Load Shedding affects South African communities, residents and businesses all over. Many households look for solutions to combat load shedding, from solar power to generators, but some may not be able to afford the thousands of Rands for such systems. The cheaper alternatives are systems like UPSs, however, they are only intended to last for a short while after a power outage, enabling you to keep electronic equipment powered for long enough to save your documents and shut them down safely.
A popular solution for load shedding is the inverter trolley. They typically combine an inverter and a sizable battery to provide you with plug-and-play backup power for a few appliances. If you’re looking into an inverter trolley, there are some things to consider which we’ll be looking at in this post.
What Type Of Battery Is Best?
The first thing you have to take into consideration is the type of battery that will go with your trolley – let’s take a look at lead-acid, gel, and lithium-ion batteries.
The cheaper power trolleys usually come with lead-acid batteries, meaning they will only last for a certain amount of cycles. They don’t have the battery chemistry for significant usage in the long term. They only last for a couple hundred cycles before the usable capacity is reduced and a replacement is required.
The typical 100Ah 12V lead-acid battery has a maximum capacity of 1,200Wh, but should never drop below 600Wh charge to prevent shortening of the battery’s life.
Gel batteries have slightly better cycles, but less longevity and DoD than lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries have a DoD of 80% to 90%, meaning you have a greater capacity to use them. Lithium-ion is more expensive per Wh, but they do save you money in the long run as they can last for over 1,000 cycles.
The size and power of the trolley will depend on the demand. If you’re looking to power appliances with elements such as kettles, then you shouldn’t expect to pay less than R10,000.
Entry-level power trolleys usually have 720W or 1,440W power output, and electric kettles typically use 2000W or 3000W. However, desktops, laptops, TVs, Wi-Fi routers, and cell phone chargers should be powered with no problems by an inverter trolley.
You will also have to consider the rate of charging. You must ensure your battery can build up a sufficient charge to carry you through the few hours of load shedding. Many power trolleys come with 10A or 20A chargers that typically provide 10 or 20Ah of capacity per hour. The actual rate may be a little bit lower depending on the charging efficiency of the inverter.
Compatibility: Pure Sine Wave Vs Modified Sine Wave
You should also confirm whether the devices you plan to power are compatible with a pure sine wave or modified sine wave. Pure sine wave inverter’s alternating current (AC) power closely matches the sine wave, which is essential for running devices with AC motors. In modified sine wave inverters, polarity switches from positive to negative. These are suitable for simple systems and won’t cause problems with your PC, TV, lights and router.
With those considerations in mind, here is a list of some of the most affordable inverter trolleys and small lithium-ion battery packs for sale in South Africa. The inverters listed are based on powering a TV, laptop, Wi-Fi router and lamp.
1. Ellies 1,200VA Inverter And Securi-Prod 50Ah Lithium-ion Battery
These inverter trolleys are going for about R3,500 on Leroy Merlin. Their maximum power outage is 720W, with a safely usable capacity of 50Ah/600Wh. They have a recharge rate from 50-100%, 20A, or about 2.5 hours. Its running time is about 4 hours of running a 150W load without a loss of battery life. This is a modified sine wave type of inverter. The batteries can last 150 to 200 cycles, meaning they will be suitable for stage 1 to 4 load shedding.
2. Mecer 1,200VA Inverter And 100Ah Battery
These units can be bought online from Geewiz for about R5,995. The 4-hour battery life is based on a 150W consumption, without loss of battery life. These are able to typically power a TV, lamp, Wi-Fi router and laptop, and can last for 150 to 200 cycles. Its recharge rate from 50 to 100% is 20A, or 2 and a half hours. Its maximum power output is 720W with a capacity.
3. Mecer 1kW Pure Sine Wave Inverter And 100Ah Battery
Due to its digital design, this power trolley applies to diversified loads; its pure sine wave output and excellent overcurrent protection can withstand the loads. Its maximum power output is 1000W, with a capacity of 50Ah or 600Wh. Its recharge rate from 50 to 100% is 10A/5 hours from mains, or 30A/2 hours from solar. The battery can last for 100 to 200 cycles, and the time running a 150W load is 4 hours without any loss of battery life. You can find this inverter trolley on Tech Global for R6,399.
4. Lalela Home Office Inverter Trolley And battery
This inverter trolley is ideal for keeping your home office online and running through load shedding. The inverter trolley can power a full home office with multiple devices connected. It can power desktops, monitors, routers, and your TV, as well as your DSTV decoder. The inverter trolley is a plug-and-play solution, the run time greatly depends on the power usage of the items you intend to run. But, you should be able to run most devices for 5 to 10 hours without loss of battery life. The maximum output is 720W, with a capacity of 52.5Ah or 630Wh. You can get this inverter trolley on Leroy Merlin for R6,699.
5. Ellies Cube Nova 500Wh Portable Power Station
This power trolley has a maximum output of 300W and a capacity of 500Wh, while the recharge rate from 0 to 100% is 9 hours. It has a running time of 8.5 hours on a full charge and is a modified sine wave inverter trolley. This lightweight all-in-one power station has the latest technology, including a lithium-ion Phosphate battery. The unit provides a 3-pin AC output, two USB ports, a type C port, two 12V power points, and one 9V power port.
6. Gizzu 518Wh Portable Power Station
These power trolleys have a maximum output of 500W and a capacity of 518Wh. Its recharge rate from 0 to 100% is 9.5 hours with battery cycles of 1000. The portable power station is ideal for power outages, with three USB ports and one PD port. It has a 230V output, two DC ports, and one 12V auxiliary power outlet, and it allows for three methods of charging – traditional wall charging, car charging, and solar power charging.
We hope that you find a solution to load shedding with one of these power trolleys. Each of these are the most affordable power trolleys currently available to South Africans to combat and alleviate your power outage woes. Invest in one of these today to keep your computer, TV, and router powered during the dark hours of load shedding. Minimise the effects of load shedding in your home this year and for years to come, and take a look at this breakdown for the meaning of stages 6, 7 & 8 of load shedding to clear up any confusion.
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