Anker are a well known name in the accessories world, focusing on offering budget solutions around charging and battery packs. While they dabble in other industries such as headsets as well, their charging devices are some of the best on the market. With the Anker 521 Solar Generator (PowerHouse 256Wh with Solar Panel 100W), they have taken their offerings to a whole different level. This solar cell combined with a power device offers you enough juice to keep you going over a weekend while camping.
Anker 521 Solar Generator – Features
- Durable – a rigid packaging ensures this device offers you a long life, with drop-proof unibody structure.
- Packed with LiFePO4 batteries, that offer 6 times longer lifespan.
- 256Wh capacity
- Packed with solar cells offering 100W output, giving a full charge from empty in 4.1 hours.
- Smart sunlight alignment setup for the solar cells
- Outputs: Car outlet (120W), 1 x USB C (60W), 2 x USB As (12W), 1 x UK Standard plug outlet (200W).
- Built in warm tone LED light
- Packed with all the cables needed
- 5 year warranty for the PowerHouse, 18 month warranty for the Solar Panels.
Setting these up is super simple.
If you’re using the solar cells, open them up, align them properly using the red dot in the blue square, connect them using cables to your power house, and it is ready to charge. In full sunlight, you can expect it to fully charge from empty in just over 4 hours.
If you’re just charging this at home, simply plug in the included adapter and you should see it charge to full in a similar sort of time.
You also have the option of charging this in the car, just in case you didn’t have time to at home, and want to while you’re on your way for camping. A car charging adapter is included.
A handy display lets you know how it is doing in terms of charge (percentage display), as well as gives you an indication on how it is doing.
Sure, this isn’t going to slip in your pocket, but it is handy enough that you can put it in your car boot. I like that has a well placed handle at the top, making it easy to transport.
The solar cells fold up fairly flat, and can also easily slip in the boot of your car.
This makes this all very handy for usage while camping. I may be writing this in November, but having had a very hot (and sunny) summer where I dabbled in camping (to my own surprise), this is a very handy gadget to have with you.
Ease of use
It is fairly easy and intuitive to use. Plug something in to the plug you want and off you go.
Car charging and mains plugs comes with handy switches. You also have power saving mode on the mains to put this sleep when devices are fully charged (i.e stop drawing current).
Plug whatever you need in, and off you go.
What if I plug my kettle or iron in?
Most kettles and irons are high power devices, and definitely over the 200W output this device offers. So, what happens in that case? The device will tell you that the output power is a certain wattage, and then turn itself off.
So, while I was scared of trying it, it was nice to know that you won’t break the device, but you won’t be able to iron or make a cuppa at home.
But what about camping?
Well, if you’re using one of the many car plug in devices that exist, you’ll be okay with this. Most car based kettles and devices are rated to around a 100W, so you can definitely use those.
You can even plug in a mini-fridge!
Can I use this during the suspected black outs coming winter?
Definitely, but remember that you will be limited to 200W. So no, you can’t run your boiler, or your heater, or your kettle as mentioned above off of this, unless you have a car plug in device.
You can, however, keep your laptops and mobile devices charged and usable. Very handy!
More information on the Anker 521 Solar Generator (PowerHouse 256Wh with Solar Panel 100W) can be found on the Anker website.
While it is showing out of stock on the website, it seems to be in stock on the likes of Amazon.
The complete system sells for £599, while the just 521 Powerhouse is £329. Same prices everywhere, based on what I have seen so far.
We live in interesting times, and having the Anker 521 Solar Generator at home gives me some confidence that it will make my life a bit more predictable, a bit less interesting. I like that. At a good price too!