You are hereProject Retirement, ep 16

Project Retirement, ep 16

By Q-Bert - Posted on 12 April 2022

The one where we play a game.

I'm not an avid gamer, but most dweebs on this site will say that I am perfect cannon fodder, or at the very least an adequate shield. I've been thinking about the possibility of gaming on the boat, and although it is possible to use laptops and such on a boat, the typical use-case is not performance gaming. My "rig" is rather simple, but packs quite a punch: GPD Win Max, Razor Core X - Chroma eGPU enclosure, and a NVidia 1080ti GPU. It can run Assassin's Creed Origins at 4K at 32 frames per second. The GDP Win Max is a very small form-factor laptop, and I always use it with its screen closed, with my living room TV connected to the 1080ti. The Win Max and the eGPU communicate via a short Thunderbolt wire. All and all, I really like it. I've used a power-meter on this systems, and it draws roughly 300 watts while playing.

A number of companies offer "solar generators" that you can plug your PC into and it will run from an internal battery for a number of hours. The most popular of these are the Bluetti AC200Max ($1899USD), the Jackery Explorer 1000 ($1099USD), and the Echo Flow Delta 1000 ($1199USD). They all have a regular household plug on them, and you simply plug your computer in, and go for it. They all have a Lithium battery inside what have roughly 1000 Watt-hours of available power. To charge them, simply connect them to solar panels or plug them into the wall at your house.

Because I need to learn DC electrical systems, and I need to be able to repair all the components on my boat, I have decided to build my own solar generator. I will run it at home, as a test-bed, for about 2 months, and then take the components and install them on the boat. It's not horribly difficult, as there are just a few components, and no soldering to do, and no small electronics involved.

The components are:
- A lithium battery, 12 volts, 100 Amp/Hours.
- A small-ish inverter; I have selected a 500w one.
- A lithium battery charger.
- A MPPT solar charge controller.
- A fuse box.
- A USB charger, dual port, with Quick Charge.
- A spool of wire, 10 gauge, marine-grade.
- Various fuses.
- Various connectors, marine-grade
- A 30amp in-line fuse, optional.
- A battery monitor, optional.
- Tools like crimper, wire stripper, and wire cutter.

If you are carefull and never directly short the lithium battery poles, this build is easy. Layout the parts (I used a milk create and zip ties), size the wires, cut and crimp connectors at the ends, follow a simple diagram, and you are pretty much done. Charge the battery to 100% using the lithium battery charger, connect a power-bar to the inverter, connect your laptop and eGPU to the power-bar, and power it up.

As you load up Assassin's Creed Origins, and run the performance test, the battery monitor spikes right up to 33 amps (~400 watts). Running the game will vary between 22 to 30 amps (260 to 360 watts). Since the battery has 105 amps/hours in it (1260 watts), then I can run this game for about 4 hours before I get shutdown. I have to run a timer to make sure I don't suddenly get a blue screen of death from Windows 10 when the eGPU suddenly stops.

My boat currently has 250 watts of solar panels, so that means it would roughly take 8 hours of full summer sunshine to fully charge that battery. So, I can't play on cloudy days unless I add solar panels and batteries. Guess what's in the plans...

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