Crowdfunded BLUETTI AC500 power station charges on

AC500 B300S

For off-grid and backup power, the BLUETTI AC500 power station finally breaks the barrier between battery systems and the old-school diesel genny you remember (and maybe still use) from those long-ago camping trips, school fetes, and occasional blackouts. 

The AC500 started life as an Indiegogo campaign and raised more than US$10 million on the crowdsourcing platform. Shipping is underway for those early backers, but if you didn’t pledge, don’t worry, because the AC500 is now available to order from BLUETTI’s official store.

Battery power v diesel generator 

Until recently, the only advantages of a lithium-ion battery system over a generator were silence and not having to deal with fuel or oil. Generators could still outperform battery systems, and ‘recharging’ a genny takes as long as pouring in a bunch more diesel.

Well, BLUETTI has changed the game with its range of power stations, now headed by the AC500 which can feed 5000W via its inverter, and even handle 10,000W surge delivery. That means the system can power not just tools and gadgets, but pretty much any appliance you can think of. 

Indeed, the AC500 is designed to work as a complete home power backup supply and can plug into six of BLUETTI’s B300S expansion battery packs for a total capacity of 18,432Wh.

Internal-combustion generators still have that convenience advantage of being able to just refill a tank, but the AC500 power station goes a long way toward making that less of a big deal than it has ever been.

Versatile charging options

The AC500 has nine different ways you can charge the system, but key is the way it combines charging methods to massively speed up the process.

You can charge the AC500 from deep-cycle lead acid batteries, from the wall, from a generator, or via solar panels. Wait, did we say or? We meant AND, because you can combine some of these charging methods to reduce charge time. For example, with up to 3000W solar input and an efficient MPPT solar inverter, the AC500 can recharge from flat to 80% capacity in just 1.5 hours via sunshine alone.

Solar-friendly, cold tolerant

Of course, unlike an ICE generator, you can leave your AC500 connected to a solar system permanently, which keeps it constantly topped up during the day.

You might have seen some talk on social media recently about how these lithium-ion battery-based systems underperform in winter. There are few locations in Australia where it gets cold enough to trouble a battery system like the AC500, but even so BLUETTI has equipped the B300S expansion battery with a self-heating capability that detects low temperatures (down to -20C!) and pre-heats the system. 

Off-grid, blackout and emergency power 

It’s the modular nature of the AC500 that really expands its capabilities though. The core unit, at 30kg, is portable enough to take on the road, but when you get home again, you can connect it with up to six B300S expansion batteries for that massive 18.4kWh capacity.

That’s enough to power your house for a day under normal usage – fridge, lights, TV, even the washer and dryer. Of course, the idea is that this is backup power, and the AC500 will sit between your solar (or the grid) system and only use its batteries during a blackout or – if you’re off-grid – in the evenings. 

In an emergency situation, especially when grid power is likely to be off for hours or even a day or so, you can of course reduce your usage and ration out those 18.4kWh over many days. It’s certainly plenty to run your fridge and minimal lighting (maybe leave the dryer off until the floodwaters recede).

LiFePO4 and smart management 

This high level of performance is made possible, in part, by the LiFePO4 battery tech inside the AC500 and the B300S expansion packs. Compared to the lithium-ion battery that most power stations and power banks use, LiFePO4 (that’s lithium-iron phosphate) systems offers safe, long-term durability and more than 3,500 charging cycles to 80% of the battery’s original capacity.

Efficiency is also down to the smarts that manage the system’s power, multiple inverters, different AC and DC outputs, and more. You can get insight into the system’s performance, as well as download updates over-the-air, by using BLUETTI’s app. This shows operation status, lots of power consumption detail, and helps manage charging.

It’s all part of a system designed to offer optimal performance for over 10 years.

A decade is also how long BLUETTI has been in the battery power station business, offering a series of successful crowdsourced products and an ever-expanding retail range. If the AC500 seems like too much battery for you, there are plenty of smaller alternatives, from home power systems suited to smaller homes and apartments, down to picnic-sized mobile packs that are easy to toss in the car, but which will keep all your gadgets juiced up for hours. 

So, say goodbye to your smelly, noisy generator… or rather, don’t. Keep it as the ultimate backup, because the AC500 (and battery systems like it) can charge from diesel too. The AC500 doesn’t replace the emergency power systems of the past – it expands them and makes them part of a far more flexible and capable future.        

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