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About a year ago, I purchased a 240-watt Jackery power station. I bought it to keep me powered up during my van travels. With having a laptop, tablet, and iPhone, I wanted something that would adequately charge the devices. Whether I went camping, picnicking in the park, or just hanging out in the yard, the Jackery is a welcome addition to the household.Jackery

Because my family looks at me as the odd one with my desire to leave the grid, I got side-eyed looks when I purchased the Jackery. They just couldn’t truly appreciate the benefits of owning a Jackery. That all changed very recently.

What is a Jackery?

For those not familiar with Jackerys (Amazon affiliate link), it’s a portable power station. At about 6.5 pounds it’s lightweight and easy to carry around. It has outlets for charging AC, USB, and 9-volt devices. With its display panel, you’ll always know the battery charge level in addition to how much power you’re using or the rate at which it is charging.

Tropical Storm Isaias

We were hit pretty hard by tropical storm Isaias this past August. It damaged homes, knocked down trees, and caused widespread power outages. Fortunately, our house remained intact, but we lost power. A large tree not only pulled down power lines, but it took the supporting pole down too. As a result, we were out of electricity for several days.

This mishap gave me a chance to show off the beauty of having a Jackery. Granted, the Jackery I have is only 240 Watts, but it was enough to recharge phones, tablets and run the modem and router for several hours, giving us internet connectivity. With the internet intact, we could find out what was going on in the world and get estimates of power restoration.

Recharging the Jackery

240 Watts of power does not last forever when charging several devices, running the network, and plugging in the TV on occasion. As such, we had to find sources for recharging it. We were able to charge it using the 9-volt cigarette lighter adapter. However, the charge is rather slow at a charging rate of 42 Watts. That meant over five hours of driving or car idling (which we did). It wasn’t an ideal situation, but you do what you have to do considering the conditions.RockPals Solar Panel

The tropical storm made me realize I needed a better way to charge the Jackery. That led me to purchase a 100-watt solar charging panel. Instead of the Jackery brand solar power panel, I bought one made by RockPals (Amazon affiliate link). RockPals is another stand-up company and their solar panel was $85 cheaper.

The RockPals solar panel comes with various adapters which makes it compatible with a wide range of devices. It also has the quick charge USB ports built into the back of the solar panel, for easy phone charging. Because it’s foldable, it makes for easy storage.

Speed of Charging

On a sunny day, nothing in my house can charge the Jackery faster than the solar panel. Using the 9-volt or the house outlet charges the Jackery at a rate of approximately 42 Watts. Using the solar panel on a sunny day bumped the charging up to 85 watts. I was in shock! Of course, once the clouds rolled in, the wattage dropped significantly. Even with the wattage drop, I now have another source by which I can charge the Jackery.

Since purchasing this Jackery, I see the Jackery folks came out with a 300-watt model that recharges in half the time. I guess people complained about the slow charging and Jackery listened.Off Grid Living

They do have other models ranging from 160 to 1,000 watts. I originally thought it would be cool to have the 1,000-watt model, but if it’s as slow to charge as the one I have, it’s not going to be of much use to me. The fast-charging model, however, is something I’ve put on my wish list.

FeliciaFelicia (aka Low Tech Grandma) is a wife, mother, grandmother, freelance writer and low tech blogger.

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