Review: GOLDENMATE 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 Lithium Battery

It’s all the rage….LiFePO4 batteries have not only proven themselves as reliable power sources, but their price points are finally reaching a level where it’s hard to justify using other battery tech. I picked up a pair of GoldenMate 12v 100AH LifePO4 Lithium batteries for our 2015 Sprinter van conversion, and put them thru some real-use testing.

First, the product specs:

Now the install….I’ve got a full Victron setup in our motorhome, but opted for a Renogy setup with the Sprinter. Renogy offered a “two in one” DCC50S which has both MPPT charging and DC-to-DC. It also allows the MPPT to charge the chassis battery. The bluetooth monitor lets me keep track of some vitals with my cell phone. Tack on a Renogy 700w pure sine inverter and a Renogy 500a monitor/shunt and the system is perfect for the small confines of a van build. We already had a pair of 90w solar panels on the roof of the van, and will rely on portable panels to boost solar to the suggested 400w. (Rule of thumb, solar wattage should be 2x battery Ah)

Our first test? Christmas in the Midwest! We drove the Sprinter across the country to see family in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and while the 2023 season was fairly mild, our dogs definitely appreciated the 500w 120v ceramic heater as the evenings wore on. The monitor/shunt allowed us to track the battery consumption and visually see how many hours the heater could run with the available 200Ah of total battery capacity. (remember, one of the big advantages to LiFePO4 is it retains the nominal voltage throughout discharge) The batteries easily kept up for 4-5 hours of evening heating, and then had no issues recharging the next day with the combined solar charging and dc-to-dc that would occur as we ran errands.

Our next main power pull is from Starlink. I haven’t done the DC conversion for our setup (and likely won’t with our Gen2 system) but the ability handle Starlink’s continuous power draw means having sufficient battery capacity. Starlink peaks at 75W, but will “cruise” in the 30-45W range. After Starlink ran it’s updates, I allowed it to run for another 24 hours and still had 65% of battery capacity remaining. Plenty of capacity remaining for multiple days off the main grid.

Definitely include GoldenMate on your short list of LiFePO4 battery options as you work on your standalone power setups. Light weight, easy to package, and full power capabilities make them perfect for your off grid build project.

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Review: PerryParts Bumpstops

PerryParts Bumpstops

When I first saw PerryParts bumps on my IG feed I was hesitant… 3D Printed bumpstops that advertise themselves to be able to compress differently at high and low speeds? Sounds too good to be true. A few months past and I see the Owner (Patrick) post comparison videos and develop great graphs that show how it is possible to have both high and low speed compression damping.
In the end this is the video that made me pull the trigger on these bump stops

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Review: GRECELL Portable Power Station

Portable silent power

Grecell and Starlink

Travelling is our thing, from long-distance RV trips to short-distance van travel and week-long remote camping. While I can get away without the amenities, having a portable/solar-chargeable power source available has changed everything. I tested the GRECELL 2000w Portable Power Station in a variety of situations over the past month, and now wonder how I’ve survived so long without. <– Amazon Associate link…

The first test was Starlink….yes, connectivity is a must, particularly when trying to manage an online business. Starlink pulls about 75w of power on startup, and cruises between 30w-40w. The GRECELL monitoring screen clearly displays your input power (from either household 110 or solar), output draw from the various connection options, your battery charge percentage, and the estimated hours of remaining power. The estimated run time for powering Starlink was 16 hours without solar connected. More than acceptable for keeping an internet connection alive with plenty to spare for a laptop.

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Toyota Land Cruiser market up 29% in 2020

The FJ40 was the top model variant sold in 2020, but the FJ62 and FZJ80 are the markets to watch in 2021

2020 was another great year for the classic and collector Land Cruiser market, with dollar sales up 29% from 2019 – even with the same number of listings in both years. 

Land Cruiser Market Stats20202019Change
Dollar Volume$10.6m$8.2m+29%
Listings Sold320284+12%
Sell Through75%66%+14%
Top Sale$173,600$89,600+94%
Average Sale$32,994$28,840+14%
Source: CLASSIC.COM Market Data for Toyota Land Cruiser
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Factor 55 Joins Warn Industries

Clackamas, OR (March 18, 2020) – Warn Industries (WARN) today announced the acquisition of Factor 55, a manufacturer of highly engineered rigging hardware for CLOSED SYSTEM WINCHING™, a winching technique that uses rigging comprised entirely of closed link hardware.  

Similar to WARN, Factor 55 is a premium brand operating in the vehicle recovery market. The Factor 55 product offering includes: winch line and splice-on shackles, fairleads, pulleys, vehicle recovery kits and bags, recovery straps, rope, and other specialty products. 

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Overlanding: Budapest to Singapore

How Our Drive from Budapest and Singapore Changed The Way We Want To See The World

We couldn’t help it. I was always talking about one trip, I was so excited about it. I was talking about a previous trip all the time when I first met Evelin. Nothing else.

I travelled through Europe, Mongolia and Central Asia with two friends. Despite the fact that everything seemed perfect in our pick-up truck, some problems with the alternator eventually surfaced and we had no other option but to sell it in a remote village of Tajikistan, right next to the Afghan border.

We then managed to reach Mongolia without our truck but discovered the country, nonetheless.

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