There has been a lot of cordless power tool innovations in recent years. 6.0Ah battery packs, a new Milwaukee M18 High Demand 9.0Ah battery, 36V and 40V Max lawn and garden outdoor power tools, a double 36V Bosch mower), wireless battery charging, and Dewalt Buetooth-equipped batteries.
What could tool brands possibly come out with next?
And the answer: a mobile battery power unit, model GEN 230V-1500 (that’s the EU model number).
This impressive Bosch mobile power unit features a 1,650 Watt-hour peak output, and constant power output rating of 1,500 watts.
It’s basically like a generator, but runs your corded tools using battery power instead of the energy coming from a gasoline engine.
Runtime is said to be 1 hour and 39 minutes with a 1,000 watt load at 230V, and double that for a 500 watt load.
In Bosch’s international press release, they mention how it can recharge a 36V 9.0Ah battery pack up to 4 times, and a 36V 6.0Ah battery pack up to 6 times. It can power a corded electric demolition hammer for “at least 90 minutes.”
That should give you an idea about the kinds of applications it was designed for – recharging hefty outdoor power tool batteries and running heavier equipment.
You certainly could use it to recharge your lower-voltage power tool battery packs as well. But, for the price of what this costs, you’d probably be better off buying a bunch of extra battery packs. Scratch that – you would definitely be better off just buying additional lower voltage battery packs than one of these units. But don’t let me tell you how to spend your money or use your stuff.
What’s even more impressive is that the mobile charging unit is itself fully recharged in 3-1/2 hours. In other words, overnight. There’s a battery charge indicator, and an LCD display gives you remaining runtime information. Presumably, they offer a runtime number – in approximate time – that’s calculated using the real-time power draw.
The Bosch mobile power unit features lithium iron phosphate battery technology. Given how it can recharge a 36V 6.0Ah battery up to 6 times, a simplified way of thinking about the battery is to consider that it’s got around the same power capacity as an 18V (or 20V Max) 72.0Ah battery pack. 36V x 6.0Ah x 6, or 36V x 9.0Ah x 4, equals 1296 Watt hours.
Keeping in mind that charging a battery pack results in some wasted energy, so let’s consider the 1000W (at 230V) output and 1 hr 39 minute runtime rating. So that’s 99 minutes x 1,000 watts x 1 hr/60 minutes = 1,650 Watt hours. Okay, adds up.
So, if this was a single 18V Li-ion battery pack with 1,650 Watt hour output, the Ah, or amp-hour rating would be nearly 92 Ah (91.67 Ah to be more precise). But you’re not going to see the equivalent of 92Ah, which would be around (18) 18V x 5.0Ah battery packs plus (1) 2.0Ah pack. Due to the energy losses, it’s safer to consider this to be comparable to an 18V 72.0Ah battery pack, or (14) 5.0Ah battery packs plus (1) 2.0Ah battery.
Makes sense? Just thinking aloud here – please correct me if I’m wrong.
Bosch equipped the mobile power unit with (2) outlets, and it’s weatherproof to IP54 standards.
At 50.4 x 32 x 43.6 cm (~19.8″ x 12.6″ x 17.8″) in size, it’s not small, and at 42 kg (~92.6 lbs), it’s not light. It’s also not inexpensive.
Price: 2349 euros (~$2654 USD), 149 euros (~$168 USD) for the metal-framed travel cart
ETA: Feb 2016 in Europe
This is not the first time we’ve seen batteries being used to power corded AC power tools. You know what I mean – with modern cordless battery technology. Recently, Dewalt came out with a (rebranded) cordless welder that uses a special battery power pack to run a portable welder.
Something like this was completely unexpected, but I can see how it would appeal to certain types of users.
With growing interest in cordless outdoor power tools, and cordless tools in general, it makes sense for Bosch to have come out with a solution for recharging all those big cordless power tool packs in the field.
For the tools where it doesn’t make as much sense to buy additional battery packs, perhaps such as with 36V Li-ion batteries, what are your field-recharging options? There are gasoline generators, and I’m not sure what else.
Does it really make sense to buy into a cordless outdoor power tool only to have to recharge your spare battery or batteries with a gasoline generator? Work with one battery or set of batteries, and recharge your spare(s) in the meantime. You’d probably want to use Bosch’s rapid battery charger, which has yet to be announced for the USA. Thus far it’s only available in Europe.
Lithium iron phosphate battery cells, according to quick online research, have a nominal voltage of 3.2V. The Li-ion cells used in cordless power tool battery packs have a nominal voltage of 3.6V. Either this features larger sized battery cells, or a whole lot of 3.2V cells packaged in series and parallel.
Given that Bosch has a strong foot in the automotive parts industry, perhaps this was developed as a joint effort. After all, we know that new Bosch ReaXX table saw, which features flesh-detection and injury-prevention technology, is engineered with technology they say was developed by Bosch’s automotive airbag division.
While this mobile power unit is something I could never justify for my own use, it might be a window into the future. Power tool brands keep boasting about how their new cordless innovations offer corded-like performance. Perhaps it won’t be long before those same high capacity battery packs can power our corded tools in the same way as this mobile power unit, but in a modular sense.
It’s a nice idea, but some deep cycle batteries, a welders cart, heavy gage wire (preferably 4awg or thicker), an inverter, a small collection of fuses and connectors, and you can build the same thing for a third to half of the cost.
How do I know? I’ve been spec’ing out a battery backup build to my 1/2hp sump pump in case the power goes out in a storm. Sump pumps have a huge surge rating (as much as 3000W at startup for 1/2hp) so the inverter has to be somewhat beefy, but Harbor Freight carries an inverter that can handle the job provided you use the correct gage wire to connect to it.
Just hook up a trickle charger to recharge the batteries or even solar panels.
Inverter – $150 (harbor freight on discount) or more if you want more power
batteries – $100-250 (1 or 2 batteries bought on discount)
Cablling – $50-75
cart – $?? craigslist find? maybe assume $100 to be conservative
So assuming you have the crimping and cutting tools, you’re looking at a high estimate of $600 for something you recharge with a trickle charger and comes with a cart.
If you have town (city) water – and alternative is using a water-powered sump pump as a backup when the electric power fails. There are battery powered sump pumps – but the ones that I’ve seen (e.g. Wayne ESP15) are a bit on the light-duty side.
Yeah, that was also my second consideration. The only issue I have with that is some municipalities lose water pressure when power goes out so that could handicap the water powered ones if you lose too much pressure. I haven’t been able to test out my water pressure yet, so I don’t even know if I have that issue.
Awesome post. You got me thinking
Check out battery1235.com
Listen to the shows posted there. Tons of info from steven harris.
Thanks for the info on both posts!
Also if your going to do that- which i do suggest. (I have something similar with 3 batts) check out the products on that website specifically the wistler inverters, they have like a minute of peak watts instead of a quarter of a second like most.
I was hoping someone would try this setup going from DC to AC but only I wanted it to use multiple 18v/20v batteries for the power supply. I’m looking for an excuse to upgrade to a 18v cordless setup from my 12v but also wanted to have portability with 120vac tools as well like a miter saw
I should have finished the article before posting… I echo the last paragraphs statement on modularity.
reason why it was developed – europe is cracking down more and more on gasoline engine useage. or even diesel usage. so for the contractors out there that roll out with a generator – they will eventually need to move over to something.
makes sense to a degree. Here in the states it might not catch on because fuel prices and the like.
There have been other battery carts – I know of one we use in EU that is basically 6 car batteries on a car with it’s own charger attached – plugs into 230. it has leads that can either power 230 low amp, or 24-36 Vdc direct. we use it to power work lights and start aircraft.
I like the idea – I like their choice of battery chemistry. rather safe. I would not want to purchase one stateside.
I don’t see much market for it. Sure, it’s a cool implementation of a technology, and as a “hey, look what we can do!!” it’s good. But outside of the very narrow realm where you need to run high power portable tools, yet you can’t use a generator, but you can use electrics, a generator will kick it’s tuchus every time.
It’s not going to get the nod for underground usage, that’s the realm of pneumatics. I could see it maybe be useful in doing work in clean rooms that are completely powered down yet need to stay clean, i.e. no cords in or out, no generator. Definitely more of an industrial product.
Let’s see, we use electricity to charge batteries with some loss of energy. Then we use the batteries to produce AC with a loss of energy. Hummmm
I just don’t see this coming to the us anytime soon
Enclosed, non-ventilated space with no nearby access to power. It’s expensive, but much more man portable than say deep cycle batteries are.
Alternatively, as a photographer, I can think of any number of times when something like this would have been handy to power strobes on location (and it’s inline with the power packs of those kinds of setups).
I’d be curious to see how pure the sine wave output on the inverter is (I’ve found a lot of motors really aren’t happy with modified square waves for any length of time).
That’s where you get into !measuring by root mean square
2000w pure sine wave inverter and a top quality AGM deep cycle battery in the work vehicle for @ $600AUS including wiring etc VS $2654US for a battery box plus $168US for a cart.
Don’t see it catching on to quickly.
Can you get more hour life if you go down to 120v… i forget ohms law… 🙂
I also forgot how to factor in watts… lol
Oops that might fall under kirchoffs law…
Watts is amps times volts so go backwards and divide 1500 watts at 120 volts for 1.22222 amps
Thats 12.5 amps
don’t forget your power factor when dealing with AC current.
No. Power requirements of a device would be similar.
If something draws 2 amps at 220V, it might draw around 4 amps if configured for 110V. Both would draw 440 watts of power.
Hitachi has something similar for their garden tools:
I see some value here for an easy to do whole-house UPS. Mount it on a wall someplace, connect it to power to keep it charged, and use it to feed critical loads – one circuit with “red outlets” in each room – to power computers, fridge, freezer, a small LED light, etc. – to protect critical appliances from power surges and keep them running for a while if power fails.
As Andrew points out, you can build a whole-house UPS cheaper yourself, but as a compact “big UPS in a can” solution it may be feasible.
This device would be great with one of the small quiet generators like the Yamaha EF1000iS continuously charging it. Those little inverter generators are seriously quiet and efficient but don’t have the surge capacity to handle a circular saw or miter saw. Having the Bosch battery there handles that problem.
Anyone who’s been on a jobsite knows the relief that comes at the end of the day when the infernal racket of a generator stops.
The Yamaha is available as a dual fuel so clean, safe propane is an alternative to filling a hot generator with gasoline.
We used small Honda inverter generators (sometimes paralleled) that are popular with the RV crowd. I recently heard that Generac is making a similar item.
We also did a sump pump installation that used a DC motor powered by a DC bus installed in the home (solar, battery storage and optional AC/DC converter input). The house was a very high-end affair where cost seemed like it was only a small consideration. It had a sizeable backup generator fueled off the natural gas main – so AC backup could have powered an AC sump pump
Tesla’s small version of their Powerwall battery is 7000 watts for only $3000. So the Bosch unit here works out to about 3 1/2 times the price per watt. Admittedly, one would need to add the cost of an inverter, but the Powerwall still seems the better buy.
The clean air lawn care company in our town uses deep cell batteries, truck mounted solar panels and inverters to keep their crews running with all battery powered mowers and trimmers; they’ve been doing it for years