How To build a Smart Hybrid Gas/Solar Backup Power System
EcoFlow is to hybrid power systems as Tesla is to electric vehicles.
They have combined solid engineering with elegant design and made it easy and intuitive for the non-technical user.
Nothing better exemplifies this than their DELTA Pro Power Station. It can be the backbone of a hybrid gas/solar backup power system.
What makes it hybrid is that it is chargeable (separately and jointly) by:
- Solar panels
- Fossil fuel generator
- Home grid (AC)
- Vehicle cigarette lighter
And its smart features make it incredibly flexible and hands-off. (For example, the system will sense when to best switch the gas generator on/off, to protect battery life while maintaining battery charge.
What follows below is:
- The procedure for setting up a hybrid system. (It’s incredibly simple.)
- A list and description of the components.
Delta Pro Power Station
There are several connection receptacles on the front, back and right side of the station. For safety, they all have different connection geometries and matching cable plugs. This prevents accidental misuse of the station. It is impossible, for example, to connect a charging device to a dis-charging receptacle, or a DC cable to an AC receptacle.
The DELTA Pro Power Station comes with a user manual that is one of the best we’ve ever seen. Plenty of diagrams, and clear simple English, making hybrid system setup easy to understand.
EcoFlow Dual Fuel Generator
There are many different fossil-fuel generators that can charge the DELTA Pro.
From an ease-of-use viewpoint, however, the smartest choice would be the EcoFlow Smart Dual Fuel Generator.
- Its design makes connecting it to the DELTA Pro almost seamless. (Indeed, it’s easy to confuse the two products in appearance. What gives it away is the recessed gasoline refueling cap on the top of the unit.)
- Dual fuel: Gasoline or propane. Chances are good that, in a power outage, you’ll have at least one or the other fuel handy.
- The LCD panel on the front of the generator is almost identical to that on the DELTA Pro.
Up to 3 solar panels may be connected (in series) to charge the DELTA Pro Power Station. They must, however, charge via an MC4 Solar Cable (one is supplied), which has a two-prong plug at the end.
The total charging load must not exceed 150V DC of voltage, 15A of current, or 1600W of power.
Extra Batteries - Total power storage capacity
The DELTA Pro Can connect to up to two external Smart Batteries.
When connected, this will increase your total power capacity to 10.8kWh. That’s enough to power a large home fridge for a week.
If a pair of DELTA Pro’s (each with two external Smart Batteries) are paired together and connected to a single Smart Generator, the total storage capacity will exceed 25kWh, and the AC output will be 7200W.
Setting The System Up …
… is almost shockingly simple. (Not like the electrical grid in your home or in some billion-dollar factory full of machines.)
The DELTA Pro should be switched OFF before making any connections. It should be located away from any heat sources. It should also not be allowed to get wet or left out in subzero weather.
1. Set up your solar panels outside (wired in series).
2. Plug the MC4 Solar Cable from the solar panels into the solar panel connection receptacle. (It is the only two-prong (lined up vertically) receptacle on the unit. It’s located on the back of the station, left side, immediately above the left external battery receptacle.
(This same receptacle is where you’d connect your car’s alternator, should you need to charge the DELTA Pro from that source.)
3. Connect the Smart Generator to the Infinity port. This port is located in the bottom left-hand corner of the right side of the DELTA Pro. It is a 3-prong receptacle.
(If you have more than one DELTA Pro, the Infinity port cables should run instead to a hub (sold separately), and the hub should run to the Smart Generator.)
(Connection to an Electrical Vehicle charging station is also done through the Infinity port, but requires a separately-sold adaptor.)
4. Connect any External Batteries to the back of the station. There are two of these, and they are 4-prong trapezoidal receptacles. The batteries should be switched OFF before connecting them.
5. Fuel the Smart Generator with either propane or gasoline.
6. Power ON the DELTA Pro, followed by any External Batteries and Smart Generator.
The charging power displayed on the LCD should very quickly rise above zero. The Estimated Charge Time should change instantly too. The Percentage Battery Charge number and analog ring will begin rising after a few minutes.
7. Once the Percentage Battery Charge has risen to a reasonable level, you can begin drawing on the battery to power your appliances. (Just what constitutes reasonable is hard to define - What you want to avoid is discharging DELTA Pro faster than you are charging it from empty.)
To start discharging:
Switch on the AC On/Off button (located immediately below the Main Power switch).
Connect your appliances to stored battery power via the 3-prong AC receptacles on the front of the station.
For remote control of the DELTA Pro …
8. Download and register the EcoFlow smartphone app.
9. Press and hold down the IOT Reset button (It is clearly marked, and located behind a small spring-loaded door on the right side of the unit.) The Wi-Fi icon on the LCD will begin flashing, to indicate the station can be paired with your smartphone.
Finish the pairing by:
Finding/connecting the station via your phone's Wi-Fi connections (for which the icon will continue to flash).
Connecting the station to the internet (for which the icon will stop flashing).
Sliding the Standby switch (located just to the right of the IOT Reset button) to the ON position.
The EcoFlow app should now allow you to monitor and control the DELTA Pro remotely.
Smart control features of the app include the abilities to remotely:
Disable AC discharging in the event Percentage Battery Capacity falls too low.
Switch the Smart Generator ON/OFF manually or automatically. (By default, the Smart Generator kicks in when Percentage Battery Capacity falls below 20%, and stops charging above 80%, but you can adjust these thresholds.)
Monitor the health status of the system, and be notified of any actions necessary to protect the system.
Control the AC charging rate.
Adjust various charging and discharging timeout settings.
Details & Specs
EcoFlow DELTA Pro Power Station
The basic specifications of the station are as follows:
Internal battery Capacity: 3600Wh
Battery type: LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate)
Cycle life:3500 cycles to 80% battery capacity
6500 cycles to 50% battery capacity
Physical:Weight: 100lbs (yes, that’s quite heavy)
Dimensions: 25in x 11.2in x 16.4 in (63.5cm x 28.4cm x 42cm)
Features:Supports up to two DELTA Pro Smart Extra Batteries
Output:AC: 5 outlets, 3600W total (Surge 7200W)
Max Device(s) Power Supported by X-Boost: 4500W
USB-A: 2 ports, 5V, 2.4A, 12W Max per port
USB-A Fast Charge: 2 ports, 5V, 2.4A / 9V, 2A / 12V, 1.5A, 18W Max per port
USB-C: 2 ports, 5/9/12/15/20V, 5A, 100W Max per port
Car power: 12.6V, 10A, 126W Max
DC5521 output: 2 ports, 12.6V, 3A, 38W Max per port
Anderson port: 12.6V, 30A
InputAC Charging: 1800W Max, 120V~15A, 3000W Max, 240V~12.5A
Solar Charging: 1600W Max, 11-150V, 15A Max
Infinity port (for charging from a car)
Supports MPPT solar controller
Optional Fast/Slow charging rate switch
Charging time:4h from 1200W solar
3h from Autostart Smart Generator
Chargeable from Electric Vehicle stations
Two wheels and a telescoping handle make the DELTA Pro towable by hand, like a suitcase
The LCD panel on the front of the station is bright, simple, and consistent with other EcoFlow products. Parameters displayed include:
Estimated time to fully recharge the battery
Percentage Battery Charge (also illustrated as an analog ring)
Charging power, in watts
Discharging power, in watts
There are smaller connection status indicators for:
Smart Home Panel
Electric Vehicle charging
Cooling fan on/off
And warning indicators for:
High carbon monoxide level