How much power do we have?

Hello all! We are on the road and loving it but still trying to figure our electrical system out. We previously killed 2 lithium batteries and are really scared about doing it again. At the end of the day, we really are just two people that know absolutely nothing about electrical work. :joy:
I’ve done a lot of research but I am still quite confused. What appliances can we run? We have 2 x 200 aH LiFePo4 batteries hooked in series to our 2400 W Inverter and 800 Watts of solar panels. More specifically, would we be able to run an 1800W airfryer after the sun goes down? The only thing that is constantly running is our ICECO refrigerator which pulls 0.54 kWh/24hr.
Thanks for any help!


Lots of people are killing lithium/LifePo4 batteries prematurely. They are not the proper batteries for our uses or our charging methods, regardless of what the promoters & newbies say. Plain deep cycle lead acid batteries are still the best choice for us.

We’re camping, and we must produce our own electricity. Alternator, generator, or shore power are the best options, and solar is dead last, the most expensive, least reliable, least efficient, and least effective.

People enjoying this lifestyle understand that electricity should be considered a luxury more than a necessity. Heating, cooking, refridgeration, and any other energy hogs should be fuel powered, saving our precious power for lights, fans, laptops, etc. Energy hogs should only be used when running a generator or with a shore power hookup.

Many of us even refuse to use inverters on a regular basis do to their inefficiency.

Before getting a generator, a friend would find a park with a covered picnic area with plug ins, to use his air fryer on a picnic table. Now, with a generator, he has all the power he wants. Only a generator or shore power can really provide this for many uses.

Reality can be harsh, and follows it’s own rules. Unlike the promoters, it doesn’t care about money, or our wants, wishes, or desires. We can accomplish almost anything, but the ways we accomplish it must be different, and batteries & solar frequently aren’t the right choices for the problem. We’re camping… So a camping mentality will serve us much better than a housed mentality.

Have you tried solar cooking? Maybe with a solar or battery powered rotisserie. Some people seem to really like it. I use a stove top Coleman folding oven, with great success, occasionally with a D-Cell battery powered rotisserie available on Amazon. A small solar battery charger sits in my window to keep flashlight, puck light, and radio batteries etc. charged, along with many of my USB rechargeable items. It’s a very handy accessory.

I have many energy efficient battery powered luxuries, ranging from my razor to my USB powered heating/cooling blankets & seat cushions, but the important difference is that they were designed to be energy efficient battery powered items from the beginning. These days, USB powered & charged items are our friends.

As an example, my 100ah lead acid house battery has only 50ah usable energy, yet it will last me a week plus, and it’s charged only while driving 99% of the time. If I’m stationary for longer than a week or so, I can charge it with my generator and a house style battery charger. I don’t have roof top solar, because I want my house battery charged correctly to prolong it’s lifespan. As mostly a city dweller, I can’t stay parked for longer than 72 hours without moving, so I’ll go get supplies, do laundry, or something every 3 days before returning to my spot. That small amount of driving keeps my house battery topped up better and more reliably than solar ever did, especially in the winter. It’s all about proper expectations, equipment, and usage.


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller


Hi there!

I have to agree with Van Dweller regarding lithium versus lead acid batteries. I have three batteries and the only two I’m having problems with are the lithium. Essentially the reason I chose lithium over lead battery is because they are smaller and I wanted to conserve as much space as possible.
For me solar is necessary because I do not drive enough to charge solely off the vehicle alternator (isolator). In winter, I do not get enough solar so I charge using a small generator.
I too, know very little about the proper combination of electricals so I went with the Goal Zero Yeti unit, which had everything you need -charge controller, battery and inverter- all in the one unit. The solar panels plug directly into the unit. You can also charge it with a 12 volt charger from your cigarette lighter on your vehicle which is sold separately as well as plugging into a landline with a charger also sold separately.
It IS available in lead-acid models. If I had to do it again that is how I would go.
Hope that helps! Good luck!

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But for an alternative opinion, here is a good post:

Great outline. Thanks!

Couple of details:

  • How are you dealing with off-gassing of hydrogen from your house battery?
  • Are you using an electric cooler/fridge?
  • Any insights on what kind of solar charger to use on the dash, or are they all pretty much the same?

I had one of those Coleman stovetop ovens, but didn’t work with it enough to get the temp control down. May give it another shot. Thanks for the reminder!


How are you dealing with off-gassing of hydrogen from your house battery?

I have mine in a marine battery box right behind the drivers seat, never a problem.

Are you using an electric cooler/fridge?

I’m using a used 3-way fridge out of an RV that I picked up for $50 at a wrecking yard. I only run it on 12v while I’m in motion. When parked I use the non-electric option. It does need to be level to operate on fuel though, so I mounted it on a gimbal like they do on boats to keep it level even when my vehicle isn’t.

Any insights on what kind of solar charger to use on the dash, or are they all pretty much the same?

In general most solar chargers don’t work well inside. I do charge lanterns, headlamps, a bug zapper, and more inside by a window facing the sun, but it’s terribly slow. Much faster to recharge them via USB from my house battery.

I had one of those Coleman stovetop ovens, but didn’t work with it enough to get the temp control down. May give it another shot. Thanks for the reminder!

Mine has a thermometer right on the front, making it very easy and convenient to get the right temperature.


"Life can be as simple or as complicated as you make it.
Simple is cheaper and more reliable." ~ Off Grid

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Thanks a lot! I appreciate your experience.