As most of you are aware, I have been powering my Frankencooler ice chest air conditioners with 18V Ryobi batteries. This came about because I originally purchased a Ryobi Work Fan to use as the basis of my first cooler featuring a fan blowing across ice. If you’ve watched my video, you know this idea failed miserably, and I went on to repeatedly modify this cooler into a design that works really, really well.
Many people like the idea of using a Ryobi battery to power their Frankencooler since they also own Ryobi cordless tools and chargers, but doing this comes with a few shortcomings:
- Coming up with a Ryobi receptacle (plug). I’ve been buying $50 Ryobi Work Fans just to strip the easily removable, self-contained battery receptacle.
- The largest Ryobi 18V battery available currently is a recently-introduced 5.0 Ah unit. The 4.0 Ah models I’ve been using go approximately 1.5 – 2 hours on a charge at normal running speeds – the 5.0 should add another 20 minutes or so. Long enough for tailgating, but some people want/need more.
- Inline blowers of the type I use are 12V. I’ve had zero problems over 2 1/2 years running these blowers through motor controllers using 18V power, but obviously, it’s not ideal.
Because of these negatives, My latest Frankencoolers are powered by state-of-the-art Bioenno Power lithium iron phosphate power cells. These battery packs are light, powerful, reasonably priced, and available in a number of sizes. In addition, they feature onboard circuitry that equalize voltage output and charging.
Mounting these batteries to a cooler can be accomplished using a waterproof, hinged-lid standoff electrical box or exterior receptacle cover, depending on the size of the power cell.
I’ll have to see if the added performance and quality of these power cells outweighs the user-friendliness and fast recharge speeds of the Ryobi-based batteries.
UPDATE: The verdict is in – if you want the longest runtimes, go with a quality battery. We like the Bioenno Power cells so much, we became a dealer, offering their 12-volt lithium iron phosphate (LiFe P04) batteries in sizes ranging from 4.5Ah to 20Ah (see menu at top of page). We can also provide Bioenno solar arrays, controllers, power packs, and accessories at the lowest prices you’ll find.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will assist you in picking out the best power source for your application.