Written by Nick @ Technuovo.com – March 6, 2023
Something a little different today, which I’m quite excited about and quite relevant to my day job as an electrical engineer. This is the new Jackery Explorer 1500 Pro portable power station, it’s quite big and very heavy!
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Let’s start with the specs and features.
The battery capacity is 1512 watts per hour or 1.5 kWh, which is a 1000-cycle lithium-ion battery that reaches over 80% capacity. Various options to charge the device through a 230v wall outlet at home, it will take 2 hours to fully charge 100%. You can charge it through your car or a similar 12 volt system OR charge it through the sun. I received this unit with 2 200 watt SolarSaga solar panels from Jackery and they say it will take 9 hours in perfect conditions to fully charge the power station with 1 panel, 5 hours with 2 panels or 2 hours with 6 plate . On the safety front, there’s a built-in BMS that, along with over-voltage and short-circuit protection, effectively protects you in the same way that a circuit breaker in your home consumer appliance would.
Moving on to the physical device, it’s big and heavy and that’s something you need to consider before buying. It weighs 35 pounds or 17 kg and measures about 380 x 270 x 300 mm. It has a handle, and it’s a solid, sturdy piece of kit that’ll probably be fine with weird bumps or stored in the garage. This has an operating usage temperature between -10 and 40C and I usually say it doesn’t really matter but I think it is here and you need to consider how hot or cold your environment is before carrying and using It. The ambient temperature of the battery will affect performance, for example when it’s cold my EV range is reduced due to low temperatures.
The device is built from metal and plastic, features a grille with fans on the sides to dissipate heat generated, and has large rubber feet for safekeeping. On the front of the device you have a color screen, which shows input, output, battery percentage and charge. There’s also a handy little light with two brightness settings plus a strobe mode, which I think is morse code. As for output, there are two USB A ports that deliver up to 18 watts of power, along with two USB C ports that deliver up to 100 watts of power. There are also two 3 pin 230v AC outlets, like I got the UK version here, with a max output of 1800 watts each, plus a 10amp 12volt car. Each outlet has a push button switch to turn it on and off. On the back of the unit are the inputs, so a 230v kettle lead line in for mains charging and 2 DC inputs for connecting your solar panels.
Where and when can you use this? So if you go to Jackery’s website, their portable power stations are for commuting, camping and travel, or maybe at home. They are available in different sizes and obviously the bigger the stronger but also less portable. The smaller ones are ideal for a day out with the family, easy enough to carry around but can only charge phones, laptops, etc. As you go up, there are more options for outlets and their power source. With this, the 1500 Pro, it will power phones, laptops as well as home appliances, and if you go camping, it will power a fireplace, a form of cooking by electricity perhaps. However, it is heavy, and if you use it with the included solar panels, it will take up a decent amount of space in your trunk.
The setup is pretty straightforward, nothing much if you’re charging via mains, just plug it straight into your outlet and wait for it to charge to 100%. If you are charging through solar panels, then you need to connect them to the back of the device, then place these panels outside facing the sun. If it is cloudy or overcast, the charging efficiency will decrease and obviously you cannot use the solar panels at night. I have two panels here for charging so I can plug them both directly into the device but if you have more than 2 panels you need to combine them and then plug them in. There are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to bonding solar panels, so it’s worth consulting the manual.
After using and charging the power station several times, I get a somewhat steady charge through mains and less steady through solar panels. Since I have two boards here, 200 watts each, the absolute maximum input charge I can hope for is 400 watts, under perfect conditions. It’s February and it’s cold and sometimes sunny but we haven’t had much of a clear blue sky where I’ve been in the past few weeks. I’ve managed to get 290 watts of power input, noting about 5 hours of charging time, but only if that’s consistent, not because the sun moves or lowers as the day goes on and sometimes there’s a cloud number. However, it is very easy to plug in the panels, it starts charging immediately and the display shows the battery percentage and charge time to 100%. The boards are foldable and come in a carrying case, which is handy but they’re just the right size for them, especially if you have 6 of them, which is a pretty much needed area.
Charging via mains is a lot faster, a lot more efficient but there’s obviously a cost associated with that and I’ve tested the charge multiple times and the input readings vary between 250 and 750 watts. Right now I’m paying 34p per kWh of electricity, excluding flat fees and if we assume an average consumption of 500 watts per hour, that’s 3 hours charging to 100% and consuming approx. 50 p. If you have solar panels it will be charged for free but the initial capital cost is around £600 for a panel, double, triple and more it’s quite a big expense and good return. long term investment.
So what can this power and for how long?
My kettle, says it needs between 1800 and 2200 watts. It shows on the screen, draws 2000 watts and at 98% battery, says I can run that kettle for 0.7 hours or 35/40 minutes.
I borrowed my wife’s hair dryer and thought I’d plug it in at the same time to see what happens. They both run when only the dryer’s cooling is on and it adds about 150 watts but if I turn on the first heating stage it goes up an odd 700 watts both still run but if I then turn on If the dryer is at maximum heat, both items will stop running and the power will automatically turn off for them. The error message ‘F6’ appeared on the screen and so we met our maximum concurrency allowed at around 3400 watts. Turn the plug off and on again, the error message should go away and you can turn the power back on.
A hair dryer at 1350 watts will last approximately 1 hour of running time. I’ve tried various devices, TV game consoles, PCs, and various lights, but none of them really crossed the line. I can power my TV for days without this.
So you can run two plugs together, as long as it doesn’t require too much water. You can also use the USB ports at the same time, so I have both USB C ports to charge my phone and laptop as I write this review.
You can power while you are also charging. This will be a bit backwards if you plug the device into the wall and then plug something in BUT if you turn off the solar panels, charging the device, you can also power something at the same time. So for example, if your solar panel has 150 watts of input power and you plug your phone into a source that is supposed to draw 10 watts, your phone will charge, as well as the power station battery, only slightly slower when 10 watts of input is being used by your phone. Plug in something more powerful with a larger output than the input, the battery won’t charge and the panels will only slow down the battery drain.
As I’ve seen, the built-in protection works well and shuts down your devices when needed, to stay within the safe limits of the power plant. Remember earlier I mentioned fans to dissipate the heat. They work when more demanding devices are plugged in and you’ll hear them, which is a consistent buzz.
It’s the new Jackery 1500 Pro portable power station and I love it, I think it’s a great toolkit IF you’re going to get a lot out of it. Since it’s quite expensive, I wouldn’t consider buying it to use once or twice a year, and then leave it in the garage for the rest of the time. If you’re in a situation where you can use it on a weekly, daily basis, it could be the right investment for you. I will continue to use this around the house, take it out wherever I can and see how it performs in a number of different situations. Subscribe to the channel for more content on this and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them below.
The power station-only price is currently £1,499, rising to just over £2000 for the station and 1 SolarSaga panel, which goes up if you add more panels.
For more information and purchases, go to the official website Jacky Website.