I’ve stumbled across some tech that I can’t live without. In a world of consumer goods with USB rechargeable batteries and in that same world when we are constantly on the go it’s tough to keep up with charging phones, and cameras, and tablets, and radios.
Also, I like to camp and my camper doesn’t have any USB charging outlets. If you tent camp or do boondock camping then wouldn’t it be nice to have portable power to get you through a night or two? A light to read by? Or power for your phone or GPS? Do you work in the field and need to recharge batteries such a camera batteries. I work on airport Visual Landing Aids which require precise glide slopes and I can’t tell you how many times that the surveyors have shown up and left because their batteries were dead and they had to go back and charge them.
If the power goes out at home your generator might not supply a clean sine wave which means your sensitive electronic devices could get damaged. Clean power can be supplied from an Inverter, Inverter generator, or Inverter power station.
Or, how about this? There isn’t an available USB port for charging because you have too much other stuff plugged in. Perfect for a stop gap measure.
Introducing the Jackery Portable Power Station. This is the 160, however they make 240 and 500 watt versions as well. Jackery has also partnered with Honda and provides a 200 watt station and a 290 watt station that are Honda branded. Honda makes amongst the best portable generators in the world, if not the best, and I doubt they’d lend their name to Jackery if the products weren’t up to snuff. I own the Honda EU2000 and EU2000 companion gas generators and can verify THEY ARE THE BEST.
Starting from left to right (Note that all output sections have an on/off button):
- Top Left – Input. Can charge from a car charger, AC charger, or Solar Panel (not included)
- Lower left – DC Out. Can charge Mini Fridge or LED light or other small DC appliances.
- Middle – Display. Shows charge remaining, watts of output, etc.
- Right – USB Charging ports. USB-C, and 2 standard USB ports.
On the back of the Power Station is an AC Outlet. On the Jackery 160 (depicted) you can output about 100w or 150w Peak. That’s not a lot but enough to recharge your laptop (several times) or run a lamp or a small electric appliance such as a radio in an emergency. Lots of items these days won’t pull 100watts but you should check the manufacturer specifications on any device you want to use from the power station. If total watts are exceeded the Power Station will simply shut down.
Not only does the Jackery Portable Power Station provide clean power for charging items such as a phone, laptop, camera, or radio MULTIPLE TIMES ON ONE CHARGE, AND it matches the color of my truck! Win, win!
On the front of the station is a flood light. Not the greatest or brightest floodlight but a light nonetheless.
Here’s something interesting about the lamp I found out. It isn’t mentioned in the manual.
If you turn the lamp on it activates the USB outlets. Not only that the USB outlet light DOES NOT come on. Very odd. Here is a video demonstrating the behavior.
Another interesting thing I noted is that the AC output is NOT 110v. I stuck a meter in at nearly 100% charge and it read 85.7 volts.
Then I plugged in a lamp and then an internet radio. The demand pulled it up to about 90 volts but not right away. It rose very slowly. In an attempt to see if greater demand created higher voltages I decided to plug an extension cord in with a small lamp and a 32″ TV. Sure enough the voltage is a bit higher. 95.7 volts to be exact when I took the picture below and it seems to be settled in at that voltage. A higher wattage demand would likely cause a higher voltage to be realized.
I received the following response below from Jackery in regards to my question regarding the low output voltage. I would like to say that I linked my blog on their Facebook page where they responded to me and their support personnel responded to me in a few hours via email with a good technical response. These are also items that are IMPORTANT when you buy a product. PRODUCT SUPPORT. Their response is timely and answered my questions. Their response:
“Using a multimeter to test E160, it’ll be normal to show low test voltage. This instrument is an entry-level multimeter designed for testing pure sine wave. 160 is modified sine wave. There will be deviation in the test. Pls rest assured that the AC port of E160 is standard 110V.
If you have high-end oscilloscope to test, the voltage will be accurate.”
I will slap this on a scope when I get a chance and take a look. All this being said they use a modified sine wave to deliver AC power and again before you buy a power station know what you are going to power and whether the station you opt to buy will deliver on that need.
GET THE POWER STATION SIZE THAT SUITS YOUR NEEDS! The 160 is still AWESOME but hey, I gotta test this stuff and dig a little deeper to let you know the REAL DEAL. You are welcome! ?
Here are a couple of accessories I have that I have used with my power station:
- USB Fan – You don’t realize how great one of these is in a tent until you have one in a tent.
- USB Camping Light – Perfect for tent camping or a portable emergency light in a power out situation.
The Jackery Power Station is pretty light at less than 4 pounds, and the ergonomics are great. It is very easy to carry and the hand hold is exceptional and slip free. It’s almost a pleasure to carry around.
Run, don’t walk to buy one of these things if for no other reason than to put in a bug out bag.
The only con that I see with the device is the cost of a Solar Panel which will set you back about $175 to $300 if you want a 100watt charger and you probably do. I personally don’t own a solar charger but may get one in the future (NOTE: I just ordered the SolarSaga 100 but haven’t received it yet as of this writing). The station takes about 5 hours to fully charge from dead on AC or DC and about 8 hours on Solar (on a good sunny day). I think you’d really, really need a solid reason to invest in the solar charger.
I’ve watched a lot of videos on people modifying less expensive solar panels on YouTube. It works, it sure does but quite honestly the quality of some of the splices I have seen in the videos leaves a lot to be desired. I’m an electronics tech rep and poor quality connections make me crazy. Sure the Jackery panels are EXPENSIVE, but they fold, are easy to carry and store, and have other features such as USB outlets. Panels such as Renegy are nice but big and rigid. I suppose it all depends what your requirements are. Just learn to splice, huh?
On my last overnight camping outing my girl friend and I went in the camper to Wilmington NC for one night. Because it was a quick trip and we had plans that consumed a lot of our time I didn’t take a lot of bricks, just small cables. She brought an iPad, and an iPhone. I brought an iPhone and a MacBook that used a USB C charger. At the end of the trip everything was charged and we watched a 3 hour movie on the laptop and the Jackery 160 had a 30% left on it. Color me IMPRESSED. I’ll not head out in the camper without some kind of portable power station again. It allows me to NOT carry a bunch of bricks and outlet strips and my camper only has 2 outlets in it, neither with USB charging ports. And I can set the charger and chargee in the corner out of the way, otherwise stuff is laying all over the place and in our way. The Jackery Power Stations were made for just this kind of thing.
Finally I have made a quick video of me plugging in a few common household items that I might use in the field and demonstrating how many watts those items pull during charging or use. The Jackery Power Stations are a LOT more useful and long lasting than you might think unless you hook high power items to them.
And a third party makes a hard case that fits the Jackery 160 PERFECTLY
Jackery 160 Hard Case (click to enlarge pics)
Get a Jackery Power Station or don’t hang out here anymore . ?