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Old 12-04-2021, 09:23 AM   #1
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Interior 30Amp Plug + "Solar Generator" Boondocking

Thought this might be intriguing to some Interstate owners. Preemptive caveat, I am in no way affiliated with Ecoflow. This is just my independent testing of the device. I'm also not an expert on electrical matters.

A few months ago I purchased an Ecoflow Delta Max (Delta Pro was sold out) "solar generator" (not the biggest fan of this descriptor but not sure what else to call it / battery generator?). Primary reasons for buying were 1/ having backup power in case of an emergency (ie earthquake or California's PG&E sometimes shuts off power periodically during wildfire season preemptively) and 2/ also using it to power my entire Interstate while boondocking, especially if I'm in shaded areas where solar doesn't do a great job topping up the batteries. I also bought their portable suitcase 160W solar panel, allowing you to charge the generator via 1/ 12V car adapter 2/ wall AC plug or 3/ solar.

HIGH LEVEL SPECS ON ECOFLOW DELTA MAX (a lot more on website)
  • 2016 Watt Hours Capacity
  • 6 20 Amp AC output plugs: 2400W total (Surge 5000W)
  • 2 USB-A, 2 USB-A Fast Charge, 2 USB-C ports
  • 2 DC ports, 12.6V, 3A, 38W Max per port

The challenge with using the Ecoflow Delta Max (or something like the Goal Zero YETI) with the Interstate is twofold. 1/ where/how do you plug it in? and 2/ what can you NOT run with this device. I also had the question of "how long does this really power the entire rig?"

WHERE DO YOU PLUG IT IN?
I wanted the ability to keep the Ecoflow INSIDE the rig so it wouldn't be exposed to the elements but also so I could plug in various other devices into the Ecoflow (ie cell phones) and charge them at night. In order to do this, I had my local airstream service shop install a 30amp male plug in the trunk area (driver side on the panel/wall that encases the water heater. see pics). This required their technician to add a new power cord (Romex) into the transfer switch with ONE BIG WARNING. *do NOT plug into shore power OR turn on the generator if the Ecoflow is plugged into this interior 30amp plug as it could overload the system*

Because I have the Delta Max (which does NOT have a 30amp plug on it), I had to use my 15amp > 30amp dog bone adapter. I actually opted to use this Camco 15A > 30A plug adapter and plug that into the end of my 25' shore power cable. I plug the male end into the back of the Ecoflow 20A AC plugs and the female end into the interior Furrion 30Amp new plug.

WHAT DOES THIS ACTUALLY POWER & WHAT CAN'T YOU POWER?
Again, I'm just a novice at all this so I may be getting some things wrong but here's what I understand. The Ecoflow Delta Max has 2016 Watt Hour Capacity.
This caused me to dive deep into our manuals to see the wattage of various components / appliances. I have been used to understanding how many Amps something uses but knowing the wattage is helpful here too. I wanted to primarily keep our batteries charged but also provide power for the other smaller things (fridge, lights, water pump, outlets) just like when you plug into shore power.

Because I believe the max amp output of the Delta Max is 20amps (and since I'm using the 15A > 30A power adapters), that rules out the usage of the A/C (12-18A) and the microwave (8-13A) in my rig. So rule #1 was "don't turn on the microwave or A/C while having the Ecoflow Delta Max plugged in". side note: I believe our Microwave uses 950Watts which MAY work on the Ecoflow but I didn't want to test the limits.

REAL WORLD TEST RESULTS / HOW IT WORKED
We went to Yosemite for Thanksgiving, brought the Ecoflow and tested it in the shady Upper Pines Campground where temperatures got down into the mid 30s at night + upper 60s in the day. here's what I learned:

When I first plugged the Ecoflow into the Interstate, I switched the Precision Control System power mgmt screen to 20Amps (instead of the standard 30A). I noticed the Ecoflow registered about 330 Watts (said it had 7 hours of charge left) because it appeared to immediately start charging batteries with converter/charger. After about 10 minutes the wattage decreased to about 250 Watts. Later in the night the Ecoflow said it was using only 120 watts while plugged in (maybe the batteries were entirely topped up).

After the batteries seemed to be fully charged I started playing around with various appliances / features + recording how much wattage things used. a few of them are below (the baseline fluctuated from time to time).
  • BASELINE WATTAGE OF INTERSTATE GL (with propane switch on; Victron Bluetooth Solar Dongle; Battery Minder; fridge on; no lights, whatever other parasitic loads): 120-230 Watts
  • WITH BATTERY CHARGER RUNNING: +100 Watts (330 Watts total)
  • WATER PUMP ON: didn't seem to add any Wattage
  • WATER PUMP RUNNING: +100 Watts
  • TANK HEATERS (& PROPANE SWITCH): +120 Watts (330-360W total)
  • BATTERY HEATER: +32 Watts (262 Watts total)
  • ALL INTERIOR LIGHTS ON: +157 Watts (387 Watts Total)
  • HOT WATER GAS/TANK HEATER ON: +80 Watts

Overall, the Ecoflow went from 100% charge down to 35% charge in the 2.5 days that we were there. I didn't leave it plugged in all day. I plugged it in after the sun went down and by the time we went to bed, unplugged it again b/c the batteries (and our phones, GoPros) were charged.

Maybe this is all overkill and I should either 1/ use the Onan LP generator more (Yosemite restricts which hours you can use it) or 2/ have just installed more lithium batteries in the AI (I have 2 Battleborn 100Ah batteries) but in the event we do some extended boondocking, it might prove useful. I'd suspect in a pinch, it would help extend the time you could keep the tank heaters on (which I've heard drain the batteries in 4-5 hours). While I like the Ecoflow Delta Max (would have preferred the Delta Pro), I'm still very early in testing it to see how much benefit I truly get in boondocking situations vs. harnessing solar power better/more. Just thought I'd share in case people find it helpful.

p.s. here are some of the items we sometimes have in our AI + what I believe their wattage is
  • BREVILLE TOASTER OVEN: +1800 Watts (this would last 1 hr on the Ecoflow)
  • LAPTOP: 87 Watts
  • Dehumidifier: 40 Watts
  • iPhone: 5 Watts
  • Nintendo Switch: 39 Watts
  • Ninja Blender: 700 Watts
  • Ceramic Heater: 750 Watts (Low) / 1500 Watts (High)
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Old 12-04-2021, 09:45 AM   #2
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Looks like an interesting competitor for the Yeti Goal Zero portable power stations that some Interstate users have reported using:
https://www.goalzero.com/product-fea...ower-stations/

We preferred to install 400Ah of lithium batteries with a 3kW inverter / charger. We simply accepted the fact that a pair of AGM batteries would never be enough to properly power our coach for more than maybe a single night if we didn't want to be slaves to the cord, instead of trying to work around the problem without actually solving it.
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Old 12-04-2021, 10:39 PM   #3
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One suggestion for others heading down this path is to add a connector 30 Amp between the outside port and the transfer switch. We hired an electrician to rewire the outside port so we could put the big surge protector inside. With the Ecoflow or the Goal Zero we would just unplug from outside port.
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Old 12-05-2021, 06:59 AM   #4
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I have a Yeti GZ 1000 for similar uses but yours seems to pack a bigger punch. I too can recharge my Yeti from 12V solar via cigarette lighter in RV / car cigarette lighter 120V. I would offer this as a suggestion for your use to extend your Ecoflow battery use.

Most things in your RV are 12V. You have 2, 100AH Lithiums and solar. That should keep your 12V use going for a long time with sunlight. Consider only using your Ecoflow for AC uses.

When you get to your campsite your RV batteries should be at a pretty full state. Before you turn on your Ecoflow, flip the fuse to your converter to turn it off. By doing this, your Ecoflow wont have the drain of the converter to draw it down. Place your refrig on propane, not auto, so it won't use electric. Use propane water heater, not electric.

In this state, your Ecoflow will be available for microwave / TV / coffer maker, etc. Everything but Air conditioner and heat pump. This should not be very much of a draw. In my situation, I may draw 250-400 watt hours out of my Yeti. These are usually first thing in the morning and a night. During the day, my cigarette lighter in my RV charges my Yeti back up, via solar, for the next day.

Eventually, you will figure out the best way to use your Ecoflow. Sounds like a good product.

If your lithiums ever get into a power need, you can turn on your converter for an hour or 2 to top off your RV batteries for short while. Be sure to turn the converter fuse off again.

Sounds like you have a great product and will get plenty of good use out of it.
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Old 12-05-2021, 07:14 AM   #5
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this is great advice! thank you. Our novakool fridge (NovaKool R3100 DC Fridge) in the 2021 interstate doesn't have a propane powered option (I don't think) but I love the "flip the fuse on converter" suggestion as that seemed to be the power hog. thank you again.
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Old 12-05-2021, 08:51 AM   #6
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It is power hungry. I have 2 Lifeline AGMs and thought I could use the converter to keep my batteries running and charged for my furnace overnight on a very cold night. Found out real quick the converter draws a lot of power. You should be fine with your Lithium's.
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Old 12-05-2021, 11:49 PM   #7
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I’ve got a GZ 6000x strapped down behind the driver’s seat. I’m living in my Interstate now having left Atlanta 3 weeks ago. My plans are to follow the weather. I have run into a few cold nights where I was not at a campground. I ran an extension cord out the window and a 30 to 110 into the 30 amp port. I either ran electric blanket, a small electric space heater, or propane heat. If it’s not too cold, the electric blanket works pretty good. Otherwise, propane is the answer. If I start the evening with the GZ at 100%, by then the next morning, it will be around 80%. This includes using the Kuereg for 4 cups in the morning and charging devices. I would like to be able to have an interior 30 amp inlet so that I can avoid the window extension cord trick. Any advice is appreciated. Goal Zero said to check with freedomvango.
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Old 12-06-2021, 06:11 AM   #8
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Coasttocoast - take a look at this thread. It gave me all the information I needed to get started using the Goal Zero. This OP put in a 30 amp transfer switch to use his GZ. When not on shore power the Goal Zero provides his 120V needs. When hooked up to shore power, the transfer switch allows shore power provides AC to the coach. This takes care of the situation BeachBrad highlighted so you would never have his battery/generator on at the same time shore power is going.

His solar power is used to recharge the GZ thru a cigarette lighter accessory during daylight. You would need to turn on the converter fuse if you also want charge your house batteries thru shore power. In his case, the solar has always been sufficient to keep his house batteries charged.

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f37...um-196422.html

I'm not smart enough to install a 50 Amp transfer switch in my Globetrotter. I use the same method as you right now. The only difference is that I have a 50 Amp to 20Amp connector into my shore power outlet. In this way, I only have to connect my GZ from my truck bed to the RV with a smaller extension cord than my larger 50 Amp cord. One day I will probably pay someone to do this.
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Old 12-06-2021, 06:59 AM   #9
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Using the inverter on your portable power supply wastes power. You are converting to 120v and back to 12v with all the losses. In my GZ, just turning on the inverter indicates a battery drain.

I stow my GZ 1000 under the desk, behind the driver's chair, in my GT. I ran a 10-gage wire pair from there, over the loo, and to the output side of an unused fuse position in the 12v fuse box. I put 1 20-amp fuse in that position. I use a regulated 12v output adapter to connect the GZ to the wiring. I use PowerPole connectors to connect the GZ.

When I want to run on the GZ, I simply turn off the "Use" switch at the door. That disconnects the 12v fuse box from all inputs so that I am not trying to charge the batteries. I then can use everything in the coach just as before without conversion losses.

The regulated 12v adapter is necessary because otherwise, the refrigerator shuts down when the GZ reaches about 1/2 charge.

I do have to disconnect the 12v GZ charger that I keep plugged in under the driver's seat while using this hookup.
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Old 12-06-2021, 11:25 AM   #10
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Pahaska - I’m assuming when you say “inverter” you mean “converter”. Is that right?
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GOUSC View Post
Pahaska - I’m assuming when you say “inverter” you mean “converter”. Is that right?
No. I meant inverter. The GZ has an inverter to produce 120 volt AC. Just running the inverter without load uses some battery power. By using only the 12v output of the GZ, I eliminate both the GZ inverter loss and the loss converting the 120 volts AC back to 12v to run the refrigerator.
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Old 12-06-2021, 03:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska View Post
No. I meant inverter. The GZ has an inverter to produce 120 volt AC. Just running the inverter without load uses some battery power. By using only the 12v output of the GZ, I eliminate both the GZ inverter loss and the loss converting the 120 volts AC back to 12v to run the refrigerator.
Thanks for the clarification. I thought you were referring to the inefficiencies of using the Yeti, with the converter on, to charge the house batteries.

I always knew my GZ was using power without load but good never figure out why as I had all my AC appliances off. It didn't click to me that the GZ had to have an inverter to convert the lithium 12V power to AC 120. I just used it for my 120V purposes and didn't think any further than that. I never use my inverter in my RV anymore since I got the GZ. However, based on what you are saying I'm guessing the inverter in the RV has to have a similar power draw on my house batteries in standby mode just like the GZ does.

Does the Yeti have a converter as well to convert 120V input charging from the house 120V when you plug it into a wall socket?

I was hoping there would be a way to use the Yeti GZ as a 12V source to run my furnace through the night. It sounds like from your explanation there may be a way to do this. I just don't have the knowledge to do so but would be glad to hire someone to do if I could explain it correctly to them.
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Old 12-06-2021, 03:56 PM   #13
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GZCharging

I have both a 120 volt fast charger and two 12v DC chargers. I can use the 2 DC chargers together to get a faster charge.
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Old 12-06-2021, 10:43 PM   #14
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Interior 30Amp Plug + "Solar Generator" Boondocking

I’ve had 2x GZ 1000 and sold both of them and now have a Eco Flow R600 Pro. The GZ can’t compete with the EF imo. The biggest difference is the charging time. The EF is a fraction of the time compared to the GZ. I still have the transfer switch install in my rig from the GZ install and works fine with the EF. I have since upgraded to lithium about a year ago at AS headquarters and don’t really need to utilize solar generator power.
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Old 12-12-2021, 10:58 AM   #15
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Quick update on the original post. Went to pick up the Interstate with this new interior 30amp. As I originally mentioned, I’m definitely not an electrical expert…what i learned from local airstream service shop is if you do install one of these interior 30amps you will almost definitely need to have a 3 way transfer switch to make sure the interior 30amp male plug doesn’t stay “live” if you have shore power or generator on. Safety first! Glad I’m having the electrical pros do it right. more I think about it just adding more lithium batteries may have been smarter choice.
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Old 12-13-2021, 07:19 AM   #16
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Also, don’t forget we have an inverter/charger in our Interstates, and I believe you have a converter in your trailer. Might be part of the confusion.

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Thanks for the clarification. I thought you were referring to the inefficiencies of using the Yeti, with the converter on, to charge the house batteries.
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Old 12-13-2021, 07:23 AM   #17
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Excellent point. thank you.
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