Power Equipment Australasia

Portable generators are invaluable on worksites when you are camping or lose power at home. Even so, my most remote “worksite” is a coffee shop with a laptop running on battery. Just as well, because taking a generator to a coffee shop, even at the outside seating is too anti-social even for this writer. The last time we lost power at home was two nights ago, at about midnight. I sprung into action by rolling over and ignoring it. In what seemed like three minutes, I heard the printer whirr as the power came back on. I could not have got the EU20 out of the garage, hooked up and started before the mains power rebooted. We did take my little red generator camping once. The family who joined us also brought their generator which they used to recharge the camp battery that delivered all the lights we needed. As experienced campers they knew that at nighttime, the noise from generators disturbing the bush silence was not etiquette. Before my wife reads this and I hear, “I told you we didn’t need it”, let me explain that I definitely needed a generator, even if it was just to help a family whose house was smashed by the worst hailstorm I have ever seen. Ice balls punched holes in tile roofs and authorities cut off power to every house for weeks. Over the next two weeks, the little red Honda put in many hours of work without a whimper. I was let down only once. My petrol generator was left in the garage too long and the fuel gummed up and there was no chance it would ever make noise again without a trip to the service workshop. With 20/20 hindsight, my little red 21kg indulgence may not have been the ideal solution. I should have looked for a non-polluting alternative, right? Or perhaps upgrade to the newer Honda EU22? Enter the Bluetti AC200Max Portable Power Station. This is much more than a ‘Battery in a Box’. The LiFePO₄ (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery is enveloped in smart technology and every possible input and output option and accessories including expansion packs and a dedicated portable solar array. Outputs include 240V x2, USB C, USB A, 12v RV, 12v Car, 12v 5.5mm and two wireless charging pads. Outlets? Fifteen in total. Of all the portable power stations in the market, Bluetti has a full range of sizes, flexible options and some very strong reviews from experts and owners. In a red vs blue comparison, the two portable power options are neck-to-neck. (Has anyone picked up that I’m talking politics yet again? Red vs Blue?) The table leaves out the important differences. A Honda generator may have only 3.6l of fuel capacity but you can always bring along a jerry can. My friends who went off grid after hail damage kept their refrigeration going for two weeks just by refilling from a 5L fuel can. Try that with a battery. The Bluetti comes into its own by delivering instant power, anywhere, without being obtrusive. No safety concerns of spilled fuel or exhaust fumes. It may be slower to refill/ recharge, but it does offer the flexibility of multiple different charging options, some of which can be used simultaneously to bring the recharge time down to three hours. You can even be recharging while drawing power. So, what is my, “When I win the Lotto” solution? First, upgrade the EU20 to a newer EU22 – they are a sweet unit. Better still; go for the Honda EU32i 3,200W. The new bigger Lotto winner’s home will have 39kW of solar and a big home battery with an automatic power failure backup. And of course, for silent and indoor portability, a Bluetti AC200Max plus 2x B300 expansion batteries. Oh, and some matching solar panels, as well as one of the smaller Bluetti for picnic use, and one of the biggest Bluettis to back up a whole house. That should cover it. I’m going to need a bigger garage too. PORTABLE GENERATORS A Power-ful Solution Gary Fooks explores portable power stations that promise to deliver. Honda EU22 (petrol) Bluetti AC200MAX (battery) Price $1,999 on sale ($2,349 RRP) $2,300 on sale ($2,699 RRP) Weight 21.1 + fuel = 24.5kg 28.1kg Size 42.5 x 29 x 50.9cm 42 x 28 x 38.65cm Output 1,800W 2,200W (4,800W surge) Noise 89dB Near 0dB (cooling fan) Run Time 3 hours 20 hours for a 100W bulb or 1 hour for a room heater Capacity 3.6l of fuel 2,048Wh Refill time 5 minutes 3 to 6 hours Refill Options BP, Shell, Ampol etc AC, dual AC adapters, Solar, 12/24v car Shelf life Change the fuel every 2 months Charge every 3 to 6 months JULY - AUGUST 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 27