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An Open Letter To Designers & Producers Of Transportable Energy Stations

In recent times there was an enormous rise within the demand and sorts of transportable battery storage techniques accessible to customers. This has introduced an business that virtually didn’t exist 10 years in the past to the forefront. Clients can now purchase transportable batteries that may run home equipment, with sizes starting from 85Wh to almost 20kWh! To not point out the smaller powerbanks which might be USB-powered to cost smartphones/tablets and laptops, with even smaller variations may be discovered as little as 2000mAh and might slot in our pockets.

This open letter is in regards to the options I feel energy stations ought to have that may improve their utility and make them extra client pleasant. Which additionally will increase gross sales.


There are various sizes of energy stations in the marketplace, and clients don’t at all times perceive what dimension they want. Additionally many client home equipment don’t let you know their wattage prominently on the bundle (and most of the people don’t notice they’ll learn the advantageous print on the label on the again to search out peak draw) and lots of units are energy hungry. Therefore cautious sizing of your choices is paramount.

Frankly something underneath 250W for a plug-in equipment energy station is a gimmick. You will get 85W USB/120V energy stations, however they don’t deal with rather more than charging telephones/tablets and perhaps a partial cost of a laptop computer. With 250Wh minimal you possibly can cost virtually any laptop computer and run very small home equipment for an affordable period of time, LED gentle bulbs, radios, some CPAPs with out the humidifier, and so forth.

500Wh is the subsequent dimension up. At this dimension you possibly can run all the things from most CPAP machines (with humidifiers) to laptops to charging cordless energy instruments, a number of hours for many TVs, a transportable fridge for a lot of the day, and so forth.

The advantages of 500W are decrease relative value and low weight/portability. That is in regards to the smallest dimension most individuals ought to goal for when shopping for a transportable energy station.

1kWh is nice for day journeys and satisfactory for emergencies. You may run many home equipment off it, it may well double as emergency energy for the house, it could be very tight, however it may well hold a fridge operating for as much as a day or energy many LED lights and it may be recharged with photo voltaic. It’s nonetheless transportable, however is moving into heavy territory.

2kWh is nice for emergencies and off-grid with photo voltaic. It’s fairly heavy and could also be technically transportable however may be unwieldy. Some producers have been equipping 2kWh+ energy stations with a body on wheels as you discover on many gasoline mills, which is a good suggestion. Mixed with photo voltaic, this could deal with energy outages for a number of days and even longer if the shopper may be very sensible with how they use energy and has adequate panels. After all the worth for this dimension energy station may be very excessive.

Above 2kWh you’re moving into generator substitute territory. At this dimension you possibly can run virtually any plug-in equipment (although relying on wattage, perhaps just for brief durations), and you’ll definitely use it for backups throughout energy outages. Heck, many fridges and freezers can run for 12 hours to 2 days (relying on their effectivity) off a 2kWh energy station earlier than even needing recharging. Additionally, at this dimension, the facility station ought to be capable of put out surge currents to begin home equipment with motors (fridges, window air conditioners, washing machines, and many others.).

And EV charging turns into practical at this energy degree. As excessive discharge charges should not excellent for lithium batteries, the EV charging fee might not a lot greater than Degree One charging, however the portability is wonderful.

The downsides of 2kWh+ energy stations are weight and value.

If you get to 2kWh+, having the characteristic to daisy-chain them could be excellent so clients can proceed so as to add to their storage as their funds allow. Having them work in tandem means they’ll energy a whole residence when mixed with connections to the principle panel, particularly with photo voltaic/wind recharging on web site. The {hardware} to connect with the breaker panel to energy a complete residence off the generator is already offered for gasoline mills.

Thus this basically turns into a DIY (Tesla) powerwall for off-grid use or throughout energy outages.


Energy stations ought to be capable of absolutely cost in 4-6 hours — that is moderately fast however preserves battery longevity. Longer charging intervals make it laborious to make sure the battery may be recharged in a day of photo voltaic charging. Whereas fast charging reduces battery life, it’s a characteristic customers like. Thus it may be value having a selectable characteristic for quick charging, however basically 4-hour charging is an efficient steadiness. Should you can solely design one possibility, select the 4-hour charging for battery longevity.

Have a number of charging choices, just about all energy stations can cost from the grid and most can already cost from photo voltaic, which is great. Guarantee yours can cost from photo voltaic/wind. Many small banks/stations cost from USB, PD charging is a good suggestion, however when you recover from 500Wh it will get sluggish. So it’s a pleasant characteristic if including it doesn’t add a lot value. Additionally in case your energy station can cost from a couple of supply concurrently, ensure to say this within the person handbook, as some energy stations have the flexibility however don’t inform the shopper.

Add the choice for the person to terminate charging at both 50%, 80%, or 100%. No energy station I’m conscious of presently has this characteristic.

The thought behind that is that 50% is a wonderful storage cost for when the facility station is just not in use, which is able to lengthen its longevity. 80% is a wonderful cost degree for traditional use, which additionally extends battery life. Storing at this cost balances energy saved for the day or emergencies vs battery longevity. 100% in fact for when the person wants most storage.

Go-through charging (in a position to plug home equipment into the facility station whereas its charging) is a really helpful characteristic, particularly if the facility station is getting used off-grid or as backup throughout an outage. Make sure that the facility getting used comes from the incoming energy and never the batteries to stop extra cycles getting used up. This additionally permits the facility station for use as an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) which will increase the patron base. Mixed with a 50% and 80% cost termination capacity, it makes it a greater UPS than the lead acid battery items in the marketplace at this time, as it could have greater energy density and longer longevity. Be sure you promote this capacity.

If the facility station is saved at 100% cost, then design it to deliberately drain itself to 80% after every week of non-use so as to maximize battery life. Clarify this characteristic within the house owners handbook.

Measure the phantom drain fee when the facility station is just not in use and inform the person what that is. For instance, in case your energy station makes use of 0.75Wh a day in storage, the person can calculate that at 80% cost on a 500Wh station it’s going to drop to 40% in 266 days. And to 0% in 532 days. Thus the shopper can ensure to high up as wanted. A chart explaining it is a good concept.

Constructed-in Options:

The facility station ought to have a numerical p.c indicator in order that the person is aware of precisely how a lot energy is remaining. Many stations have bars or dots which aren’t very correct, generally being 20-30% off along with having a variety — on a station with Four dots, two dots may imply wherever from 30-70% on some stations. This isn’t exact sufficient for customers.

It’s also a good suggestion to numerically present the wattage draw fee when one thing is plugged in and utilizing energy (some stations even venture time remaining).

Measure and inform the patron the effectivity of the 120/230V inverter and the USB shops and 12V outlet (if relevant). This fashion customers can calculate how a lot vitality they in the end get from the facility station and might plan accordingly, which helps cut back prematurely operating out of energy complaints.

Consumer Data (Manuals):

Give the customers an in depth house owners handbook and a simplified (even laminated) person handbook for on a regular basis reference.

The simplified person handbook ought to clarify:

  • The surge and steady energy charges the station can present
  • The 50%-80%-100% charging characteristic and find out how to activate it
  • The cost strategies accessible and the way lengthy they take to cost to 80% and 100% from empty (if not similar)
  • The effectivity of inverters for plug in home equipment, USB and/or 12V outputs
  • The model/mannequin of battery inside the facility station and what number of cycles it’s rated for


If the facility station has a built-in fan, then run it as wanted as an alternative of repeatedly. Low attracts mustn’t require it in any respect, decreasing noise and lengthening battery life.

Inform customers what model and mannequin of battery is used within the energy station and the variety of cycles these batteries are rated for.

Educate clients on finest practices for battery/energy station longevity, together with the 50% storage cost and 80% charging options. Or you possibly can hyperlink to my Lithium-Ion Battery Care Guide. Please don’t steal it with out permission, although.

Make sure to state the height wattage and fixed wattage the facility station is ready to produce. That is widespread already, however not common. Most lithium can maintain 1C and produce 2-3C in surge energy. Measurement your inverters for this.

Contemplate including a battery well being monitor. Laptops and cell telephones from Apple and Android (utilizing Accubattery) can calculate battery well being (capability). Some powerbanks similar to this one let you know what p.c of original battery capacity is remaining. You would possibly even think about including cycle rely to the displayed well being knowledge.

After all, aggressive pricing is essential. And it’s at all times a top quality vs pricing trade-off, however producing a product that has a brief lifetime will give your organization and the business a nasty popularity, so be sure you design your energy station for longevity whereas promoting for a aggressive worth.

And at last, sturdy warranties bolster client belief and improve your Amazon scores and repeat gross sales, bringing in new clients. 5 years or extra of guarantee needs to be achievable for the reason that electronics should not costly to make durably and there are various battery choices with 1000+ cycle lives. Heck, with LiFePO4, over 3000 cycles is achievable.


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