I’ve been researching gear and how to live on the road a couple of months now.
All the components of our solar power system arrived recently, but it wasn’t until this past week we have had enough sunshine to test out our gear and learn to use it.
This video gives a good demonstration of the gear we decided upon for our trip. We got the Bluetti EB70s power station and Bluetti PV200 solar panel. We can charge the power bank from the car, house power, or the solar panel, and it should run the fridge in the van any time we have the engine turned off.
We were able to plug the panels into the EB70 and charge it from about 40% to full power in about 5 hours. Because we are in the woods, we don’t really get stationary patches of sunlight, so we had to move the setup all over the yard throughout the day to fully charge it. I can see the benefit of having fixed PV panels on one’s rooftop!
We decided to go with the roof top cargo carrier instead to keep the inside of the van as livable as possible. We are going to have to stow Zack’s seat and blow up his air mattress each night as it is. It seems best to minimize how much gear we have to move around every night to get ready for bed.
This video: https://youtu.be/6ONM8chfVKQ was also super helpful. They had the same van and made their own solar setup, and then upgraded to this system which really seemed much simpler overall.
I’ve also found the Ozark Overland channel very helpful. This video compared several power stations: https://youtu.be/3MHdmc5fGQI I also saw a character comparing the different tech behind the stations before deciding to go with the LiFePO4 type battery in the Bluetti.
I was able to get the solar panel itself shipped directly up to Southeast Alaska, but the power station had to come via freight because it’s essentially a hugemongous battery with multiple sophisticated input and output ports.
The van is getting a full service and inspection this week. Next week the cracked windshield, and tires. When I’ve got it back, I hope to road test the fridge and power station together when out and about running errands to see how they run as a system while driving and stopping.
Here is a great overview of the Bluetti EB70S.