What is the best portable power? Yeti, ARK? Is there another?

john61ct

Adventurer
The 50 Ah Battle Born can discharge at 60 A continuous but I think BB still holds the 0.5C recommendation for most optimal charging with longevity in mind
Yes discharge rating has little to do with max charge rate, usually at least double.

My question isn't BB's "recommendation", which in reality should be a graphed curve, C-rate vs ambient temperature

But the maximum charge rate permitted by their protective circuitry, which I understand cannot be bypassed.
 

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MagicMtnDan

JT Rubicon Launch Edition & 2017 Raptor (#2)
I don't have layouts but can try to do a drawing of how I wired it. Here's a picture of the internals that I wired up for a test run. I've since added loom to the bare wires and paired some of them up together using cable ties to clean up the aesthetics and make it slightly easier to add/remove things. I also plan on labeling wires in the future just to make it easy to identify and trace faults etc.

I used a coupon and got a great deal on the Renogy 20A DC-DC charger and actually bought it before I decided to pursue this particular battery box design. I paid around $100 for it so it offered great value that I didn't want to pass on. In hindsight, I'd probably not go for it again because it is big and loud though with its DIP switches I can set LiFePO4 voltage anywhere between 14.2 and 14.6 and an ignition wire allows me to not worry about the smart voltage sense etc. I have it wired to a switch and I turn it on when I want to use DC-DC instead of it always turning on with the ignition. Right now it is doing its job, but I may replace it at a later date with a Victron 30 Amp in case I need to utilize the space for something else.

If you are interested in an integrated dc-dc charger within this form factor, then hit up @cruxarche as he has installed an 18 Amp Victron smart DC-DC charger inside the very same Milwaukee packout box and it just fits with almost the same components that I've used. We both needed a similar solution around the same time and build our systems together over private messages on this froum and via text..lol..His set up came out really nice and he used the same battery and has an MPPT and DC-DC charger, Anderson powerpole and SB-50 connectors and USB charging etc.

The Milwaukee packout family of tool boxes and other hardware comes with an integrated lockable feet design that lock into a mounting plate that they also sell. These can be horizontally or vertically mounted and tool boxes can be secured on them up to the weight rating of these boxes . It is a very sturdy latch and folks have demonstrated this by hanging off of it. The problem with the Milwaukee branded mounting plates is that they only come in a particular size that accommodates two of these packout tool boxes (this is the medium sized / 10" tool box) side by side. Since I only had one and didn't have use for the second, I wanted to see if I could get a "half plate" instead that has just large enough a footprint to accommodate one of these boxes. This would save some space. Milwaukee doesn't make a half plate. I did a bit of digging and found that there is an Instagram user ("rainbowlanespeed") who sells half-plates in both steel and aluminum. You can see the half plate that I chose (steel) in the second picture, and it attached to my drawer system where the aux battery will live right next to my fridge. I like the plate as it is one less thing that I have to worry about strapping down.



Yeah I can totally see me trying that out in the near-mid term and trying to see if I can squeeze in more capacity in the same form factor. For now though this is more than plenty for our needs. The 50 Ah Battle Born can discharge at 60 A continuous but I think BB still holds the 0.5C recommendation for most optimal charging with longevity in mind. I currently use a 20A charger but the max that I'll ever think of putting into mine is 30A which should be fine. 30A is also the upper limit of what my current vehicle wiring and alternator will comfortably handle given everything else that I've used so its probably a good max for me at the moment. Coming from LA though these things are nearly magical in terms of how fast they are capable of charging. I currently have a 10 A AC-DC charger but will probably upgrade to a 25 or 30 Amp option for fast Ac charging when plugged in. We don't often plug into a camp site so rapid AC-DC charging when on the go is not that appealing compared to DC-DC and solar charging.

SUPER helpful - thanks for the detailed response. Thanks for the info on the mounting plate!

Some additional notes and questions:
  • I didn't see a thread by @cruxarche for his Portable Power Box - I will keep looking and consider reaching out to him
  • I understand the huge value in learning (and duplicating) others' work so I can try to avoid making dumb mistakes figuring stuff out
  • This may be a dumb question but would incorporating a trickle charger into the box be a good idea to keep the battery topped off since I don't plan on keeping it in a vehicle?
  • Once I build a functioning box I would like to take the next step and charge it with a portable solar system - I assume I need another unit - a solar Charge Controller like the Victron SmartSolar unit shown here:
  • I assume there's no product that is both a DC-to-DC charger AND a solar charge controller or is there?
  • If I need to add a Solar Charge Controller would there be a benefit to fit it into the Portable Power box (probably not enough room then it's a theoretical question)?
  • How do I determine the Amperage of the DC-to-DC charger I need? I see you have the Renogy 20A but you mention a 30A - how do I know which one to buy? (like you I won't plug into a campsite very often if ever)
Thanks again for the time you've put into sharing your experience and knowledge!
 

vomhorizon

Active member
  • This may be a dumb question but would incorporating a trickle charger into the box be a good idea to keep the battery topped off since I don't plan on keeping it in a vehicle?
Yeah that wouldn't be a bad idea though if you want both an AC to DC and DC-DC charger in there then you would have to get a little more creative as it will be a tight fit (you may have to find a smaller battery than the one I used). I use my AC-DC charger to charge both my starter AGM and this battery so thought it would be best that it lived externally. I did clip it its terminals and wired in powerpole connectors so that it connects to my Anderson powerpole socket for charging. I guess you could seek out a very small trickle charger and get it to fit (in addition to a DC-DC).

Once I build a functioning box I would like to take the next step and charge it with a portable solar system - I assume I need another unit - a solar Charge Controller like the Victron SmartSolar unit shown here:
Yeah a charge controller can easily be integrated. I have a Victron MPPT in the box (Its right below the fuse block in the picture I shared earlier). In my case, the solar charger input is through a SB-50 anderson plug. I have a 100 Watt solar panel mounted on my roof rack. I have solar cables coming off of it terminating in an anderson plug inside the vehicle. When I need to charge my aux battery box, I connect them to the box and likewise when I want to charge my starter battery, I connect them to a small PWM charger I have mounted in my vehicle. I've wired my vehicle in such a way that it can supply power to my fridge and all other accessories either via the aux battery box or with the starter battery (naturally the starter being a smaller AGM won't last as long). I initially did this because I planned on having just one large battery power all my needs, but since then this has grown into a backup in case I go on a longer trip or have a few bad days of solar and need some extra power to get through the trip.
 
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MagicMtnDan

JT Rubicon Launch Edition & 2017 Raptor (#2)
Yeah that wouldn't be a bad idea though if you want both an AC to DC and DC-DC charger in there then you would have to get a little more creative as it will be a tight fit (you may have to find a smaller battery than the one I used). I use my AC-DC charger to charge both my starter AGM and this battery so thought it would be best that it lived externally. I did clip it its terminals and wired in powerpole connectors so that it connects to my Anderson powerpole socket for charging. I guess you could seek out a very small trickle charger and get it to fit (in addition to a DC-DC).



Yeah a charge controller can easily be integrated. I have a Victron MPPT in the box (Its right below the fuse block in the picture I shared earlier). In my case, the solar charger input is through a SB-50 anderson plug. I have a 100 Watt solar panel mounted on my roof rack. I have solar cables coming off of it terminating in an anderson plug inside the vehicle. When I need to charge my aux battery box, I connect them to the box and likewise when I want to charge my starter battery, I connect them to a small PWM charger I have mounted in my vehicle. I've wired my vehicle in such a way that it can supply power to my fridge and all other accessories either via the aux battery box or with the starter battery (naturally the starter being a smaller AGM won't last as long). I initially did this because I planned on having just one large battery power all my needs, but since then this has grown into a backup in case I go on a longer trip or have a few bad days of solar and need some extra power to get through the trip.

Thanks! With everyone of your posts I learn something but...I have more questions. If I understand what you've said, HOW are you charging your vehicle battery AND your house/box battery with your DC-to-DC charger? (how is that wired/connected?)

Oh, and do you have a pic of your 100w solar panel mounted on your roof rack? That's what I'm interested in doing...
 

vomhorizon

Active member
If I understand what you've said, HOW are you charging your vehicle battery AND your house/box battery with your DC-to-DC charger? (how is that wired/connected?)
The DC-DC is only charging my house/box battery. It's the solar that is capable of charging either. The DC-DC charger is located in the rear of my vehicle and is connected to the starter battery via a fuse block that I have installed in the jack storage area of my vehicle. I connect it to my box via an Anderson SB50 connection. The solar likewise comes in through the roof and and terminates in the trunk. From there I can either connect it to my aux battery as it has a charge controller in the box, or I can connect it to a externally mounted PWM charge controller. When the box isn't inside, I use the solar panel to keep my starter topped up. The second pic is how my solar cables terminate in the rear of my vehicle. If I want to plug solar into the box I just run a wire from one anderson connector to the one on the box. if I need to solar charge my vehicle battery then I simply connect the same to my external PWM.
 

Attachments

cruxarche

Observer
SUPER helpful - thanks for the detailed response. Thanks for the info on the mounting plate!

Some additional notes and questions:
  • I didn't see a thread by @cruxarche for his Portable Power Box - I will keep looking and consider reaching out to him
  • I understand the huge value in learning (and duplicating) others' work so I can try to avoid making dumb mistakes figuring stuff out
  • This may be a dumb question but would incorporating a trickle charger into the box be a good idea to keep the battery topped off since I don't plan on keeping it in a vehicle?
  • Once I build a functioning box I would like to take the next step and charge it with a portable solar system - I assume I need another unit - a solar Charge Controller like the Victron SmartSolar unit shown here:
  • I assume there's no product that is both a DC-to-DC charger AND a solar charge controller or is there?
  • If I need to add a Solar Charge Controller would there be a benefit to fit it into the Portable Power box (probably not enough room then it's a theoretical question)?
  • How do I determine the Amperage of the DC-to-DC charger I need? I see you have the Renogy 20A but you mention a 30A - how do I know which one to buy? (like you I won't plug into a campsite very often if ever)
Thanks again for the time you've put into sharing your experience and knowledge!
Hi Magic
SUPER helpful - thanks for the detailed response. Thanks for the info on the mounting plate!

Some additional notes and questions:
  • I didn't see a thread by @cruxarche for his Portable Power Box - I will keep looking and consider reaching out to him
  • I understand the huge value in learning (and duplicating) others' work so I can try to avoid making dumb mistakes figuring stuff out
  • This may be a dumb question but would incorporating a trickle charger into the box be a good idea to keep the battery topped off since I don't plan on keeping it in a vehicle?
  • Once I build a functioning box I would like to take the next step and charge it with a portable solar system - I assume I need another unit - a solar Charge Controller like the Victron SmartSolar unit shown here:
  • I assume there's no product that is both a DC-to-DC charger AND a solar charge controller or is there?
  • If I need to add a Solar Charge Controller would there be a benefit to fit it into the Portable Power box (probably not enough room then it's a theoretical question)?
  • How do I determine the Amperage of the DC-to-DC charger I need? I see you have the Renogy 20A but you mention a 30A - how do I know which one to buy? (like you I won't plug into a campsite very often if ever)
Thanks again for the time you've put into sharing your experience and knowledge!
Hey @MagicMtnDan
I saw you were looking for a picture of my battery box. Here it is. Was there something specific you wanted to see?
 

Attachments

MagicMtnDan

JT Rubicon Launch Edition & 2017 Raptor (#2)
Hi Magic

Hey @MagicMtnDan
I saw you were looking for a picture of my battery box. Here it is. Was there something specific you wanted to see?
Hi Cruxarche, thanks for posting the pics. "Something specific I want to see?"

Yes (y) everything 😁 I'd be ever grateful if you'd post a complete list of components as well as any suggestions or ideas on if/how you could improve upon it as I want to build one of these to use with my trucks when I'm offroading/camping/overlanding. I've used dual battery systems in the past and had been thinking about going with one in my Jeep but that won't help me with my other truck so a portable battery box with solar charging capabilities is ideal (and it may be less or as costly but with greater functionality).

I'm still trying to understand the design, components and all the functionality that you and Vomhorizon designed into your battery boxes. Sounds like Vomhorizon has his solar charging both his battery box battery and the starting battery and I haven't quite grasped how that's done.

I'm convinced this is THE way to go. Just need to make sure I understand what's involved and how everything is wired/connected and then I'm buying and building.

Thanks again to you and Vomhorizon for showing me/us the way! Very impressive!
 

MagicMtnDan

JT Rubicon Launch Edition & 2017 Raptor (#2)
I just found this Duracell PowerSource 660 PowerSource
1440-Watt Quiet and Portable Battery Powered Generator with Solar and Daisy Chaining Capabilities with:

  • 660 Watt Hour Battery Capacity ( 12V, 55Ah)
  • 4 AC Outlets for Powering Household Items
  • 2 USB Ports for On-the-Go Power
  • LCD Power Display
  • Daisy Chaining: Threaded terminals for secure connection to additional batteries
  • Built-in solar controller with Anderson connector for 10Hr recharging
Costco is selling this thing for $499.99 which is way less than Amazon's price of $649.99

It's AGM battery powered and I don't think the battery can be replaced (according to a poster on Amazon).

What are your thoughts about this power box?

Some links:

 

plh

Explorer
neet. I'm not in need to use 120V A/C when camping, but could be used as a portable source for other things. Funny that the web link says 660 amp/hours in the text - ha - no way! It is corrected to 55 amp/hrs in the lower chart. Being its AGM or SLA, 50% discharge might run my Edgestar fridge for a day. I'll stick with my 120 amp/hr Li-Ion pack.
 
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Verkstad

Raggarkung
No experience with the thing, but to read its ’specs, one might think Duracell needs a better proofreader.
BBC7789A-1FBF-46E6-B3A6-426A3E3991E1.jpeg
Further, they might reconsider the term ”daisychain”.
When I worked in a certain Denver neighborhood, I found that term ”daisychain” a popular topic but nothing to do with electricity.

I just found this Duracell PowerSource 660 PowerSource
1440-Watt Quiet and Portable Battery Powered Generator with Solar and Daisy Chaining Capabilities with:

  • 660 Watt Hour Battery Capacity ( 12V, 55Ah)
  • 4 AC Outlets for Powering Household Items
  • 2 USB Ports for On-the-Go Power
  • LCD Power Display
  • Daisy Chaining: Threaded terminals for secure connection to additional batteries
  • Built-in solar controller with Anderson connector for 10Hr recharging
Costco is selling this thing for $499.99 which is way less than Amazon's price of $649.99

It's AGM battery powered and I don't think the battery can be replaced (according to a poster on Amazon).

What are your thoughts about this power box?

Some links:

 
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Reactions: plh

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
10 hours to recharge a 55AH battery? That seems pretty slow. Assuming a 50% capacity battery that works out to 2.75 ah charging? A 100W solar panel ought to be able to put out at least 5.5 - 6 amps on a good day, right?
 

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vomhorizon

Active member
I just found this Duracell PowerSource 660 PowerSource
1440-Watt Quiet and Portable Battery Powered Generator with Solar and Daisy Chaining Capabilities with:

  • 660 Watt Hour Battery Capacity ( 12V, 55Ah)
  • 4 AC Outlets for Powering Household Items
  • 2 USB Ports for On-the-Go Power
  • LCD Power Display
  • Daisy Chaining: Threaded terminals for secure connection to additional batteries
  • Built-in solar controller with Anderson connector for 10Hr recharging

Nearly 70 lbs for around 27 Ah of usable capacity. Plus slow charging. If you want the affordability of an AGM system at the expense of capacity and portability, I would suggest you build something around say a Trojan deep cycle AGM. You should be able to pick up a 90-100 Ah AGM for around $250 and build a battery box around it. You choose the components and each has its own warranty. If upfront cost is doable then LiFePO4 will pay off in the end with its ability to cycle. Unless you live off-grid and cycle daily, you'll probably get a dozen or more years out of it with a manageable impact on battery capacity . Plus these things charge super fast. With the right DC-DC or AC-DC charger, I can technically charge up my battery to 100% in about an hour. You can't do that with an equivalent (available power) AGM (which would roughly be Group 27/31 in this case).

In my research (before I built my own) the Goal Zero 500X, and the Dometic LiFePO4 units were the best options with the Jackery being the most affordable but not as feature rich. They all (in the $400-800 price point) suffered from slow DC-DC and/or AC-DC charge rates. And they all had a sub 2-3 year warranty which is a joke for a lithium based system that will last you a long time (so you are on your own if any of the components around the battery develops a fault).
 

plh

Explorer
Trojan deep cycle AGM. You should be able to pick up a 90-100 Ah AGM for around $250 and build a battery box around it.

If upfront cost is doable then LiFePO4 will pay off in the end with its ability to cycle.
Yeah the Trojan 100 Ah is a good battery. Nice and heavy (I have 2). When I built my Li-ion pack there was a glut of Panasonic NCR18650BD available reasonably priced, does not seam to the the case now, so I bought several hundred of them. 160 ended up in my "camping" pack in a 4S40P configuration.

If I were to build something today I'd go with a DIY pack with LiFePO4. Its a better and easier to work with battery for this type of application.
 
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