Jackery Solar Generator Explorer 500 and SolarSaga 100W panel
Photos and words by Daniel Attwood, Head of Content at outandaboutlive
- What is it and how much does it cost?
- What's included?
- How much charge does it have?
- What can it power?
- More in the Jackery range
What is it and how much does it cost?
Initially I was a little sceptical about this as, on the face of it, it appears to be only a large battery pack with a solar panel.
But then I realised just what I was getting for the £529.99. We had the mid-range 500W/h Explorer model but there are also the smaller Explorer 240 (200W/h) that costs £259.99 and the range-topping Explorer 1,000 (1002Wh) costing £1,099.99.
What you get for this is not just a mega-powerful lithium battery pack capable of recharging electric bikes or keeping a cooler at optimum temperature, but, because it has a built-in pure sine wave inverter, it is safe to power laptops, TVs, smartphones and medical devices, etc.
The Jackery Explorer 500 comes with a powerful lithium battery pack and solar panel.
How much charge does it have?
Talking of charge, you can just plug it in at home to recharge it (about seven hours to full) or via a vehicle’s charger while you’re driving it but I used the solar panel – what is better than green and free power? That said, the 100W solar panel is an extra £259.99. OK, so on the cloudy first day it was only charging at a rate of 1W but the next day was sunny and I was getting over 50W.
The Jackery Explorer 500 can be fully charged in around seven hours.
And then, once it is charged, it is time to power whatever you want, wherever you want. I ran my laptop for eight hours non-stop away from home and still had charge to spare as the laptop was only drawing a maximum of 31W.
What can it power?
Don’t expect it to run a kettle, though – the max output is 500W – but it did power a smaller coffee machine, which was brilliant first thing in the morning. And don’t worry if you do plug in something that it can’t handle - it is supported by an advanced battery management system and over/undervoltage and usage protection devices.
It has a three USB ports and one three-pin 230V socket, as well as a variety of 12V DC outlets, so you will be able to plug in whatever needs power. But, best of all when on a campsite, this generator is completely silent – 230V power with no noise and it is compact enough to be inside with you!
It also has a small torch but really it is that ability to power delicate 230V equipment in silence (there is a fan that kicks in occasionally so it’s not always completely silent) that is great, especially when the power is free!
It is reasonably lightweight (5.9kg) and compact (30 by 19 by 23cm), which makes this a really impressive piece of kit and I’ll not be going away anywhere for longer than a night without it.
The Explorer 500 comes equipped with three USB slots, a three-pin power socket and a variety of 12V DC outlets.
Expert motorhome advice to your door!
Why not subscribe to one of our fabulous magazines and get expert advice, travel ideas, technical help and all the latest news for your motorhome and your motorhome adventures!
Want to know more about MMM magazine?
Every month MMM has articles written by motorhomers who have been there and done it, from great UK and European (and further afield) tours, campsite reviews, owners' reports and DIY projects among other things. MMM's tests, reviews and expert buying guides are not to be missed. MMM's technical advice is a must and includes everything from weekend jobs to longer-term DIY projects. And much more!About MMM magazine
Want to know more about What Motorhome magazine?
Every issue of What Motorhome magazine provides essential buying advice for anyone looking to buy a new motorhome or campervan or upgrade their existing model. With a pedigree of over 30 years of offering the best motorhome and campervan buying advice, every issue of What Motorhome includes more new motorhome and campervan reviews than you will find in any other magazine.About What Motorhome
Want to know more about Campervan magazine?
Campervan is the exciting monthly magazine that will give you all the inspiration you need to explore the world in your campervan. Every issue is packed with real-life campervanning experiences, inspiring travel ideas in the UK and further afield, the best campsites to stay on, campervan road tests and reviews of the latest models, and much more!About Campervan magazine