Console gaming in a campervan is totally possible it just needs a bit of maths, some additional solar power and a whole lot of batteries, but thankfully not as many as you might think. We’re going to go over a what you’ll need in order to play your Playstation, Xbox or Nintendo Switch in your van and how much it’s going to cost you.
We’re basing the following information on using your console with a Cello 22” Smart Full HD Traveller TV which is not only a nice size to use in a small space like a van but is fully HD and runs off 12v at a low power draw. We’re assuming on average we will be playing our consoles for 2 hours a day and that the amount of sun we are getting in the day is around 4 hours which is about the amount of usable sun you can get in Spring or Autumn. I’ve also over speced the system to account for bad days of sun and days when we just want to play longer, I’ve included an additional 40% over spec which should cover us for all eventualities.
Based on all of that information, lets have a look at the amount of solar panels and batteries we’d need in order to play each console in a van
Playstation 4 in a van
With all of the consoles I’ll run through a little bit of the maths involved before I give you the recommended set up you’d need.
A Playstation 4 has a power draw of 165W which if we run it for 2 hours a day is 330 Watt Hours. Add to that the Cello 22” Smart Full HD Traveller TV which has a draw of 22W which is 44 Watt Hours when running for your gaming. Factoring in 4 hours of usable sunlight and a 40% over spec you’d need the following:
With the TV running directly off your 12v system and only the Playstation running off your inverter the above set up will be sufficient to run your Playstation 4 easily for 2 hours a night. In fact this set up could squeeze out about 3 hours a night running only off your solar power.
Xbox One in a van
An Xbox One has a slightly bigger power draw than a Playstation 4 however it doesn’t change much when it comes to playing for only 2 hours a night, where it impacts it is the fact you are less likely to be able to eek out the gaming as much as you can with a Playstation 4.
An Xbox One has a power draw of 185W which if we run it for 2 hours a day is 370 Watt Hours. Add to that the Cello 22” Smart Full HD Traveller TV which has a draw of 22W which is 44 Watt Hours when running for your gaming. Factoring in 4 hours of usable sunlight and a 40% over spec you’d need the following:
This set up will be on the limit of power you can get out of 2 batteries so potentially adding a 3rd could be an option however the solar panel kit and inverter both are capable of keeping you topped up. Unlike the Playstation 4, there is less room for additional gaming although we’ve still factored in the additional 40% over spec.
Nintendo Switch in a van
The Nintendo Switch is a funny console when it comes to planning and that’s because it can be played either with it’s own screen and using it’s own internal battery, or it can be docked and use the TV and be powered by our system. This flexibility makes the Nintendo Switch a great option when it comes to gaming in a campervan.
When it comes to playing the Nintendo Switch using it’s own provided screen as well as running off it’s internal battery then your only consideration is charging the device and for that all you need is this charging kit.
For those of you who want the bigger screen experience then you’ll be pleased to know how small a set up you’ll need. A Nintendo Switch has a power draw when docked of 39W which is 78 Watt Hours for our 2 hour play time, add to that the Cello 22” Smart Full HD Traveller TV which has a draw of 22W which is 44 Watt Hours when running for your gaming. Factoring in 4 hours of usable sunlight and a 40% over spec you’d need the following:
The difference in cost of running and Nintendo Switch on the big screen is around £300 cheaper than it is to run an Xbox One or a Playstation 4, add to that the flexibility of an internal battery which increases the gaming time 4 fold and you can see why it’s a popular system for people in vans. The downside is that compared to the other two systems it is under powered but it really is down to your preference.
I hope the above gives you some indication of how easy it is to game in your campervan and an idea of what it takes to do so.