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Our new Bluetti AC180 arrived yesterday. We plan to use it to power our TC’s microwave, slow cooker, portable fridge, and/or a backup electrical power source depending on needs or conditions while boondocking, and we can use it to fully recharge one of our eBikes (or both bikes to >65%).

It may also come in handy as a primary or secondary power source if I need to start using a CPAP machine. 😤. It should also be useful as a backup power source at home during a utility power outage.

I’d been thinking about adding a third 100 Ah battery to our camper as well as a 2 kW inverter, primarily to be able to occasionally run the microwave (rated at 1350 W). I couldn’t find accessible space (especially the non-painful kind) in our 855s, so this gizmo should solve the problem.

Key specs and features are 1152 Whr gross battery capacity, a 1.8 kW pure sine wave inverter, and a weight of ~35 lbs. It can be recharged from 120 Vac, a quality inverter, solar, or a vehicle power socket. There’s a wireless charging pad on top.

I’m running some tests and experiments, and will report back soon!

Safe travels,    
Jim / crewzer



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Last edited by Eric Dye
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Results of some of yesterday’s AC tests:

”Quiet” charging from 120 Vac draws ~300 W, and the internal cooling fans run at a low speed. “Standard” charging power is ~1,000 W, and “”Turbo” charging is ~1,440 W, and the fans are noisier.

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The camper microwave draws ~1400 W; the power station didn’t even blink.

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Your plan to use your Bluetti aligns similarly with the plan I use with my portable power station……..only mine is a different brand. You will find the Bluetti will work well to provide power for the things you mentioned.

You may have read the thread I started about mine, and not to take away from your thread, but to provide more info/ideas for people exploring the potential thought to use a portable power station, here’s link to read:

https://community.lanceowners....c/617625049600321907

I have been looking at one of these, but for a completely different use case:

I have 800w of solar and a 3000w inverter already seamlessly integrated into my trailer. I have learned (several times) that I get too cocky with power, and have killed the batteries a few times.

Currently I can use my F150's pro-power panel to plug the trailer in and get things restarted. It's basically a fancy generator. When I get my F350 diesel though, I'm not going to want to have that thing idling just to power my trailer.

So I'm considering getting one of these as sort of like a water or fuel jerry can, but for power. Keep it in the truck plugged into the bed outlet, it'll charge on drive days if needed. And if for some reason I do something stupid, I may not have a generator but I do have a block of energy I can use until I get my house batteries restored. (And like a jerry can, useful in other situations away from the trailer.)

Results of powering our Bouge RV 45 L (45 Qt) portable fridge freezer:

   Energy consumed: 100% - 43% = 57% x 1152 Whr = 657 Whr

   Test period: 24 hrs

   Average power rate: 657 Whr / 24 hrs = 27.4 W

Fridge / freezer was pre-chilled to 37°F / 5°F, ambient temps ranged from mid-60’s °F to mid-80’s °F.

😎    
Jim / crewzer

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Using PV to recharge the AC180:

One 100 W STC module connected directly to the DC input (no in-line PWM- or MPPT controller):

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2x 100 W STC modules wired in series and connected directly to the DC input (no in-line PWM- or MPPT controller). It’ll take a while, but it works!

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😎        
Jim / crewzer

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Last edited by Crewzer

Charging from our truck’s back seat power port. It’s pretty slow, as the DC input limits low-voltage current to 8 Amps. The charge rate can be doubled to ~200 W by inserting a 12V / 24V boost converter between the power port and the DC input; that’s an experiment for another day.

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😎    
Jim / crewzer

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When shopping for a portable power station be sure to think about and give consideration to where the location of the control buttons, charging ports, and power outlets are on the unit…….., this is especially important if you plan to place and use the portable power station while it’s inside a cubbyhole or closet in your RV. Some portable power stations have those features on the sides and others have them on the ends of the power station.

Also, some portable power stations have the option to control them using Bluetooth apps and a cellphone……it’s a feature you might find worth considering if you place and use the power station while it’s inside a cubbyhole or closet.

Last edited by Nutman

Those are excellent points, Larry! Our Bluetti has Bluetooth connectivity ( 🤔 ), and it is indeed an handy feature. Another consideration is the locations of the cooling vents.

Here are pics of our unit charging my bike battery while being partially recharged from a small PV array. 😎  The power station is powerful enough to simultaneously run the chargers for both bike batteries. The smartplug’s ON/OFF and timer features are also Bluetooth enabled. ⏱️

Safe travels,      
Jim / crewzer

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@Crewzer and @Nutman,

It's interesting to read your takes on portable battery power stations.  Hopefully others with similar needs may consider it as an option.  I hope you don't mind me chiming to tell our story.

Would I prefer to have Lithium batteries, a solar array on the roof, an MPPT charge controller, and a big inverter?  Absolutely!  However, the cost, tools, time, and expertise to upgrade what we have now, at least based on our current camping style is prohibitive.  A portable LiFePO4 battery bank can make sense if you don't need lots of continuous days to run AC gear.

Being on the east coast, with limited BLM options, we primarily camp at state parks with some HH locations thrown in.  When possible, we try to get water+electric sites, but some state parks don't offer them or have a limited number.  So far, we haven't had consecutive stops at campgrounds w/o electric service, so we haven't been without electricity for more than 3-4 days.  Our AC needs are for the following items, in priority order: Keurig, toaster oven, recharging a laptop, microwave, A/C fans.

Earlier this spring we pulled the trigger on an Anker 767 during the Earth Day sales and used it for the first time over 3 weeks traveling through VT, ME, and Canada.  We had two 3-night stays at state parks without electric service and 2 one night Harvest Host stays without electric.  We are very happy with the decision.

We have two modes of operation:

  1. Short stays where and we don't need the microwave or A/C fans - we set the Anker up in the trailer.
  2. Longer stays, or when we need the microwave or A/C fans - we set it up in the outside back storage (this storage space in the 1985 model is awesome) and connect the 30A cable from the trailer to the Anker.  For this, I drilled a 3" hole through the floor of the storage bay and installed a pair of 3" circular hatches (one from the top and the other from the bottom) so the hole would be closed when not used.  The AC output can be turned on and off with the Anker app via Bluetooth.  If wanting to optimize usage, we just turn off the main battery disconnect so the Anker isn't charging those batteries.


The bottom line is that a portable battery bank may not offer as much runtime and convenience as a fully integrated solar system, but it can increase your camping flexibility when you don't have access to electrical service.

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Nice report and testing. Aren't these things just fancy batteries?  Good pics too.

For some this is a fine addition to their camping experience.

I just can't see the advantage for me. I have a 2000w inverter and solar and two AGM. With room for two more in a pre-designed wired cubby.

So far just haven't needed two more. Plus I got an onboard genset with about 87 hours.  I think.

I'll be watching for use reports and plus and minus comments.  🙂

Dianne and Scott,

I think your application is a great example of the practicality, versatility and cost-effectiveness of these power stations, particularly when outfitting a camper from scratch, especially here in the East where RV PV systems don’t appear to be as popular as in the West.  

You have 160 Ah of LFP batteries (12.8 V x 160 Ah = 2048 Whr.), a versatile DC charger, including MPPT; a high-power AC charger, a 2400 W true sine wave AC inverter, and a very useful range of AC, DC and USB power outlets all wrapped up in a very neat package that weighs about the same as a single 105 Ah 12 V lead acid battery (67 lbs.), and it likely cost less that the trying to assemble something similar from individual components.

It may also be handy as a backup power source at home during an electrical utility outage. It may not run as long as a generator, but it’ll be relatively quiet while running. 😎

Your power station can also be charged from a vehicle power outlet, but at 100 W, it’ll take a while. Since your TV appears to have a high output alternator (180 A? 220 A?), you could consider installing and inexpensive 12 V to 24 V boost converter to double the charge rate to ~200 W. This configuration would recharge your particular power station by ~50% or so over a six-hour drive.

The three “cigarette lighter” style power outlets in our truck are individually fused at 20 A. The DC input on our AC180 limits low-voltage current input to 8 Amps, so I could supply 24 V x 8 A (192 W) to the power station from the converter and a dedicated vehicle power outlet (13.5 V x 15.3 A x 93% efficiency) without blowing the fuse. I may look into this 🤔, as I could then fully recharge our unit while driving in under seven hours if conditions warranted.

Thanks for sharing your system description and application!

Safe travels,      
Jim / crewzer

Last edited by Crewzer
@Capt PJ posted:

Nice report and testing. Aren't these things just fancy batteries?  Good pics too.

For some this is a fine addition to their camping experience.

I just can't see the advantage for me. I have a 2000w inverter and solar and two AGM. With room for two more in a pre-designed wired cubby.

So far just haven't needed two more. Plus I got an onboard genset with about 87 hours.  I think.

I'll be watching for use reports and plus and minus comments.  🙂

They really are just fancy batteries, but there's a lot you can do with batteries that give you loves of options to charge them. I just went dry-camping with 4 other families, and everyone was stuck at my site because mine was the only one capable of powering some nice lighting for conversations and cards into the night. If I had one of these units we could have gone to ANY site, even the beach if we really wanted to. All without a noisy generator.

I don't want a generator, at all. That constant drone drives me crazy and I can't relax; it gives me anxiety or plays off my tinnitus or something. Whatever it is about them, it ruins the experience. So this is a solution for me to that problem of "how do I get portable electricity without the annoying sound."

You said you can't see an advantage for you and that makes sense; you have your camping routine pretty well baked so this is a solution without a problem for you. For me this is like an electrical jerry can that I can refill from my solar or from the truck bed's power point.

One more hopefully useful post.

Like many power stations, the Bluetti AC180 can be recharged from a 12 V vehicle power socket via its DC/PV input port. However, most limit charge current to ~10 A to avoid overloading the socket and its fuse.

The AC180’s input current limit is 8 A for DC voltages below ~30 V. Its battery energy spec is 1152 Wh, equivalent to a 12.8 V x 90 Ah battery. Assuming 90% charging efficiency, it could take up to ~13 hours to recharge the PS’s battery from a vehicle power socket (1152 Wh / (12 V x 8 A x 90%) = ~13 hrs.)

I no longer drive that long. 😴

I found a 120 Vac power brick with an output of 25 V nominal and up to 8 A via a DC7909 plug. This PB can operate from our truck’s cheesy built-in 120 Vac inverter (300 W) and should be able to complete a recharge in ~6.5 hours… perfect!

We should now be all set up for our next trip in October. 😎

Safe travels!
Jim / crewzer

Charging in truck from 12 V car socket:

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Charging in truck from 120 Vac inverter via the 25 V power brick:

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Last edited by Crewzer

It’s this model from Amazon for $65:

FANLIDE Portable Power Station Charger, 200W Power Supply Adapter Charger for Portable Generator, AC to DC Charger Compatible with Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000



⚠️ Our truck’s inverter is rated at 300 W.. This 25 Vdc PB is a 200 W (output) model… assuming 85% efficiency, the input power would be 235 W…  it may overload your 150 W inverter.

HTH,      
Jim / crewzer

Last edited by Crewzer

A couple more application examples:

I used our Bluetti AC180 to recharge our eBike batteries (AC cord plugged in on the right) while boondocking at Fat Point 2024 last February. The Bluetti was recharged from solar via the high-current DC posts on the side of our 855s TC (DC cord on the left):

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I used our Bluetti last month to power our new StarLink terminal (and wirelessly charge my iPhone) while camping at Lewis and Clark State Park in western Missouri. I had shore power available, but part of the test was to make sure everything worked “off grid”:

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HTH,    
Jim / crewzer

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@Crewzer posted:

Charging from our truck’s back seat power port. It’s pretty slow, as the DC input limits low-voltage current to 8 Amps. The charge rate can be doubled to ~200 W by inserting a 12V / 24V boost converter between the power port and the DC input; that’s an experiment for another day.

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😎    
Jim / crewzer

Today was the day for the 12/24 V boost converter experiment.

I used a small Victron 12/24-10 boost converter to boost the voltage from one of our truck’s 12 V power sockets (fused at 20 A) to 20 V. The converter’s output voltage is adjustable.

The AC180 limits DC charge current to 8 A for input voltages below 30 V, so I saw 160 W input from this configuration (20 V x 8 A = 160 W).

I could probably increase the converter’s output voltage to ~24 V (for 192 W output) and stay under 16 A (20 A x 80%) from the truck’s power outlet with the engine running.

Assuming 90% charging efficiency, the 160 W configuration could fully recharge the AC180 in about eight hours. Set for 192 W, the recharge time would be about six hours.

I may ultimately go for 180 W (22.5 V x 8 A) and a seven hour recharge period, which would be almost double the “straight 12 V” charge rate (95 W) in about one-half the time.

To conclude, there are at least three options for recharging portable power stations from a vehicle alternator:

1) 12 V directly from a power port    
2) 12 V boosted to ~20 - 24 V (or more) from a power port, an upfitter switch or other high-current source  
3) 12 V - 24 V from a DC power brick plugged into a vehicle 120 Vac inverter

HTH,    
Jim / crewzer

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