By Tony Barthel
I’m a big fan of Ryobi tools for a variety of reasons, but recently I found a few more items in their collection that I just had to add to mine. In the U.S., Ryobi is associated with the Home Depot chain, but elsewhere on the planet Ryobi is an independent brand like Makita.
What I found was a couple of great gadgets that make off-grid living more enjoyable.
As the world becomes more dependent on “shore power,” it becomes more obvious when we go off-grid entirely that we’re sacrificing something… sometimes. Ryobi has made a step towards making that less so with their new 18-volt One+ 150-watt power inverter.
Ryobi’s One+ tools and batteries
Ryobi’s One+ line of tools all run from a set of batteries that have been available for many years. The tools I bought years ago run on the latest batteries in the One+ series. The batteries themselves, like all batteries, just keep getting better and better.
In this case, Ryobi has an inverter that you can use to power things that require 120vac power using their 18-volt One+ batteries. Now the kinds of things you can power with these are limited by the 150-watt maximum power draw, so you won’t be able to power things like heaters or curling irons or most any device that changes temperatures at all.
But what I can power is my big monitor, which means I can bring my laptop computer when boondocking, which has its own internal battery. Then I can power the large monitor and continue to write RV reviews and other content while I’m far, far away from any shore power.
I could also use this device to recharge my laptop battery. I also publish a podcast and have used this unit to run the recording studio that I use.
These are outlying uses for sure, but the nifty idea is that you can power many of the items you might want to operate even without shore power.
I see what you’re thinking: What about charging those batteries? If I’m off the grid, how do I charge the batteries? I’m glad you asked.
There are two ways I can charge the batteries when I’m not connected to shore power.
The first and quietest is with Ryobi’s 18V One+ Dual Chemistry In-Vehicle Charger. Whew, what a name.
Essentially, this charger uses your vehicle’s cigarette lighter adapter to recharge the 18V One+ batteries. But I don’t use this in the tow vehicle. I plug it into a matching cigarette lighter 12-volt charger in my trailer. I then use my solar panels to provide 12-volt power to the trailer and, bada boom, bada bing, the sun recharges my One+ batteries!
But wait, there’s even more
Ryobi also makes a 2,300-watt inverter generator that will charge the batteries but also will use a One+ battery to operate the electric starter in the generator. One caveat, and I think a huge missed opportunity for Ryobi: The battery that’s mounted in the generator isn’t charged by the generator. That’s kind of dumb. But you can use the generator to run the charger which will charge the battery.
Two of these very portable generators run together will operate any 30-amp trailer in the summer. Just one is usually all I need in the winter, as I am not running the AC unit. This is if I even need the generator, but usually the solar is sufficient.
Furthermore, this generator uses a Bluetooth app that lets you monitor the generator’s function – including starting the generator, monitoring fuel and that sort of thing.
I know a lot of serious tool enthusiasts aren’t big fans of the Ryobi line as they are more “residential grade” in serious tool user’s eyes. I won’t argue that – but the fact that I can bring two batteries with me when I go camping and run lanterns, fans, a Bluetooth radio, my 120vac devices and more has a lot of value in my world.
Furthermore, I have figured out how to use an electric drill to make a blender, which I also power with Ryobi batteries. Here’s the video I did.