Don’t blow it! How to determine your power budget
No matter how you choose to get away from it all – in your small caravan, with your fully fitted-out RV, on your luxurious boat or at your remote property – you probably still like to enjoy some comforts of home. Large screen TVs, washing machines, microwaves, fridges and freezers, computers, stereo equipment and other creature comforts can make the good times even better!
If your getaways have serious power requirements, though, you need to put some serious thought into how to keep the good times going when you're away from mains or shore power. Generators alone aren't ideal, especially in the evenings when you – and your neighbours – want to relax in the stillness of nature or even peacefully watch a TV show without disturbance! The key to reliably and comfortably powering your good times is the right battery inverter/charger.
But wait! Before you rush out to buy one, take the time to create a power budget. Don't risk making the common mistake of blowing your good times with an inverter/charger that doesn't have the oomph you really need. Here's how to create a power budget that will keep the good times going:
Step One: Think
Think hard about what appliances you're going to run to fully enjoy your "home-away-from-home". Do you want to watch TV in the evenings? Throw frequent loads in the washing machine? Cook family meals in the oven or a microwave? Realistically assess what appliances will keep your good times going. Don't forget to include devices you might want or need in the future - like a sleep apnoea machine to help you get the sleep you need. Plan early to avoid power pitfalls later on!
Step Two: Assess
How much power are your appliances going to draw? How long are they going to run for? Is the assurance of uninterrupted power an important factor? Are your appliances going to need bursts of high energy or long periods of steady power? How much power will your batteries need to store? Do you have the right number of batteries? Do you even have space for all the batteries you need? Remember: no matter which inverter/charger you choose, it will only be as good as your batteries!
Step Three: Select
Available in a variety of output sizes from 800VA to 5000VA, and in 12, 24 and 48VDC, Victron Phoenix MultiPlus and Victron Quattro all-in-one, sophisticated sinewave inverter/battery charger/ power transfer switches can meet virtually any Caravan, RV, boat, UPS or off grid power need. They can even be paralleled together for practically unlimited power! All you need to do is select the right model for your needs.
Why should you select a Phoenix MultiPlus or Victron Quattro?
- sensitive: They're able to sense if good quality 230AC power is available. When it is, they switch to using it to power your appliances and to simultaneously charge and maintain your batteries.
- smart: They automatically switch to inverter mode if mains power is interrupted - and back again when the power is restored - so quickly that vulnerable appliances like computers and TVs don't even flicker!
- powerful: They can add potent bursts of energy to insufficient mains or generator power when air conditioners, washing machines, electric stovetops and more need a boost.
Which Victron model should you select?
Be sure you create your power budget first. This crucial step will ensure you choose the right Victron model for your needs. Some common scenarios are:
- small caravan/RV: The Victron Phoenix Multiplus (12-1600-70) is popular for powering a small microwave, a TV, a DVD player and a few electronics.
- large RV/motorhome/Winnebago: The Victron Phoenix Multiplus 3000 will efficiently power a setup that includes a washing machine, stereo equipment, a full-size microwave and a large TV.
- large boat: The Victron Quattro 5000 supports the highest remote power needs, including stoves, air conditioners, dishwashers and complex entertainment systems.
The full range of Victron Phoenix Multiplus and Victron Quattro models are offered through Bainbridge Technologies. Their resident "Total Power Systems Expert", Peter Blume, is available to help you not only plan and develop your power budget – free of commitment and free of charge! - but also to help you select the inverter/charger that's just right for powering your good times.
Check out Bainbridge's step-by-step "How to create a power budget" youTube video to gain more insight into assessing your specific power needs for now and the future, too