With the advances in technology in the last ten years or so, everyone has some sort of electronic device with them at nearly all times. Whether that be a phone, battery-powered watch, or Bluetooth earbuds, there is a growing need for portable power on the go.
Solar generators are one of the solutions that help people to be able to have power during a camping trip, drone outing, or when the grid power goes out at home.
A solar generator is an alternative energy source that generates electricity from its battery. The battery is charged via a single or several solar panels depending on the type of generator.
A product developed following this trend is the Renogy Phoenix 300, a micro solar generator that stores up to 337Wh of charge in its battery. This battery storage will give you the freedom to charge the following:
- Laptop: 4-5 Charges
- Digital Camera: 34 Charges
- Drone: 16 Charges
- Smartphone: 21 Charges
- Portable CPAP Machine: 28 Hours
Before getting into the reviews, specifications, and reasoning as to why the Renogy Phoenix 300 is a must-buy for its off-grid capabilities, let’s begin with the need of having a solar generator.
ADVANTAGES OF A PORTABLE SOLAR GENERATOR
Often times it happens that while taking up long trips in the outdoors and far from home, we face a disappointment of our gadgets dying. The most disappointing feeling is when a mobile phone or camera shuts off amidst a wonderful trip to the mountains or somewhere pristine and having nothing to recharge it. This can be a bummer, especially when someone wants to capture their wonderful experiences and create lifetime memories.
A portable power supply is a must-have in the above-mentioned scenarios. Besides all this, there are several reasons as to why portable solar generators are better than conventional modes of power storage and transmission.
Gas generators require you to take important safety precautions because they emit fumes that include carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. because of this, these generators should be installed at least 20 feet away from any building or recreational event such as a tailgate.
But shouldn’t there be a simpler way to restore power in the wake of a storm in an age when we can charge our smartphones with a battery pack that fits inside our pants pocket? Or operate a campsite without a gas-fueled generator continuously humming? This is the pledge of portable solar generators. They’re basically large rechargeable batteries, that come in various sizes and that you can plug into a standard 110-volt outlet among other outlets such as DC ports and USB ports.
The unsung benefit of the solar generator is that they can be used indoors without any hazard of unfavorable emissions. To put it simply, they just act as a silent, pollution-free generator that is easy to maintain and use whenever it is needed.
RENOGY PHOENIX 300
The latest development in the family of portable solar generators is the Renogy Phoenix 300 which is known for its excellent charging capabilities and efficiency. With a capacity of 337Wh, the Renogy Phoenix 300 is a compact, lightweight power station.
The various outlets installed on the generator allow for multiple devices to be charged at the same time. This can be used for a simple road trip with the family or friends, on a boat, or simply anywhere outside where needed. On both sides of the device (on the handle), there are LED flashlights which allow for convenience when navigating in the dark.
With an integrated smart battery management system (BMS) that puts in place several electronic safeguards, you can be confident that your devices are charging securely. The Phoenix 300 has both short circuit and over-current protection built-in.
Ideal in its simplicity for the casual daily user, it is also creative user friendly, featuring a photography and videography equipment D-Tap port. This is an extremely rare feature to be included in solar-powered generators. Out of all of the solar generators I’ve reviewed in the past (30+), this one is the first to have a D-Tap port.
Engineered with Power Delivery (PD) and Quick Charge (QC) technology, the Phoenix 300 is able to pump out 60 watts of power from the USB-C port for compatible devices and up to 18 watts of output power for the USB-A ports.
Not only can it charge your power-hungry devices quickly but the generator itself can also be recharged easily at a faster rate by charging the device concurrently with both an AC adapter and a USB-C converter.
The product specifications are unique and one-of-a-kind in the market today, marking it as a top choice for people looking for the included features. The product specifications can be identified as follows:
The USB-C port of the Phoenix 300 features a Power Delivery (PD) system that can pump up to 60W of power to compatible devices. Quick Charge (QC) technology allows the USB-A port to provide up to 18W of output capacity.
Multipurpose Charging Options
The Phoenix 300 is fitted with several widely used output ports for charging critical gadgets and small appliances while a D-Tap port is ready for your photography and video equipment.
Pure Sine Wave Technology
Generate clean, quiet, and stable AC power up to 200W with the pure sine wave inverter to efficiently and safely power delicate electronic devices.
The Battery Management System (BMS) controls the voltage, temperature control, short-circuit protection, and overcurrent protection to keep both the power plant and your devices protected from malfunction.
The Phoenix 300 can be charged via a standard wall outlet, USB-C (5-20V, 60W Max), or solar input (12-25V/50W Max).
Moreover, the product comes with multiple output options. Along with all these features, the Renogy Phoenix 300 is optimized to be as light as possible and weighs in at 6.4 lbs. Its dimensions create a compact unit, measuring out at 7.1 x 6.1 x 5.6 inches. Its size and weight make it versatile, and bring along an exceptional power capacity.
Material and Construction
The unit’s material is made from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). This is an opaque thermoplastic and amorphous polymer which has a great response to heating and withstanding high temperatures. The wise selection of incorporating ABS in the design has many advantages. ABS is durable because it has a high tolerance for corrosive substances and physical impacts.
The second material used in the structure is Polycarbonate (PC). PC is known for its strength and high resistance to heat and electricity – an ideal choice for portable power supply.
The battery used for the Renogy Phoenix 300 is a lithium-ion battery. lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are unquestionably the most common form of consumer electronic rechargeable battery.
They can be used for a range of items from cell phones to vehicles, and are superior to other rechargeable batteries in their performance. There are several advantages and reasons for using a lithium-ion battery in the Renogy Phoenix 300 over other types of batteries. These advantages are listed below:
Lithium-ion batteries contain comparatively low levels of toxic heavy metals contained in other battery types, such as lead-acid and nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries. For years, cadmium, lead, and mercury have been battery stalwarts, but excessive exposure to these metals and insufficient treatment is hazardous to humans, animals, and plants.
Lightweight and Compact
Commonly used in lithium-ion batteries, lithium and carbon electrodes are lightweight on their own, making them much smaller and lighter than their older counterparts, such as lead-acid batteries.
For the sake of comparison, a standard 51Ah (ampere-hour) lithium-ion battery weighs roughly the same as a 24Ah lead-acid battery (about 6-7 kg) but delivers over twice the power.
Greater Energy Density
Lithium is a highly reactive element with the ability to release and store vast quantities of energy, allowing Li-ion batteries to combine small size with a high energy capacity.
This translates into lithium-ion batteries that last much longer between charges than other rechargeable batteries while retaining their high-performance standard.
A standard lithium-ion cell (battery) has an average cell voltage of 3.6V, while a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) cell averages 1.2V, which means it takes three Ni-MH batteries to equal the performance of a single lithium-ion battery.
Older types of rechargeable batteries, such as nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal hydride batteries, have a so-called “memory effect” or “lazy battery effect”: if they were regularly partially discharged before recharging, the battery would eventually only supply the amount of energy used during partial discharges before the voltage decreased.
To avoid this, NiCd and NiMH batteries would need to be regularly maintained by completely discharging and recharging them.
Lithium-ion batteries don’t suffer from the memory effect, which means they’re still giving up that last bit of juice, so you can recharge them whether you’ve used 100% or 25% of that energy without the need for in-depth maintenance!
Increased Charge Cycles
Quality lithium-ion batteries last for a full 1000+ cycles of charge. A full cycle is when the battery is drained to flat and then recharged to completion.
Low Self-Discharge Rate
Lithium-ion batteries have a relatively low rate of self-discharge, too. Self-discharge is a common, permanent battery phenomenon where chemical reactions within the batteries decrease their power even when the battery is not being used.
Within the first 24 hours after charging the battery, the self-discharge rate of lithium-ion batteries peaks at around 5 percent, and then tapers off to 1-2 percent per month. In contrast, rechargeable batteries based on nickel lose around 10-15% of their capacity after charge, and another 10-15% every month.
All these reasons add up to why a lithium-ion battery is an ideal choice for a device such as Renogy Phoenix 300 power supply. For more in-depth information on lithium-ion batteries, click this link to visit batteryuniversity.com, where they have put together a detailed article on the topic.
Summing up all the above-mentioned advantages and specifications of the Renogy Phoenix 300, it would be right to say that it is an ideal item to have on deck during an off-grid trip. Since communication, navigation, and most daily routines are worked through gadgets such as mobile phones, it is important to make sure that these devices are charged at all times.
This solar generator comes at a price of $369.00 on shopsolarkits.com.
LIMITATIONS OF THE PHOENIX 300
Although this generator comes with so many benefits, it is not for everyone. Here are a few setbacks you will find with this generator:
It Takes a While to Charge
The Phoenix will take a while to gain the power needed in order to recharge to completion with the wall charger. As per users’ comments and manufacturer’s research such devices will need to charge overnight to charge fully and work vigilantly the next day.
Charging with Solar Panels also Takes a Long Time
When you are dealing with an outage or you are off the grid, charging the power station by solar panels is your only option. Unfortunately, the Phoenix 300 can only take a maximum input of 50 watts from solar, which means that it would take a significant amount of time to charge with only solar panels.
I do not recommend solely relying on this generator when you’re off the grid for over a day’s time. This is because, with a 50-watt solar panel, the charge time (from zero) would be 10-20 hours. This is obviously not ideal if you need power during the day.
Not as powerful as Gas Generators
A recreational inverter generator will likely keep the TV and a few lights on for 8 to 13 hours on one gas tank. A medium-sized portable solar generator will pull anywhere from 3 to 9 hours of electricity under the same circumstances. The Phoenix 300 should be able to last about 4.5 hours with an LCD TV. But the elimination of noise and pollution due to fumes is a win-win situation even if it has a lower capacity than gas generators.
A solar-powered generator has many benefits but they are not suitable for every purpose. Now that there is enough information with every single background detail checked for this particular device, this guide may serve as a full aid in making a decision on whether to purchase a Renogy Phoenix 300 as your next rechargeable portable power supply.
OTHER OPTIONS BY RENOGY
The Phoenix with Built-in Solar Panel
Not to be confused with the Phoenix 300, Renogy has another solar generator called the Phoenix. As the image above shows, the whole kit comes in the form of a briefcase. If you’re searching for a generator to support you with a power outage, a road ride, or when you’re on a camping trip, the Phoenix is your generator. It has the power to extend to 120 watts of solar input, making it the ideal option for short term power needs. The price of this unit is $419.00 on shopsolarkits.com.
There are a range of adapters and cables that allow you to charge and consume electricity. The product’s usability is outstanding because it isn’t difficult to operate, and even those who have no experience with this form of equipment can find it easy to use.
To serve as a cherry on top, the Renogy Phoenix is able to be charged by solar, AC power, and even car power. The minimum inverter efficiency is 80 percent with a maximum continuous power output of 150W.