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Old 11-29-2020, 02:06 PM   #1
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Power from portal lithium battery

Hi there! It's my first post!

My wife and I bought a used 21C last month and took it for our first real trip this past week; camping in Death Valley without hookups.

We brought along this portal power station (lithium battery). It can charge up in my tow vehicle or from a solar panel that we also brought. I figured I could plug the trailer into it just like a gas generator.

However, when I flip on the breaker for the 12V converter, the panel clunks like mad - many times per second. It sounds like a relay switching, so I'm guessing that however it detects when to switch between the AC and battery power is confused.

Anyone know why the converter didn't like this portal battery?

We have a Goal Zero Yeti 1000 as well, but it's really heavy to move around. (Haven't tried it yet.)
Built in batteries are a pair of 6V AGM - three years old and stressed by draining to 11.8V on this trip.
We currently have two 120W portal solar panels. One is light weight and works with both portable batteries. The other is big and heavy and can connect to the AGM batteries, but is a hassle to do so. (We didn't bring it on the recent trip.)

We're open to getting at least one roof mount solar panel for some passive charging. That's expensive though compared to the portal batteries and panels that we already have and use during home power outages as well.
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Old 11-29-2020, 02:15 PM   #2
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By the sound you describe you may have an EMS installed. Do you know if you do have one?
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Old 11-29-2020, 02:25 PM   #3
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Oh yes - forgot to mention that.

I have an EMS installed, and put it in bypass when connected to the portable battery.
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Old 11-29-2020, 04:22 PM   #4
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I tried the Goal Zero Yeti1000 Lithium.

The converter (relay?) clunked three times, and then the Yeti cut power with an "OVERLOAD" on the display. I had all circuit breakers turned off but for main and converter/fridge. (Converter and fridge on on the same circuit. Why? But fridge was off anyway.)

Checked the specs on the Yeti: 110VAC 60Hz, 10A (1500W, 3000W surge).

I know the trailer's plug is 30A; I used an adapter. I've used that adapter to plug into a wall outlet before, and standard outlets are normally rated for either 10A or 15A.

Why would the converter, with no load but trying to charge the battery, exceed 10A or 1500W?

(The EMS read E2 prior to bypassing it.)
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Old 11-29-2020, 04:38 PM   #5
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What state are the onboard batteries in? Might try it again but disconnect the batteries first. Where is the relay noise coming from? the converter or the EMS?
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:04 PM   #6
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Thank you for the test suggestions padlin.

The batteries are reading 12.5V.

Just tried again with the smaller portable battery:

- All breakers off
- EMS in bypass
- Battery disconnected via toggle switch

I plugged into the portable battery, and that was fine. Flipped the main breaker, and that was fine. Flipping on converter breaker made the EMS click a few times, and then was good. Flipping all the rest of the breakers went fine. (No load.)

Flipped the battery disconnect back to operation, and the EMS went clunking again.
Disconnecting the battery again did not make the EMS stop clunking.
Turning off the converted made it stop.

So the issue has something to do with the EMS, even though it is set to bypass.

I have the external power port, not pass through, so plugging in requires passing the cord back through the door to the outside. I was contemplating a mod to splice into the wire in between the EMS and circuit panel to add a plug to go into the portable battery inside the bench compartment. Seems that would resolve this problem? Does such a mod sound safe,
given proper gauge wire and switch to toggle between sources?
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:09 PM   #7
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Chopped output wave

Just a guess, but the inverter in your Goal Zero may produce an AC wave form (chopped) that the converter or EMS can not handle. Just a guess.
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:15 PM   #8
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The smaller unit, which I'm primarily trying to use, claims to emit a pure sine wave. It's a no-name Chinese thing though, so who knows.
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:24 PM   #9
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Both of the units say they are PSW.
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:32 PM   #10
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How about leaving the battery disconnected and all the breakers off, but the EMS on. After the timeout does the relay engage?
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:40 PM   #11
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The EMS gives an E2 (no ground) if not bypassed.
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:46 PM   #12
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Some sources can cause the EMS contractor (relay) to chatter, even when bypassed. There was a problem a couple of years ago with one of the Yamaha inverter generators that caused enough problems that Progressive posted a warning not to use that model even though it produced a pure sine wave output. I believe there was some noise in the output that caused the problem, but not sure. Could be a related problem...
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:24 PM   #13
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Might be worth a call to Progressive Industries. The one time I needed help they were very accommodating.
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Old 11-29-2020, 11:21 PM   #14
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Please post the model of portable you are trying to use. I believe the units do not have enough power to do what you are trying. The 1000 unit provides 1000wa so that is about 8 amps at 120 volts and that is to dead. The draw is at least that if your batteries are at 12.5v. And you said the unit you are trying is smaller. These units are not for bigger loads and will drop to 100volts and that is probably why your EGS is clicking.
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Old 11-30-2020, 01:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg and Kathy View Post
Please post the model of portable you are trying to use.
The OP provided an embedded link to the unit used when experiencing the problems described in post #1:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06WRXDK9K

From that Amazon page, here's the link to the User Manual for that unit, including "6. Product Parameters Table" (~'specifications'), FWIW:

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....1COEfxePlS.pdf

Then, in post #4, there's a description of issues encountered during a trial-use of a Goal Zero YETI 1000 Lithium (Technical Specs on this product page):

https://www.goalzero.com/shop/archiv...power-station/
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Old 11-30-2020, 11:50 AM   #16
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Looked at specs and this unit is way underpowered and the 120v is probably dropping below 100v and causing all kinds of issues. You will do damage if you continue with this. You are trying to put too much load on a 500 watt source
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Old 12-08-2020, 12:13 AM   #17
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I'm confused; what load? During power outages at home, I regularly run a full size compression (residential) refrigerator on the Yeti for 19 hours. A smaller fridge on the smaller unit. I also use garden power tools on the smaller unit (ex: weed wacker, hedge trimmer).

The modestly depleted 6V batteries through the converter draws more? My Yeti is rated for 10A. Looks like the popular Yamaha 2000 gas generator does 13A... so the draw must be in between those numbers? I guess that could be; wish I can set the converter to charge more slowly then.

My 6V pair appears to top out at 12.8V after being plugged into a standard 120V wall socket. I know that shows that they are aged, but badly? They are three years old.
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