Sunday, November 13, 2022

CPAP Battery Solutions 2

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
In my previous post on this topic I stated that I was looking for a battery bank that could run my CPAP for as many nights as possible and the ability to recharge via solar panel. In the time since then and now I was able to procure such a unit, but I can't give you much of a review because as I reported elsewhere, Hurricane Nicole was a big nothing where I live; the power didn't even flicker, much less go out. 

Is it strange that I was disappointed the big, dangerous storm didn't disrupt my life more so that I could test my preps? It feels strange. Regardless, I can tell you why I picked the unit I did, and how easy it was to set up in advance of the storm. 

Rockpals Freeman 600
Like the name suggests, the Rockpals Freeman 600 banks 600W (technically 614.4 Watt-Hours) of power using a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery. Its dimensions are 13" L x 8" W x 7" high, and it weighs 20 pounds.

It can be charged three ways:
  • Anderson solar charging port (120W)
  • DC, either from car outlet or wall socket with AC adapter, at 12V/8A, 96W max
  • Bi-directional USB-C port at 60W, which can also be combined with one of the other charge methods to increase the wattage. 
For output it has the following: 
  • Three pure sine wave 110V AC outlets (600W rated, 1000W max), 
  • One car port DC output (12V/10A, 120W max)
  • Two DC barrel ports (12V/5A, 60W max)
  • Two USB 3.1A ports
  • One USB-A 3.0 Quick Charge port (18W max)
  • One bi-directional USB-C port (20V/3A, 60W max) 
  • Note: the DC and USB outputs will provide power while the Freeman 600 is being charged, but the AC outlets will not. 
If you want more information, this video by Hobotech will give you all the details. 

Setting Up For the Storm
Setup was very simple, since I keep the battery next to my CPAP unit for quick use. 
  1. I plugged the AC adapter in to keep the unit topped up.
  2. I inserted the 12V CPAP power cord into the DC output socket.
  3. I swapped the 12V cord for the AC adapter on my CPAP. 
  4. I turned on the Freeman 600. 
  5. I turned on my CPAP. 
Because I was using the 12V output, the AC inverter didn't need to turn on, so there was no fan noise. If you are sensitive to light, please note that while the LCD display will turn off if you hold down the Display button, there is a small green light on the 12V button that is illuminated so long as it is providing power, and there is a larger green light on the 12V power cord. Judicious use of electrical tape, however, solves this problem. 

Because we didn't lose power, the battery still read 100% when I woke up in the morning. This is in line with the Freeman 600's claim of pass-through charging, which means I can use this as an Uninterruptible Power Supply for my CPAP if necessary.

I performed this test again with the battery unplugged from the wall just to see what the power drain would be. I slept for 7.5 hours, which is actually pretty generous for how I would sleep without air conditioning after a hurricane. When I woke up, the battery was down to 79% charge, which recharged via wall plug in about 90 minutes. 

This performance gives me roughly five nights of sleep with my humidifier running at level 4, and this is without any solar recharging or further power reduction using a Heat/Moisture Exchanger to further reduce power demand. I am very happy with this result, as I figure I can easily get 7+ nights from this by using HME and solar recharging, which ought to get me through any power loss that doesn't result in the destruction of my home or complete social breakdown.

If there is interest, I could do a series of tests with these permutations:
  • How many battery nights I can get running the humidifier
  • How many battery nights I can get using an HME
  • How many hours to recharge from near-zero with wall current
  • How many hours to recharge from near-zero with solar panel
I say "near zero" because it's never good to completely discharge your battery;  I believe it reduces its lifespan.

Come, let me conceal nothing from you: the real reason I bought the Freeman 600 as opposed to a different unit is because it costs much less than others. Jackery brand is the standard in this field, and with their products you can expect to pay about a dollar for every Watt; the Freeman 600 retails for $500, and I bought mine with a $100 off coupon plus an extra 10% "Extra Savings" click which dropped the price down to $350. 

However, that has changed; now there is a $140 off coupon. You might want to wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to see if there are better deals then, but if you don't this is still a great price. 

Speaking of solar panels, I bought one of those, too. 

Rockpals SP003 100W Portable Solar Panel 
I haven't tested this at all; the weather was dark and overcast the morning after Nicole hit, and in the time it took for the coffee to bring me to my senses, the plugged-in battery had fully recharged. When I perform my not-plugged-in test I'll test these, too. 

These are also on sale; normally $200, they have a $35 off coupon. That drops the price to $165, or $525 if you get them with the Freeman 600. 

For the curious, a new Glock 19 retails for about $500, so when I said this would be "new gun expensive", this is what I was talking about. I'd been saving my COVID stimulus money since 2020 for something big, so I was able to afford this. If money is tight, then you can buy a 300W unit for $150 (no coupon) and a 60W solar panel that is normally $146 but has a $40 off coupon, and if you buy both then use the code P2VYV6RU at checkout for an additional 5% off of the Freeman 300 for a total of $248.50.  

I'll let you know what I think of the panels after I've tested them, but they have a good rating (4.5 stars and 2,611 reviews). Based on the research I've done and the results I've seen, I'm happy with my purchase. 

1 comment:

  1. $200 off coupon on the 600WH rig is a FANTASTIC deal. THANK YOU, ERIN!


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