Being the guy who loves gadgets that we RVers use is pretty slick, especially when companies ask if I have any interest in their stuff. It’s especially cool when that’s something that lights up or has solar or batteries. Such was the case when Go Power! asked if I had any interest in their forthcoming DuraPack solar USB battery charger.
Go Power! started as a small Canadian distributor of solar products and has since grown to the point where many of their products are found shipped as standard equipment with RVs. In the ensuing years, the company has been acquired by Valterra Products, which is a very recognized and respected name in the RV space.
In fact, I’ve had Go Power! portable solar panels on my own travel trailer since 2017. They’ve kept me charged up on many, many, many nights of boondocking.
What I got was the Go Power! DuraPack solar charger that is a portable solar-powered charger the provides power through two USB ports on the main section of the device.
The device features four waterproof solar panels that fold up into a device about the dimensions of a larger cell phone. The main body of the device features a display, two Micro-B USB 2.0 connectors, an LED light and a micro USB connector. Within the main body of the connector is a 10,000mAh battery.
I happen to be charging both an iPhone 10XS and an AppleWatch Series 4. Based on the specifications, it appears that I can charge the phone and watch twice with the battery inside the charger, and there are two USB ports to facilitate that.
Both ports seem to provide typical 5-volt power you would expect in USB. One USB port is a 2-amp port, the other a 1-amp port. So I would hook my iPhone to the 2-amp port and my AppleWatch to the 1-amp port. A tablet would be better served by hooking to the higher capacity port, for example.
The device can charge through the four solar panels built into the case. I’ve left the charger open in the sun in a number of places including on the spare tire of my travel trailer (when I was parked, not driving) or on a lawn chair or table. Depending on the sunlight available, you can fully deplete this device at night by charging two cell phones and then fully recharge it during the day.
Furthermore, one of the ports will provide a faster charge so you can get a boost on your phone if, for example, you’re hiking and need to juice it up.
All told, the four monocrystalline panels that are part of the case for this product can produce up to 8 watts of power, which means they should be able to completely replenish the batteries in this device in about 6 hours under optimal conditions.
The Micro USB port is specifically for charging this device if you’d prefer charging that way. You can use anything that provides standard USB power, including the instrument panel of your vehicle or, of course, a wall outlet with a provision to charge USB.
Using this device is relatively simple. There’s a display across the top of the device that indicates the state of charge and charging status. When the solar panels are giving it juice, a little green sun appears on the display.
There are four blue bars that illuminate as the device is being charged and also light up to display state of charge for the device’s battery.
The one complaint I have about the device is that the LEDs that make up the status display are really dim. I suppose this makes sense so you’re not depleting the battery showing how charged that battery is. But it’s difficult to see the display in any kind of daylight unless you cup the display with your hands or something.
The actual battery pack comes off the solar panel “wrapper” if you choose to just carry that, but the whole thing fits into my pocket, solar panels and all.
There’s also a flashlight on the device which can flash or just have a steady glow. That flashlight is really bright, but I don’t have specifics on the lumens.
This device is going to be available soon according to Go Power! and will retail for $50. Considering that I bought a battery charger at Quartzsite two years ago with half the reserve energy for $45, this seems like a great deal what with all the solar functionality.
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