Build vs. Buy - portable power supply

Nov 17, 2023

Should I build a portable power supply for my weekend adventure rig Skoolie or buy a pre-built solution?

Let’s compare a Renogy DIY solution vs. buying an Ecoflow solution with similar capabilities.

Renogy DIY:

Roughly $910 in gear to build a power supply for a weekend of adventure that you can charge from vehicle, solar, or shore power.


We need some math before we can find a comparable Ecoflow solution. Ecoflow like most portable power supply solutions segment their products by watt hour (Wh) capacity. Stand alone batteries are measured by amp hour (Ah) capacity. Multiply Wh by 12 to determine a DIY capacity of 1200Wh.

The Ecoflow Delta provides 1260Wh of capacity and costs $1000.

Expansion considerations

This is where things get interesting, if I need more power in the future I can double the capacity of the DIY solution for around $400. Ecoflow is really proud of their expansion batteries. Almost double the cost of DIY expansion at $800.

Portability considerations

The DIY solution would need to be built into the adventure van, or a box would need to be built to house all the tech.


Not sure, but I’m leaning towards buying vs. building.

Update 2024-01-10

The Ecoflow line of portable generators only output 12V DC @ 10 AMPS. Not enough to power up a diesel heater, they need 15 AMPS to prime the glow plug on start-up. Looks like Bluetti offers several units with 15 AMP 12V DC output.

Update 2024-02-28

Table of brand-name solar generators with >= 15A 12V output:

Bluetti AC200Max2048WhLiFePO412V/30A$1500link
GoalZero Yeti 1500X1516WhLi-ion NMC12V/30A$1300link
GoalZero Yeti 3000X3032WhLi-ion NMC12V/30A$2000link
LionEnergy Safari1612WhLiFePO412V/15A$1700link