By Tony Barthel
I have a sticks and bricks home, but I also spend a lot of time on the road. As most homeowners, I have an arsenal of yard management tools like a mower, blower, chain saw, cultivator, weed whacker and more. However, I might be unusual in that mine are all electric and happen to be the Ego brand.
What does this have to do with RVing?
I like boondocking and while I’m not advocating that you bring your yard tools along on the trip and help the BLM with their land management function, the Ego tools have afforded me a nifty boondocking gadget.
Ego lawn tools use a 56-volt lithium battery that packs a great deal of power. The company offers everything from a 2 amp-hour 120 watt-hour battery up to a 7.5 amp-hour 420 watt-hour battery to make their lawn tools work. But they also offer a device called a Nexus PowerPlus Escape 150 watt inverter. That’s what I take camping.
Using the same batteries as my chain saw or leaf blower or mower, the Nexus PowerPlus Escape 150 allows me to have 120vac power on the road for smaller items and, with my 5 amp-hour 280 watt-hour batteries that I use at home, it can charge my laptop multiple times or run an audio recording studio (I also host an RV podcast) for several days.
The power is clean and the device is completely silent – no fans or other annoying sounds.
In addition to the single 120vac outlet on the device, there are also two USB ports for charging as well. The device itself is relatively small and lightweight – but then you also have to add whatever battery you’re using, and the 5.0aH battery is not that small. The whole thing is about the size of a shoebox, of sorts, but there is a carry handle to make things easier.
I used this last year at Quartzsite to power my Rodecaster recording studio for two days. The battery has a fuel level indicator on it that is in increments of four “lights” with “fully charged” being four lights, completely depleted is zero lights, and the indicator goes from green to orange.
After two days of running the Rodecaster plus charging a MacBook Pro, the battery still showed about 50% power remaining.
Keep in mind that I can mow half an acre of grass and then put the same battery I used in the mower onto the weed whacker and finish all my trimming and still have one light left on the battery. These are pretty powerful.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this is only for a fairly low power draw – 150 watts. Don’t expect to run your portable heater with it – but you could run a small air compressor for tires (although I have a better recommendation for that) or run a TV and Blu-ray player or things like that.
There are also much better choices if you have this kind of use case frequently for doing things like running a CPAP overnight or other higher-draw items.
But if you happen to have a bunch of Ego lawn equipment and need a smaller inverter, this thing’s pretty slick. I’ve had mine now for about a year and have been very happy with it. We live in Northern California, where our power company’s solution for not burning communities down is to just shut off our power for a week at a time – and I’ve used this to run lamps and such in the house, as well.
Not a bad gadget if you already have the batteries. If not, it doesn’t make much sense.