Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4ixfLIk9x0
Powering My Job (And My Channel) All Day With The EcoFlow RIVER 2 PRO
Purchase from EcoFlow official website: https://uk.ecoflow.com/products/river-2-pro-portable-power-station?aff=121
Purchase from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BFQD5RMJ?maas=maas_adg_1D11ACAB06D106631DF7AA3C5B21ABE4afap_abs&ref=aa_maas&tag=maas
The EcoFlow RIVER 2 PRO is the big brother of the RIVER 2, which I reviewed back in November. This brand new portable power station offers 12V, USB A, USB C PD and a mains inverter. It can also be charged directly by solar. But is it a worthwhile upgrade from my RIVER 2? I hooked it up to my ongoing DIY solar system project to find out.
Last summer I bought myself some solar panels to try to learn how that shebang all worked in that way that I do, and also to see whether it would be viable to power everything I need in my little office here using those panels, and - spoiler alert - it turns out that, indeed, I can work from home - a couple of days a week at least - and run this YouTube channel pretty much entirely on solar power.
Pretty much? OK, well maybe not so much in the depths of winter - but more on that in my next proper solar update which will be coming along very soon.
Now, those videos really struck a chord with people and they’re still by far the most popular on my channel. They’re also popular with potential advertisers, and not a day goes by without some company in China trying to get me to review something or other with some tenuous link to solar power or “off grid living” or whatever.
Regular viewers will know that there’s only been one occasion when I’ve said yes - and that company was EcoFlow because - well, as I explained in the video, they have a good reputation and I was looking at buying one anyway - and I had a bit of fun with it while trying to cover all the features and apart from the fan noise which I fixed in a subsequent video - don’t get me wrong, it shouldn’t have been an issue in the first place - I was very happy indeed with the little RIVER 2 that they sent to me. In fact, it’s genuinely become a permanent part of my DIY solar setup here like I thought it would and the extra battery capacity as well as the ability to switch between solar and mains without switching everything off has proven to be very useful.
I also really liked working with them - they didn’t tell me what to say or try to change the video in any way despite me raising a few concerns and they didn’t mess me around. As someone relatively new to all this, I can see why so many YouTubers are happy to work with them.
So, when they contacted me again about reviewing the bigger RIVER 2 PRO I thought why not upgrade. Hopefully I won’t end up making one of these for every single model that they do as I work my way up the range - The 8-Bit Guy skipped straight to 2 top of the range DELTA Pros after all - but I suppose he does have over a million subscribers.
In his case, he built a solar pergola on his new garden YouTube studio, using the EcoFlows to harness that energy and ultimately power everything. In my case, I’d already built this DIY off grid setup, with 480W worth of panels going into a Renogy MPPT charge controller that charges 40Ah worth of LiFePO4 batteries. The kit included a basic 600W inverter that turns that into mains electricity for running all of my gadgets. So when the RIVER 2 arrived back in November, I plugged it into that inverter, where it’s been acting as a UPS and a bit of extra capacity ever since. I appreciate that’s maybe not the most efficient way of doing things, but it does mean that I can grab it off the shelf should I need that power elsewhere.
Anyway, let’s get on with this.
So I swapped out the old RIVER 2 with its bigger sibling. As you can see I had to partially dismantle the shelf as this is over twice the size but it still only weighs in at just under 8KG. I must say straight away that, as well as the much larger 768Wh capacity - which is 3x what I had before - the 2 extra mains sockets will be very welcome indeed, as will the 800W pure sine wave inverter which can handle surges of up to 1600W - meaning that I can finally get my ancient laser printer hooked up to all this which long term viewers will know was the missing piece of the puzzle and the last thing in here that I was powering from the mains.
I went through the pairing process again on the EcoFlow app which initially uses Bluetooth and then optionally can connect it to a wifi network for remote management and monitoring and of course that was all seamless and only took a few seconds. I set the charging rate to 300W which is really handy if you have a smaller inverter like I do, because the RIVER 2 PRO’s maximum mains charging rate of 940W probably would have blown it up. That does mean that I have the option, using a mains socket, to charge it in an hour and 10 minutes from completely empty, which EcoFlow claim is 5x faster than the competition.
This is all managed by an advanced integrated Battery Management System which will keep those LiFePO4 cells in tip top shape for over 3000 charge cycles, which should be good for 10 years of heavy use, and that’s backed by a 5 year guarantee.
But that’s all marketing talk that I’m contractually obliged to give you to be allowed to keep these things. The fact of the matter is that I’ve genuinely been using the smaller EcoFlow as a part of my setup here to run everything in here for the past 4 months - so let’s see whether the bigger version does an even better job of that and whether I should have just bought this thing instead of the expensive batteries and MPPT charge controller that I have tucked away behind these shelves here.
So it’s now the next morning and the EcoFlow is fully charged.
I’ve run a cable down to the cupboard which is directly below this room where my modem and my router are so I’m going to be running my internet connection from the EcoFlow all day today as well.
I’m running off the solar inverter at the moment which I used to charge this - I’m going to switch this off. This is the plug that I put in that runs downstairs to the internet stuff which is off at the moment - so let’s plug that in.
So let’s see if I can do a full day’s work running purely on the internal battery in the EcoFlow.
So let’s switch this off…
Right, and this tells me that I’m currently drawing only 36W so apparently that’s - oh here we go, 38W - so apparently that’s good for 13 hours, which is excellent.
Of course I haven’t actually started doing anything - I’m just stood here talking. I’ve got my amp on because I like to listen to music when I work and I’m going to put my shelf lighting on as well just for some lighting. I don’t want to use the room light today because I think that’s cheating.
As far as work is concerned today, I’m a self-employed software developer so I’ve got a couple of projects, a couple of loose ends that need tying up - it is a Friday so I’m not going to work too hard - but I’ve got a staging site to set up for an ecommerce customer of mine, they’re testing a new payment processor so I need to get that up and running for them, and a couple of bits to finish on a React application for another customer of mine.
I also have a video to finish.
I’m currently working on a video - there it is - all about this Dansette record player, which should hopefully be out on my channel by the time you’re watching this. I’m not quite sure what the release schedule is going to be like.
I’ll finish editing that up as well on my MacBook Air, which I use for all of my editing.
So I’ll keep you updated over the course of the day.
Also, I forgot to mention that my camera battery needed charging so I plugged that into one of the USB A ports, and I actually use the USB ports on these quite a lot to charge my camera batteries and other USB devices, and in particular the USB-C port to keep my power bank charged up which I then use to charge my phone overnight. So that’s ultimately running on solar power as well.
It’s been a couple of hours - the sun is well and truly out and shining in the sky which is topping up my solar batteries - which is excellent - but I’m only drawing about 80W in total at the moment, and the fans kicked in on the EcoFlow RIVER 2 PRO and this is something that I noticed on the RIVER 2 - the smaller model - when I reviewed that a few months back, and I actually ended up changing the fan in the end which I made a video about for a Noctua which was much much quieter. Obviously I’m not really drawing that much power from it so it’s surprising that it is as loud as it is, especially in this setting. Obviously if you were using it in a camper or something and it was in a cupboard you wouldn’t hear that.
Oh, it’s just gone quiet!
So it’ll be interesting to see if that kicks in over the course of the day because it is noticeable.
So it’s currently about midday and I’m going to stop for lunch now - reason being that I got that test site set up that I mentioned this morning, and I also got the last couple of bits done on the video that I mentioned, which actually involved getting a couple more shots that I needed. So I had to put my overhead lighting on, and I also had to run the record player for a bit which of course the EcoFlow was perfectly fine with the power consumption from that. I didn’t think to check what the power consumption was at the time but I imagine it’s quite a lot because it’s got a valve amplifier in it.
So I thought that as that video is rendering ready to be uploaded now would be a natural point to stop, so we’ll just check on the state of things…
So we’re showing a 56% charge on the EcoFlow itself - currently drawing about 84W. It’s claiming that we’ve got about four hours left so it might be cutting it a bit close I’ve been doing some high power stuff which I’m not going to be doing this afternoon so that probably dragged it down a bit.
The other thing that’s quite interesting is that my solar batteries are fully charged now - and of course usually I would have this on so it would be passing power through to this. So I guess that power’s just going to go to waste. Mind you, the sun’s mostly gone in so it’s not a huge problem.
I should point out that I turned all of the unnecessary stuff like the lighting off while I went for lunch and I left my video uploading - of course this setup doesn’t extend to the kitchen so I didn’t use it to cook my lunch or make tea or anything outside of this room - and that leads me on to quite an interesting point which is completely unrelated to this review but I’ll say it anyway.
There once was a time when I’d just get up and wander off and leave everything on in here without giving it a second thought. But now of course with running everything on batteries I’m a lot more mindful of my energy usage because I just don’t make that much of it. I actually bought a switched outlet and split everything into sections so I can manage it a bit more easily and I find myself evaluating what I actually need and turning stuff off all the time rather than leaving computers and all sorts running 24/7. It’s something I’m going to talk about in a bit more detail in my upcoming update. Anyway, back to past Rees.
So I have a couple of hours left of the working day - which coincidentally is what the EcoFlow is also telling me. I have two hours remaining, 27% battery, the fan has literally just this second kicked in - so there you go. It’s a bit dark outside - I have film on my window too, it’s UV film to protect the games and things that I have here so that’s why it’s generally darker in here than it is outside or in any other room in the house. I’ve put my LED panel lights on - like I said at the beginning I don’t want to put the room light on because that uses the mains and that’s technically cheating, I think. So yeah, it’s a bit down to the wire but I think we’re going to be okay!
So did I make it? Well, let’s see…
So there we go - it’s five o’clock, it’s the end of the working day, I’ve run out of stuff to do - in fact I ran out of stuff to do a while ago, I’ve been looking at the internet for a bit as you do on a Friday afternoon, but yes - the EcoFlow has survived. It’s run my laptop, it’s run the internet connection, and it’s run everything else that I’ve needed to do my job over the course of the day.
So we’ll check the battery situation - and it’s on 3%, 11 minutes left.
So I would call that a successful experiment!
Of course, this was just a bit of fun just to get the video out of the door - longer term I’ll be using the integrated 12V DC outputs to power my LED lighting, for example, and to be honest that’s something that I’m going to be doing for all of my low voltage stuff here as it will be more efficient than using the inverter.
On that note, I could use the 100W PD port to power my laptop directly but that would mean using quite a long USB cable in my case and I’m not sure it’s really worth the hassle.
After using the RIVER 2 PRO for a few weeks now the fan noise did really become an issue in my particular setup so I thought I’d try swapping in the Noctua fan that I modded for my old RIVER 2. I should point out that opening this thing up and modifying anything inside will invalidate the warranty and it turns out that I did have to cut some small bits of plastic away to get this one to fit as they’ve used a 20mm deep fan rather than the more standard 25. I could’ve sourced one of those instead but this is what I had to hand.
Either way it’s made a massive difference and it’s a very easy mod to do. I just wish it wasn’t necessary.
EcoFlow market this as a complete independent solution along with their own portable solar panels, and to be entirely honest if I was building a small off grid setup like this knowing what I know now, I’d actually be tempted to do away with the bank of batteries, inverter, and MPPT charge controller that I have here and I’d just go straight from the solar panels into one of these - whether that be this one or one of the bigger models. It’s a much neater solution, has a lot better connectivity, and it should go without saying that the inverter is much better quality and a hell of a lot safer than the toy one that came with my cheapo DIY kit.
This particular model will charge at up to 220W from solar using a standard MC4 to XT60 cable - I tested that in my previous review and pointed out that EcoFlow’s own cable is overpriced and that you should buy a cheaper one which I’ll link below. Unfortunately that’s not a great thing to demo in the middle of the British winter, but EcoFlow claim that a full charge from solar takes as little as 4.5 hours - and if the battery does run down and I have to plug the mains cable in it takes less than 30ms to switch over so nothing cuts out or even flickers - and that means that this makes for a great UPS - and that’s exactly what I’m going to use my old one for down in my little internet cupboard now that I have its bigger brother.
I’m also contractually obliged to let you know that you can charge it from your car as well. So there you go, you can charge it from your car as well. Oh and that particular cable is included and you can set the charge rates for all of the inputs using the app, as well as the minimum and maximum charging percentage if you want to prolong the life of the battery, and this is true across the whole EcoFlow range.
So thanks for watching, I hope that’s been useful, there’s an affiliate link down in the description which helps the channel out without costing you any extra if you do want to buy one of these, but that’s all I have for you for now and normal service will resume shortly.
Original Video Links
My Solar Setup (Affiliate Links):
MC4 to XT60 Cable: https://geni.us/cnfLZg4
Renogy Rover 40A MPPT Charge Controller (Amazon): https://geni.us/z8ySS
Eco-Worthy 120W Solar Panel (Amazon): https://geni.us/2CId1Ax
Eco-Worthy 240W Off Grid Solar Kit (Amazon): https://geni.us/qwcc
Renogy Shunt Battery Meter (Amazon): https://geni.us/ohciTa
“Maxico” Kill-A-Watt Energy Monitor (Amazon): https://geni.us/wDAJ
Eco-worthy DIY Solar Kit (UK): https://bit.ly/3UnVniK
Eco-worthy DIY Solar Kit (US): https://bit.ly/3DWDBxK
EcoFlow RIVER 2: https://geni.us/vAA3G
EcoFlow RIVER 2 PRO: (see above)
Solar Playlist: https://bit.ly/reessolar
Support the channel!
Become a Member: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe7aGwKsc40TYqDJfjggeKg/join
If you liked this video please consider subscribing to ctrl.alt.rees on YouTube!