"Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow." - William Pollard
I'm a bit paranoid about power on our sailboat. We've got 3 group 24 12 volt deep cycle batteries, a quality high-output alternator and a variety of solar panels (2x 7w, 1x 14w, etc.) but we still don't run the refrigerator unless the engine is running and we're without AC accessories (such as fans) when we're away from the dock cruising. The options for alleviating these woes for sailors have traditionally been bigger solar panels (100w+), noisy wind generators, towable hydrogenerators and gas powered portable generators such as the Honda eu2000i.
Now it appears there's going to be another option that provides much of a gasoline powered generator's benefits without the noise, pollution and necessity to carry a highly flammable and explosion fuel to keep it powered. Renogy has been running an Indiegogo campaign (very successfully, I might add) to fund development and production of the Lycan Powerbox, a portable solar storage solution that should be an attractive consideration for cruising sailors.
So what exactly is the Lycan Powerbox? Picture a 18" x 10" x 13" box on wheels with output ports (2 x 12V DC, 3 x 110V AC, 3 x 2.4A USB, 1 x 1A USB) to handle just about any device or appliance you're likely to have onboard. While it does weigh 60 lbs, that's still comparable to the 45lbs dry weight of the Honda mentioned above and the size makes it just about perfect for storage in cockpit lazarettes. The Lycan Powerbox can be charged via a solar panel, a 12V socket or AC wall outlet. Charge times are: ~9 hours w/ 100W solar, ~3 hours w/ 300W solar and 7.5 hours w/ AC power. Interchangeable lithium-ion phosphate batteries with a lifespan of over 2000 cycles make it all work. Supposedly, you simply plug in and the Lycan does the rest.
The best part for sailing and boating? The Lycan Powerbox is waterproof so it should handle life on deck. It's also silent and emissions free so you won't be the boat that spoils a peaceful anchorage for your neighbors.
There's still time to get in on the Indiegogo pre-sales. The Lycan Powerbox alone is $1099, while it can be bundled with a 100W solar suitcase and charge controller for $1499. I haven't tried the Lycan for myself, but I'm hoping to get one for testing in August and will have a full review at that time. Stay tuned!
See more in this YouTube video: