Is it possible without Solar

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Goodmojo61

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Can a single guy live comfortably without Solar ?
I’ll be a city dweller , and work at a grocery store four days a week. So I feel my food situation is not an issue.
I use battery operated string of lights in the evening. I park at the beach , I shower at the gym , I think I can do this.
My mail goes to a best friends home , if I need entertainment I’ve my IPad for movies.
Can I get by with a Ecoflow for powering my blender and coffee in the morning ?
Without hooking up a fuse box thingy ?
 

gone2day

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How will you recharge the Ecoflow? Unless you have a place you can plug in everyday or do a lot of driving, that will be a problem.
 

Goodmojo61

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I would charge it on my lunch hour at work. I’d purchase something portable, it’s only 16 lbs … and maybe if I get a year under my belt I’d consider something more.
I’d like to stay as stealthy as possible for the first year and see how I’m getting along.
🤷🏻‍♂️
 

Goodmojo61

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My work , my gym , my mail , is all in a radius of a mile. Yet I pay 1,700.00 monthly for rent. It’s just maddening, would I miss the comforts of home ? Probably,
But I think I just wanna get weird and stop paying someone else’s mortgage… put that money into the bank and my rig if need be.
 

gone2day

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So do you know for sure that you will be able to live at the beach long term? What are the local ordinances? Where do you place the string of lights? Outside your vehicle? Not exactly stealthy :)
 
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Goodmojo61

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My apologies, I should clarify, I have a parking space in a private driveway at the beach. It’s family so I’m solid.
It’s on my days off when I’ll take little excursions that make me unsettled on where to park , living in Los Angles I’ll be looking mostly in residential areas ( partly why I want to be as stealth as possible
 

bullfrog

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We were able for several weeks to park at where we worked on their property basically watching the back entrance for vandalism. They gave us access to the company break room 24/7 as well. When they expanded the building we lost our spot. Maybe you could monitor the delivery area where you work at night? We also joined a several gyms and parked there overnight once a month. Stayed in motel truck parking areas and truck stops as well as fishing/boat launch ramp parking lots or public parking close to hospitals as well. Never stayed parked for more than 12 hours, day use areas during the day. Usually went to a state or federal camping area for a couple weeks to disappear and not create a pattern of parking every few months. Charged batteries while driving using a 12 volt ciggy plug charger and a house battery charged by the vehicle alternator. We did use grid power at campgrounds and where ever else it was available. Seldom had a problem staying charged. We were in a 28’ motorhome so never worried about being stealth just clean, neat and legal.
 
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jacqueg

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Until I got my 12v refrigerator, I did not need solar - got along fine with a power station and with alternator power. Sounds to me like you could easily do the same, since you could undoubtedly find a way to plug in a power station at work. Here's a list to help you out - https://www.cnet.com/home/energy-and-utilities/best-portable-power-stations/ HoboTech is a a very good info source, and you can often save money by buying through him, but the CNET list is a lot less intimidating.

If you are only going to be using it to power your laptop/phone/LED lights for the evening and can recharge it the next day, a 250w would be plenty. If you are a gamer or want to cook electrically, or are planning weekend excursions, you'll need more.

Also, I find it is easy to recharge at libraries and coffee shops, you are not limited to work.

What I did was start watching youtube vids, and when I found someone who was living the way I would be living, I paid attention to what they used!

BTW, "stealth" is a misnomer. I'm no cop, but once I started noticing, it is in fact pretty easy to tell when a vehicle is being lived in. Rather, your goal is to be inconspicuous and innocuous. Among other things, this means scrupulously observing parking ordinances!
 
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Goodmojo61

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So do you know for sure that you will be able to live at the beach long term? What are the local ordinances? Where do you place the string of lights? Outside your vehicle? Not exactly stealthy :)
No no , the light are above my bed 😊
 

afblangley

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When I initially built out my van last summer, I left out solar for the sake of simplicity. Now, 40,000 miles later, I don’t see a reason for ever adding solar. I’d rather use my roof space for an AC unit and a couple of MaxxAir fans. My use case: I have somewhat high power needs (fridge, convection microwave, induction cooktop). I am always in urban, suburban, or rural/small towns. I am rarely in places where it would be acceptable to lay out solar panels. I am frequently in areas where it is convenient enough to grab my power station and charge it inside (ie. gym, restaurant, visitor center, hospital).

If you do the research, you’ll discover the general consensus is that EcoFlow makes some the best power stations on the market. If you are willing to accept its biggest shortcoming: battery chemistry. The lifecycles from EcoFlow power stations (except the Delta Pro) makes it expensive relative to its closest rival, Bluetti. I don't know of any good reason for choosing a Jackery or GoalZero.

I bought a Delta 1300 shortly after it was launched (the models currently available have significant enhancements over mine). I was attracted to its portability (light weight and integrated power supply), user interface, and super fast charging. The latter is what makes solar unnecessary. With a rate of 1000W per hour when connected to a wall outlet, it took 30 minutes to restore all the power I used in a day. Actually, it usually took less than that because I kept it plugged into the cigarette port when driving, charging at 100W per hour.

Recently, after watching a YT video by Gaye N Robert, I modified my setup, eliminating the need to remove the Delta from my vehicle to charge it. I connected an inverter directly to my chassis battery. I now charge my Delta at 1000W per hour while driving, by plugging it into the inverter.

The ability to do this without frying the alternator is obviously vehicle dependent. A lot of vans have high output alternators. The Transit has a 250A alternator, and OEM dual alternators can be ordered; diesel Sprinters have a 220A and several aftermarket secondary alternator options. But without a massive battery bank, dual alternators are overkill. My vehicle has a single alternator, I haven't noticed any strain (noise or rpm) on the engine while running the inverter, though it is only used as needed, it is not on continuously.

The EcoFlow Deltas at max charging may exceed the capabilities of some vehicles, but they can be dialed down via the app as needed. Most power stations are not that demanding. The Bluetti EB70S has a max charging speed of 200W per hour which means it would take more than 3 hours to fully recharge. So long as the battery capacity is sufficient to meet stationary days, this shouldn't be a problem. My Delta is large enough to last 2-3 days before its depleted, since I rarely go more than 2 days without driving, keeping it charged is not a problem. It would take a little more than 1 hour of driving to go from 0-100%, but to date, that hasn’t been necessary.

I think the usefulness of solar is a function of how the vehicle is used. Folks who are stationary camping on BLM land in the sunny southwest for weeks at a time may get a lot of utility from solar. Urban dwellers, foul weather campers, and highly mobile travelers, may be well served by selecting a fast charging power station and using their engine like a generator. If idling a vehicle for 20 minutes can store as much power as 6 hours of full sun, then solar isn’t very compelling.
 
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RoamerRV428

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Can a single guy live comfortably without Solar ?
I’ll be a city dweller , and work at a grocery store four days a week. So I feel my food situation is not an issue.
I use battery operated string of lights in the evening. I park at the beach , I shower at the gym , I think I can do this.
My mail goes to a best friends home , if I need entertainment I’ve my IPad for movies.
Can I get by with a Ecoflow for powering my blender and coffee in the morning ?
Without hooking up a fuse box thingy ?
nope. your OWN energy from that little cost of solar panel you can gain will easily OFF set battery costs just for that little string of lights and also you HAVE POWER IN YOU HOME! forward thinking of 'I require' just this much to make life great and then shop budget wise to make it happen. IF YOU DO NOT require this then more power to ya LOL----more, hmmm, not power in your living situation ever but more power to what ya think you need. If you are asking, then ya need it cause you are wondering and YEA YOU NEED SOME power in your life on your own dime to handle the little you do need, and ya might get more with a few dimes in the solar direction, to power more and be a 'tad happier, against how low can ya go ya know? All can live on squat if ya gotta, do ya gotta? A tad in solar gives more freedom vs. driving to a store to buy batts for that little string of lights when they go out :) longer term thinking is key if one is longer term on the road/van life to suit one. Never has to be a big jump but a few bucks well spent mean tons in our daily lives. yea, get some solar to work out the best power you require daily to live better than without!! wishing you the best!
 
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bullfrog

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Before I spent thousands on a “power station” I would simply buy an extra house battery and an DC to DC charger. We did just fine with Ryobi 18 volt tool batteries, their vehicle charger and the 120 volt charger they came with. We use Ryobi lights, fans and several other accessories. Ryobi has a “power station” that uses their batteries Bob reviewed favorably a while back so you can run/charge whatever. Solar only makes sense if you sit long periods to us. We use a small generator for large loads or to recharge batteries if setting which seldom happened. If fact we found we didn’t even need the generator by staying in a full hook up campground or visiting the library the few times we needed more charging. In my mind “power stations” are expensive and if one of their several components quits working you are out even more with no alternative but to buy a brand new complete unit.
 

Goodmojo61

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No no , the light are above my bed 😊
When I initially built out my van last summer, I left out solar for the sake of simplicity. Now, 40,000 miles later, I don’t see a reason for ever adding solar. I’d rather use my roof space for an AC unit and a couple of MaxxAir fans. My use case: I have somewhat high power needs (fridge, convection microwave, induction cooktop). I am always in urban, suburban, or rural/small towns. I am rarely in places where it would be acceptable to lay out solar panels. I am frequently in areas where it is convenient enough to grab my power station and charge it inside (ie. gym, restaurant, visitor center, hospital).

If you do the research, you’ll discover the general consensus is that EcoFlow makes some the best power stations on the market. If you are willing to accept its biggest shortcoming: battery chemistry. The lifecycles from EcoFlow power stations (except the Delta Pro) makes it expensive relative to its closest rival, Bluetti. I don't know of any good reason for choosing a Jackery or GoalZero.

I bought a Delta 1300 shortly after it was launched (the models currently available have significant enhancements over mine). I was attracted to its portability (light weight and integrated power supply), user interface, and super fast charging. The latter is what makes solar unnecessary. With a rate of 1000W per hour when connected to a wall outlet, it took 30 minutes to restore all the power I used in a day. Actually, it usually took less than that because I kept it plugged into the cigarette port when driving, charging at 100W per hour.

Recently, after watching a YT video by Gaye N Robert, I modified my setup, eliminating the need to remove the Delta from my vehicle to charge it. I connected an inverter directly to my chassis battery. I now charge my Delta at 1000W per hour while driving, by plugging it into the inverter.

The ability to do this without frying the alternator is obviously vehicle dependent. A lot of vans have high output alternators. The Transit has a 250A alternator, and OEM dual alternators can be ordered; diesel Sprinters have a 220A and several aftermarket secondary alternator options. But without a massive battery bank, dual alternators are overkill. My vehicle has a single alternator, I haven't noticed any strain (noise or rpm) on the engine while running the inverter, though it is only used as needed, it is not on continuously.

The EcoFlow Deltas at max charging may exceed the capabilities of some vehicles, but they can be dialed down via the app as needed. Most power stations are not that demanding. The Bluetti EB70S has a max charging speed of 200W per hour which means it would take more than 3 hours to fully recharge. So long as the battery capacity is sufficient to meet stationary days, this shouldn't be a problem. My Delta is large enough to last 2-3 days before its depleted, since I rarely go more than 2 days without driving, keeping it charged is not a problem. It would take a little more than 1 hour of driving to go from 0-100%, but to date, that hasn’t been necessary.

I think the usefulness of solar is a function of how the vehicle is used. Folks who are stationary camping on BLM land in the sunny southwest for weeks at a time may get a lot of utility from solar. Urban dwellers, foul weather campers, and highly mobile travelers, may be well served by selecting a fast charging power station and using their engine like a generator. If idling a vehicle for 20 minutes can store as much power as 6 hours of full sun, then solar isn’t very compelling.
Thank you , you hit all my concerns. Now to pick the right ( portable ) Ecoflow.
 

Sofisintown

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Can a single guy live comfortably without Solar ?
I’ll be a city dweller , and work at a grocery store four days a week. So I feel my food situation is not an issue.
I use battery operated string of lights in the evening. I park at the beach , I shower at the gym , I think I can do this.
My mail goes to a best friends home , if I need entertainment I’ve my IPad for movies.
Can I get by with a Ecoflow for powering my blender and coffee in the morning ?
Without hooking up a fuse box thingy ?
It will only cost you $200-300 to install a 100Ah battery and a solar panel. And it will give you a lot more independence from having to plug in for your limited electric needs. That's a fraction of what you pay for monthly rent, and it's an one-time expense.
 

BlueMarkOhio

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If you drive regularly you can feed your power banks while driving at a small mileage cost, and top off whenever shore power is available. Not much need for the added complexity and cost of solar.

I am just an occasional van camper, I plug my smallish 400 watt power bank in the cig lighter when driving and it stays full. Plenty to recharge phone, tablet, and run a CPAP and fans all night.

I know that many vanlifers upgrade their alternator if they have large banks to charge up.

Where solar really makes sense is with long term dwelling in one spot, and with hybrid vehicles.
 

Jimmyflorida

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My 2 cents is probably can survive without most want a fridge but if you live without fridge you probably can do ok most people are not willing to live without fridge but if you can probably be fine just charge stuff at work gym etc
 

bullfrog

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^^^The reason we installed solar was simply to help insure the 12 volt refrigerator had a second source of power when sitting for more than a day, cloudy weeks still required other sources of power like a full hook up campground or generator for a few hours.
 

maki2

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A 12v fridge certainly is a nice convenience for avoiding frequently standing in grocery store lines. But if your place of employment has a break room fridge that can help fill the gap of a place to keep things such as lunch meat, salads, etc.
 
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