Portable power

Posted by William Waites April 18, 2022
Tags: electrics

Recently I was asked by a friend to put together a portable power box to go in a land vehicle. It is supposed to have a battery that can be charged from the engine via a DC-DC charger, some distribution for 12V power, and an inverter. Simple stuff. Much like the electrics on a small boat, but in a removable box.

They wanted to use Victron equipment. I generally use Sterling, but should be equivalent, I thought. When the kit arrived, my first impression was, wow, that’s a massive heatsink on the 30A charger. Does it really waste that much energy as heat?

My 60A charger from Sterling has a much smaller heat sink and a fan and doesn’t get nearly as hot.

It turns out that the answer is yes. Here is the first version of the box. I’ll have to make some changes, probably making a heat sink for the heat sink, some ventilation and fans. It’s running off a bench supply in the lab.

And here are some pictures of it running after about 20 minutes taken with a thermal camera.