Going Off-Grid? Take Rockpals with you for emergency power.
If you lived in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee or West Virginia during the ice storm of 2009, then you were likely one of the two million people who lost power due to heavy ice. Sadly, 500,000 residences in Western Kentucky lost power, 100,000 lost power for more than 1 week, and thirty-five of the sixty-five deaths were in Kentucky. Without power, maintaining lights, keeping warm, bathing, cooking, and maintaining a smartphone charge, required a good deal of ingenuity. I wish I would have had a Portable Generator from Rockpals to power through the emergency.
The Rockpals 250-Watt Portable generator arrived in a 13 3/4 inches long by 8 inches tall by 5 1/2 inches wide cardboard box. The tan box displayed a generic “Portable Power Generator” on the main panels and “Made in China” on both side panels. The top panel had a “Fragile Handle with Care” sticker and what appeared to be a local Chinese product label. I wish that there would have been more pizzaz and curb appeal to the packaging because who does not judge a book by the cover? Opening the lid of the box, I was excited to find a black power case with bright orange accents surrounded by styrofoam. I gripped the upper carry handle and removed the 99.22-ounce 250W Multipurpose Power station. The battery pack was oddly shaped and difficult to measure. At roughly 9 7/8 inches long by 4 inches wide by 6 1/2 inches tall (with carrying handle), it was difficult to determine if it was a large battery pack or a small instrument amplifier. The front panel provided the ROCKPALS logo, a bank of 5 LED representing 100%/80%/60%/40%/20% power across the top. Along the bottom, you will find 250W “Multi-Purpose Power Station” and icons for 64800 mAh battery, Solar Chargeable, Pure Sine Wave and 240 WH power output.
I loved the use of the contrasting black body and orange accent color scheme, especially with the two rectangular stickers on the cover. Separating each of the end caps from the middle body, there was a second, slightly brighter, orange colored 1/8 inches wide border. The top panel housed the carry handle, which reminded me of fancy luggage or the handle on a musical instrument case. The bottom panel displayed a silver-colored 1 7/8 inches square sticker with the following specifications: Model: K36, Battery: Lithium, Capacity: 240WH, DC Input 15V/4.0A, AC Output 110V/60Hz, DC output 9-12.6V/6A Max, and USB Output 5V/3.1A max. The back panel provided twelve icons: CPAP Machine (for sleep apnea), Phone, Camera, Laptop, Game Accessories, Floodlight, UAV, Car Refrigerator, Inflatable Mattress, Emergency, Camping, and Tourism. Just to the side of the icons, you will find “Pure Sine Wave 250Watts Multi-Purpose Power Station” in white font. Along the bottom of the panel, you fill warnings to avoid heating the unit, placing the unit into fire/liquid, storing the unit in areas with high humidity, dropping the unit, disassembling the unit, and to avoid use by those who may not understand how to use the device properly. Even though they attempted to word the last warning nicely, the meaning still seemed to be negative/derogatory: “The appliance is not intended for use by persons (including children) with reduced physical, sensory or mental capabilities, or lack of experience and knowledge, unless they have been given supervision or instruction concerning use of the appliance by a person responsible for their safety.”
Turning the device to look at side 1, you will find two AC output ports with Type A-L Universal plug sockets at the top, two USB output ports, and a DC input/solar adaptor port along the bottom. Turning the device around, the other face had an on/off toggle and four DC 12V/5A output ports. In addition to the Rockpals generator, the company provided a few additional goodies, such as the bilingual instruction manual detailing the “64800 mAh/240Wh Portable Generator,” and the accessory box. The accessory box included the following: 1. A 12V input adapter with 29-inch cable. This will plug into a standard car socket and deliver DC input power to the device. 2. A 12V output adaptor with 3 1/2 inches long DC output tip, You can use this adapter to power devices that utilize standard car charging. 3. Power Adapter with 49 1/2 inches long Type A wall plug with cable and 47 1/2 inches long cable with DC input port. The Type A wall plug end will plug into the 4 5/8 inches long by 1 7/8 inches wide by 1 5/16 inches thick Power Supply (input 100-240V 50/60Hz 1.5A, output 15V/4A).
The first step that I took for this product was to charge it. If you toggle the power button into the “on” position, the fan will kick on for a second and then will turn off. The LED bank will simultaneously illuminate and detail the remaining power. Out of the box, my device had 80% power. With the toggle set to the off position, I plugged the power adapter into the wall and then into the DC input port. After two hours, all of the lights illuminated and indicated that the charging was complete. To test the device, I plugged my Blitzwolf projector into the AC port of my Rockpals Generator, and then a lightning to HDMI dongle between my iPhone XS Max and projector. For improved sound output, I used a 3.5mm output between my iClever-BTS08 and projector. With a 55W 1200 Lumen bulb, I was concerned that I would not be able to watch an entire movie. Utilizing Movies Anywhere, my ten and seven-year-old sons and I were able to watch Incredibles 2 sans electrical hookup. Perfect for campouts with my Cub Scouts, I now have a method to project a movie on a primitive campout. For my next test, I plugged a DROK USB-A Multimeter into the USB-A port and then plugged my iPhone XS Max into the multimeter. The Drok Multimeter read 4.91V/1.55A (~7.5W). My iPhone gained 2% power every 3 minutes throughout the test and charged 50% without any obvious change in total available power. From 9:19 to 9:49 my iPhone XS Max charged from 68% to 83%. I was pleased to find that my iPhone XS Max was fully charged by 10:20 pm.
This past weekend, I took my family to a local drive-in to watch the new Aladdin movie. We parked my Chevy Silverado with the tailgate facing the screen and used a battery powered inflator to inflate a queen sized air mattress. We plugged a small boombox into the Rockpals generator and enjoyed classics like “Friend Like Me,” “A Whole New World,” and the new song “Speechless.” Using the radio for two hours appeared to use a similar amount of power to the projector, as I had 20-40% power remaining. After using the projector, I had 10-20% power remaining. Once I returned home, I charged the Rockpals device and found it took about eight hours to return to full power. If needed, you could use the included car adaptor to charge the device as well. Or, you could also use the output 12V plug to power a variety of car portable electronics.
If I was going to give the company advice on a Rockpals 2.0, I would have a carry bag/container for the battery, the power supply, and the accessory cords, all inside of a convenient package. Since the battery had a nice carriage handle, a hidden compartment would have been nice as well. With a large focus on camping/outdoors activities, I also would have included removable rubberized outlet covers for the AC, USB, and DC ports, with the goal of decreased ingress of water/dust. Do not misinterpret my statements as negatives for this device because it exceeded my expectations. The 64800mAh battery, with 250W true sine capability, should easily charge a laptop 3-5 times, a smartphone like the iPhone XS max 3174mAh 16-20times, or the 7812mAh battery of an iPad Pro 11″ 6-7 times. This device is so much more than a simple portable battery; the Rockpals combines the benefits of large backup battery with a power inverter.
I am blessed to not require nighly CPAP to treat sleep apnea. However, there are millions of people who rely on these devices. If faced with a power outage, a weekend camping trip or perhaps a lost power cable, you can use this device to power your CPAP. The company recommended that users use DC converter sans heater/humidifier for up to three nights worth of power. Some may have to purchase the DC converter separately from the CPAP supplier. I love that the device can be paired with solar panels for an added level of portability. My next goal is to get a pair of 60W-100W solar panels to see how well they charge the power station. This device proved to be my favorite power accessory to date.
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