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dual battery vs. power station?

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by TacoTuesday1, Apr 16, 2023.

  1. Apr 16, 2023 at 4:45 PM

    TacoTuesday1 [OP] Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2019
    Not sure where this is best to ask

    Looking at powering a Dometic CFX3 35
    I know at some point it'll probably be needed to get a folding 100W solar panel

    I've read posts where people make a dual battery and regret not just getting a power station
    Though a buddy of mine made a 2nd battery and so far it works
    I am really not sure if more affordable Goal Zero Yeti 500 or Jackery 500 are good enough for the task...

    Which Power Station is best, or if 2nd battery is better, how involved is that?
    I've only seen one dual battery build that looks good; someone put two next to each other turned sideways
    But the fender area is weak to be holding that amount of weight

    This seems like a better thing to do, and what my buddy has in what looks like a tupperware container in the backseat area
    Mav on YouTube also has this in an F-150, but it appears to require more wiring work than a power station
    I think it's called DC-DC converter, to run power from the alternator?To the 2nd battery
    And an isolator, to keep it separate/from affecting the first main starter battery

    Has anyone else done this?
    AKA making your own movable battery

    side-note; the reasoning behind folding solar, is to aim it at the sun. If the truck is in the shade, or based on where the sun is. But that has pros and cons
    -rooftop solar, still supposedly good enough to charge
    -mobile solar, can't use it while driving. You're stuck sitting somewhere and if you walk away, hoping nobody steals your expensive panel
    -rooftop, might require $700 roof rack. OR, if flexible sticky panel onto roof or shell, I'm not sure if (3M double-sided adhesive?) would rip paint off if ever removing in the future
  2. Apr 17, 2023 at 3:25 AM

    FishaRnekEd Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2013
    New Orleans, LA
    2005 4.0 6spd 4x4 Dbl Cb short bed
    I have a 100w solar panel, 10a charge controller, old trolling battery and a power inverter on my gazebo. I use it so i don't have to run power out there. It powers a box fan, phone charger, stereo, etc, for a few hours every day.

    I actually took this setup off of my truck and put it on the gazebo (i finally moved back into my house and am not camping all the time anymore).

    I bought all of this before covid bullshit started, so it was maybe $200 for everything. Today, you would be spending over $300 i guess.
  3. Apr 17, 2023 at 5:36 AM

    Ridgewalker1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 20, 2021
    First Name:
    Longmont, CO
    2003 Tacoma TRD OR, 2015 Tacoma TRD OR
    2003 1 5/8” lift, 235-85r16 BFG KO2, ARB Bull Bar, Warn M8000, sliders, Snugtop; 2015 Hefty Fab al bumper and sliders, Warn Zeon 10k, Rago bed stiffeners,
    Advantages/disadvantages either option. Either option if you carry it in the bed of your truck, you will need to run wiring and install a fuse near the starter battery.
    JMO, but I believe the portable solar generator is the most versatile since you can take it out and store it for times not being used. You can charge it from house power while not in the truck. You can use it around the house. Etc, etc.
    Currently it appears the Ecoflow River 2 Pro is getting the best reviews. Latest technology in battery. Quickest charging. High number of charges. Can be discharged deeper. Take a look on YouTube and internet comparisons and reviews.
    I don’t know where you live, but here in Colorado with our cold winters, Lifo batteries should be brought inside in really cold weather.
  4. Apr 17, 2023 at 6:11 AM
    Rock Lobster

    Rock Lobster Thread Derailer

    Dec 14, 2018
    First Name:
    Dee Eff Dub
    I drive a Miata.
    Start by calculating your draw, both peak and average. You want a minimum 3 days worth of electricity in the bank. Because sometimes clouds exist, and it's nice to go an entire weekend without having to break out the solar. This is where a home built box takes advantage over a power station: my 120 Ah battery fits in a group 24 box. (Same capacity as a Jackery 1500) It's a little cheaper and a little more compact if you build it out.


    However, the disadvantage is that my battery needs to be wired to a fuse block, battery monitor, BMS, charge controller, inverter(optional), and appliance outlets, all of which would have been integrated into a power station. It's easy for me since I used most of the existing infrastructure in my trailer. For truck campers, it's up to you whether you want to go the easy way or the fully involved way. If you home build it, it's involved.

    For solar, you want to be able to recharge 2 days worth of consumption in 5 hours off peak sun. Again, clouds and trees exist. If a birds shadow is within a 2 mile vicinity of your panels, expect to see about half of your generating power.


    I'm a big fan of these. Eco worthy 100W hard panels, but they fold and have their own adjustable kickstands. Perfect for deploying and catching a few hours of juice. When they're done they stow easily.

    But once you know your consumption, then it will help guide which route you want to go.
  5. Apr 17, 2023 at 6:19 AM

    roundrocktom Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2021
    2021 Silver DCLB Off Road
    Figure out your electrical loads for 24 hours, and determine the battery size you need.
    Calculator from two wonderful digital nomads with a Ford Transit (I had built a van, and sold it in 2021 to buy the Tacoma).

    My homebrew is a battle born 100 Ah Lithium, Redarc 1240D (DC to DC with Solar charging); and some 12V to USB adapters & Cigarette lighter. $1500 Solution in today's pricing (Redarc is about $500). I have a 200W solar panel. The battery is used for a Domenic DZ75, CPAP, and LED lighting.

    EcoFlow Solution on sale for $639 Costco.
    That is a 120Ah battery (actually two) and should last days.

    The drawback is the EcoFlow car charging limits 12V charging to 5A (60W input). If I use a Victron 12V to 24V DC/DC charger, I can plug that output into the solar input and charge at 240W when driving. This gives me an option for those wet/rainy days as my solar input drops well below the 200W into the 20W range.

    You can buy standalone LiPo batteries with built-in heaters. Batteries need to be charged above 32F, so in 0F weather, those internal heaters kick in to warm the battery until they can charge. For my tiny trailer, I have an AC-powered room heater.

    Lots of options, but those EcoFlows are the best bang for the buck.
    drewnali, Rock Lobster and Naveronski like this.

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