Jackery Solar Generator Test: A 1000 Watt Power Plant for Your Mobile Office
Power has always been one of the biggest obstacles for the digital nomad. Even though personal power banks have increased their storage capacity, until recently the majority only offered limited DC power.
This is fine for phones and small personal electronics that need a top-up or two, but it doesn’t take a lot of devices before even a lean mobile desktop setup will require a lot more juice – and probably one or two. Grounded AC outlets – that these little bricks can provide.
Fortunately, a new generation of massive power plants is designed for true digital nomads.
A manufacturer called Jackery made a line of power banks in its Explorer range going with a capacity of 160 Wh and going up to a flagship model of 1000 Wh, which is the centerpiece of this review. When combined with two of the Jackery’s SolarSaga 100W Rugged, foldable solar panels (a package Jackery calls the 1000 Solar Generator), this portable power solution offers a clean, mobile alternative to noisy, dangerous, and bulky gasoline generators to go anywhere on AC and DC.
I had my Jackery 1000 solar generator kit for about a month, during which time I was lucky enough to use it in the field. These are my first impressions.
- Capacity: 1002Wh (46.4Ah) lithium battery
- Output ports: Two USB-C, two USB, one DC carport and three AC outlets (pure sine wave)
- Solar charge: Two robust and foldable 100 W solar panels; 23% maximum efficiency at 18V solar charge with built-in MPPT charger; ~ 8 hours for a full charge
- Charge (non solar): Via the included power adapter
- Interface: LCD display with charge / discharge data and battery life status
- Weight: 22 lbs (power bank)
Explorer 1000 power station
The material is as elegant as it is useful. The Explorer 1000 power station, which is the heart of the Solar Generator 1000 kit, comes in an elegant orange and gray body with an integrated handle.
It’s about the size of a small 12-inch cooler. At 22 pounds, it’s heavy (lithium batteries, after all) but also very easy to transport up a 50-meter incline path to a campground. sweat. And it tucks easily under a chair or on the floor behind the driver’s seat in my 1997 4Runner.
On the front of the device there is a small LCD screen. A physical display button wakes up the screen and you see your current battery level as a percentage. You also see output and input data, measured in watts, which is both easy to understand and incredibly useful in predicting the remaining runtime.
As DC output options, the Explorer 1000 has two USB-C ports, two USB ports, and a cigarette lighter style carport. To turn on the DC power, you press a physical button. A green light next to the button indicates that the DC ports are live.
The Explorer 1000 also has three grounded AC outlets, which is an incredible convenience and elevates the unit to a completely different category of device than high-end DC-only power bricks. To turn on the mains power, you press a physical button and a light indicates that the mains outlets are live. You can use AC and DC at the same time.
The unit is very well made and durable, and in testing I didn’t sweat leaving it outside all day at our campsite. It’s not sturdy, however, and with its weight, I wouldn’t feel comfortable dropping it even from a modest height. All in all, however, this is a very well designed and well designed kit, and there is no reason to expect it not to give years of service if it is. treated with moderate care.
Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panels
The Solar Generator 1000 kit comes with two 100W foldable solar panels. Man, these things are cool. They have built-in handles and are nice and durable, which is different from a lot of flimsy solar panels. Unfolded, the commercial side of the panels is protected by a pretty honeycomb plastic tough enough to withstand windblown sand and the like without scratching.
The solar panels plug into a splitter input adapter that connects to the Explorer 1000 through a convenient port. None of the connections appear fragile or fragile. While charging, the input power is displayed on the Explorer 1000’s LCD display. The power station can be charged while in use and the display conveniently places the input and output powers next to each other. on the other on the same screen. If the input is greater than the output, you get net positive energy and the battery charge percentage will increase in real time.
How to test this stuff?
I wanted to field test the Jackery Solar Generator 1000 so I decided to take a remote camping trip with my son and brother while on vacation. I packed my truck with standard gear and headed to Borrego Springs for winter camping.
While packing, I realized that I wasn’t going to breach those 1000Wh unless I really tried. My laptop, for example, has a battery capacity of 6330mAh, or around 76W at 12V. This meant that I could fully unload and charge my laptop about 12 times without recharging the Explorer 1000 – and, since it was a vacation, it wasn’t an attractive option.
So, I looked around the kitchen and let my vision fall on a bread maker. Looking at the specs, the bread maker model we made a one pound bun in about two hours with a rated power of 450W, which seemed just perfect for this test. I separated the wet and dry ingredients into ziplock bags, grabbed a jar of yeast and left.
After camping and sleeping for the night, I installed the Jackery solar generator the next morning, which was little more than placing the power station in a convenient location near the mess.
I wanted to see how the system would handle the load during the test, so I installed the solar panels. It wasn’t hard to find a good angle to the morning sun using the built-in flip-up rear support on each panel, which you release via a velcro clasp. The charging cables integrated into each panel, which are conveniently stored in zipped pockets on the back, plugged into the splitter and then onto the Explorer 1000. The literature recommends using two panels with this capacity powerhouse, although with smaller stations you can use a single panel. With everything plugged in, I was getting about 45 watts of input from the morning sun in the winter.
Then I set up my bread maker, added the ingredients, and held my breath. Something about baking a loaf of fresh bread at a primitive campsite didn’t feel natural to me, and I was prepared for a calamity. But I didn’t have to worry. As soon as I pressed the AC button on the power station, the bread maker started up. I set it for a quick two hour cycle and the machine went into fermentation mode which creates a warm environment for the yeast to rise and consumes around 45 W.
I checked my setup every 10 minutes or so for the next two hours, and everything went like clockwork. The bread maker has gone from mixing the dough to rising. When the cooking mode started, consumption peaked at around 425W. That’s a lot of power, but the Jackery Power Plant, which is designed for devices 1000W or less, didn’t blink. Soon the smell of fresh bread drifted around our campsite and made the strikingly beautiful desert around us, quite welcoming.
When the alarm sounded, I put the bread down, let it cool, and we hardy explorers topped our camp breakfast with fresh bread and jam. The screen indicated that the Jackery Explorer 1000 was only 74% full. With the solar panels plugged in, we came back to 100% in the early afternoon.
Use and thoughts
The Jackery Solar Generator 1000 did exactly what it was supposed to do with room to spare. Besides making bread, we kept our phones and portable speakers charged all weekend without noticeably damaging the battery. After being bitterly disappointed with the fancy battery banks with tiny solar loads built in, I had almost forgotten that solar technology is amazing when it is well designed and well deployed. The twin 100W panels of the Solar Generator 1000 kit did a phenomenal job keeping the Explorer 1000 charged in a convenient amount of time (8 hours for a full charge in direct sunlight), making this kit a power system. highly functional off-grid.
Currently, the Jackery Explorer 1000 sells for just under $ 1,000. Each 100W panel costs just under $ 300 each (there is also a 60W panel available for around $ 180 each for small power plants). Together, the Solar Generator 1000 kit costs $ 1,599.97.
For now, I would say a definite yes. While it’s a shame that there isn’t more bundle discount, the price of the kit is good for what you get. This is a premium product, and for digital nomads it represents a complete re-imagining of where and when you can do real work. The Solar Generator 1000 would make a perfect addition to RVers and #vanlife nomads, campers who refuse to let the work week interrupt for a long time, and road tripers who don’t want to be tied to the nearest bastion of civilization. . It is also well suited for specialized uses, such as robotics testing and various scientific field activities.
If you are looking for a portable power solution, the Jackery 1000 Solar Generator should meet your needs and more.