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Bobil Hybrid & Electric: AC or DC?

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

When travelling on the road, hot water is an essential and thanks to solar and battery technology advancing at a fast pace, its now easy to keep your water hot for free! However, it can be difficult to choose the tank which is right for you, so this blog post will help to guide you through the options.

The Bobil electric tank is available in either 230V or 12v, with the 230v tank having an 800 watt element whereas the 12v tank is fitted with a 200w element. If you intend to spend the majority of time hooked up at campsites, then it makes sense to go for the 230v. This way as soon as you get power the water will start heating, and even if you spend one night away from a camp site the water will stay hot for that evening, then it will start heating when you next plug in.

If you're intending to spend more time off grid, then the choice depends on your electrical system. Heating a tank of water to 75 degrees will take about 60 ah of energy from your battery so if you are using lead acid with no solar, this is best avoided. However, with multiple power inputs, there are plenty of ways to heat your tank. A good solar setup of at least 300 watts should provide enough energy to recharge your batteries and heat your water for most of the summer.

Lithium advantages

If you have lithium batteries with an inverter, then you have a choice of whether to use an inverter to run the 230v system or whether to stay on 12v. There are advantages to both, if you can run at 800 watts with a lithium battery you can switch the water heater on when needed and benefit from the fast heat up times. A 12v heater will take around 3 hours to fully heat the water whereas the 230v heater will only take around 40 minutes from cold. This means you can switch the heater on in the morning for a morning shower, whereas a 12v heater would need to have been left on all night which isn't always possible. 12v systems are ideal for lunchtime/evening showers, whereas 230v gives you more options. You can always put your plug on a timer and have it ready for when you wake up!

Advantages of 230v systems:

  • Faster heat up times

  • Morning showers are possible off grid with no diesel being used

  • 800w element still below camp site power threshold

  • Renogy inverters have transfer switches built in so when hook up is available the power source automaticlly become the EHU.

Disadvantages of 230V system

  • Inverter losses can increase power consumption by 5%

  • Not possible with lead acid batteries- minimum of 150aH of lithium recommended

  • Needs to be manually switched on and off

We hope this helps you with your choice! If you have more questions then get in touch with us at and we'll be happy to help!

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