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Ecoflow Discussion

bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
3,178
5,326
Bay Area
First...it doesn't seem like there's an Ecoflow type thread here, but LMK if there is and I'm just an idiot and can't figure out basic search parameters.

Anyway, I took delivery of two EcoFlow ∆ Pro units last month. I was smart enough to buy them right when they went live so I missed the Costco deal and instead paid an extra grand or something to buy them direct from Ecoflow, but...whatever, I have them now...and everyone has to pay the Stupid Tax sometime, right? So far I'm happy with them. Ive only had to use them twice in and only for short periods, but overall they seem to have a good amount of flexibility in use, and the app is user friendly enough and lets me set things like max charge rate, min/max SOC, etc.

Here's an unremarkable pic of what happens to be my batteries (as opposed to a similar, if not better composed stock photo), mostly because people on the internet seem to like pictures. Sorry there's no cat in there. They're assholes anyway. I'll tell you what you can do with a cat and a fully charged battery...
1645205892069.png

(Also, calm down, we have a few feral cats on our property)


I intend to use these as a whole house, 240V backup for when my power goes out...which, somewhat surprisingly/unfortunately, occurs with remarkable frequency even just barely in the hills above Silicon Valley where I live. Most are hours long, though we've had days long outages as well (mostly PGE "afraid to burn it all down" outages). Anyway, we've played the extension cord game for a few years and its finally time to have something more comprehensive. We have two small kids and really just want something simple and with very little compromise to our daily activities. FTR I did investigate more traditional generator transfer switches, but the architecture I've come up with seems cleaner and easier to implement, at least to me.

The main reason I got two batteries is because Ecoflow sells (or at least, will sell) a bridge cable to combine the output of the two 120V batteries to a proper 240W/30A. For some sizing verification, scrolling through my Sense data (anyone know how to actually export from Sense?) tells me ~7kW easily covers what I'd consider 'cognizant' peak loading. So far this winter my absolute peak load was 13.1kW, but that was layering my dryer (wifey likes warm laundry so whenever she's doing the laundry its drawing 5-6kW or something), my recently installed 4 zone split (that surges to 3kW but is usually in the 1-2kW range when running) that replaced my LP furnace for heating (and also added air conditioning because, you know, global warming), and cookies baking in the main oven (our microwave is also a convection oven so we usually use that for oven duty). Hand waving all that around I figure as long as we're barely thinking about time shifting the big loads we can pretty easily keep it under 7kW. Note that we've got a tankless water heater right now that will eventually be swapped for a heat pump, so that would be slightly more load consideration...but that's not a "soon" kind of thing so I'm not going to worry about it right now.

In order to make this work from a whole house perspective I put a two way disconnect switch in front of my service panel. Save for labels (and some paint...) my house is now wired such that power goes directly from the meter into the disconnect switch so I can swap the input to the service panel between municipal power and 'generator' power. Worst part of this whole setup is the old Zinsco main breaker under the meter (that's been there since the house was built in 1960)...
1645208573492.png



Certainly 7kWh from the two batteries isn't going to last too long, and more EcoFlow batteries (to say nothing of a can't-buy-one-even-if-i-wanted Powerwall solution) seems like an irresponsible financial solution to the problem of providing backup power, so I'm going to put a small generator behind the two batteries to ensure I always have enough energy, specifically a Champion 2500 dual fuel inverter. This one operates at 1800W, so I'll throttle my Ecoflow charge rates to 800W each for 1600W load (you can only adjust in 200W increments) and the idea is that the generator will manage consumption while the batteries handle the peak loads. I prefer the idea of using the ~smallest (and ostensibly, quietest) generator for this application rather than a larger one that could max rate charge the batteries at 1.6kW x 2, mostly because I feel better about leaving a small generator running overnight, but also because I believe its ultimately going to lead to better overall fuel efficiency. While I have yet to put this into practice, my current thought is that during outages I'll have the ability to toggle the gennie on and off when I'm awake (based on battery SOC), and I'll just leave it running overnight on the nights where we won't be able to make it till morning on just 7kWh of battery power.

Again looking to data :)eek:) to verify my generator sizing, save for an anomaly day of 60kWh usage my peak daily winter consumptions never go above 45kWh--and again that's zero cognizance of total consumption. Its also worth noting that my peak daily split consumption is 33.9kWh and usually average in the 20-25 range. Daily generator math is 1600W x 24h = 38.4kWh, and that feels like its going to do the job as long as we're giving a passing thought to our total daily consumption. Note that I also have a wood stove to offset BUTs if temperatures go particularly cold during a power outage.

Its with sharing that dual fuel (and I guess more concisely, propane) is kind of a self-imposed requirement for me. For one, **** gas, for B **** storing gas, and for gamma, I have a 250gal LP tank that, after uninstalling my furnace, isn't doing anything but supplying my water heater anyway. Even without having the tank refilled there's a LOT of outage hours that can be accommodated. This generator won't be quite as seamless as the EcoFlow smart generator option, but its also way cheaper and the Ecoflow generators are gasoline with no current roadmap to propane.

From a switchover process perspective, what I'm planning on doing is just having another two way switch (just a toggle, not a full disconnect box) that I manually flip when the power goes out to switch the battery inputs from "house" to "generator". With city power I'd leave the batteries plugged into the house so they stay topped off at 90% SOC waiting for the next outage, but if I don't flip their inputs off the house they'll end up perpetually charging themselves until house loads (plus, DC/AC/DC/AC inefficiencies). I'd love to have something a little more automated/foolproof as that ends up being (I think) the only step in my switchover process that if missed would lead to a bit of a feedback loop rather than a hard short...so if anyone has any ideas I'm all ears.

1645211971299.png


Finally, its worth sharing that my house isn't really solar friendly. Solar isn't a hard no, but it isn't a priority. In the winter months I get ~2 hours of unshaded sun on a fairly small rooftop area, and there's really no option for ground mounted panels. The Ecoflows do have Solar/DC inputs so I guess that's better than bad (!= wood?), though I don't think this architecture is particularly compatible with simply adding solar.
 
Nice detailed info.

I looked at Ecoflows a while back and you didn't mention what they costed.

When I looked, and correct me if I'm wrong (I think all the discounted kickstarter signups are gone now), they seemed pretty pricey. I also wasn't sure if they qualified for the tax credit nor SGIP.

Looking at Costco now, I see one for $2,849.99. I would need like 3x which would be $8549.97 for 10800Wh? It IS portable though and great for camping I'm sure. Hopefully, cost will come down a bit and I like how it's LFP.
 

bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
3,178
5,326
Bay Area
I looked at Ecoflows a while back and you didn't mention what they costed.

$3600 each

I would need like 3x which would be $8549.97 for 10800Wh? It IS portable though and great for camping I'm sure.

You can get extra batteries that don't have all the 'main unit' electronics for $2700 from EcoFlow, but though they're currently listed as out of stock. Not sure if Costco will offer those extra batteries at a Costco price?

Each Deltapro can support two of those extra batteries, but total output is still 120V and 3.6kW. If you're looking for 240v you need two "main" units...and then of course the bridge cable that's not available yet...

Its worth noting that I have no particular allegiance to EcoFlow other than the fact that near as I can tell they’re the only OTS 240v solution. I also briefly looked into more of a traditional DIY home battery solution with cells and chargers and converters and such, but decided for my use case the EcoFlows work well.

It IS portable though and great for camping I'm sure.

FWIW they're friggin heavy--100lb each. For camping use its worth looking at their smaller products (and similar products from the other battery suppliers). Its probably also worth doing some kind of capacity math too—3.6kWh is a LOT of energy for a camping trip that's not using big electronics (and kind of a small amount of energy for a camping trip with big electronics...)
 
I'm in the middle of installing a similar, but significantly smaller (only 4 circuits at 120 volts), plan here. We don't have as many outages, but since we live in the Upper Midwest, if the power goes out then we would really miss the heat in the winter. I'm installing the Goal Zero Yeti Home Integration Kit Transfer Switch (Powers up to 4 x 120-volt circuits), to cover my furnace blower (200 watts), kitchen refrigerator (250 watts peak), garage outlets (opener, freezer, etc...) and Family Room (center of the house lights and TV). The transfer switch is powered by a single standard 120-volt cable connected to my EcoFlow Mini. I plan on supplying more battery / standby power to the EcoFlow mini by plugging it into the blipOne Home Battery (2.2 kWh LiFePO4 with 2,000 continuous watts), once it becomes available this summer.
 

bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
3,178
5,326
Bay Area
I'm in the middle of installing a similar, but significantly smaller (only 4 circuits at 120 volts), plan here. We don't have as many outages, but since we live in the Upper Midwest, if the power goes out then we would really miss the heat in the winter.

Yeah heat was my major must have for me too, with the fridge being a close second given the duration of some of our outages (a few years ago when PG&E was trigger happy shutting down rural power for fear of another Paradise, we had multiple days long outages).

FTR, that transfer switch is just a Reliance product resold by goal zero, so you might be able to find a better price elsewhere. Also worth considering, here's a 6 switch and here's a 10 switch unit. (The outdoor ones are a little more expensive if that's your configuration). Going with the "nobody ever said they have too many circuits" perspective, it might be worth upsizing from your base need of 4. Those bigger ones can also do 240, which makes a down the road upgrade a little easier. You can also install multiple parallel transfer switches if you want to have more circuits--its actually not a lot of work on the front end and saves some annoyance during an outage since you'll have more "normal" house functionality.

As a completely different setup I also considered buying a handful of small batteries to use essentially as individual UPSes in-line with my loads (I looked at actual UPS rack units as well as the products from EF, GZ, Jackery, etc.). But...when I converted from the LP furnace to the mini splits, that went out the window and 240V became a hard requirement. With that architecture battery sizing was getting complicated too, again given the duration of some of our outages.
 
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Wow, so is one of these basically like 1/3 of a Powerwall for 1/3 the price, but without all the complicated permitting and professional installation - instead just a generator transfer switch? I know it wouldn't have all the automatic seamless switchover sexiness, but just two of these could get me through peak load 4-9 pm every night (wouldn't charge the EV during this time of course). I'd have to manually switch over twice a day, but would also have the freedom to charge and discharge to/from the grid anytime? And if one fails, it's just a simple unit swap-out?
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
14,659
18,781
Riverside Co. CA
Wow, so is one of these basically like 1/3 of a Powerwall for 1/3 the price
$3600 Is more than 1/2 the price of a powerwall (which is about $7000 now I believe) for about 1/4 of the storage (3.6kw Vs 13.5), but it sounds like it could be a lot more DIY, so doesnt need all the "professional installation" that goes along with powerwalls.
 
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I would agree that you wouldn't do this for the $$ savings. More for the flexibility with it being portable, lack of permits, city approvals, etc...Tesla powerwalls are definitely the most cost effective solution I think with $7k + install for 13.5 kWh. Add in tax credits and possibly SGIP (if you didn't use Tesla solar) and the cost can be reduced further.

I think once you start getting into a lot more storage (like upwards of 10-20 kWh with these portables, it's worth comparing the cost with permanent home energy storage). I would love to have 1 of these units for evac/road/camp trips though.

To get 20+ kWH or so, it would cost $17,100 (assuming 1x $3,600 unit and 5x $2,700 units). Most Enphase installs including labor with 2x 10kWh batteries run about ~$25k and is $18,500 with federal 26% tax credit).
 

bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
3,178
5,326
Bay Area
Wow, so is one of these basically like 1/3 of a Powerwall for 1/3 the price, but without all the complicated permitting and professional installation

Sort of. Maybe not quite parity in storage/$ (rack rate is $10.5k on one Powerwall and $17k for two--which you need for 240v), but regardless, the big issue with Powerwall is that you can't buy unless you're getting a solar roof...and even then its kind of a crap shoot when you'd actually get your stuff.

So the big benefit with Ecoflow is that they're actually available and can more or less run a whole house (save for the stupid 240V bridge cable that's still not actually on sale yet). And, of course, if you're really just looking for a backup/outage solution the total cost is lower than Powerwall, and a corollary upside is that the solution is generally more flexible.

just two of these could get me through peak load 4-9 pm every night (wouldn't charge the EV during this time of course). I'd have to manually switch over twice a day, but would also have the freedom to charge and discharge to/from the grid anytime?

If you haven't yet, run some numbers on time shifting grid power via batteries. Even on a PGE EV rate you're going to be looking at YEARS for ROI on any battery (if you ever get there) and that's not factoring in battery degradation over cycles (which could be an issue with a LOT of deep discharges on 7kWh of storage) or AC-DC-AC conversion losses.

Even if the batteries are intended as outage coverage (which means closing ROI on time shifting grid power isn’t a requirement) you still need a huge ∆ between your low and high $/kWh rates, and also a pretty sizable usage in your high rate timeframe to make the time shifting really worth it. And you’d also want a much higher battery capacity.

Certainly if you have solar and want to store your generation rather than sell it back to The Man for pennies on the dollar its different math as well, but again that scenario you’d likely want a much bigger battery anyway.

Manual switching also seems really onerous--I'd suggest looking into smart panels if that's really the path you want to take. Ecoflow actually has one that's not on sale yet, and its basically an automated/smart version of a traditioanal 10 circuit generator transfer switch. Presumably you could parallel install multiples of them for more circuits, though it seems like you’d also need more batteries to serve each switch independently.

Span also looks really cool in the smart panel (it was founded by a Tesla Energy alum), though that’s certainly a different level product.
 
Wow, thanks to this thread for giving me a bunch more crazy ideas for both backup power and load-shifting.

For backup, similar to OP get lots of 1-3 hour power outages in Silicon Valley, but just on the first foothill so no PSPS shutoff (even my outage block is 50 due to a nearby fire station and hospital). Always toyed with the idea of ordering a generator interlock kit, but it seemed complicated to install with my panel already full. But these Reliance MTS's look way easier to install and fully compatible. Looks like I don't even need to move circuit breakers (rather not mess with the existing breakers) to the backup panel, I just re-wire the existing load wires with the ones on the Reliance MTS - I can do that!

Most annoying thing about my house is that my gas furnace (100W on low stage) and tankless gas water heater both sip electricity, but had to be hardwired due to code, so no gas heat or hot water during outages. Always toyed with re-wiring them with a standard 120V outlet plug - here I don't have to violate code, can just put them on the MTS. And the fridge has dual inverter compressors, so really soft-start, but built-in so can't easily get to it's plug - now just move to the MTS. Just have to figure out how to wire the little baby 900W propane generator to the MTS, or bite the bullet on the EcoFlow.

On the load-shifting, I was using the Costco EcoFlow sale price for the Powerwall comparison, but did misjudge a Powerwall to be more like $7500 and 10kwh. But since I only need one Powerwall, effective installed price is 10.5K (which I can't even do that since I have no more good roof for solar), So EcoFlow for me is really 1/4 capacity for 1/4 the price. And it turns out my daily summer 4-9 peak usage is about 3.6kwh, so just the size of the EcoFlow.

But just as the Powerwall payback was 20-50 years, the EcoFlow still takes about 20-30 years to pencil out for load-shifting alone. I can save about $100/year load-shifting summer peak, manually switch that 120 days/yr. But to shorten the payback would need to load-shift winter days as well. Could possibly shorten payback moving to EV2-A, but other downsides.

Overall pros/cons of the EcoFlow compared to Powerwall for me:
PRO:
-right-sized capacity for my load-shifting and backup needs (1/4 of a Powerwall)
-no onerous professional installation costs and additional solar
-easy to install or uninstall, no complicated permitting
-no forced move from NEM1 to NEM2/3
-plug-and-play unit replacement
-can take it on camping trips
CON:
-no solar power during outages
-manual switching for daily load-shifting
 

adiggs

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Sep 25, 2012
5,723
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Portland, OR
I've begun wandering down a similar rabbit hole, though without much real need or electrical knowledge; just something I find fascinating.

I got a Delta Power from Costco to get me started (the best kind of gift - something I want, but probably wouldn't have bought myself). Reason for this choice - enough wattage on the 120v sockets that I'm confident I can manually hook up the pellet stove should that be needed, to have heat in the event of a power outage. I'd probably also do the extension cord thing to bring other stuff online (TV, router, PC come to mind). 1.2 KWh of storage so it will run low draw stuff, and not for very long. The higher wattage is needed as a peak to get the pellet stove started.

I'm gonna give that a test drive this weekend - confirm that I can get heat via the battery and pellet stove, and an estimate of how long it'll run.


Also thinking about a well house and the well pump. If the power's out for a tree falling on a line or something like that, we're at the very end of a low volume power line, so our outages will be on the longer rather than shorter side of the outage. Water is nice, but the well pump is 220. I think its 220v 30a. It's also hard wired.

We don't need automated cut over, so first thought was to change the well pump electrical so it plugs into an outlet instead of being hard wired. In the event of an outage take the battery over and plug the well pump in (not the Delta Power - it'd be one of the Pro doobers). Do I really need two of those for the 220 power? I see they have the dryer outlet type of plug on the front, but you still need two of them? Two probably scotches that plan for me.

The more radical and thoroughly ridiculous financial idea, is to rig up the well pump with battery and solar panels on its roof. Take the well house off-grid and stop paying the annoying monthly meter fee for such a small amount of actual electricity consumption. I still need to math that out to see if that can work. Save $25/month for .. too much $.
 
I've begun wandering down a similar rabbit hole, though without much real need or electrical knowledge; just something I find fascinating.

I got a Delta Power from Costco to get me started (the best kind of gift - something I want, but probably wouldn't have bought myself). Reason for this choice - enough wattage on the 120v sockets that I'm confident I can manually hook up the pellet stove should that be needed, to have heat in the event of a power outage. I'd probably also do the extension cord thing to bring other stuff online (TV, router, PC come to mind). 1.2 KWh of storage so it will run low draw stuff, and not for very long. The higher wattage is needed as a peak to get the pellet stove started.

I'm gonna give that a test drive this weekend - confirm that I can get heat via the battery and pellet stove, and an estimate of how long it'll run.


Also thinking about a well house and the well pump. If the power's out for a tree falling on a line or something like that, we're at the very end of a low volume power line, so our outages will be on the longer rather than shorter side of the outage. Water is nice, but the well pump is 220. I think its 220v 30a. It's also hard wired.

We don't need automated cut over, so first thought was to change the well pump electrical so it plugs into an outlet instead of being hard wired. In the event of an outage take the battery over and plug the well pump in (not the Delta Power - it'd be one of the Pro doobers). Do I really need two of those for the 220 power? I see they have the dryer outlet type of plug on the front, but you still need two of them? Two probably scotches that plan for me.

The more radical and thoroughly ridiculous financial idea, is to rig up the well pump with battery and solar panels on its roof. Take the well house off-grid and stop paying the annoying monthly meter fee for such a small amount of actual electricity consumption. I still need to math that out to see if that can work. Save $25/month for .. too much $.
Do bear in mind that well pumps start at full load (all the standing water in the pipe above them), and so often draw 3-4X their rated load to start. So, a 3HP well pump (2.5-3.0kW), might draw 7.5-12kW starting surge.

If you are going the solar on the well roof solar route, it might be more efficient to replace the well pump with a solar compatible pump that can run on 48V, and pump to a storage tank to even out the demand. That assumes pulling the pump isn't too heinous. So, more efficient, but not necessarily less expensive.

Locally, IIRC, I found some requirement for well pumps to be hard wired, so they would need a transfer switch to switch from grid to backup.

There are a number of clothes dryer like outlets, but the devil is in the layout about whether it is 120 or 240V.
image1.png

All the best,

BG
 

bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
3,178
5,326
Bay Area
...the EcoFlow still takes about 20-30 years to pencil out for load-shifting alone.

Its hard to imagine a world where time-shifting the base PGE TOU plan ever breaks even--on any battery, and certainly not your proposed mega-deep cycle. You've got AC-DC-AC conversion losses which are probably in the 10% range round trip (PGE TOU peak summer rate is currently 16% higher than off-peak), so that's a big impact there. Then there's also battery degradation to factor--Ecoflow says 80% @3500 cycles and 50% @6500 cycles. If we assume their definition of 'cycle' is worst case 100-0-100 (which it is almost certainly not--one cycle is probably more like two round trips between 75% and 25%) that more or less maths out to ~0.5% capacity degradation per 100 cycles. While manageable of course, over time that reduces the volume of load you can time shift and thus the amount of savings. And keep in mind your proposed mega deep cycling will likely increase that degradation rate pretty significantly.

While maybe more a mental exercise than impact to wallet size, when one factors depreciation of the battery I wouldn't be surprised if this kind of mega-deep cycling actually ends up costing a user more than simply using PGE during the peak TOU hours.

Overall pros/cons of the EcoFlow compared to Powerwall for me:
CON:
-no solar power during outages

I don't think anyone would suggest an ECOflow product is in anyway comparable to power wall for solar integration, but its worth noting that you can dump up to 15A/1600W of solar panel DC directly into a ∆Pro.
 

bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
3,178
5,326
Bay Area
In the event of an outage take the battery over and plug the well pump in (not the Delta Power - it'd be one of the Pro doobers). Do I really need two of those for the 220 power? I see they have the dryer outlet type of plug on the front, but you still need two of them? Two probably scotches that plan for me.

Yes. A delta pro outputs at 120V; you need the bridge cable (which you can now pre-order) to combine two 120V units to properly output +120/-120.

The more radical and thoroughly ridiculous financial idea...

Agreed on that. :p But still a fun thought experiment.

Its worth noting that like most storage batteries, Ecoflow units (or at least the ones I've looked at) can surge. In the case of delta pro its a 2x surge, or 7200W...your ∆ looks to be a surge of 3300W (1800W nominal output). But...even if you could string enough batteries together to meet a surge demand (and, if necessary, step-up voltage with a transformer), you're now at the point where you likely have a lot of unused battery capacity and generally, as you note, a financially absurd solution. The solution @BGbreeder proposed is a better thread to pull for your pump house conundrum...otherwise you might as well just dive right in to large scale solar+storage to serve your whole property. :cool:

There's plenty of websites out there of course, but Big Battery is a fun one if you want to rat hole. While dangerous to directly compare cost to an integrated Tesla solution, they have storage products in the $400-500/kWh range. Kits like what they offer is absolutely the path I would have gone if I actually wanted something more than just the ability to bridge municipal power outages.
 
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