Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
PSA
Member Login

Site Notices
2/21/2020 11:35:28 PM
Posted: 10/26/2018 6:06:58 PM EST
I want portable power. I have two uses in mind. One, run my CPAP on camping trips. Two, QRP radio work. The CPAP has a 2.3A draw, my KX3 pulls about 2.5A at 10W.

I am considering two packs:
Bioenno 120
GoalZero 150

The Bioenno is lighter (3.6# vs. 12#)
The GoalZero has more capacity (14AH vs. 10AH)
Almost the same price (~$200)
Both will charge from 120VAC or 12VDC.
Both are solar-ready.
Both will put out AC, but the Bioenno has more current (1.1A vs. 0.7A).
GoalZero says they can't be daisy-chained. Not sure about the Bioenno.
Bioenno comes with a pigtail to Powerpole.
GoalZero has a cigarette lighter to adapt directly to the CPAP.

I could build one. I came up with one based on a .50 ammo can, but parts came to $130 before I got to the batteries. If it was just radio, I'd build. Since I need the thing to sleep and I'll need it soon (like two weeks before the next Scout camping trip), I want to buy a commercial solution.

What do you think?
Link Posted: 10/26/2018 7:45:46 PM EST
Build your own for way less. You can get a large SLA battery for cheap. Add on the inverters, chargers, solar, etc yourself.
Link Posted: 10/26/2018 8:09:56 PM EST
Go with the Bioenno for one reason. It's LifePO4. You can take the charge down farther, and it will charge faster.

You can also get the same sized Bioenno battery cheaper, and with $20 buy a charge controller.

The only reason I see to buy a set up like this, is because you want an all inclusive unit. If you're going this route, get the Bioenno. Goal Zero is not LifePO4, and is not meant for much more than charging a cellphone at Burning Man.
Link Posted: 10/26/2018 8:20:28 PM EST
Bioenno is what I use out in the field.
Link Posted: 10/26/2018 8:25:39 PM EST
Anything you buy from Goal Zero is insanely overpriced.
Link Posted: 10/27/2018 8:50:25 AM EST
Originally Posted By ThereBeDragoons:
Go with the Bioenno for one reason. It's LifePO4. You can take the charge down farther, and it will charge faster.

You can also get the same sized Bioenno battery cheaper, and with $20 buy a charge controller.

The only reason I see to buy a set up like this, is because you want an all inclusive unit. If you're going this route, get the Bioenno. Goal Zero is not LifePO4, and is not meant for much more than charging a cellphone at Burning Man.
View Quote
I want a turnkey solution. By the time I priced out all the doodads to mimic the function of either one, I was near two-thirds the price before batteries. After acquisition, I'd have to build it and test it before the next camping trip.

Originally Posted By otar:
Bioenno is what I use out in the field.
View Quote
I see that consistently from the radio side of things.

Originally Posted By GlutealCleft:
Anything you buy from Goal Zero is insanely overpriced.
View Quote
The more I read, the more I believe that.

Thanks for the help, guys.
Link Posted: 10/27/2018 8:51:19 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Foxxz:
Build your own for way less. You can get a large SLA battery for cheap. Add on the inverters, chargers, solar, etc yourself.
View Quote
I know. The DIY spirit of ham radio is shaming me. I need to sleep, though.
Link Posted: 10/27/2018 8:52:43 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Foxxz:
Build your own for way less.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Foxxz:
Build your own for way less.
This.

You can get a large SLA battery for cheap. Add on the inverters, chargers, solar, etc yourself.
I'm working up a portable power box for emcomm right now and i've decided to go SLA with a 22 amp hour battery. SLA chargers aren't very much either.

I'd love to go LifePo4, but they are just to expensive for me to buy right now. Yeah, I know they last longer and are cheaper in the long run, but when you don't have the money to buy them, you don't have the money to buy them.
Link Posted: 10/27/2018 3:48:45 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By GlutealCleft:
Anything you buy from Goal Zero is insanely overpriced.
View Quote
Yeah, the SHERPA 100AC POWER BANK looked great till I saw the $299.95 price.
Link Posted: 10/27/2018 7:12:22 PM EST
I will post a picture of my portable power setup in the morning.

Is there a reason you need AC?
Link Posted: 10/27/2018 8:37:10 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By gcw:
I will post a picture of my portable power setup in the morning.

Is there a reason you need AC?
View Quote
No reason. Radios all run off DC, CPAP has a DC adapter. I need DC and AC charging options, though.
Link Posted: 10/28/2018 1:05:26 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By GlutealCleft:
Anything you buy from Goal Zero is insanely overpriced.
View Quote
Yup. The rule of thumb with GZ is divide cost by 4 to find almost the same thing from another manufactuer thats "almost" the same thing. Sometimes that "almost" means you might have to buy the GZ unit.
Link Posted: 10/28/2018 4:44:18 PM EST
I have two Bioenno units, a PowerPack400 that I took to Puerto Rico and a 280. I've also got a small Goal Zero that I bought on clearance.

The week I got here, the apartment folks said there would be a power outage to repair a transformer for my building. They said it would be from 4am to 7am. So, I set up my Bioenno unit and plugged my CPAP AC adapter in. Well, the power didn't go off til 430am and it didn't come back on by the time I left for work at 9. But, from 430 to 830, my CPAP was running fine. When I checked the battery level on the Bioenno, it only had lost one bar. I have no doubt it would last 10+ hours powering the CPAP.

The Bioenno 400 has a 35Ah battery in it (400W-hr) and it's about 11lbs. I've carried it and my CPAP machine as a carry-on on multiple flights. My 35Ah SLA battery weighs in at 28lbs bare. On the other hand, the 35Ah SLA was ~70bux by itself at Harbor Freight. The Bioenno 400 was just under 400bux (although it includes a built-in solar charger, a 300W pure sine inverter, 12V cig lighter socket and USB outlets and comes with a big wall wart).
Link Posted: 10/28/2018 8:19:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/28/2018 10:39:33 PM EST by ar-jedi]
you can build one of these power boxes yourself using parts entirely sourced from amazon.

i designed this to be KISS, and to provide a lot of light for a long time (~10hrs), and/or 12AH of power on-hand via the standard Anderson power-pole connector.
the foam in the box is just to keep the battery from sliding around during transport. the box is a Plano "ammo box". battery recharging is via a Battery Tender Jr.

wiring should be self-explanatory, there really is nothing to this design. if you know how to use a driver-drill and a crimp tool, this is a 30 minute project.

Plano box: US$5.97 amazon prime -- holds 12V 12AH agm gel-cell perfectly.
Battery tender Jr: US$24.32 amazon prime
12V 12AH battery: US$29.19 free shipping

ar-jedi



















Link Posted: 11/22/2018 9:45:19 AM EST
As an update, I did buy a Bioenno 20Ah battery and their charger. The closed-cell foam it came in fits PERFECTLY in one end of a linked-556 ammo can. I tested it the last two nights running the CPAP and had 11.2V this morning. I think it is going to work well.

I ordered a few panel-mount goodies and a powerpole splitter so I can build a little console inside the box to make it simple. As soon as the parts come in, I'll document the construction and share it.

Thanks to all that supplied opinions.
Link Posted: 11/22/2018 1:47:52 PM EST
incidentally, i see today that PowerWerx now has pre-built power boxes, with different versions for different size/capacity batteries.

clicky:
https://powerwerx.com/batteries-chargers

ar-jedi

example:





Link Posted: 11/22/2018 5:19:23 PM EST
Those Powerwerx boxes are REALLY nice. I bought one with the 40AHr battery, and it ran my portable IC-7200, tuner and led light for field day at 100 watts for 24 hours. (I wasn't operating full time, but a lot of it.)

I already had another Bioenno 15 AHr battery on hand, so I picked up the identical ammo box on Amazon for about $10, got the DC panel mount guage, breaker and USB dingus from Powerwerx, a couple of terminals and a few powerpole connectors and I built another box identical to the Powerwerx one except without the 12V cig lighter plug. The 15 AHr battery is quite a bit smaller than the 40 AHr battery, so there is room in the ammo box for the charger, an Epic Powergate (for the solar charger) a bunch of different adapter cables, spare fuses and whatnot. Carrying those two ammo boxes on a portable op (and a 100W solar panel) fixes me up for power pretty good.
Link Posted: 11/25/2018 1:23:26 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/14/2018 10:17:30 AM EST
i crafted an inexpensive DIY power box. pictures should be self-explanatory.

a couple of notes:

1) while looking for a couple of things on amazon, i tripped over a "laptop reading light" -- it's basically a bunch of LEDs on a semi-flexible cable, powered by a USB port. it's design intent is such that you plug it in while on a plane or when in bed, position the LED strip, and then you can see the keyboard for typing. i thought this might be useful for those SHTF situations where you don't need 87,000 candlepower from your nuclear-powered tactical flashlight, but instead just need low-power, soft illumination to eat by, or similar. the LEDs-on-a-stiff-cable light i bought has three intensity settings, and folds in half for storage right into the box. i can see good utility here.

2) i liked the idea of having a USB charging port built-in. i liked the idea of having a switched USB port, this way the USB dc/dc converter isn't draining the battery all the time even without any USB client attached. i liked the idea of having an integral voltmeter as well. it turns out all three are available in one 29mm dia mount device. it's handy. what i *don't* like is the voltmeter implementation of the particular device i got off amazon is pretty hokey. the voltmeter reading is highly dependent on the load on the USB port. so, no load = meter reads close to the correct battery voltage. but, high load (e.g. charging an almost dead iPhone) = meter reading is off by up to 250mV (0.25V). they could have done better, but it's cheap.

3) the powerwerx 29mm dia powerpole x 2 adapter pricing makes me gag a bit. the adapter was on sale on black friday, but was still expensive.

4) after drilling the 29mm (1-1/8") dia holes in the place that i did, you'll need to use a pair of dykes to trim away some of the lid's internal ribbing to make some room for the castle nuts that hold the threaded adapters in place.

so:
plastic box $4.16: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005IURN5M
USB charger socket $13.28: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F73MGX8/
powerpole socket $19.99: https://powerwerx.com/panelpole-panel-mount-powerpole-housing
USB reading lamp $9.99: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XH9XR12
+12V/12AH battery
+ misc wiring and connectors

ar-jedi































ps

the following picture is taken with the shop lights completely off, and the USB-powered LED reading light set on "HIGH":

Link Posted: 12/14/2018 11:20:35 PM EST
I've got a 20Ah LiFePO4 sitting here waiting for a home and that looks like just the ticket. Thanks for sharing!
Link Posted: 12/14/2018 11:39:59 PM EST
I bought a Marine/RV battery and a trolling motor case that has build in cigarette lighter socket, screw posts, one USB port and on-demand power meter.
https://www.amazon.com/Newport-Vessels-Trolling-Battery-Center/dp/B01AE2TG7G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1544848699&sr=8-1&keywords=Newport+Vessels+Trolling+Motor+Smart+Battery+­Box+Power+Center+with+USB+Charger

For a 4-night camping trip, it powered both my wife's and my CPAPs without any problems and was only down 1 bar after those nights (we were not using the humidifiers). We used 12v power supplies on the CPAPs and an extra cig lighter adapter attached to the screw posts. Lots of power available. Charge it back up with a car battery charger/tender or could be done with a car (not ideal, that).

Rob
Link Posted: 12/24/2018 12:58:12 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/24/2018 12:58:42 PM EST by Jupiter7200]
Also see this month's issue of QST (ARRL magazine) January 2019 issue, page 30, "Build a Portable DC Power Box."

Like all of these, extensive use of Anderson Powerpoles.

And if you aren't using Powerpoles on your gear, it's time to do so. Get with the program. Don't tell me about how
great Molex connectors are. They aren't. Powerpoles are superior in every way.
Link Posted: 12/24/2018 2:28:07 PM EST
FYI: I have a Goal Zero Sherpa 50. It's a great little power bank BUT....... It puts out tons of RFI on HF frequencies. I tried adding RF chokes on the power cable but it made no noticeable difference. The noise probably comes from the internal DC to DC converter. It's unusable with the radios.
Link Posted: 12/24/2018 3:57:52 PM EST
Have always had good results with Bioenno LiFePO4 batteries for my transportable HF stations.
Link Posted: 1/5/2019 4:16:01 PM EST
two power boxes now -- one equipped with receptacles and a worklight, and the other simply with the receptacles...
by next week i'll change my mind again and do something different to the box without the worklight.

ar-jedi











Link Posted: 1/5/2019 4:58:00 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/5/2019 5:17:53 PM EST by Delbaeth]
If you are not in a rush, this can be waaaay cheaper if you buy direct from. China off eBay. For example:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/QC-3-0-Motorcycle-Boat-Car-USB-Charger-Socket-LED-Voltmeter-With-ON-OFF-Switch/223247493239?hash=item33fa966877:m:mjKemEY_GPuUTwoelX_LFww

Looks like a neat little project.

ETA: cheaper on SLA battery as well, depending on shipping.

https://www.batterysharks.com/12-Volt-12-Amp-HR-Sealed-Lead-Acid-Battery-p/12v-12ah-hr_ups12-12.htm

That site has a nice chart for batteries by volts and amps that includes dimensions. Might be able to stuff a larger capacity battery in there.
Link Posted: 1/5/2019 11:38:43 PM EST
BTW, I think I mentioned this in my PR thread, but if you decide to get the Bioenno Power Pack 400 (which is a nice little unit), be aware that the wall-wart charger puts out crazy stupid levels of RFI on VHF. Didn't notice any issues on HF.

The unit is nice by itself because it comes with a 35Ah LiFePO4 battery, solar charger, 300W pure sine inverter, 12 cig lighter output, USB output, and a wall charger. It only weighs around 11lbs. and was easy to carry on the airplane with my CPAP. I've used both a 105W and a 200W folding solar panel to charge it up and works great.

I've got a couple of stand-alone Bioenno LiFePO4 batteries (a 12Ah and a 15Ah) so I may pick up a couple of those Powerwerx portable boxes to put them in.
Link Posted: 1/19/2019 10:32:35 PM EST
I blame ar-jedi.

Attachment Attached File
Link Posted: 1/19/2019 11:55:36 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By otar:
I blame ar-jedi.

https://www.AR15.Com/media/mediaFiles/40183/battbox_jpg-814238.JPG
View Quote
nice work!

ps
tell these people how perfectly a 12V 12AH battery fits into that Plano box!
Link Posted: 1/20/2019 12:37:57 AM EST
I'm thinking about ordering a Jackery 240 https://www.jackery.com/product/explorer-240/
Link Posted: 1/20/2019 12:46:51 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ar-jedi:

nice work!

ps
tell these people how perfectly a 12V 12AH battery fits into that Plano box!
View Quote
No clue. This one has my 15Ah LiFePo4. Plenty of room and it weighs almost nothing.
I picked up an orange box also. along with a set of 10 watt automotive flood lights. I'm going to mount one of those lights on the orange and slap a switch on it.
I haven't quite decided if that one will get the power poles or USB, or a combo. I dont have a battery on hand for it, so I will look at a 12Ah SLA.
Link Posted: 1/22/2019 10:33:18 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By otar:
No clue. This one has my 15Ah LiFePo4. Plenty of room and it weighs almost nothing.
View Quote
i pressed F5 all day; still no pictures of the inside!
Link Posted: 1/23/2019 10:19:21 AM EST
Hard to beat the full integration of the Bienno, but if you wanted to do it on the cheap, I would use something like this: 12v 12ah LiFePo4 from AliExpress
Link Posted: 1/25/2019 9:05:07 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ar-jedi:

i pressed F5 all day; still no pictures of the inside!
View Quote
Inside is boring.
Attachment Attached File


I got bored so another popped up. This one is a light box and has an actual 10Ah SLA (got it cheap from my supplier) 10 watt flood.
Attachment Attached File
Top Top