power the Vitrifrigo for several days without solar panels, and forever with even moderate sunshine on the 400 watts of solar panels. 


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 J.E. Stiner
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I've also been considering a Jackery to power a 10 cu.ft. residential refrigerator replacement for my 18-year-old failing and recalled (fire hazard) Dometic RV fridge.

If I'm correct, the "1,534 watt-hrs of stored energy" you referenced = 13.34 Ah of stored energy. For the fridge I'm considering, the manufacturers' 297 hours/year Energy Star rating indicates they calculate based on the fridge running one-fifth of the time, or slightly under 5 hours a day. If I use a higher number like one-third of the day running to be safe, or 8 hours/day, that means I would use about 12 Ah of the 13.34 Jackery-stored Ah in a day IF THERE WAS NO CHARGING of the Jackery.

To me, that means the Jackery would have to be charged every day to continuously power the residential fridge. Or, basically, if I had absolutely no sun, I could only safely plan on one day of refrigerator power without charging the Jackery. I don't see how it could power a residential fridge + CPAP + anything else for very long at least without solar, or other, charging?

You've done some testing of some 12-volt RV refrigerators, I recall. How long would the Jackery power one of those? Less battery drain than a small residential fridge?

Refrigerator and CPAP power are a big deal for many of us senior RVers.

So, thanks in advance for any further thoughts to guide many of us out here.

 

 

 

 


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 Mike Sokol
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Actually, 1,532 watt-hrs of storage would be around around 125 amp-hrs at 12 volts, give or take a bit. 
I’m going to do a quick test with my Vitrifrigo/Danfoss portable cooler this weekend. I also have a 10 cu-ft, 12-volt DC compressor fridge from Dometic that I can try to power with the Jackery 1500 this week. The Dometic should be able to run around 36 to 48 hrs on a single Jackery charge, and forever using the 400 watts of solar panels with a reasonable amount of sunshine. But I’ll know more in a week or so…


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 Mike Sokol
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The only way to really know is for you to measure your actual kWh usage using a Kill-A-Watt meter. But this would be an interesting application. 


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 Drew
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Mike,  Thanks for all you do and contribute!


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 Gary B
(@Gary B)
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Mike, how about seeing how the generator works with a string or two of hanging decorative lights (110)?  The kind people hang around their rv/ campsight. 


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 David W. Illingworth
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I'm interested in a kruerig coffee pot.


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 Mike Sokol
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I’ve contacted a few CPAP manufacturers about getting a demo unit to try on battery power, but nobody has stepped up. However, I do agree it would be a very important test to run. If anyone has a CPAP manufacturer contact, please let me know. 


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 Lindalee
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I don't (yet) have an RV but my roommate and I like to truck-tent camp.  However, that being said I need a CPAP machine when I sleep (approx. 8 hrs.) a night.  I use a ResMed AirSense 10 with a humidifier at home but have the proper fitting to NOT use the humidifier.  Would this Jackery power my CPAP for a night even though I'd have to use the solar panels to charge it up the next day?  We live/camp in Texas so sunshine is usually NOT a problem around here!

 

Thanks in advance,

Lindalee


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 Mike Sokol
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I looked up the specs of your CPAP machine and see that it’s rated for 53 watts with the humidifier. Let’s round that up to 60 watts and multiply by 8 hours. That’s 480 watt-hrs per night of energy required. Call it 500 watt-hrs for grins. The Jackery is rated at 1,532 watt-hrs of energy so, in theory, it could power you CPAP machine for 3 nights before needing to be recharged. The 400 watts of solar panels would completely recharge the Jackery 1500 in a single day. So I would say it would easily work for this application. 


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 Mike Sokol
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Modern LED Christmas tree lights are very energy efficient, with a string of 50 bulbs drawing only 5 watts at 120-volts AC. So two strings would draw 10 watts at 120 volts. The Jackery 1500 would run that for 150 hours if you don’t consider fan and inverter losses, so let’s call it perhaps 100 hours of running before it needs to be recharged. 


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(@mike)
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Topic starter  

Just a bit of intel on my Jackery Explorer 1500 testing, it does produce 110 volts AC (not 120 volts) and the Neutral appears to be floating (not bonded to ground). Both are okay, as long as you're expecting them. 

 Jackery Voltage Neutral

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