Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at the humble digital caliper, a tool that makes measuring easy, if not fun; a vacuum purge and refill kit that helps ensure your cooling system is properly serviced; and a crowfoot wrench, a tool that allows you to turn a fitting in a cramped space. This week’s cool tool is a huge battery that can provide power out in the field without emissions or noise.
A battery generator (though technically it’s not converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, hence why some call it a “Power Station.”) has been on my mind for a while. I love to go camping and I often have to work on vehicles remotely. A gasoline-powered generator gets the job done, but the people around me have to hear the thing, and it cannot be used inside a tent or inside a home. This makes a power station an attractive option.
A Gambler 500 rally is some of the most fun that you can have with $500 and a cheap set of wheels. Forget fancy off-road builds, grab the nearest beat up Honda Civic, throw some tractor tires on it and have fun in the woods. But when the shenanigans end, you’ll most likely retire to your camp for the night. Most people bring a tent and rough it out, but some try to jazz up their camps with lighting, audio systems and appliances.
Powering these camps are often loud and noisy generators. It can be hard to get sleep with these machines growling nearby. Things would be more tranquil if everyone had a big battery pack like the one in these power stations.
If you happen to need indoor power, such as in an apartment during a power outage, a gasoline-powered generator may not be an option. This was the very situation I recently faced after a strong storm passed through with so much force that my apartment lost power. I had no place outside to put a gasoline generator with an extension cord.
This is where a battery power station can come in. These power banks are just giant battery packs with enough juice to electronics and even appliances for longer than you’d think. The Silver Cymbal YouTube channel put one to the test, powering everything from a washing machine and power tools to a refrigerator. The fridge, the YouTuber says, could run off the battery power station for over 12 hours!
Of course, these power stations do come with some big catches. Using one to power a space heater will deplete the battery pretty quickly depending upon how much you’re trying to warm your room. And unlike a normal generator that’s refilled with gasoline, you need electrical power to recharge one of these. That could mean using solar panels or running something with an internal combustion engine to generate power to charge it, though you could just go to a friend’s house across town and use their electricity, if they have it.
These battery power stations are also quite expensive. The EcoFlow Delta that Silver Cymbal tested has an output of 1,800W with a 3,300W surge; it costs about $1,300. This makes it competitive against a quiet and compact Honda generator, but much more expensive than the types of noisy, bulky worksite generators I often see at camp.
Like gasoline generators, battery power stations can be found with various power outputs and price points. So even if this isn’t for you, a good enough gas generator can be had for cheap! I’d love to test one of these and see if they can survive camping after a long day rallying.
Do you know of a weird or unique tool that wrenchers can benefit from? Do you want to see us put a type of tool to the test and see how it performs? Shoot me an email or drop it down in the comments!