Disclaimer: I have not been sponsored or compensated for this review. - Wayne D.
I recently retired. I’m planning to live and travel fulltime in my 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan. I’ve been actively preparing my van to accommodate an active Nomadic lifestyle. Considering that I’ll be off-grid boondocking most of the time, I’ve had to seriously evaluate my power consumption needs and find a viable, sustainable solution to meet that demand. My research pointed to the Inergy Apex Gold Solar Storm Kit with five 100w polycrystalline solar panels as an ideal solution. I received my Apex Gold Kit two weeks ago. The Apex unit is designed to safely supply moderate amounts of clean, usable power for a reasonable amount of time.
To aid with efficiency, I replaced my sticks and bricks 110v appliances with 12v low power consumption products. For example, I ran my Costway 54 quart 12v refrigerator/freezer for 48 continuous hours on a single Apex battery charge with 19% of battery capacity remaining.
Further, during the same 48-hour test period, I ran several sessions of Van LED lighting, charged a couple of consumer devices, and continuously powered my AT&T MIFI, including watching an Over the Air digital TV program for an hour on a 17” 12v TV … not too shabby from one battery cycle. After completion of the 48-hour test, I proceeded to set up my Apex solar panels and fully recharged the Apex lithium battery with three hours of sunlight. I could have plugged into the solar panels at any time during the test period, but I wanted to see how my power usage factored.
On another test, I have a small travel size 110v single serve coffee maker that I love. I made a test cup of coffee using the Apex Inverter as the power source and measured power consumption at 871W @ four minutes. The brewing test consumed 4% of Apex battery power, and this Good-O-Boy enjoyed an amazing eight percenter coffee break! Last week, I simulated a No Sunshine Day and fully recharged my Apex lithium battery in under eight hours using my 2,000w inverter generator, and the factory supplied 110v Apex wall charger. I have since ordered an Apex 110v fast wall charger that will lower the amount of generator run hours by recharging the Apex lithium battery faster.
I’m very satisfied with the performance and the quality of the Apex product line, including great customer aftercare. I was so impressed with my Apex unit that I’ve purchased a second unit to increase capacity and to comfortably share in a heavier workload, but most importantly provide backup in the case of an individual Apex failure in the boondocks. During my research, I discovered the Apex unit was not designed to repetitively deliver huge power demands from loads like hair dryers and curling irons for long periods. Apex battery life expectancy will seriously degrade with repeated and prolonged heavy power discharges. A generator would be best suited for those types of power demands. I believe if you follow a moderate power use strategy, as depicted in the Apex operations manual, the lithium battery will last a very long time.
Having the ability to add additional lithium batteries for increased capacity is a big plus for me. When I received my Apex unit, I was delighted to see it packaged securely with all of the pamphlets and pertinent information prominently displayed when I opened the package. The five solar panels were superbly packaged, and they survived a five-day road trip to New Hampshire without issue. I’m a stickler for quality. I can report that my unit was flawless except for a defective 6’ EC8 cable with a floating non-soldered power lead. A call to the Inergy service department with an attached I-phone photo brought a replacement in 3 days. I also had several technical questions that needed answering. The technical guys were most gracious and gave me all of the phone time needed to answer my technical questions.
- Additional Lithium battery capacity will be available in the future.
- Apex - Ideal weight and size for camping, van life, and recreational usage.
- Service: I received prompt service replacing a defective EC8 cable. Since I’ll be on the road most of the time, I asked about (HazMat) shipping procedures when sending an Apex unit back for factory service. The service department provided me with clear shipping instructions and procedures.
- I would like to see an Anderson Power Pole connector on the Apex faceplate for specialized communications equipment and Amateur Radio applications.
- The Solar Panel EC8 power connectors supplied do not have adequate outdoor weather and sun protection. Why the company has chosen not to include adequate weather protection at critical connection points is puzzling?