Solar Generators Information

Bluetti AC200 Max

Bluetti AC200 Max Solar Generator + B230 Expansion Battery Review

Bluetti AC200 Max Solar Generator + B230 Expansion Battery Review

Bluetti AC200 Max

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 9
Ease of Use 8
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

Bluetti has recently launched two intriguing products in what they tout as the Grand Debut of full home battery backup. These include the AC200 Max, a solar generator that feels like a slightly stronger twin of the original AC200P, and the extension battery pack B230, which is a noteworthy addition to Bluetti’s line-up.

Though it’s similar to the previous model, the AC200 Max does offer a couple of exciting new features, such as a 30 A RV plug and a mobile app. What excites us most about the B230, though, is a segment-first battery extender you can use as a simple generator in itself and is compatible with older Bluetti power stations too. 

In this Bluetti AC200 Max + B230 Expansion Battery review, we cover the new 200 series model and compatible battery expansion pack in detail.

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200 MAX [Hex Kit]

Bluetti AC200 MAX Solar Generator Key Features

1. Expandability and Flexibility

Arguably the biggest highlight of Bluetti’s new launch is the expandability of battery capacity, with the incredible B230 extension pack. If you are someone who likes Bluetti’s generators but wants a larger storage capacity like that of a Goal Zero Yeti 6000X, which is great news!

Bluetti AC200 Max connected to B230 Expansion Battery

With a single Bluetti B230 battery, the AC200 Max can provide an impressive 4096 Wh storage, but the best part – up to two B230s can be connected with the Bluetti AC200 Max to expand the battery capacity to a staggering 6144 Wh. Interestingly, Bluetti is also offering the B300 expansion battery, which is also compatible with the AC200 Max, and with two B300s, you can achieve a whopping 8192 Wh capacity.

Bluetti AC200 Max with two B230 Batteries Connected

But the B230 and B300 aren’t just expansion devices. You can use them as standalone battery banks, too. This feature is an industry-first that beats other close competitors such as the EcoFlow Delta. 

The B230 has three different ports, and you can run a variety of basic appliances from it. It even has its own charging port, a power button, and a design resembling the AC200s, with strong handles for carrying it easily.

As for input, the device provides impressive flexibility by allowing you to charge it with 900W solar and 500W AC input – simultaneously. Using a 1400W input charges the battery in just 1.5 hours. You can also use solar to pump in the entire 1400W. All you would need is Bluetti’s charging enhancer, which is sold separately.

2. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) Battery

In the increasingly crowded space of solar power generators, only a few brands stand apart with state-of-the-art battery technology. Bluetti is one brand that can lay such a claim, with a long-lasting LFP battery that promises an excellent 3500+ lifecycles. In comparison, a Goal Zero battery with Li-NMC technology offers around 500 cycles.

But the LFP technology offers more than longevity. It also promises better safety. These batteries have exceptional thermal resistance, so there is a low chance of catching fire, even in extremely hot regions. Additionally, LFP cells are also known to offer better current ratings, which is evident from the 30A RV port the makers have offered on this product.

Furthermore, Bluetti leaves no room for complaints by choosing to go with cells manufactured by LG Chem.

3. High Power Output

If you look at any solar power station in the market today, it will probably have a power output in W that is about half or a third of the battery capacity in Wh. This ratio is another area where Bluetti’s generators triumph.

The Bluetti AC200 Max has an excellent power rating of 2,200 W, which is slightly higher than the AC200P. For a 2048 Wh battery, this is a striking amount of continuous power you can draw out of it. It does mean that you can drain the entire battery in less than an hour if you pull the entire 2,200 W, but it is always good to have that option available rather than not. 

What can the Bluetti AC200 Max Power do?

Additionally, the battery expansion packs can help improve discharge times by two or three times if needed, so the high power output shouldn’t always mean you will be left out of juice pretty soon.

4. One of the Best Display Screens

Display screens on solar power stations are no longer a new feature, but the quality of the screen on Bluetti’s AC200 Max is certainly exceptional. It is the same resistive, LCD touch-screen on the AC200P and eliminates the frustration of barely haptic, squishy button screens with poor visibility.

The screen is capable of more than just displaying a bunch of information. While it does show a large amount of information, it also allows the management of the generator. You can turn AC or DC power on or off and even regulate parameters.

Bluetti LCD Touch-Screen

5. 120 V/30 A Shore Power/RV Plug

A big difference between the Bluetti AC200P and the AC200 Max is the 30 A RV plug on the latter. For those who are into off-grid adventures that involve a camper, this is a boon. Using appliances in an RV by keeping an engine running is inefficient and expensive.

Connecting the RV battery to the Bluetti AC200 Max through the 30 A plug can help operate even relatively heavier appliances like an air conditioner for a decent amount of time. If you have solar panels on your RV, it increases flexibility and efficiency even more.

AC200 Max 30A RV Plug

AC200 Max 30A RV Plug

6. Hot Swapping

Another upgrade over the AC200P, the Bluetti AC200 Max allows hot-swapping of batteries. If your generator is on and you need more energy, you can add a new battery module without turning the system off, adding flexibility to the use of the power station.

7. Mobile App

Here’s another area where the newer AC series generator is better than the older one – it comes with a mobile app with an intuitive layout and animations. It allows not only to check real-time status without having to go near the generator but also to control parameters and turn the device off when needed.

Bluetti Mobile App

Bluetti Mobile App

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200 MAX [QUAD Kit]

Key Specifications: Bluetti AC200 MAX + B230 Battery

1. Bluetti AC200 Max

Battery2,048 Wh, Lithium-ion (LFP), 3,500+ lifecycles
Output
  • Rated AC power: 110 V, 2,200 W Continuous (4,800 W Surge)
  • DC output: 5 V DC / 3 A USB Plug, 12 V DC / 3/10/25 A output ports
Input
  • AC/wall charging: 500 W
  • Solar Charger: Max 900 Watts, 10-145 V / 12 A MPPT
  • Car Charger: 12 V /24 V DC
Management System
  • MPPT charge controller
  • Low battery protection
  • Short-circuit protection
  • Overload protection
Size(L*W*H): 420 mm (16.5 in) x 280 mm (11 in) x 386.5 mm (15.2 in)
Weight48 lb/ 22 kg 

2. Bluetti B230 Expansion Battery

Battery2,048 Wh, Lithium-ion (LFP), 3,500+ lifecycles
Output
  • DC output: 18W USB-A Plug, 100W USB-C Plug
  • 12V/10A cigarette lighter
Input
  • AC/wall charging: 500 W
  • Solar Charger: Max 900 Watts, 10-145 V / 12 A MPPT
  • Car Charger: 12 V /24 V DC
Management System
  • MPPT charge controller
  • Low battery protection
  • Short-circuit protection
  • Overload protection
Size(L*W*H): 420 mm (16.5 in) x 280 mm (11 in) x 226 mm (8.9 in)
Weight48 lb/ 22 kg 

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200 MAX [EMRG Kit]

Design and Construction: AC200 MAX + B230 Battery

The design of the Bluetti AC200 Max and even the B230 battery unit is very similar to that of the AC200P – a sleek, modern design that differentiates the devices from most other solar generators.

A textured black body with metallic grey edges and handles, accentuated with cool blue branding gives a high-tech look to the devices. Despite being built almost entirely out of ABS plastic, the units have a rugged feel to them.

Bluetti AC200 Max Ports 1

Bluetti AC200 Max Ports

But the design delivers more than just aesthetics – it scores full marks for functionality too. All the ports are neatly grouped on the front panel. The display is in the center, and the power button is in the left corner. The addition of the 30 A RV plug as well as improved, fast-charging USB ports is a welcome upgrade from the AC200P.

The top of the unit has two wireless charging pads with input ports for AC and DC charging on the side.

Bluetti AC200 Max ports 2

Bluetti AC200 Max Ports

Overall, the AC200 Max is not vastly different from the AC200P, neither in design nor in specifications, and it is strange why Bluetti did not simply launch the battery expansion pack. In fact, the newer generator is so similar to the older one that Bluetti itself, on its website, writes “Small Change, Big Leap”, acknowledging that the AC200 Max and AC200P models are very similar.

The B230 battery expansion pack, on the other hand, is a different story. It is arguably Bluetti’s milestone product in terms of usability. It is similar in size and looks similar to the generator itself, just slightly shorter. This simple-looking boxy device has three output ports, a battery extension port to connect it with the AC200 Max or AC200P, and an input port for independent charging. 

Bluetti B230 Ports

Bluetti B230 Ports

Pros

Bluetti’s new AC series generator with its new battery expansion packs is an exciting entry into the solar generator market. Together, they make one of the best solar power stations, if not the best. Here’s a quick outline of the reasons why you should consider buying the AC200 Max + B230:

Just like the older model, the AC200 Max looks high-tech, and so does the battery expansion unit, as it carries the exact same design language.

The LFP battery inside the device is not only energy-dense but also safer and lasts longer.

The optimum number of ports and an easy-to-handle construction, coupled with a terrific display screen and mobile app control make the generator as advanced as it can be.

The B230 expansion pack with its multiple model compatibility, independent usage, and hot-swapping feature provides much-needed flexibility of how much energy you want to use and when. The mobile app improves its flexibility even more by allowing remote monitoring.

Cons

There isn’t much to complain about the AC200 Max and the B230, but a few things are still worth noting.

With a top-notch battery, a pure sine-wave inverter, and a thoughtful design, you would expect the AC200 Max to impress in the efficiency department too. However, though not unacceptably low, the device lets down with an 80% efficiency, unlike some competitors that reach well over the 90% mark. So, you could charge the entire 2048 Wh but can only extract just 80% of it.

Although all of Bluetti’s solar generators technically fall under the portable category, the level of portability varies from model to model. Speaking specifically of the AC200 Max, it is portable but not easily. The energy-dense lithium battery does make it relatively less heavy than a lead-acid battery, but at 62 lb, it is not a breeze when just one person tries carrying it. 

Add in the B230, and its portability quotient suffers even more. It would have been terrific if Bluetti provided a wheeled cart, even optional, to carry the entire combo of the generator and the expansion battery.

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200 MAX [Nomad Kit]

Final Words: To Buy or Not to Buy

It is easy to find yourself lost in the sea of options when looking for a solar generator, and Bluetti might not be as popular as Goal Zero, but their products seldom disappoint, which applies to the Bluetti AC200 Max and B230 as well.

If a reliable battery, good looks, and flexibility of use are on your must-have list, you will not be disappointed with Bluetti’s recent products. Sure, the units have their tiny flaws here and there, but there’s hardly anything that should deter you from buying it. 

And even if you can’t get a hold of the Bluetti AC200 Max, the original AC200P is almost the same model and compatible with the new battery expansion packs.

We hope you liked this article. Please rate it or leave us a comment.

Average rating 4.6 / 5. Vote count: 8

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Jackery Explorer Portable power station

WARNING: Jackery Explorer 500 Review + Top 2 Alternatives

WARNING: Jackery Explorer 500 Review + Top 2 Alternatives

Jackery Explorer Portable power station

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 8
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

Having a backup source of power is valuable whenever the grid is down, but it’s also very important if you want to have an incredible experience outdoors, whether that is a week-long camping trip or a long picnic day with family and friends.

In this review, we cover one of the best and most reliable options available for backup power, the Jackery Explorer 500. We will also check out two valuable alternatives that you can consider to make the best possible choice among solar generator products. Let’s jump to it!

What is the Jackery Explorer 500?

The Jackery Explorer 500 is a portable power station manufactured by Jackery, one of the top brands in the backup market, integrated with an array of cylindrical 2400 lithium-ion battery cells with a high energy density capable of storing up to 518Wh of energy ([email protected]). This valuable device has a rated power capacity of 500W and 1000W for a surge.

This power station features multiple ports, including:

Jackery Explorer 500 Outlets:

3 xUSB – A ports
2 x12V DC ports
1 x12V car outlet
1 x110V AC outlet – pure sine wave output at 60Hz

Moreover, some of the extra features that the Jackery Explorer 500 comes with are:

  •         Built-in LED flashlight
  •         Built-in MPPT charge controller
  •         Carry on solid handle
  •         Built-in LED display
  •         Car charger cable
  •         AC charging cable

What can I power with the Jackery Explorer 500?

Jackery Explorer Portable power station

The Explorer 500 is capable of powering multiple appliances and electronic devices, including any of the following:

  •         Blenders (300W)                        
  •         CPAP machines
  •         TVs
  •         LED Lights
  •         Electronics: Smartphones, cameras, drones, iPads, headphones, etc.
  •         Electric blankets (40W)
  •         Heated travel mugs (100W)
  •         Mini-cooler

You will notice that all of these devices have a power consumption below 500W. Keep in mind that the AC output port is rated for a maximum continuous capacity of 500W, and exceeding this amount will cause the Explorer 500 to shut down automatically as a safety measure.

Any appliance powered with AC will need to have a demand below 500W to be connected to the Jackery Explorer 500.  In other words, you cannot power appliances like toasters, kettles, or electric frying pans with this portable solar generator. To make sure you can connect a device, check the power rating specs of whatever it is you want to power.

That said, the Jackery has a surge power rating of 1000W, which means it can provide an extra burst of power for a few seconds to get the appliance started, typically useful for appliances with small motors. This feature could come in handy for some small and low-demand fridges, but you would need to make sure that the continuous demand from the DC motor is below 500W.

How Can the Jackery Explorer 500 be charged?

You can fully charge this power station in several ways:

Car charger7.5 hours
AC wall outlet7.5 hours
Solar panels9-10 hours

Keep in mind that the input terminal for all charging sources is rated to be below 100W. For solar panels, Jackery also offers the optional Solar Saga 100W solar kit that you can connect to the Jackery 500. As you can see above, using solar panels would take around 10 hours to charge the Explorer 500 fully; however, this can increase if weather conditions are not favorable.

What Do We Like About The Jackery Explorer 500?

Jackery Explorer Portable power station

What We Don’t Like About the Explorer 500

Jackery Explorer Portable power station

What are the Best Alternatives to the Jackery Explorer 500?

If you feel the Jackery Explorer is not for you, then we have some of the best alternatives you can think of for this power station. Similar in specs, quality, and price! Let’s take a look.

The EcoFlow River 600 Max is one of the best alternatives for the Explorer 500, and here is why.

Power Rating and Connectivity

The River 600 Max has a power rating of 600W and a surge power of 1200W. You will also enjoy 576Wh of battery capacity, and what’s more important, you can use it to power up to 10 devices at once.

As amazing as it sounds, the EcoFlow River 600 has an X-Boost mode that allows it to power up to 1800W in total (although the recommendation is to stay below 1200W to maximize the energy performance use). This is possible thanks to the three 600 WAC outlets, which offer much better connectivity options than the Jackery 500.

Super-Fast Charging

What’s even more incredible about the EcoFlow 600 is its super-fast charging capability, thanks to the X-Stream Fast Charging feature, which allows it to get fully charged in less than 100 minutes using an AC wall outlet.

When using a car port, it takes just three hours to charge fully. On the other hand, if you want to use solar charging, you can connect up to two 110W solar panels for a total of 220W, which allows you to charge the EcoFlow River 600 in just around three to six hours! This time is considerably less than with the Jackery.

UPS capability

A great plus of the EcoFlow River 600 is that you can use it as a UPS device. If you have the River 600 connected to the wall outlet and have a desktop computer connected to it, the River 600 will charge the desktop using energy from the grid. However, if the grid fails, this power station will automatically switch to a battery supply mode in less than 30 seconds, actively acting as a UPS device.

Go Lightweight

Another interesting feature of the EcoFlow River 600 Max is the possibility to remove the integrated extra battery pack to reduce the weight of the power station and make it more of an on-the-go kind of device, reducing 2.5kg from the total 7.7kg that the River 600 weighs.

This design is perfect if you want a larger power station for your campsite but still want to be able to carry a smaller power station to an area nearby without having to haul the whole weight of the entire unit.

Where to Buy

Check Out the EcoFlow River 600 Max

Power Ratings

Another great alternative to the Explorer 500 is the Bluetti EB70. This power station is more powerful than the Jackery model, featuring up to a 700W continuous output rating with a massive 716Wh energy storage capacity made out of a lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) battery, which is already powerful enough to run air pumps and mini-fridges comfortably.

Connectivity

Moreover, the connectivity is impressive, with up to four pure sine wave AC outlets at 110V, two USB type-C PD, and two USB-A ports. Plus, two DC output ports, a car port, and even a wireless charger of 15W for smartphones and other electronic devices with such capability.

Charging times

As for charging times, the Bluetti EB70 does not stay behind at all and even when having almost half more energy storage capacity than the Jackery Explorer 500. If you use a wall outlet, it only takes up to 4.5 hours to fully charge it. On the other hand, if you use a car port, it would take about 7.5 hours, just like the Explorer 500. Finally, if your choice is to use solar, you can expect it to be charged in less than six hours, assuming good weather conditions.

Lifetime Expectancy

One extremely valuable thing about the Bluetti EB70 when compared to the Jackery Explorer 500 is the number of cycles that the power station can run is up to 2500 at 80% capacity. This difference is huge.

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti EB70

Comparison: Jackery Explorer 500 vs EcoFlow River 600 Max vs Bluetti EB70

To summarize the differences between the Jackery and our best alternatives, we have pulled up this table that will help you easily see the different specs between these products.

 Jackery Explorer 500EcoFlow River 600 MaxBluetti EB70
Power Rating (W)500600 (expandable to 1800W with X-Boost mode)700
Surge Power Rating (W)10001200
Battery TypeLithium-ionLithium-ionLithium-iron phosphate
Energy Storage Capacity (Wh)518576716
Expected Number of Lifecycles500 to 80% capacity500 to 80% capacity2500 to 80% capacity
Charging times   
Wall Outlet7.5h1.6 h4.5 h
Car Port (Wh)7.5h6.5 h7.5 h
Solar9-10h (100W max)3-6h (2x110W max)5.5h (200W max)
Operating Temperature range0 – 40°C0 – 45°C-20 to 40°C
Number of AC Outlets134
Number of USB Ports3 – USB-A ports

2-USB A ports

1 USB-A Fast Charge port

1 USB-C port

2-USB-A Ports

2-USB-C PD ports

Weight13.32lbs (6.04kg)17 lbs (7.7 kg)21.4lbs (9.7kg)
Warranty Period24 months24 months24 months

Outstanding Feature

(Feature that the other two do not have)

None

UPS capability

Detach portable mode

X-Boost mode

Wireless charging
Estimated Price$500$550$600

Final Words

As you can see from the table above, both the EcoFlow 600 Max and the Bluetti EB70 offer far better technical specs and features than what the Jackery Explorer 500 does for a little extra money, making them the best alternatives to consider at this price range.

We hope you liked this article. Please rate it or leave us a comment.

Average rating 4 / 5. Vote count: 5

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EcoFlow Delta Solar Generator

EcoFlow Delta 1800 Solar Generator Review: Is It Worth Buying? (2021)

EcoFlow Delta Review 1800W / 1300wH Solar Generator: Is It Worth Buying? (2021)

EcoFlow Delta Solar Generator

Oliver

Written by Oliver. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

When the EcoFlow Delta  1800 first hit the market, solar generators were a real game-changer. Whereas a traditional solar power system requires installing expensive, bulky, and complicated components, a solar power generator can act as an all-in-one solar power station.

Today, the best solar generators feature a high-capacity internal solar battery, both a built-in charge controller and an integrated power inverter, as well as a variety of useful output ports.

In other words, the best solar generators can be paired with solar panels to give you the ability to generate, store, and access power from even the most remote locations.

The EcoFlow brand was established in 2017 with a simple goal – to reinvent the way people access power. They wanted to offer reliable, portable, and renewable power sources that customers could use for adventures in remote, off-grid locations or as reliable power banks for emergencies and power outages.

Honest Review of the EcoFlow Delta 1800

The EcoFlow brand was established in 2017 with a simple goal – to reinvent the way people access power. They wanted to offer reliable, portable, and renewable power sources that could be used for adventures in remote, off-grid locations, or as reliable power banks for emergencies and power outages.

EcoFlow Delta Solar Generator

In the brand’s short history, it has earned an impressive reputation for offering durable, high-performance solar products at affordable prices. Out of all of its products, the EcoFlow Delta 1800 continues to stand out as one of its best sellers.

To understand whether or not the Delta 1800 deserves its status, we dissect some of its internal components and look at its specifications.

EcoFlow Delta: Battery Capacity, Life Cycles, and Shelf Life

Battery Capacity:

One of the first things consumers look for when presented with a solar generator is the battery capacity.

The Delta features a built-in 1,260Wh (350Ah, 3.7V) deep-cycle solar battery, which is fairly impressive given its compact and lightweight design. For comparison, similarly-sized units, such as the Patriot Power Generator 1800, only feature a 652Wh internal battery.

Put bluntly, you get nearly twice the battery capacity you would get with other solar generators in the Delta’s price range.

For perspective, this means that a fully-charged Delta 1800 could charge and power electronic devices and appliances in the following ways:

Large refrigerator15 to 18 hours
Coffee maker50+ cycles
Standard Laptop27+ recharges
CPAP Machine20+ hours
32” television23+ hours
10W LED flood light140+ hours

As you can see, having a high battery capacity is incredibly important.

Whether you want to charge portable electronics, like laptops, smartphones, and tablets, or supply power to your more demanding electronic appliances, such as a toaster, refrigerator, blender, air conditioner, or oscillating fan, the Delta’s nearly 1,300Wh lithium-ion battery is up to the task.

Battery Shelf Life:

While battery capacity is important, it is also worth noting its shelf life. Essentially, shelf life refers to the amount of time you can leave a battery charged before it will lose its charge. While all batteries suffer from a natural draining process over time, some batteries hold their charge longer than others.

EcoFlow Delta Solar Generator

As you can imagine, shelf life is important for those who plan on using solar generators as a source of emergency or backup power. Fortunately, the Delta 1800 delivers. With a shelf life of over 12 months, buyers could conceivably leave the unit untouched and in storage for a full year and still rely on it to have a fully charged battery in the event of a power outage or emergency.

For comparison, similar units, like the Goal Zero Yeti 1500X, tend to have a shelf life of only three to four months.

Life Cycles:

The Delta 1800’s battery is rated for 800+ life cycles, which is, again, impressive. Essentially, life cycles refer to the total number of times the battery can be charged and drained before it starts to lose some of its capacity.

While this might lead you to believe that you can only use the battery about 800 times until you start to see signs of degradation, it is important to remember that a cycle refers to a full recharge followed by a full discharge. In other words, partially discharging the battery would not necessarily impact the battery the same way that a full discharge cycle would.

You could only use some of the Delta’s stored power before recharging the battery, and the impact on the battery’s lifespan would be negligible.

The fact that the Delta’s powerful power inverter allows you to discharge the battery fully is fairly unique. Some of the less efficient solar generators shut off before you can completely drain the battery.

EcoFlow Delta: Power Inverter, Charge Controller, and Output Ports

The Power Inverter:

One of the highlights of the Delta 1800 is its powerful and efficient internal power inverter. The 1,800W pure sine power inverter is impressive, especially when you consider the unit’s compact dimensions and lightweight design.

At 1,800W, there is nothing else like the Delta in its class. Most units this size feature far less powerful inverters, which is why most of the highly portable units are for charging smartphones, Bluetooth speakers, tablets, portable GPS units, and other handheld electronics.

EcoFlow Delta Solar Generator

As mentioned above, the combination of the Delta’s high-capacity battery and its 1,800W power inverter means it can power fairly demanding electronic appliances, like refrigerators, televisions, and more.

Not only is the power inverter rated at 1,800W, but it also offers 3,300W of surge potential, which means it can withstand the peaks and valleys you get with more temperamental electronics, like microwaves, blenders, toaster ovens, hairdryers, and straightening irons. Delta’s power inverter is so impressive that we have even seen it power some fairly demanding power tools!

Charge Controller:

The built-in MPPT charge controller protects the battery and ensures you make the most out of your power source. Generators with a far less efficient PWM charge controller require more solar power supply to charge the battery.

Your solar panels will perform effectively, and more of the DC power they generate will end up getting stored within your unit’s deep cycle battery.

The MPPT charge controller also protects against reverse battery drain, which can occur when power flows from the battery to a connected solar panel.  With a low-quality charge controller, this usually occurs after the sun has set and the connected panels are no longer producing power.

Output Ports:

EcoFlow Delta Solar Generator

The Delta also features a wide variety of practical output charging ports, including:

EcoFlow Delta 1800 Output Ports:

2 xUSB-A ports
2 xUSB fast-charging ports
2 x60W USB-C ports (compatible with latest Apple iPhones and iPads, as well as newer Android smartphones)
6 xstandard three-prong AC wall-style plugs
1 xcigarette lighter-style 12V DC carport

All of these output ports combine to give the Delta 1800 outstanding versatility. With five unique charging options and the potential to power 13 devices at once, the Delta is incredibly impressive for its size. Typically, only the larger and more expensive units offer this many output ports, and even some of them lack the more modern USB-C ports.

How to Recharge the EcoFlow Delta 1800 Solar Generator

Another area where the Delta shines is its surprisingly fast recharge times.

If you are charging the unit through a standard AC wall outlet, you can fully charge the 1,260Wh battery in as little as 1.6 hours! This speed is incredibly fast, especially considering similar solar generators can take up to 12 hours to charge this way.

EcoFlow Delta Solar Generator

Using solar panels that have a total power rating of 100W, you can typically charge the battery in 4 to 8 hours. As is always the case with solar, the actual recharge time will depend on several factors, including the efficiency rating of the panels, the amount of cloud cover, your geographic location, and the time of day when the panels are being used.

One of the unique and useful features the Delta has is being able to charge the battery through a 12V DC input port. You can charge the battery from your car, which is great for campers and RV enthusiasts.

Our Overall Impression of the EcoFlow Delta 1800 Solar Generator

After taking an in-depth look at the Delta, it became pretty obvious why it is one of the best-selling solar generators on the market today. Put simply, the Delta 1800 offers outstanding reliability and performance at an affordable price point.

Given that similar units tend to weigh close to 50lbs and the Delta comes in at just 30.9lbs, it is also fair to say it is a highly portable solar generator. Backcountry campers, RV enthusiasts, camper van drivers, and anyone else who values mobility will also appreciate the two rigid carrying handles.

While the high-capacity battery and 1,800W power inverter were the real highlights, we cannot ignore the high-end features you get with the Delta. These include the crystal-clear LCD screen, fast recharge rate, 13 output ports, and the ability to charge through solar power, AC power, or a 12V DC carport.

EcoFlow Delta Pros

EcoFlow Delta Cons

As you can see, the pros certainly outweigh the cons. Whether you are looking for a highly portable and durable unit that can accompany you on your next adventure, or you are looking for a reliable and powerful solar generator for emergencies, the Delta 1800 is up to the task, and we cannot recommend it enough.

The Best EcoFlow Delta 1800 Solar Kits

Now that we have given our impression of the Delta 1800, we can take a look at some kits that offer value and convenience:

This kit combines the outstanding Delta 1800 with four highly efficient, 100W monocrystalline solar panels. It also comes packaged with all of the MC4 solar cables and connectors required to wire everything together.

The rigid panels feature rugged aluminum frames and pre-drilled installation holes, making them easy to install and ideal for emergency preparedness. They also work exceptionally well for camper vans and RVs and for those looking to build a fixed solar array for an off-grid or grid-tied solar power system.

Best of all, the package offers excellent value!

Where to Buy

Check Out the EcoFlow Delta 1800 4x 100W Solar Panel Quad Kit

The Double Kit is very similar to the Quad Kit; however, it comes packaged with two 100W solar panels rather than four. While it is less expensive, the value isn’t there. For the slight price increase, you would be better off with the four solar panels.

With that said, it could be a practical option for those that already own solar panels or for anyone that plans to charge their Delta primarily through AC power.

Where to Buy

Check Out the EcoFlow Delta 1800 Double Kit

The Base Camp Kit is the perfect emergency power backup kit. Not only do you get the Delta 1800 and four 100W solar panels, but you also get a T10 EMP bag, a set of low-watt LED emergency lights and an emergency power preparedness guide.

Where to Buy

Check Out the EcoFlow Delta 1800 Base Camp Kit

For those who prefer folding solar panels, you can get them with the Nomad Kit, which puts the Delta with two 200W folding suitcase-style solar panels. While you get better value with the Quad Kit, the portable nature of the Nomad Kit might be right for you, especially if you enjoy backcountry camping or frequently travel by RV, van, or skoolie.

Where to Buy

Check Out the EcoFlow Delta 1800 Nomad Kit

EcoFlow Delta: Final Words

The Delta 1800 deserves its status as one of the best-selling solar generators on the market. No matter what sort of package works for you, we feel confident that you will be satisfied with your decision if you choose to invest in an EcoFlow Delta 1800.

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Lion Safari Me Portable Power Generator

Lion Safari ME Solar Generator Review: Is it Worth Buying? (2021)

Lion Safari ME Solar Generator Review: Is It Worth Buying? (2021)

Lion Safari Me Portable Power Generator

Figure 1: Lion Safari ME Kit – Lion Safari

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

Lion Safari started in 2001, helping customers be action-ready in case of emergencies. They supplied emergency food, water, lighting, and more. Years later, they started designing portable power units to ensure energy availability on the go.

In 2012, Lion Energy was engineering powerful portable generators, ensuring energy anywhere and anytime: vacations, camping trips, blackouts, and in most emergencies. By 2014, Lion Energy was one of the best manufacturers for solar systems and portable power generators in the U.S.

One of the best portable power generators to date is the Lion Safari ME. With the Lion Safari ME Kit, you get this generator, a high-capacity expansion battery pack, and a 400W solar generation system. This kit ensures you get enough energy to power through emergencies, camping trips, and even to power your whole home for hours.

What Does the Lion Safari ME Solar Generator Include?

The Safari ME Kit includes everything you need to install your Safari ME + XP and the solar panels, and all of these items are covered under a 1-year warranty by Lion Safari. Here is a list of all the items in the kit:

Lion Safari ME Solar Generator Kit:

1 xLion Safari ME Power Generator
1 xExpansion Pack
4 xLion 100W 24V Solar Panels
1 xAnderson extension cord

The Anderson connectors used by Lion Safari are different from the regular MC4 connectors. To connect any of these units to other solar equipment, you need an Anderson-to-MC4 adapter. We strongly recommend you only use Lion Safari panels with other panels from the same capacity from this brand.

What is the Lion Safari ME Solar Generator?

The Safari ME Power Generator is a professional-grade portable power Station that can power virtually anything. You can use it for simple power loads like charging phones, laptops, powering home appliances, tools, or even to power your entire home for hours.

The generator includes a built-in 922Wh Lithium-Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) cylindrical cells battery that lasts for more than 2,500 cycles at a 100% depth of discharge (DOD). To convert DC to AC power, the generator has a 2,000W built-in pure sine wave inverter which can deliver a power surge of 4,000W.

Lion safari generator

The aesthetic for the Lion Safari ME is superb, and so is the robust casing with built-in handles. The unit weighs 45.5 lbs. and has a size of 18.7 x 12.8 x 12.8 inches. It includes an LCD monitor screen in the casing, delivering real-time readings for:

  • Capacity level (Percentage)
  • Time to empty at the current load (Minutes).

The Lion Safari ME Generator includes several output ports at the front of the equipment, making it quite versatile. These ports are:

Lion Safari ME Generator Output Ports:

2 x120V AC power sockets
2 xUSB Type – A ports (5V @ 2.4A)
2 xUSB Type – C ports (1 x PD 18W & 1 x PD 60W)
1 x12V Cigarette lighter connector (15A max current)
1 x12V Anderson connector

The ports are divided into sections that you can turn on and off using the right switch, and you can turn the whole generator on or off using the main switch at the top front. There are four switches in total:

1 xSwitch for the 12V connectors
1 xSwitch for the USB ports
1 xSwitch for the AC outlets
1 xMain switch for the whole generator

At the back of the Safari ME generator, you will find several inputs, these are:

1 xBuilt-in 120V AC cord to charge the battery (@ 680W)
1 xAnderson connector to plug solar panels (@ 585W max. MPPT charging capacity)
1 xExpansion pack battery connector (Expansion pack included with the Kit)

Aside from the connectors, there is a small button at the bottom-left section at the back of the unit. This button works as a circuit breaker, resetting the circuit-breaker in case of tripping due to overcurrent. 

How much extra power can I get with the Lion Safari ME Expansion Battery?

Lion Safari Me Portable Power Generator

Figure 3: Lion Safari ME + Expansion Pack – Lion Safari

The Expansion Pack for the Lion Safari ME is a 2,048Wh battery that can be plugged into the generator, increasing its capacity up to three times. When used together, the expansion pack capacity is added to the 922Wh base capacity for the Safari ME Power Generator to achieve a total capacity of 2,970Wh.

The expansion pack is 16.7 x 9.6 x 9.8 inches and weighs 44 lbs. This unit can hold its charge for two years and delivers more than 3,500 cycles. Aside from powering loads for longer, the expansion pack can withstand many more cycles, which greatly increases the lifespan of the Safari ME + XP.

Using the Safari ME Portable Power Generator + the Expansion Pack (Safari ME + XP) allows you to power up to 2,000W in loads for three times longer. When charging with the 120V AC cord at 668W, the expansion pack charges in 3 hours and the whole Safari ME + XP in under 4.5 hours.

What Can I Power If I Use the Lion Safari ME + The Expansion Battery?

The Safari ME + XP allows you to power virtually anything. You can use them to power lighting systems, freezers, A/C compressors, TVs, gaming consoles, computers, power tools, household appliances, and many others, like the ones in the list below. In most cases, you can power several of these devices at the same time.

Loads and estimated power time with the Safari ME + XP

DeviceHourly load consumption (Wh)Run time with the Safari ME + XP
Mini fridge36Wh82.5 hours
Phone charger5Wh594 charges
Laptop charger56Wh53 charges
55’’ L.C.D./LED TV75Wh/116Wh39.6/25.5 hours
LED lamp4Wh742 hours
Hotplate500Wh5.9 hours
Air cooler80Wh37 hours
American fridge-freezer80Wh37 hours
Water pump300Wh10 hours

Food dehydrator

800Wh3.7 hours
Playstation 5200Wh15 hours
Guitar amplifier30Wh100 hours
Home internet router15Wh198 hours
Slow cooker180Wh16.5 hours

The possibilities with the Safari ME + XP are almost endless. This unit is perfect for powering high-consumption appliances at RVs, large boats, and more. You can even use the Safari ME + XP as a home battery backup generator.

The Safari ME + XP as a home battery backup generator can power many household devices simultaneously. Considering the 2,000W built-in inverter, you can power more than 100 LED bulbs, 1 – 2 LED TVs, a Playstation 5, a Fridge-Freezer, several laptops and phones charging, a water pump, an internet router, several other devices, and all at the same time. 

How much solar power do I need to charge the Lion Safari ME + The Expansion Battery?

Lion Safari Me Portable Power Generator

Figure 4: Lion Safari ME – Lion Safari

Lion Safari specializes in powering backup systems using renewable energies, which means you can also charge the Safari ME + XP using solar panels. The Lion Safari ME Kit includes 4 x Lion 100W 24V solar panels that allow your generator to keep going for hours in most off-grid situations.

When using the 400W solar generation capacity of the panels in ideal conditions, you can fully charge the Safari ME + XP in under 8 hours. Since solar conditions are not always ideal, you can also expand the solar capacity to 600 – 800W by adding 2 – 4 more panels.

The Safari ME generator has an MPPT capacity that tops the DC charging speed at 585W, with two extra panels on ideal conditions or four on non-ideal conditions, ensuring a minimum charging time of five hours to charge the Safari ME + XP at 100%.

Installing the solar panels to power the Lion Safari ME + The Expansion Pack

You should know how to properly install the solar panels included in the kit to charge the Safari ME + XP. Here we will explain the basics of installing these panels to the power generator.

  1. Unfold the panels and install them in place. You can use the adjustable legs to set them in a stable foundation facing the sun or in a rack at the roof.
  2. The panels have two cables with Anderson connectors at the back, a short one and a long one. Snap the longer cable of the first panel to the short one of the second one.
  3. Repeat step two to connect the second panel to the third one and the third one to the fourth. If you’re adding more panels, repeat the same process with those.
  4. After connecting the panels, snap the short cable from the first panel to the extension cord (if an extension is required), then connect it to the back of the Safari ME portable power.
  5. That’s it! You are ready to start using solar power to charge your Lion Safari ME + XP!

The Anderson connectors are color-coded. Always remember that the red end is the positive connector, and the black one is negative. Be aware of this to avoid misconnections between panels or at the generator.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Lion Safari ME Solar Generator

The Lion Safari ME Kit has many advantages against only a few disadvantages. Here we will analyze all of these to give you a clear idea of what this kit has to offer.

Lion Safari Me Portable Power Generator

Figure 5: Lion Safari ME – Lion Safari

Lion Safari ME Advantages

The Safari ME generator is one of the highest capacity models in the market. The Safari ME + XP can deliver the same power as 2 x 100Ah & 1 x 50Ah LiFePo4 12V batteries, occupying a fraction of the space and delivering better performance.  

Most solar generators withstand 500 – 1,000W. The Safari ME power generator has a built-in inverter that can deliver a constant power of 2,000W and a power surge of 4,000W, ideal for most applications, even powering a small home.

The Expansion Pack battery uses LiFePo4 prismatic cells, which are lighter, handle higher currents, and last for many more cycles. This is why the Expansion Pack battery lasts longer compared to regular cylindrical cells batteries.

Lithium batteries can deliver on average 2,000 at a 70 – 90% DOD. The Lion Safari ME generator can deliver beyond 2,500 cycles and the expansion pack beyond 3,500 cycles, both at a 100% DOD.

The Safari ME generator is made to be tough, durable, and robust, which is why Lion Safari included a heavy-duty quality casing to withstand any shock and built-in handles that make it easier to carry.

Lion Safari ME Disadvantages

The Safari ME Generator can only be coupled with one expansion pack, limiting the capacity to 2,970Wh. If you could couple it with two or more expansion packs, this generator could open a wider range of possibilities.

The weight for the Safari ME Generator is relatively heavy due to its capacity, making it relatively hard to carry.

Top 3 Lion Safari ME Kits

Where to Buy

Check Out the Lion Safari ME Gold Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Lion Safari ME Elite Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Lion Safari ME Double Kit

Lion Safari ME Solar Generator: Final Words

The Safari ME Generator by itself is one of the best solar generators available in the market. This unit has features that make it versatile and ideal for most applications, especially since you can expand its capacity by three times and it can rapidly charge with a 400W solar system.  

Acquiring the Lion Safari ME Kit will ensure you get more hours of fun time using your regular devices and coupling this generator for virtually any application. With under 3,000Wh of capacity and a 400W solar charging capacity, the possibilities for the Safari ME + XP kit are almost endless.

The Lion Safari ME Kit is suitable for camping for several days, as a backup energy system, and even for people living off-grid using low-consumption devices. The best thing is that you get an extremely long lifespan in cycles, making this kit a great investment for the future.

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Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator

Bluetti AC200P Review

Bluetti AC200P Review: Is It The Best Solar Generator? (2021)

Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 9.5
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

If there were ever a beauty contest for portable solar power stations, the Bluetti AC200P would undoubtedly steal the show. But is it just beauty this solar generator offers? Of course not! The AC200P Solar Generator comes with a 2,000 Wh LFP battery with 2,000 W inverter output and 700 W solar input while promising plenty of handy features in a well-built unit.

But in a market that becomes more competitive every year, does the Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator stand out from the crowd? Is this the best solar generator in its price range? Let us find out in this in-depth Bluetti AC200P review.

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200P
Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator

Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator Design and Construction

If there is one area of the Bluetti AC200P where no other solar generator comes close, it’s its design. The device looks straight out of a star wars spaceship. Its metallic grey edges and black body with a texture resembling carbon fiber makes it look futuristic. The cool blue branding and port labels give it an even more modern feel.

The recesses on both sides act as handles. The output ports are grouped and placed in the front, while the wireless charging pads are on the top. The ports come with soft plastic caps, which prevent dust or dirt from accumulating in the ports. Two input ports are on the side of the unit.

The product is well-designed, even from a functionality perspective. It has a whopping 17 outlet ports:

Bluetti AC200P Outlets:

6 xAC110V AC outlet (pure sine-wave)
1 xDC12V/25A
1 xDC12V/10A
2 x

DC 12V/3A

4 x

5V/3A USB-A

1 x

PD 60W USB-C Faster Charge (5V/3A, 9V/3A, 12V/3A,15V/3A, 20V/3A)

2 x

Wireless Charging (Single Output Max 15W)

Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator

One of the main highlights of the Bluetti AC200P is its 25A DC output port. The only downside here is that the Aviation plug to XT60 cable needs to be purchased separately from Bluetti.

Speaking of cables, the AC200P comes with an AC wall charger that resembles older laptop chargers, an XT90 to aviation plug input cable, a car charger to XT90, and most importantly, solar charging cables (MC4 to XT90). 

The specially designed cables make solar connections simple. All you need to do is place the panels facing the sun, connect the MC4 connectors, and the XT90 side to the Bluetti AC200P and it starts pumping juice into the battery.

Bluetti and Solar panel

Simultaneous AC and DC charging slashes the time required, but that is not the only option for faster charging. You can also use both the DC and AC ports to charge via your regular wall output; you just need an additional adapter and transfer plugs, which you must order separately.

Bluetti and Solar panel

The only question that now remains this – with its well-thought design and features, what can the Bluetti AC200P power? 

Thanks to a diverse set of AC and DC ports, a sizable battery, and its noteworthy 2,000 W output, here’s a list of appliances (and the respective durations) which the AC200P can power:

What Can The Bluetti AC200P Actually Power:

Refrigerator (800w) 2.1Hrs+
CPAP (60w)28+ Hrs
Laptop (60w)28+ Hrs
Fan (12w)140+ Hrs
Smartphone180+ Hrs
Led lantern light (10w)170+ Hrs
LCD TV (100w) 17+ Hrs

Bluetti manages to hit a sweet spot in terms of battery capacity and power output, but if someone is looking for a longer-lasting battery, the company has just announced expansion packs and even new generator models which can take your total storage capacity to an astonishing 24,576 Wh, which should be more than sufficient for anyone who plans on going fully off-grid for long periods of times, and maybe even permanently.

Bluetti AC200P Pros

Make a list of the best solar generators in the market, and you cannot leave out the Bluetti AC200P. A top-notch LFP battery, superb power output, and a compelling design make this device a highly preferred choice, to the extent that some experts are even calling it “the number one solar generator right now!”

The usability is worth mentioning, with over a dozen different output ports and a variety of input options, some of which you can even use simultaneously.

The AC200P’s construction is not just aesthetically pleasing but also rugged. Overall, the manufacturer hasn’t left much room for complaints with the device.

Bluetti AC200P Cons

The Bluetti AC200P is one of the few solar power stations that can boast almost no serious drawbacks.

But among the less impacting limitations would be its weight. At 55 lb, it is not among the easiest to carry, despite being labeled as a “portable” generator. The handles on both sides have soft grips and feel comfortable but don’t compensate much for the weight. Bluetti’s store has no wheeled cart yet, and now that they are launching even larger models, it might be a good time to offer one.

The Top 3 Bluetti AC200P Solar Kits

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200P Hex Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200P Quad Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200P Nomad Kit

Final Words

The solar generator market is ripe today with plenty of options, and it is natural to feel lost in choosing the right solar generator for yourself. The Bluetti AC200P makes things easier at such times by offering winning features and aesthetics at a reasonable price tag.

A truly plug-and-play unit with high power output, the AC200P is suitable for someone looking for a safe, reliable battery that will last long. It is also an excellent alternative to more expensive options such as those offered by Goal Zero.

When you consider a solar generator’s specifications, mainly its battery capacity, there can never be a single perfect product for everyone. For anyone requiring anywhere around 2000Wh of storage capacity, the AC200P is a great choice, but if you need less storage, something like the EcoFlow Delta is a better option. Similarly, if 2000Wh does not sound enough, you can move a step up and look at the impressive Hysolis MPS 4500.

Ultimately, it is important to calculate your requirements and choose, but if a 2000 Wh battery with 2000 W power output and killing looks is what you are looking for, you cannot go wrong with the Bluetti AC200P!

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Hysolis Solar Generator

Hysolis MPS 4500 Solar Generator (Honest) Review

Hysolis MPS 4500 Solar Generator (Honest) Review

Hysolis Solar Generator

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 8
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

The line between full-fledged home solar systems and portable solar power stations blurs more and more with each passing year, as portable solar generators continue to become more powerful and more practical. A classic example of this is the Hysolis MPS 4500 Wh/3000 W Solar Generator.

The MPS is not just a machine with enormous energy capacity and output – it is also a fabulously designed piece of equipment. It comes with a range of impressive features such as a low-frequency inverter, up to 1500W solar input, and pass-through AC power. Sure, it has its share of limitations, like the absence of an LFP battery or the not-so-impressive 120 lb weight, but if those aren’t big concerns for you, this might be the only solar device you’ve ever needed.

Let’s take a more detailed look at it in this Hysolis MPS 4500 Solar Generator review.

Hysolis Design and Construction

Take a quick look at the MPS 3K and it seems to resemble a small gas generator, but look carefully, and you will notice that it is a high-tech device that is neatly designed and put together.

Hysolis goes with a minimal design for this product, with a simple, boxy design with plain grey and black colors. The build quality, however, of everything from the metal to the plastic components is excellent. 

One end of the device comes with four 15 A AC output ports, which should be enough for most users. It has several circuit breakers for battery, solar, ac input, and ac output, which give a little more control and safety in the user’s hands.

There’s also a 12V car charger DC input port and two USB ports to connect your mobile devices, Bluetooth speakers, lamps or similar, small electronics. Hysolis has also provided a terminal block for AC input and output for connecting a panel or charging from the grid.

Hysolis solar generator MPS
Hysolis generator output ports

On the other end of the unit sits a large orange port, which you can use for battery extension if you need to join multiple MPS units together for higher energy or power capacity. Below the port are a fan vent, an Anderson connector for solar input, and a 12V DC output similar to the cigarette lighter in your car.

On the top surface of the device sits a small LCD screen that displays several bits of information such as power received from solar, battery capacity, power output to load, etc. It also comes with four LED indicators for PV, Line, Inverter, and Fault, respectively. 

The screen is by no means as advanced as, say, your smartphone, but it does not need to be, and the limited functionality it has is sufficient for its purpose.

The enclosure of the MPS has spaces you can use as handles, but it is painfully difficult for one person to lift it, given its 120 lb weight. A pair of wheels or an optional wheeled cart would have been an excellent addition.

Hysolis solar generator

Hysolis Pros

Let’s summarize all the great reasons for buying the Hysolis MPS 3K. Besides its massive, 4500 Wh energy storage capacity and impressive solar power input rating of 1500 W, the generator offers excellent functionality with many conveniently placed ports.

It also comes with durable housing and neatly assembled components, so you don’t have to worry about shocks and vibrations. Inside sits a low-frequency inverter that provides better surge protection and peak power performance, churning out power in a pure sinewave waveform – something suitable even for sensitive electronics such as medical devices.

The device has a 2-year warranty (3 years for the battery), which is at par with other leading manufacturers. Hysolis might be a relatively new company, but it has been said that they offer solid customer service, and are pretty ambitious in maintaining the product as well as service quality.

Hysolis Cons

There aren’t many reasons to discourage you from buying the Hysolis MPS 3K solar generator, but let’s look at a few things.

Of the few areas where the MPS does not score full marks is its weight. The low-frequency inverter adds not just to safety and reliability but also the total pounds of the generator. At 120 lb, this is one of the heaviest solar power stations, especially under the sub-5000Wh category. For comparison, the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X is 106 lb, despite having a 33% larger battery.

Another drawback is that when many manufacturers have started opting for lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are safer and better, Hysolis still sticks to the lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese battery (Li-NMC). Furthermore, although you can extend the battery capacity, you cannot connect separate LFP (or lead-acid) batteries to the kit through the battery extension connector.

Top 3 Hysolis MPS 4500 Solar Kits

Where to Buy

Check Out the Hysolis MPS 4500 Hex Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Hysolis MPS 4500 Quad Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Hysolis MPS 4500 1KW Kit

Final Words: Should You Buy the Hysolis MPS 3K?

There is no such thing as the ultimate solar generator that suits every single person on this planet. Each user’s “perfect solar generator” is different and depends on a long list of factors such as storage capacity requirement, frequency of use, type of application (RV, home, off-grid living/adventures), ease of operation, etc. 

Fortunately, the Hysolis ticks a lot of boxes and is suitable for a wide variety of users. It boasts a large capacity, a better inverter and enough flexibility to be used for both RVs and homes. It also comes with a superb price tag that falls on the lower end of the spectrum when you compare the $/kWh for several power stations.

It is also an excellent alternative if you have been waiting for something like the Titan solar generator. It might be one of the more popular power stations out there, but Titan has had some notably serious supply shortages in recent times. The MPS 3K promises to be equally good and delivers many similar advantages while sitting in the same price bracket.

It is also worth looking at if you have thought about Goal Zero products but are hesitant because of the comparatively higher pricing.

Overall, the Hysolis MPS 3K solar power station gets far more things right than it gets wrong, and if you aren’t too concerned about its weight or the lack of an LFP battery, it is one of the best choices you can make as far as solar generators are concerned.

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Patriot power generator

Patriot Power Generator Review

Patriot Power Generator Review – Is it Worth It? + Best Alternative Options

Patriot power generator

Oliver

Written by Oliver. Last updated:

Overall Rating 5
Portability 4
Compatibility 5
Durability 5
Ease of Use 6
Value for Money 5

Table of Contents

A solar generator is an incredibly useful piece of equipment. When paired with one or more solar panels, a solar generator is almost an all-in-one solar power station. The best solar power generators feature an integrated, high-capacity solar battery, an efficient and powerful charge controller, a built-in power inverter, and a variety of practical power output ports. In other words, a high-quality solar generator lets you generate, store, and access solar power from even the most remote, off-grid locations.

To help you choose the right solar power generator for your needs, we are going to take an in-depth look at one of the most well-known options on the market today – the Patriot Power Generator 1800 from 4Patriots. After taking a thorough look at the Patriot Power Generator, we compare it to some alternatives to discover whether or not it is the best option out there.

Review of the Patriot Power Generator

Patriot power generator

4Patriots is the brand behind the Patriot Power Generator 1800. The brand itself is a well-known manufacturer of survival food kits and self-reliance equipment. While they are not a specialized solar company, their Patriot Power Generator 1800 has proven to be a fairly popular item.

While it remains an expensive solar generator, the truth is the Patriot Power Generator first launched over five years ago. Given how quickly solar technology improves, five years is quite a long time, which is why it is worth taking an in-depth look at this unit’s internal components to see how they stack up to some of the other solar generators out there.

The Capacity and Shelf Life of the Patriot Power Generator

Battery Capacity:

One of the first things we have to clear up about the Patriot Power Generator 1800 is the unit’s battery capacity. While some believe that the 1800 in the name refers to the total watt-hours the unit can store, the truth is it only holds an unimpressive 652Wh.

In truth, anything under 1,000Wh is fairly dated, especially when you are talking about a solar generator that is as large and as heavy as the Patriot Power Generator 1800.

While the internal 12V LiFePo4 lithium-ion phosphate battery is made to a fairly high standard, the capacity falls short of the industry standard, which is somewhat unsurprising. 4Patriots has not updated the battery since it first released the unit.

If you plan to use your solar generator for backup power during power outages and emergencies, a high battery capacity is one of the most important attributes to look for. Simply put, a 652Wh battery is hardly going to be enough to run your electronics for any significant period, especially if you are looking to run multiple electronic devices.

To put things into perspective, a 652Wh deep cycle battery would struggle to power a standard refrigerator for much more than 5 hours, which is not much help if you are in a situation where the grid power is down for over a day.

Patriot power generator
Battery Shelf Life:

One of the major downsides of the Patriot Power Generator is its unimpressive shelf life. Essentially, shelf life refers to the amount of time you can leave a battery charged before the power drains. While all batteries suffer from natural drain over time, some batteries are better than others at holding their charge. Shelf life is an incredibly important factor for those planning to use their solar generator as a source of backup or emergency power.

According to 4Patriots, the shelf life of the Patriot Power Generator is 6 months; however, most users find the actual shelf life is significantly less and comes closer to just a single month. Once again, this is simply a symptom of using a dated deep cycle battery. For comparison, most solar generators you will find at this price point have a shelf life of closer to a year, with many lasting even longer. So, if you are looking for reliability, you will want to keep a keen eye on the shelf life of the internal battery in your chosen solar generator.

Patriot Power Generator Inverter and Output Ports

The Power Inverter:

The Patriot Power Generator 1800 comes with a built-in 1,800W power inverter, which gives the unit its name. Since power inverters perform an incredibly important function, they are one of the most important internal components in any solar generator.

Essentially, the power inverter converts the DC power your solar panels generate into AC power, which you will need to run and charge most of your electrical appliances and portable electronics.

While the Patriot Power Generator’s 1,800W power inverter is respectable, it does not stand out compared to those on offer from other solar generator models.

Output Ports:

Aside from the low battery capacity, where the Patriot Power Generator falls short is the number and variety of output ports it offers. The Patriot 1800 features two AC wall-style outlets, a single DC 12V car-style output port, and four USB outputs. While this may sound respectable at first glance, it is fairly dated.

Patriot power generator

More recent and updated solar generators almost always feature more output ports and newer options, like USB-C outputs. Again, this is simply a result of the Patriot Power Generator not being updated in over five years. Given how quickly solar technology is advancing, it is surprising that the brand hasn’t done more to keep up with technological improvements that are now becoming standard in the portable solar industry.

Patriot power generator
Solar Capabilities

While you might assume that all solar generators are equally capable of storing solar power, the truth is several factors will determine how quickly and efficiently a solar generator can charge its internal battery with solar power.

For starters, the solar panels you choose to pair your solar generator with will play a significant role in determining overall performance. 4Patriots packages the Patriot 1800 with a single 100W solar panel. Since solar panels have a power rating based on how well they perform during ideal conditions, this means that a fully drained Patriot Power Generator 1800 would take about 6 to 7 hours to recharge using the included solar panel. It also assumes that the solar panel would get at least six continuous hours of direct, peak-hour sunlight, which would not happen during a typical day.

Even on a  sunny day, a single 100W solar panel would struggle to generate 75 watts per hour, which is why most people pair their solar generator with multiple 100W panels or a single solar panel with a higher power rating. However, the problem with the Patriot Power Generator is it has a maximum solar input of 240 watts, which means it cannot handle more than 240 watts at any given time. In other words, even if you wanted to add additional solar panels, you could only increase the charge rate by 140 watts, which is rather low, especially when compared to other solar generators at the same price range.

In simple terms, if you want a solar generator that offers serious off-grid capabilities, choose one that comes packaged with more than just a single 100W solar panel; or failing that, you will at least want a generator that has a higher solar input rate than 240 watts.

Our Overall Impression of the Patriot Power Generator 1800

At first glance, the Patriot Power Generator 1800 seems like a capable solar generator. It has a built-in deep cycle battery, power inverter, MPPT charge controller, and several output ports; however, when you compare its actual specifications against other generators in its price range, the Patriot Power Generator falls short.

Poor Storage Capabilities and Overall Performance:

As we explained above, the battery capacity is just not there, especially not for a solar generator that comes in nearly $2,500! Granted, you also get a 100W solar panel for that price, but you will struggle to fully charge the internal battery with a solar panel with such a low power rating. On top of that, at 240 watts, the solar input rate is low, limiting your ability to expand your solar array. Worse, the shelf life is pretty dated. The truth is, you can get a solar generator with a far better battery capacity and shelf life for about half the price.

Limited Surge Protection:

Unfortunately, the Patriot Power Generator’s issues do not end at the battery. At just 3,048W, it also offers relatively little in terms of surge protection, which, once again, limits the number of solar panels you can connect to it. For this price, you would expect a more capable and efficient charge controller.

There are also issues with the number and variety of charge ports. As mentioned above, it only has two 110V AC outlets and four USB-A outlets, which is limited compared to what more up-to-date solar generators offer.

Slow Recharge Time:

The recharge time leaves a lot to be desired. Other solar generators can be charged quickly through a standard wall outlet, which is helpful if you are about to set off on a camping or RV trip or if you have an advanced warning of an incoming storm, but this is not the case with the Patriot Power Generator.

Charging the unit takes far too long; in fact, generators with twice the battery capacity usually take half as long to charge! The unit can also not charge directly through the 12V cigarette lighter outlet in your vehicle, limiting flexibility, especially for RV enthusiasts and campers.

Bulky and Heavy:

We also had major issues with the weight. With a total weight of 46 lbs, this unit is quite cumbersome, which can be an issue for seniors and those that value portability. Once again, the excess weight traces back to the fact that the technology is dated. For comparison, it is easy to find solar generators with twice the battery capacity that weigh closer to 30 lbs.

Patriot power generator

Pros

Cons

As you can see, the cons certainly outweigh the pros. While the 4Patriots brand offers some high-quality survival gear and they do some great things for our veterans, there are far more advanced solar generators out there from more specialized solar companies.

By choosing a solar generator from a specialist company, rather than one that covers a wide range of survival and emergency preparation gear, you can get a much more capable product at a more affordable price.

Best Patriot Power Generator Alternatives

Now that we have given our impression of the Patriot Power Generator 1800, we can take a look at some solar generators that we feel offer better value and performance:

For almost the same price as the Patriot Power Generator, you can opt for the AC200P solar generator from Bluetti.

Not only does the AC200P quad kit come packaged with four highly efficient corrosion-resistant 100W solar panels, but the generator itself is also a much more powerful, practical, and efficient solar generator than the Patriot Power Generator.

Output Charging Capabilities:

As far as outlets go, the AC200 offers outstanding versatility. The Patriot only features two AC outlets, but the AC200P has six separate 120V AC wall-style outlets, which means you can plug in numerous devices simultaneously. It has the potential to run up to 2,000W continuously from the 120V outlets, which is great news for those planning to use their solar generator as a power hub for camping trips, emergencies, or for any off-grid outdoor event.

It also features multiple 12V DC car-style charging ports, five USB outlets, and a single USB-C 60W high-speed port designed to quickly charge the newest Apple iPhones and Android smartphones.

The Battery, Power Inverter, and Charge Controller:

Where the AC200P shines is its integrated 2,000W Pure Sine Wave inverter and highly efficient MPPT charge controller. Where the Patriot only offers 3,048W worth of surge protection, the AC200P has a more robust 4,800W.

With 700W rather than 240W, the solar input capabilities are also drastically better, which means you can charge the unit using solar panels much faster. The quad kit comes packaged with four 100W panels rather than just one, so the off-grid capabilities are a vast improvement over the Patriot.

The battery capacity of the AC200P is also incredible. With its highly efficient deep cycle battery offering 1,700Wh worth of storage capacity, rather than 652Wh, you will not have to worry about rapid battery drain or inadequate power.

With four solar panels, an efficient charge controller, a high-capacity battery, impressive surge protection, and a capable power inverter, this unit is a massive improvement over the Patriot Power Generator and has practically the same price tag.

Charging the AC200P:

Charging is slow and options are limited with the Patriot, but the AC200P is extremely versatile and efficient. If you are planning to use the AC200 as a portable power bank and want it fully charged before you head out, you have the option to charge it through any standard wall outlet or even through a 12V car outlet while you drive. For an even faster charge, you can use a solar charge and AC wall charge at the same time.

Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator

You also can over-panel, meaning you can connect more than 700W worth of solar panels to the AC200 to charge the battery as quickly as possible, helping to compensate for reduced solar panel efficiency, which can occur on cloudy days or during non-peak sun hours.

The AC200P VS. The Patriot Power Generator Overall Comparison:

There is no argument when it comes to choosing between the two solar generators. The AC200P has the Patriot beat in every single category, and it comes packaged with four 100W solar panels rather than just one. It all comes down to the fact that the AC200P is a far more advanced and updated unit. The fact that they come at the same price makes the decision a no-brainer.

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti AC200P 2,000Wh Solar Generator Quad Kit

The EcoFlow Delta 1,800W is another high-quality alternative to the Patriot Power Generator. It features a 1,800W pure sine power inverter and a 1,300Wh lithium-ion battery capable of providing power to everything from handheld electronics to electrical appliances, like refrigerators and televisions.

It also has a unique chaining function, meaning you can quickly and easily wire multiple Deltas together to expand the storage capacity and power capabilities. Given that it comes packaged with two 100W solar panels and it has a solar input potential of 400W, rather than 240W, you will be able to charge the Delta’s much larger battery even faster than you could charge the Patriot’s 652Wh battery.

The Delta also charges in as little as 2 hours through a standard wall outlet. This rapid recharge rate is incredibly valuable, as is the ability to charge the unit through a 12V car charger. At just 30.9 lbs, it is also much lighter than the Patriot.

With six AC wall-style outlets, two standard USB ports, two USB- fast-charge ports, two USB-C outputs, and a 12V car-style outlet, you also get far more versatility than you get with the Patriot.

Best of all, the EcoFlow Delta is available for just under $1,500, and that price includes two solar panels! Essentially, you are getting a more efficient, higher-capacity solar generator that weighs significantly less for nearly half the price!

Where to Buy

Check Out the EcoFlow Delta 1,800W Solar Generator Kit

For those on a tight budget, we would highly recommend the Lion Energy Safari LT as an alternative to the Patriot Power Generator. This compact and affordable solar generator packs a lithium-ion deep cycle solar battery with a rated capacity of 450Wh and a shelf life of over one year. While the battery capacity is a little bit less than what you get with the Patriot’s internal battery, it is worth noting that the Safari is priced at under $500!

It features four USB outputs, two AC outputs, and a 12V car port. In other words, you get a solar generator that offers roughly the same specifications as the Patriot, at just 1/5th the cost! Not only that, the Lion Safari weighs just 11 lbs and features a compact yet sturdy exterior. At this price, you might as well buy two Lion Safari generators and still save yourself nearly $1,500!

Where to Buy

Check Out the Lion Energy - Safari LT 500 Portable Solar Generator

Final Words

While 4Patriots offer some high-quality survival gear, their solar generators have fallen behind industry standards. In terms of performance and value, you are much better off going with the more advanced AC200P, or even the EcoFlow Delta, which still beats the Patriot in just about every way, despite costing significantly less.

In simple terms, there are far more advanced and efficient solar generators and solar generator kits available from more specialized solar companies that offer better performance at much lower prices.

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a couple using a solar generator to connect their laptops

How Long do Solar Generators Last For?

How Long Will a Solar Generator Last For?

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Solar generators last anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand charging cycles. The most critical component that decides the life span of the solar generator is its battery. Hence, the life span is also dependent on the type of battery – lithium-based batteries generally have more lifecycles than lead-acid batteries. Thus, it is obvious that generators charged and discharged more regularly will have a shorter lifespan.

Another factor that affects the life of the generator is how you use the device. There is a sweet spot in terms of the percentage of charging and discharging – this is somewhere around 80%. Ultimately, different brands specify different battery lifecycles, and you must choose what fits your overall requirements and budget the best.

Understanding Generator Lifespan

a guy uses a solar generator to charge his laptop

Solar energy has rapidly taken over fossil fuel energy in recent years. From large scale solar power plants to portable solar powered generators, the change is visible on all levels. The benefit of a solar generator system over traditional diesel generators is multifold. It reduces carbon emissions while also providing freedom from recurring fuel expenses.

The life span of a solar generator system depends on a few factors, notably its ruggedness, quality of individual components, and the specified lifespan of these components. An efficient solar generator is built using dozens of components, each of which constitutes in its own way to the life span of a solar generator. Let us have a look at some of the important factors:

Solar Panels

Some generators come with integrated solar panels, and for others, you need to purchase and connect them separately. Solar panels are robust devices guaranteed to last over 25 years. Thanks to no moving parts, there is no physical degradation of solar panels, nor does this emission-free power source require any maintenance besides cleaning.

Wiring and Electronics

There are several types of solar generators with varying features, but fundamentally, each consists of a few major constituents and several wires soldered to different components. This includes the Printed Circuit Board (PCB), a direct current to alternating current converter (inverter), rectifier, etc. As long as any of these components are not subject to physical stress, they are known to last quite a long time, often over ten years.

Even if your device is unfortunate enough to have taken a fall resulting in some internal electronic damage, it would not be difficult to disassemble the unit and repair the electronics inside. This may include re-soldering of wires or replacing other smaller internal parts.

Battery

a solar generator on a table

The solar generator battery takes up most of its volume and weight. As batteries are chemical devices, they have a limited life, even with careful physical handling. The ideal solar generator battery should have both a high capacity and a long life.

Battery lifespan is usually measured in the number of cycles. One cycle is the complete charging and discharging of the battery. Different types of batteries may have different life spans. For example, lithium-based batteries, such as lithium-ion phosphate, have longer life cycles than traditional, lead-acid batteries.

The following are the lifespans of some popular solar backup generators.

Goal Zero Power Stations

One of the well-known makers of solar energy generators, Goal Zero offers several different options. This includes models that have lead-acid batteries in them, such as the Yeti 400, and models with lithium-based batteries, like the Yeti 1400 Lithium.

For its devices with lead-acid batteries, Goal Zero claims a lifespan of ‘hundreds of cycles’. Although that is not highly specific, these models are known to easily provide over 500 battery cycles. Similarly, the brand specifies that the generator can provide 500 cycles to 80% capacity for its lithium-based models. This means even after 500 cycles, the solar generator can run with 80% of its original battery life.

Renogy Solar Generators

Renogy is another brand that makes reliable solar backup generators. Its products use batteries that can serve significantly high lifecycles. For example, the Renogy Lycan Powerbox comes with a lithium-ion phosphate battery that boasts 2000 cycles before dropping to 80% capacity.

This would mean you could charge and discharge the battery many times it deteriorates. The brand also specifies a battery life of 5-7 years. Coupled with the number of lifecycles, this means that Renogy generators are designed to serve you for a significantly longer duration.

Most other popular solar backup generators have a similar battery lifespan – around a few hundred cycles mark; for example, the Jackery Explorer generator can run at least 500 cycles to 80%.

Getting the Most Out of Your Solar Energy Generator

a woman using a solar generator in the kitchen

Solar generators have come a long way in terms of capability. A powerful solar generator has enough power output to run several devices and appliances such as a TV, fridge, and some hand-tools, along with mobile phones and laptops. They are easy to carry and are a great solution to power outages.

Although not super-expensive, you would still not call a solar generator kit particularly cheap. This makes it important to take good care of the device so that it lasts long and serves you well.

This includes, first and foremost, handling the device with care. Most portable backup generators are designed to withstand some shocks but keep it to a minimum to make your generator work longer.

Unlike a fuel powered generator, a solar generator stores renewable energy from the sunlight in chemical form, hence needing a battery. Batteries are complex devices and last a few years, after which they must be replaced – a disadvantage of solar energy.

The life of a battery can be maximized by following a few simple practices, one of which is not leaving the battery discharged for a prolonged period. This may reduce the overall capacity and the total running hours.

Another good practice is not charging or discharging the battery by very small amounts, say by 20-30% at a time. You should also not charge the battery beyond 100%, which may severely reduce its power capacity. Charging and discharging around 80% is known to work best. Make sure to disconnect the solar panels or the wall plug once the device is fully charged.

When charging with solar, you should also make sure that the input voltage or current is not greater than specified. This is why most generator companies offer their solar panels designed to feed certain watts of continuous power at the specified voltage, mostly 12V, and current.

It also helps to understand how the solar generator works, whether you just want to take better care of your generator or you are thinking of sizing a solar generator on your own, based on your specific power consumption.

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a man using his solar generator to connect his computer equipment

Home Solar Generator Sizing Guide

Home Solar Generator Sizing Guide

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Home solar generators are becoming increasingly more popular among homeowners. More instances of power outages from natural calamities are a growing concern highlighting the importance of energy security and, thus, power generators. Although gasoline or diesel generators have always been in the market, their high operational costs and detrimental effect on the environment are pushing people toward cleaner and more cost-effective options like solar power. The life span of solar generators can also be significantly longer.

A home solar generator sizing guide, such as this, is essential if you want to understand which kind of generator will best suit your home. The sizing of any home solar system mainly depends on the amount of energy utilized and the number of appliances used and their power consumption.

Understanding Power/Energy Consumption

When you size solar power systems, it should begin with understanding the quantity and pattern of energy consumption. Fortunately, calculating your specific energy consumption is relatively simple. However, people prefer sizing solar generators to satisfy only the ‘essential’ power requirements and not their entire home. In the event of a power outage, most of us can do without using several appliances.

To begin with, make a list of your ‘essential’ appliances. Most people opt for indoor lights, refrigerators, a microwave oven, a laptop or two, and a few other basic appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines.

Power

Once you have made a list of the necessary appliances you want your generator to power, the next step is to add the power consumption to have a total power requirement value. For this, you need the power rating of every appliance measured in watts.

There are two ways to know this. The first one is checking the power rating label on the appliance. Every appliance will have a manufacturer’s label on it with this information.

image showing a label on appliance with power consumption information

The other way is to use a ready-made list of appliances and their wattage requirement. Some appliances may not have their power consumption in watts given on the label, so multiplying the voltage and current (amps) will provide you with the consumed watts per hour.

You must keep in mind that some appliances use more power while starting, such as water pumps. When it comes to backup solar generators for home, avoid these appliances from the calculation altogether.

An average American house needs about 6kW of solar panels. While sizing a solar generator for your home, considering only essential appliances. This value should ideally drop down to less than half, but it can vary based on what you term ‘essential’.

Once you have listed all the appliance power ratings, add them up. The sum is the total power you will require from your home solar generator. For example, if your total adds up to 1000 watts, your solar panels’ capacity must be at least 1000 W (1 kW). Here’s an example list of household appliances and their wattages:

image showing a list of appliances and their respective wattages

Energy

Once you calculate the total power requirement, the next step in sizing your generator system is to understand your energy requirement. Power is consumed or generated in an hour, and energy is when that power gets consumed or generated over several hours.

Let us understand the importance of understanding energy consumption with an example. Suppose that based on your power calculation, you decide to use 1 kW of solar panels. You use 1000 watts per hour for about 8 hours a day, but your panels get enough sunlight for only 5 hours of power generation. This means although your power consumption and power generation match, you are still left with 3 hours without power.

This is exactly where energy comes into play. Understanding energy consumption throughout the day helps size the system to have the right size of solar panels. Going back to our example, let us calculate how much energy you require in a day:

1 kW × 8 h = 8 kWh

Panel Sizing

Our goal is to have enough panels to produce energy sufficient for a full 24-hour usage. Now, considering the 5 hours of sunlight in your area, let us find out how many kW of panels are needed:

8 kWh ÷ 5 h = 1.6 kW

This means that to compensate for the missing three hours, our generator’s power output must be 1.6 kW instead of the 1 kW we initially calculated.

However, a total power output of 1.6 kW can power your home for the same 5 hours as 1 kW panels, so having only sufficient sized panels is not enough. In such a case, we would have excess power during the afternoons. We store this extra energy and use it later during our extra 3 hours, which is typically late in the evening. Hence come into the picture – batteries!

Battery Sizing

We already discussed why large-sized panels are not the complete solution for a generator to power your appliances that run longer throughout the day. You could install hundreds of panels and still not be able to run a microwave oven for dinner. We need batteries to store that excess power. Batteries also ensure continuous power supply during sudden changes in sunlight quantities.

Batteries are chemical devices. They use the electricity to undergo a chemical reaction, which gives a certain potential energy to the batteries. When the battery terminals are connected to an electrical load, a reverse chemical reaction occurs and produces electricity, which we call battery discharging.

Going back to our example, we have already figured out that we need 1.6 kW solar panels, which will generate 8 kWh energy. We now must decide how much energy needs to be stored in the batteries. The entire 8 kWh does not need to be stored in the batteries since some power will be used during the afternoons as soon as it is generated.

Suppose your energy usage during the day is 5 kWh and during late evenings is 3 kWh. This means we must size batteries that will store 3 kWh of solar energy.

There are two options from here. The first is to find out the right size of batteries required, arrange for batteries and connect with the panels. You will also need a solar charge controller to make sure the batteries are charged safely and efficiently from the panels, and an inverter to convert power from DC to AC to make it suitable for use in the house since all the household appliances are designed to operate on alternating current (AC).

The second and much easier option is to go for one of the solar backup generators readily available. These solar generators come as an integrated unit of the charge controller, battery, and in-built power inverter. Modern solar generators often come with several other useful features, such as an LCD display and various power outlets or ports ready to use. A 1000-2000-watt heavy duty portable generator should be sufficient in this case. It may not power an entire home, but that is what gives it its portability.

The ready-to-use option might be slightly costly, although more reliable and durable. If you choose to go with the first option, let us find out how to calculate battery sizing for the 1kW house generator for your home:

Batteries usually come with Ah (amp-hours) and voltage as their specifications. Thus, we will need to convert our required kWh to Ah to find the correct number of batteries for our use. From our example, we know that we need to store 3kWh, or 3000Wh. Let us see how to convert this into Ah and V. Power is a product of current and voltage, thus,

W = A × V

Hence, Wh = Ah × V

We need to store 3000Wh, and batteries are usually rated at 12V, hence,

Ah = Wh ÷ V = 3000 ÷ 12 = 250

In the ideal case, 250Ah of battery storage should be sufficient, but two other factors reduce the actual usability of a battery’s capacity. One is efficiency, where batteries lose some energy in conversion; hence a 250Ah battery would store less energy in it.

The second is the depth of discharge or the allowable discharge level of any battery. Extracting 100% of a battery’s stored energy damages the battery. Battery efficiency is usually around 80%, and the depth of discharge (for solar specific batteries) is around 80% as well. Our actual Ah required then becomes:

250 Ah ÷ (0.8 × 0.8) = 390 Ah

We would thus require around 400 Ah of 12V batteries for our home solar generator’s backup energy. This can be in the form of four connected 100Ah batteries. These batteries can be connected all in series, in parallel, or both, depending on your inverter and charge controller’s voltage rating. You can go with any battery type as long as it suits your needs and budget.

image showing batteries connected in series and parallel

For the charge controller, simply find out the current rating by dividing the solar panel watts by the battery voltage. In this case:

1000 W ÷ 12 V = 83.3 A

Considering a safety margin, a 100 A solar charge controller should be sufficient. The inverter selection is also based on your panels’ size. In this case, a 1kW inverter should be suitable. Many manufacturers also provide off-grid inverters with built-in charge controllers.

Overall, solar generators are powerful machines that can serve your home for decades, especially to power during blackouts. The working principles of a solar generator are simple to understand. The process of sizing home solar generators is not complicated and takes a few easy steps. However, we recommend going for one of the well-built, ready-to-use solar portable generators that will take away the hassle of component selection, wiring, and possible maintenance.

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a woman on the beach using a solar generator to charge her phone

How do Solar Generators Work?

How do Solar Generators Work?

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

A solar generator works by converting sunlight into DC electricity, which is then stored in a battery and/or converted into AC power to be used for operating electrical appliances. A solar generator is mainly made of solar panels, a charge controller, a battery, and an inverter. Solar generators are available as assembled units. You can, however, purchase the individual components mentioned above to build one yourself.

Solar generators are mostly portable units that can be carried along in vehicles and set up in camping locations. They are also used as backup generators in the event of a power outage. Solar generators are rapidly replacing gasoline and diesel-powered generators, which makes it possible to generate emission-free power without any recurring costs.

Understanding a Solar Generator

As mentioned before, a solar generator converts clean energy from the sun into electric current – which is one of the significant advantages of solar energy. The amount of power generated depends on the size of the solar panels. Understanding how a solar generator works requires an understanding of each component and how it works.

Some people also construct their own solar portable generators using a general guide to solar or a specific sizing guide for a home solar generator. Nowadays, solar companies offer several options of solar power generators with multiple components integrated inside a single unit.

While new and renewable energy technologies such as a solar wall or a solar roof are slowly becoming common, traditional solar applications like these will never go away. Some effective solar + gasoline hybrid energy generators are also available, but we won’t cover them here.

Let’s look at the components of a solar energy generator and their functions in a little more detail.

Components of a Solar Generator

Any generator solar power will use the following components:

image showing connections between components of solar generator

Solar Panels

Solar panels – the power source – are the most important component of the generator. Made from semiconductor materials such as silicon, the solar photovoltaic cells in the panels produce a current by harnessing the sun’s radiating energy. The electrons in these photovoltaic cells are knocked off their orbits by photons from the sun. These electrons flow in a circuit, thus resulting in electricity production.

Solar panels can come in a large variety of sizes. Most solar generators usually employ 100 or 200 watt solar panels, which helps keep the generator portable.

Battery

Since solar energy only works during the day, having energy storage helps. Batteries thus become the energy source in hours of darkness or cloudy days. As an important piece of solar equipment, batteries convert electrical energy from the panels into chemical energy. This chemical energy is again converted into electrical energy when needed.

Batteries usually come with a 12V voltage rating. The solar panels used in generators are normally rated to power 12V batteries (i.e. around 18V). Batteries usually come in two types – lead-acid and lithium-ion.

Charge Controller

A charge controller helps modify the current coming from the solar panel to make it more uniform and safer for the battery. At their peak capacity, solar panels generate about 18V. At such times, the charge controller brings this voltage down to 15V so the 12V battery can be charged smoothly. This improves battery performance and lifespan.

Charge controllers prevent overcharging the battery. They also prevent reverse current flow from the battery to the panel, avoiding damage to the energy generator’s panel. These are normally small units which often come integrated in a solar generator.

Inverter

The inverter is sometimes called the second most important component of any solar system. Sometimes even dubbed as the ‘heart’ of the system, its function is to convert direct current from the panels or the battery into alternating current.

AC power is the most used type of energy worldwide. It is easier to transport power to farther distances without significant losses. All the big or small appliances we use daily are suited to utilize AC power.

Solar power makes it possible to eliminate the need of AC, as transmission to long distances is no longer in question. Therefore, there are a few appliances in the market that work on DC directly, such as some LED lights and fans. Solar energy generators often have DC ports to operate DC appliances directly.

However, when having to use more complex appliances like laptops, it makes sense just to use an additional device to convert the DC power to AC – hence the need of an inverter.

Step-by-step Working of a Solar Generator

image showing a typical solar generator

Now that we are versed in the components and their functions, it will be easier to understand how the solar generator works.

  1. When the panels are connected to the battery unit (via charge controller), and exposed to sunlight, they start generating DC power that flows to the charge controller. Depending on the intensity of sunlight and panel surface (clean and scratch-free is the best), the voltage generated can be anywhere between 12V and 18V.
  2. If the incoming voltage is more than 12-13V, the charge controller will pass this power to the battery. It will first convert this variable DC power into more constant DC power. When the battery is full, the charge controller will automatically stop power transfer from the energy source.
  3. Current coming from the charge controller will create a chemical reaction inside the battery, where the product is energy being stored as potential chemical energy. When any load is connected to the battery, a reverse chemical reaction allows the conversion of this potential chemical energy back to electrical energy. The current going out from the battery is still direct current, and if the electrical load in question is suited for AC, an inverter is needed in the setup.
  4. If the appliances you are trying to run using the solar generator are suited for direct current and are rated for 12V current, they can be directly connected to the battery/panel. This is one of the advantages of solar energy. Portable generators usually come with posts for 12V DC output, which can be used for DC loads. However, if the appliances support only AC input, the power is sent further for conversion to an inverter.
  5. For AC supporting appliances such as laptops carried on a camping trip, an inverter modifies the 12V DC power coming from the battery. This power is converted to 110-120V AC, like an outlet plug in homes. Any portable solar generator comes with a similar output plug on its casing that reads 120V AC. Appliances such as laptops or mini refrigerators can be directly powered through this plug, just like in a home. Allowing AC appliances to be operated makes solar generators as good as backup generators in terms of versatility.

As the solar industry advances with technology, solar power generators will become smaller, lighter, simpler to use, and cheaper, as the solar panel cost keeps dropping. While choosing among solar powered generators, it is important to select one that suits your needs in terms of size and capacity while choosing a reliable brand with a long solar panel lifespan. Finally, make sure you go through some trustworthy solar generator reviews before making a decision.

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