Are you ready to power up your camper van adventures? I am super excited to be sharing a really simple solution to campervan electrical systems, something that stymies lots of DIY van builders.
Join us for a chat with Gregory Keith, founder of Camper Van HQ and author of the Sprinter RV Conversion Source Book. We shine a light on the innovative EcoFlow Power Kit - a game changer that's redefining the DIY van life experience.
Ever wondered about the common pitfalls of wiring a van system? We've got you covered. Gregory and I dissect the dangers of improper cable fusing, crimping, and the risk of incorrectly vented propane appliances – illuminating the potential hazards that come with van conversion. We also put the spotlight on different battery sizes, discussing the pros and cons of the five-kilowatt battery and four lithium batteries, and the importance of keeping lithium batteries warm.
We don't just stop at identifying potential issues, we provide solutions. Discover how the EcoFlow Power Kit simplifies the process of installing an electrical system in your van. Learn about its power hub which consolidates five components into one compact box and how it comes with pre-provided cabling, reducing the need for a multitude of other components. Gregory shares valuable insights on how to select the right battery system for your van and how to calculate your power needs. Let's power your camper van adventures together.
Remember to use the coupon code WAYWARD 10 to get 10% off an EcoFlow Power Kit if you spend over $4,000.
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Find out more about Q&A Day, where you'll get 1-1 virtual coaching with me: https://thewaywardhome.lpages.co/qa-day-podcast
Want to live the van life but have no idea where to start? My FREE Van Life Starter kit has specs and measurements on 10 different vans, van buying and build ideas, remote work ideas and websites I use to find free campsites.
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Connect with Kristin Hanes and The Wayward Home!
Well, figuring out how to add a power system to a DIY camper van can be a total headache. You have to figure out whether you want a solar system with a battery bank, a portable power station, and just how much power you need to live comfortably. In both of my vans a Chevy Astro and now a Sprinter van we've had a solar system with batteries, solar panels, an inverter, a solar charge controller the whole nine yards. This can be intimidating for some people, especially if you're not an electrician. I'm lucky that my partner, tom, is an electrical contractor and knows how to install electrical systems, but otherwise it can be pretty challenging to figure out. And if you hear a little buzzing in the background, that's because Tom is out sanding on our sailboat. Right now We're in a boat yard where the work happens, but I still have to record my podcast right. But today I'm really excited that there's a new plug and play power system out there that's making DIY electrical systems for camper vans so much easier. I can't wait to tell you about it on this episode of the Wayward Home Podcast. Let's go. Welcome to the Wayward Home Podcast. All about van life, boat life and nomadic living. We'll bring you tips, interviews and stories from the road and on the water. Now here's your host, kristen Haynes. Hey there, i'm Kristen Haynes with thewaywardhomecom, and I spend half the year in my camper van and half on my sailboat where I am right now in Mexico in a boat yard while recording this particular episode. My goal is to help you achieve your nomadic living dreams. So today on the Wayward Home Podcast, we're talking all about electrical systems for camper vans, specifically a brand new one called the EcoFlow Power Kit, which is basically a plug and play system for vans that anyone can install. This is super exciting for the DIY van life world. If you want to check it out right now, go to thewaywardhomecom forward slash ecoflow and use the coupon code WAYWARD10 for 10% off your order over $4,000. You can also find all this information in the show notes below the episode or at thewaywardhomecom. So today I'm having Gregory Keith on the Wayward Home Podcast to tell us all about these EcoFlow power kits. Gregory is founder of Camper Van HQ, which is an amazing online store with tons of components for your camper van build. Greg has also built out his own camper vans and is author of the book, the Sprinter RV Conversion Source Book. Greg, thanks so much for joining us today on the Wayward Home Podcast to talk about these exciting power kits. We're so happy to have you here.Speaker 2:
Sure thanks for having me.Speaker 1:
So first of all, let's just talk about what are EcoFlow power kits. Describe. You know what these cool new things are that we have available.Speaker 2:
I mean it's really. It comes in quite a few different configurations, but most of the time when we're talking about power kits, people are talking about what would they call the independence kit, and that's kind of the four components. So it's the power hub, and then the power kit console, the ACDC panel and then the battery, so the power hub. I mean, i think that kind of the most amazing thing about the power hub is that to my knowledge nobody else is doing this on the van side for power. So they've combined like five different components into one box. So you have a relatively small box that only weighs about 30 pounds and is what I think the rough dimensions around 20 by 10 by sticks or something like that And that contains the inverter, dual MPPT solar charge controllers, dcdc charger, dcdc converter, and it fits all of those components together into this one very compact box. It's a 48 volt system and it's also plug and play. So that is another really revolutionary part of it. You know I have the greatest respect for companies like Victron Energy. You know so many of our upfitters and so many folks on the DIY side too are building out systems like that And, being myself being professionally trained and solar, i was really glad to see Victron Energy components come onto the market because really good quality, really reliable and amazing breadth of components. You know from the smallest systems up to like house size or industrial size even, and you know through batteries, charge controllers, inverters, everything. But the EcoFlow kits really kind of simplify things so that you don't have to buy so many different components And, like I say, with things like the power hub, where they're all just in one box, it really means a lot less pieces to wire and to put together and to figure out where they're going to go. And you know, especially when you're planning your layout, you have so many different pieces that you're trying to fit into these different spots. For me in the past I've built like and I think it's been like my fifth build up coming or something now, and that's always kind of one of the crucial aspects of the build right, how am I going to build my furniture? so I can fit my power system in, so I can fit my water system in, where is it going to go, where are the control panels going to go, and all that kind of stuff? So with just those four components it makes it way easier And, plus, the cabling is provided. So now I have kind of a guideline of like okay, how much room I have to put them together.Speaker 1:
Yeah, that's interesting because you know it's hard for DIYers to know and understand all these components. Do you think this really works to simplify everything?Speaker 2:
Yeah, and I think it really is. It's very flexible. So you know there've been solutions in the past and there still are, right, like some people are like, oh well, I don't really want to deal with the whole wiring and complex power system together from Victron components, the cost or the complexity of it, so I'll go with a portable power station. But then when they do that a portable power station, it has some advantages, right, because it's all on one box And so they're thinking, hey, i'm just going to plunk this box in there. But most of them can't do like simultaneous solar and alternator charging, for example, and most of them have very small battery bank and power capacity. Most of them have kind of puny inverters. Most of them don't have great lithium chemistries if they're lithium, so that they're kind of like short lived chemistries like an MC or a lipo batteries or other things that really don't have a very long life, especially when they're used, you know, pretty intensively in vans right, where you're like lots of full-timers using their battery system every day, all day and charging it right up and draining it right down. So power systems like that, you know a portable power system does have some drawbacks And the power kits really don't have most of those drawbacks, like it's a really powerful inverter. It's like a 3,600 watt inverter with a 7,200 watt surge capability, so really powerful inverter. The battery bank you can have like one to three batteries and most people are interested in the 5 kilowatt hour batteries. Again, it's like a 48 volt system, so that would be like 400 amperes of 12 volt amp power capacity for each one of those batteries, so pretty huge in just one battery. And then it's lithium, iron phosphate batteries, so it's the best chemistries for the long life. And so it really has quite a few advantages over a portable power station, while it's still easy to put together, because you don't have to worry about things like with Victron systems or with any sort of custom electrical system. In the past, you know, people would come to me and because they'd read my Sprinter RV blog or they'd seen the camper van HQ store and they were like, okay, i want to put this electrical system together, But I really don't know how much I need. Do I need like a 400 amp power battery? And so we'd have to go through the whole rigmarole of tell me exactly what appliances you're using, tell me exactly what models you're using, how many hours a day are you going to be using it? And we'd have to add up all of the. You know we would usually do it in watts so that we could try and figure out okay, this thing is drawing this many volts. You know it uses this many volts of this many amps. Let's figure out the watts, we'd come up with a total watt number And we'd calculate the overall amps and then work out the amp hours of battery capacity. It's a lot of math to do, right, it's just a ton of math And people really just were annoyed at having to do that. So that's one thing that this this removes. It also removes things like There's a lot of specialized tools you need for putting together an electrical system. So, especially with a van electrical system, where it's usually like a mix of AC and DC stuff, you need like large gauge cable tools, like I've tried for years to kind of assemble like a special tool set that's just going to be like hydraulic crimpers for the building, like 12 volt cables And you know, cutting 12 volt cables is not exactly an easy thing either, because they're so thick. Finding the right wire to use you can't just like use the wire that's at your home depot because that's AC wire and it's not like flexible DC stranded wire The right connectors to use so you get like quality stuff that's going to last a long time. So there's lots of complexity that this really takes out And that, i think is, you know, a huge part of what's making it so attractive for builders and for DIYers.Speaker 1:
Right. yeah, i was wondering if you've seen in the past like a lot of DIYers making mistakes, because obviously a lot of them are not electricians that are not trained, so do you see these like mistakes happening that could be dangerous?Speaker 2:
Yeah, i mean. So the typical thing that I've seen in the past I mean one is, you know, people not really using the right components. So because a lot of DIYers are just not familiar enough, which is, you know, like even even residential electricians who've been in the business for 20 or 30 years if they've just dealt with wiring houses, they're kind of at sea a lot of times when it comes to trying to wire a van system. And, you know, bring up at sea, like the best people are marine electricians because marine electricians understand both AC and high voltage DC stuff. But yeah, lots of I go through, you know I'm looking at like van life trader and van camper and all these kind of like you know van for sale, camper, man for sale websites And so many times I see pictures of power systems from DIYers or even from some converters where they're using, for example, just like AC home panels that you would find that come from, you know, home Depot or Lowe's or something like that, because they don't really know about the right kind of distribution panels that they should be using, so they might not be fused properly, they don't really meet the right space requirements, some of them are using the wrong kinds of wires. So they're using like non-metallic solid wire, whereas they should be using stranded wire things where it's not fused properly. So they don't have the right kinds of circuit breakers or the right kinds of fuses, which is super dangerous, right? Because number one and two causes of death for RVers are like improperly vented propane appliances or fires and you know fires and explosions, and so electrical fires is certainly a big thing And then just poorly put together systems where I mean, i've done this myself in the past because I just didn't have the experience and the tools to properly crimp cables and things. Can you know, you can have a cable that you crimp a connector onto and then you put heat shrink over top of it, and now you, you know, bolt that all up in your van. Well, your van's running down the road every day and there's, you know, all these shocks and vibrations, and we're so used to riding in a car that we don't think of it, right? But all these shocks and vibrations every time you hit a bump, all those components in your electrical system are taking that shock, and so, over time, those connectors on the ends of those cables, they're working loose, and so I've personally ruined thousands of dollars of lithium batteries by unfortunately having like loose connectors that worked loose from under heat shrink and you couldn't even see it. So then the batteries weren't getting charged and I was constantly wondering what's going on with my electrical system, and so that kind of stuff is just something you know that again the system kind of eliminates because the cables are made for you And because the way that they're set up they don't have those kinds of connectors. On me, on the ends, they've got these really solid connectors. So those are some of the common mistakes that I've seen with both builders and the OIRs.Speaker 1:
Yeah, that's pretty amazing that this has so many embedded components, And so if someone was building out their van, they would have to order a kit right As it comes with, as you were saying, several parts. That people would have to find space in their van to mount the parts, Or what does it look like that build process?Speaker 2:
So you could do it a couple of different ways. So those five kilowatt hour batteries So, as I was saying, there's actually two sizes of batteries. It's either the two kilowatt hour batteries or the five kilowatt hour batteries. And most people seem to be interested in the five kilowatt hour batteries. Those are the ones that around 400 amp hours of 12 volt battery bank amp hour capacity. The two kilowatt hour batteries are around 170 amp hours of capacity And they're a fair bit smaller. But so some builders and some DIYers, if they want one or two of those batteries, they might even be putting them right behind the wheel wells because lots of folks would be putting, would be building like wheel well boxes in the past, right, and so the two kilowatt hour batteries would fit into like a fairly narrow wheel well box. But the five kilowatt hour batteries are fairly large. So unless you build the boxes fairly wide specifically for that, they wouldn't necessarily fit kind of the standard Like I think it's about a foot deep that most people will build wheel well boxes, just thinking of like the Sprinter wheel well dimensions, where it's about three feet long and about 12 inches high and 12 inches wide. So two kilowatt hour batteries in that format would fit there, but not the fives. So some people put the fives right behind their wheel, well, and then they would have the power hub, that box that I was mentioning, that contains the inverter and all the power electronics, kind of in the middle, say, mounted like right over the wheel, well, and then the power kit console, which is like the display and controller. They might have that up front, and then they put the distribution panel, probably kind of midway in between the console and between the power hub, because the distribution panel is where you're going to wire all your regular loads into. It's got 6 AC circuits and 12 DC circuits, so that's where you direct all your wiring from your loads into. So it's going to be kind of crucial where you place that so that you know exactly how long your wiring runs are going to be, or so lots of people will still build like sort of a conventional battery box, and in that case you might have just make it wide enough to fit the batteries into, whether they're going to be the two kilowatt hour, the five kilowatt hour size, and then maybe put your distribution panel right on the back of the box, and then the box could be big enough for one or two batteries And then you could have the power hub right in the front of the box and then have your power kit console, you know, at eye level somewhere in the van. So it makes it pretty easy because there's only those four components. So it's not like you know so many builds where you see builders and especially say with a Victron system, which again knocking because they're super, super good systems but they're just complex. So you know, a huge part of that kind of Tetris game with you know builders and DIYers is they'll put all the components together on a board and then they'll have, they'll wire it all up and then they'll have a faceplate that they add to the front of the board so that you can't, you know, for safety and for aesthetics, so they can't really get at the connections And you don't need to do any of that stuff with these systems. So it just makes it so much simpler.Speaker 1:
Yeah, that's amazing And you're describing. the five kilowatt battery is the same as 400 lithium amp hours, right? What's the size comparison with if you had the four lithium batteries by themselves?Speaker 2:
Yeah, i mean that makes a huge difference because, say, if you're looking at, you know I've used battle born batteries in my builds in the past and I think lots of people still do. They're really good battery. And so a battle born battery I think is about what say 13 inches long by, i think, nine inches high, by about eight inches deep, and so if you have, you know, a 400 amp hour bank you'd want for those, and then you're typically building a 12 volt system. So you have now like eight cables back and forth And you know, even if you're just wiring them in parallel, that's a lot of cables that you have to make sure that they're you know exactly the right length and you've got to crimp the connectors onto the ends. So with one of those five kilowatt hour batteries, like I say, it is a bit larger for the individual battery because it's like 20 inches long, i think, by 11 inches high, by 10. But now you've got one cable that comes out of that battery and plugs into the power hub, and so there's no, and if you had like an 800 amp hour bank, that would only be two cables And the cables literally plug in by hand into the top of the battery and into the power hub. So there's literally, like you know, one plug into the port on the top of each of the batteries and then one plug into the battery ports, and you can do both of those by hand, you don't even need any tools. So the cable is super clean, yeah, and then it's just, you know easy to do that part even without tools.Speaker 1:
Totally? And what's the weight comparison? Are they similar to the like the battle born batteries, or how does that compare?Speaker 2:
No, i mean that's a pretty giant battery So it's got a pretty good weight, so it weighs about 90 pounds. I think I'd have to double check the weight of a single battle born battery, because I'm not sure if I know that right off hand.Speaker 1:
I think they're around in the 30, some zones. We have those in our van. So if you have four of those, I mean that adds up as well.Speaker 2:
Yeah, Cause I want to say I want to say somewhere around like 28 to 30 pounds.Speaker 1:
They're actually lighter. If I'm right that it's around 30 pounds, then that would be lighter, because then you'd be looking at like 120 pounds versus about 90.Speaker 1:
Right, so that's also a good thing about those is, you know, they're lighter, which is crazy.Speaker 2:
And one more cool thing about that which occurs to me right now is that in the past so I'm in Colorado, I'm in Boulder, And so when I've built my vans in the past, I've tried to make them kind of like a four season build. And one issue with the lithiums is you always wanted to make sure that your lithiums were nice and warm, because they like the same temperatures that people do, right, They don't like being cold And they can still, you know, be discharged at colder temperatures. But charging them you know if the batteries get cold has always been an issue. So these batteries also have built in automatic heating And so there's actually just like these flexible PCB boards that wrap around the packs and the batteries themselves, And so they just automatically keep the batteries within a nice warm operating range. So EcoFlow advertises that they can operate at temperatures from like minus four Fahrenheit to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, So super broad operating range because it's got those built in heaters.Speaker 1:
Wow, that's awesome. Yeah, we had to order battle warm batteries with the heater component. They don't automatically come with them, but we got the heated ones in case we want to go skiing or like go to different climates. But it's nice that these ones you don't have to even think about that.Speaker 2:
Yeah, in the past we were always trying to rig different solutions because they were like plant germinating mats. Have you seen those before that?Speaker 1:
They would sell on Amazon in the past. And so we're like, hey, that would make this solution because you just put one of those. They were these really low power, draw 12-volt DC mats that were designed for germinating plant seeds. And so in the past we're like, hey, this is a perfect solution because it draws hardly any power. But it was always trying to find these little bits here and there to actually accomplish your goal, rather than just having it built into the system.Speaker 1:
Right, totally. Yeah, it sounds pretty interesting, and so how does somebody know how many batteries they need or what type of system? What would you recommend? What should they go through before they choose that sort of thing?Speaker 2:
I mean I think you still need to do some math, but it's just a lot less complicated math now because you don't have to do things like in the past you would literally with other systems. You typically have to calculate the length of each wiring, run the exact thickness of the wire that you're going to use and then make sure that for each circuit, like what voltage drop is going to be, if it's going to be an important thing, for whatever is on that circuit. So you typically size for no less than 2% or 3% voltage drop. So you don't have to do any of those calculations really with an EcoFlow power kit. But what you should still do is try and have a rough idea of okay, what appliances am I going to use, how much power do I need? So just to give you an example, my last van I had a Sprinter 144. And in that one that was my first van that actually had an air conditioner in. So we were going to do like a. We had a Dometic RTX 2000 12 volt air conditioner that we knew we'd run at least some of the time. We had like a four and a half cubic foot Nova Cool 12 volt fridge. That didn't take very much power, but that was a good size of fridge. We had a two burner induction cooktop And up till now I haven't been able to find any DC cooktops. So I think that all the ones I've seen out there are like AC cooktops And they're typically around 1800 Watts, so that draws a lot of power when it's on And then like a 12 volt water pump. We had a Bosch 3000 water heater which is like a small little compact water heater. But so quite a few things And all of that operated just fine off like a 2000 watt inverter and about a 300 amp hour battery bank. So you still need to do some math and say okay, here's my list of appliances, what's the wattage on each of these so that you can convert that, because then you can simplify your AC and DC power calculations And if you've got them just in Watts then you can divide that down by amps and then convert that into the kind of amp hour capacity that you need for your batteries. So it's still a little bit of math that you want to do to figure out kind of a rough idea of the amp hour capacity system. For lots of folks 400 amp hours is going to be quite a lot if you're not running an air conditioner all the time, and so, really, that's. You know, if you want to be super, super simple about it, you could say, hey, like 400 amp hours of capacity is going to get me a lot of runtime, and then I could just leave space in the battery box for another battery if I really wanted to use it. Or if you think that you're going to use an air conditioner quite a lot, then lots of air conditioner manufacturers for I'm talking more like awkward air conditioners, right 1224, 48 bolt They would say, hey, you should have a battery bank that size, between 400 and 800 amp hours of 12 volt amp hour capacity is what they're talking about. So so, yeah, that's kind of a couple of different rules of thumb, right. You could just say, hey, 400 is pretty good, and and say that you know if you've got kind of the appliance setup that I'm talking about with that kind of power setup a fridge and induction cooktop and air conditioner or some other appliances like that, maybe a water heater, or you could say, if you know that you're going to have a fairly high draw air conditioner that you might want to go to like an 800 amp hour setup, So his nice thing about these systems is you can add a battery afterwards. It's it's not really so much of an issue. In the past, when you had like jam batteries or lead acid batteries, you didn't really ever want to add a battery afterwards because the performance of those two batteries could be so different And the way that they would be wired into your system would be so different that it wouldn't be like a really smart thing to do. But with these you could add a battery later And it's not really such a big issue.Speaker 1:
Yeah, that's amazing. It does seem like the 400 amp hours would be enough for most people. That's just one of those five kilowatt batteries, so that's, that's pretty handy math. Yeah, not too bad.Speaker 2:
Yeah, a little bit simpler to figure out And you could get. You know it's like solar sizing to you can get more complicated with it. You can just be simple with it because you know there's multiple ways to size solar, for example. But one way is to just say, okay, if I have like 400 amp hours of 12 volt battery bank, have our capacity, then I should have around 400 watts of solar. Or you know, 300 amp hours, 300 watts of solar. So that's just like a super. You know rule of thumb back of the envelope way to size solar. But it can work And especially on, you know, on a van like you get a better idea of sort of your power needs as you go along and view how you actually use power from day to day versus, like some of the time, what your math might be.Speaker 1:
Yeah, very true, the real life experience definitely helps.Speaker 2:
Yeah, I'm sure you've seen that in your channel, for sure. Oh, you plan to be this and then in reality, like you use some of that or use something else entirely.Speaker 1:
Definitely Yeah, so this comes in the 48 volt system, as you were saying. Why is that better than a 12 volt?Speaker 2:
I mean really a lot of. It comes down to kind of the mix of components, the ease in putting together the system and then kind of the overall efficiency of the system. So in like the like I say, i've done some solar training and some solar installing, and in the residential solar world so many components are 48 volt components And that's because as you go up in voltage your actual amperage goes down so that the amount of current that's actually running through the wires is lower, and because of that you don't need wires that are as thick. And so when you have these long runs in residential solar systems, you know you have these circuits like, say, between the actual solar panels, the solar array and then an inverter or a power post connector, something like that, especially if it's like a fixed rack of solar panels in a field and it's going back to the main house or to the main power box, that could be like hundreds of feet long. So people want to use the thinnest cables possible, so the lightest and the cheapest. Right Copper is getting more expensive all the time And it's really the same thing in a van. You really want to use like the thinnest wires that you can, not just because of the expense but also because of the weight. So you really want to minimize the weight in a van, right, like everything is adding towards that overall weight of your van. That's going to affect how it handles on the road, what fuel mileage it gets. And the thinner the cables are it's also easier to kind of like fish through all those little cavities in the van. So when you're building you know you're set up and you've say you know soundproofed and insulated the van and you're kind of putting in the rough wiring, it's much easier to fish like thinner cables through. So for a few of those reasons 48 volt systems are better. It's been harder in the past to put together 48 volt systems and it still is now, because 12 volt components are so much more common that usually they're a lot cheaper and they're a lot easier to find. So if you're trying to put together a 48 volt system, like with Victron components for example, it gets really expensive. And so you know, even though, like I say, in the solar industry that is the most common voltage for residential solar systems, because it uses that much thinner wiring that's much more efficient and much more cost effective. So so many builders now have been trying to go to a 48 volt system. But they've just kind of had difficulties in, you know, dealing with like the price tag of those 48 volt components, finding all the right components that they want to use, because maybe their favorite components are more just at 12 volts, and then also because a lot of the components are at 12 volts but you'd still have, like, your lighting is probably still at 12 volts, right, most of your DC appliances are going to be at 12 volts. So they'll have to put in a DC to DC converter or like a buck boost converter, something like that, to downsize the power, to down, convert the power from 48 volts to 12 volts. And that's another part of that complication, right? So now you get into like, oh, do I do this for all my circuits or do I just do this for some of the circuits? So with the EcoFlow power kit you've already got that ability built in, so you don't really need to manually do anything about that. You have your distribution panel, those 12 DC circuits. You basically kind of flip a switch on the console when you're setting it up or in the app and just choose whether you want those as 12 or 24 volts, but then you can use a 48 volt air conditioner with it by just plugging it into one of the 48 volt battery ports. So you've got this mixed voltage system where it's actually at 48 volts, but you don't really need to think about it that way. You don't need to actually put in like a DC to DC converter or think about which circuits are going to be that, because you just have the ability to kind of just flip the switch on the console or in your app and just choose 12 or 24 volt DC output for your DC circuits. So it makes it way easier and just way cheaper than it would be to then buying all those like thick 12 volt cables and everything and overall that cost of all your wiring.Speaker 1:
Yeah, for sure. It's amazing how simple it sounds. That's great for DIYers out there, And I'm wondering if you have advice for someone who is doing their first van bill. They're going to try out this system Like what do they need to know or how do they find the right training and info to do it themselves?Speaker 2:
So we have a fair bit of information on our camper van HQ website And there's also a couple of good resources. So they definitely all those components come with their manuals. And then there is an EcoFlow PowerKits official Facebook group too, which is kind of useful for folks to look and see what kind of experience that people are having and what kind of issues other people are facing too. So that's a good place to come for things. But yeah, overall, that's something that we also want to set up an information resource on, because the manuals are pretty good so far. But there's also information on kind of commissioning the power kits. Okay, i've connected all my components What do I do now? Or, like you say, some of the sizing information too, and to just talk about that in a little more detail, and so I think we need to actually create a little bit more of that information right now. The EcoFlow PowerKits themselves are pretty new. They've only been out for, i think, almost exactly a year now, so it's a pretty new product And so it doesn't have, you know, if you're thinking of like Victron Energy, for example, you know they already are forums where people have been talking about that stuff for, you know, 10 years. You know, and even like the latest components, most of that's been talked about for a decade or more, but these are still pretty new systems, so a lot of things are still changing. I'd say it's a pretty established system in terms of how they've refined all the components, because they're not new to the game. Ecoflow actually came around in about 2016, 2017 and started off with portable power stations, and then they've really just expanded into a huge product lineup since then. So it's definitely not like a brand new company, but they don't have that same history yet and the same kind of like body of users and forums and everything where you can find information, as some more established companies do.Speaker 1:
Totally. And have you heard of people being able to take the van into a builder for them to do the electrical portion of it? Have you heard of anything like that?Speaker 2:
Yeah. So there's quite a few builders, and actually we should have a list of more of those builders soon. Not only are there a lot of builders now who have been switching over to the EcoFlow PowerKits, so we talk to a huge number of builders like four to five every day And we've got hundreds that we're meeting with actually to talk about these systems with them as kind of an addition to Victron systems, right? So any builder who is already doing Victron systems, for example, these systems are pretty simple for them in comparison because there's so many fewer elements And so it's really a lot of that same knowledge that you'd be using. So almost any builder who is already using Victron, i'd really confidently say that they would find power kits to be no problem. And then there's also kind of a subset of builders now who are producing DIY cabinet kits that are specifically for power kits. So, for example, just a couple like the Mountain Standard in Washington State has a box that's specifically for power kits. I think Rigwell is doing those here in Colorado. Adventure Van Solutions I think Swell Vans also has cabinets that they're producing that are specifically designed to house power systems. So there's a lot of builders that are actually selling like DIY cabinetry kits that are specifically designed to house EcoFlow power kits now, and that list is growing pretty rapidly.Speaker 1:
Very cool. There's so many exciting changes in the van builder world that it's hard to keep up with, so this is a good one.Speaker 2:
Yeah, i've seen this just as a wave of innovation. When I first started publishing my book, the Sprinard V Conversion Source book, in 2011, there were literally like about a half a dozen smaller builders around the country that just specialized in like custom camper vans. And now we deal with I don't know, somewhere around 600 companies in the United States that are just building custom camper vans, and that's not even counting like the Overland Vehicle Builders and the Expedition and Teardrop trailer builders. I mean, there's so many folks because these are really suited for those kinds of builds too, for like truck campers, you know, for small trailers and that kind of thing, because they work really well for those setups too.Speaker 1:
Wow, Really amazing. Is there anything else you wanted to add about these? I know we covered a lot and then you know so much info on camper van HQ website, which we'll link to below, But anything else you wanted to bring up?Speaker 2:
I think one thing I should mention too is that I don't think I talked about it very much, but so they do handle like all four methods of charging So you can charge the power kits from solar, from single or dual alternators, from a generator or from shore power, So they have all of those capacities for being charged from those different sources. Like solar is up to 4,800 watts you know that's kind of like a ridiculous amount of solar that you could never possibly fit onto a van And a generator power like up to 1800 watts from any generator. Shore power up to like 30 amps from shore power alternators, typically with like a single stock alternator or even a dual alternator setup, but only at 60 amps and 30 amps. So they're really versatile. I would say that if you were doing like a single high output alternator or if you were doing dual high output alternators, then the system will really not work for you, because then like a Victron system would be better, because Victron can really handle like all the amperage from a high output alternator. Like a new generation of some of the sprinter alternators and some of the Ford Transit alternators maybe ProMaster too are like 250 amp and 280 amp alternators. So if you wanted to get like 100 amps out of your alternator, you would really be better off going with a Victron system, because right now the power kits are a little limited on that side. And then one other thing is that they don't do well with like a 12 volt DC air conditioner. So they fit really well with a 24 volt DC air conditioner, 48 volts DC air conditioner or any 120 volt air conditioner, but not with a 12 volt, because they have a 12 volt DC output limit of about 1000 watts. So it doesn't leave you very much room, Like if you're running like a RTX 2000, like I was mentioning, you'd only have a couple of hundred watts left over for your other 12 volt circuits. So it's not a good fit for that. But for the vast majority of builds, especially for DI wires, I feel like these are great systems. But those are just a couple of limitations. To keep in mind that those are situations where a power kit really isn't appropriate right now. Those would be better setups for like something like Victron or something that can handle that.Speaker 1:
Very cool. I'm glad you brought up those points so people know what they're working with.Speaker 2:
So yeah, they're super, super good systems, but they do have their drawbacks too, and so you want to be honest about what works and what doesn't.Speaker 1:
Very true, awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on and sharing all these details. I'm excited about these kits and excited to share with the audience out there.Speaker 2:
So, yeah, thank you Pretty revolutionary development, so I appreciate the opportunity to talk about them.Speaker 1:
Awesome, all right, thank you.Speaker 2:
Thanks, Kristen.Speaker 1:
Well, thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Wayward Home podcast, all about these new plug and play power kits that will make DIY electrical systems way easier. You can go to the waywardhomecom forward slash eco flow to go check out these power kits. and don't forget to use the coupon code wayward 10 for 10% off your order over $4,000. Remember to subscribe to the Wayward Home podcast wherever you get your podcast and don't miss an episode. See you next time.