Probably everyone who drives a camper or caravan has experienced a power deficit on board. On the other hand, we are now accustomed to using many electrically powered devices on a daily basis. Therefore, it is hard for us to imagine their absence during shorter or longer camper trips.
To receive electricity in our mobile home with a voltage of 230V, i.e. the same as in a home socket, we must connect the camper to the electricity network, e.g. at a campsite.
Another way is to equip the camper with a voltage converter . One of the tasks of the converter is to change the 12V voltage (which we obtain directly from the battery) to 230V, which allows us to power devices such as laptops, mixers, drones, cameras, hair dryers, waffle irons, toasters, coffee machines, various types of chargers, etc.
The second task of the converter is to amplify the power we need to power a device.
How much converter power is needed?
How powerful a converter we need determines the power consumption of the device we want to power from it. Below I will list examples of devices and their power requirements (these values will vary depending on the manufacturer and model):
- Pressure coffee machine 1460W
- Electric kettle 1650-2200W (this range means that we will need a maximum of 2200W of power, but usually this power will only be needed for a while)
- Laptop 60-150W
- Waffle maker 1400W
- 600W toaster
- 1600W dryer
Information about the demand of a given device can usually be found on a plate/sticker placed somewhere on the bottom, expressed in watts (e.g. 1650-2200W).
Of course, the converter itself is not enough to power electrical devices because it must receive electricity that is previously stored somewhere, i.e. the battery .
EcoFlow mobile charging stations
Typically, each camper is standardly equipped with an additional on-board battery that powers lighting and other equipment that can operate with 12V .
The capacity of such a battery is usually limited and, especially in winter, may be insufficient if the heating is on all the time. To obtain 230V voltage, it is necessary to install an additional converter.
The solution comes with mobile charging stations from EcoFlow , which I had the opportunity to test during our last month-long trip to Portugal.
These stations are characterized by a very cool design and, above all, mobility. We do not permanently install them on any car. We can use them in various places wherever we need both 12V and 230V power.
We tested 2 devices of this brand, which differed mainly in battery capacity and the output power that can power our devices.
However, both devices had several common features, namely a very readable display that showed us not only the remaining battery charge but also exactly how many minutes the station would be able to operate at the current power consumption.
Each station also had a fast charging system patented by EcoFlow and within 1 hour, each device could be charged to 80% of its capacity. It's really very fast and we confirm that this is the case. You only need to connect to a 230V power socket.
Additionally, each station can be charged in the car by connecting it to a regular cigarette lighter socket or by connecting it to a portable solar panel, which can be purchased as an accessory. This solves the problem with charging when parked in the wild.
EcoFlow River 600MAX
This model is characterized by its low weight (7.7 kg), which makes it very handy. The output power is 600W, but thanks to the X-BOOST function, they can also power devices with a power of 1200W.
The battery capacity in the MAX version is 576Wh. Such a station will be enough if we need to power mainly laptops and occasionally other devices that need more power.
A fully charged battery will allow us to charge the battery of a standard laptop about 5 times.
River 600Max includes outputs such as 1x USB-C, 2x USB, 1x DC 5521 and a car cigarette lighter output + 2 outputs from the 220-240V converter.
River can be additionally paired with an application on the phone (via WiFi), with which we can view the battery charge level and turn on the built-in flashlight. However, it is only a gadget, because we still have to be close to the device for the connection to work.
EcoFlow Delta 1300
This is the bigger brother of the River model. It has a much larger battery with a capacity of 1260Wh and a converter with a power of 1800W and even 3300W at peak.
These are really high values for a mobile " power bank ". This model will certainly be useful to those who want to power more powerful devices, such as a waffle maker , a pressure coffee machine or a more powerful than standard hair dryer.
This model will be a better solution if we generally need to power more devices at one time and do not want to be afraid of quickly discharging the battery.
Here we also find, as in the earlier model, various USB outputs, but the converter already has 4 sockets to which we can connect various devices.
I think that EcoFlow devices are a nice alternative to installing additional batteries in the camper or having to connect a converter.
This is particularly important to us because we often test campers that are equipped very basicly and we almost always need 230V during our trips.
The only downside that I noticed when using the stations described above is the fact that after turning on the converter, the fans work quite loudly. When working for a long time in a small room such as a camper, this may be important.
The best offers for EcoFlow stations can be found at this link: https://www.ceneo.pl/97536124