Jackery solar generator

Jackery versus Gas Powered Generator

You might find this interesting. A particular difference between an ordinary generator and something like a Jackery Portable Power Station. Or any similar energy storage device/brand that uses a battery for energy storage. Sometimes they’re called a Solar Generator. It has a battery inside which stores energy. Typically a Lithium-ion battery pack.

A fuel powered generator (typically gasoline). Where’s the energy stored? It’s in the gasoline itself. The gas. That’s the energy.

A device like the popular Jackery Portable Power Station. Where’s the energy? It’s in the battery. How does it get there? Either by plugging it in to a standard AC outlet to charge, or, charge by solar panels.

But here’s what I find particularly interesting when comparing the operation of a typical gasoline generator (or propane), and a battery storage ‘generator’ device like the Jackery…

Difference Between Jackery and Gasoline Generator

Lets say they are both 1,000 watt generators.

As you are well aware, the gasoline powered generator simply runs all the time. It makes available 1,000 watts in this example (or whatever) for consumption. It’s constantly using fuel to make available that power/energy, regardless of loading.

If you’re only using 200 watts, the generator is likely using more fuel than you actually need (because it’s rated for more watts than that, and it’s always running). Okay, a caveat… Some generators will automatically throttle back when there’s lower power demand. My Yamaha’s do that. However, it’s still always running, and there’s still lots of inefficiency when you compare with what I’m going to say next…

A ‘generator’ like the Jackery 1000 (for example), will make available 1,000 watts of energy. But it behaves differently than a typical generator. It just sits there, using no fuel, no energy, waiting for a load. A demand. So, when you plug in something that’s using 200 watts, the generator will provide exactly that. No more, no less. No waste.

When you shut off that load, well, the Jackery generator goes to zero. Waiting… So it’s efficient that way, compared to a gasoline powered generator that keeps on guzzling gas, even with no load.

Okay, I know there are many obvious advantages to a gasoline generator. Much higher power than a ‘Jackery’, for example. As long as you have fuel (gas/propane) it will keep on running. And, a battery-powered generator (like the Jackery) will require recharge after the stored energy is consumed. But that’s not my focus in this article.

What got me to thinking about this?

Well, one of my popular articles on the blog via search-engine-hits is about keeping a chest freezer running during a power outage. Obviously an ordinary generator would be fitting for this.

However, I happen to have several chest freezers and I know what the power demand is for each of those chest freezers. I’ve measured it. And it’s a lot less than you might think for a typical chest freezer (because most chest freezers are pretty efficient and well insulated).

A device like the Jackery 1000 would likely work well for awhile, to keep a chest freezer running – before needing a recharge.

One of my mid-size chest freezers measured a consumption of 600 watt hours during a 24 hour period. The Jackery 1000 can store 1000 watt hours of energy. You could easily get through a few days of power outage for your chest freezer.

First day (or probably even 48 hours) it should be fine if you don’t open it. Especially if it’s pretty full. Then, plug it in to the Jackery on Day 2 or 3. Or, plug it in beginning on Day 1, for a few hours, twice a day. Do this each day. It might be enough for this model Jackery to keep it going for quite a few days…

The compressor cycles on and off throughout a day. When it’s cycled OFF, the Jackery goes to zero. Whereas a gas generator will keep running. That’s the unique difference with this type of lithium battery storage generator, like the Jackery.

It’s a simple concept, but notable. A gas generator will consume fuel even with no load on it. A battery storage generator will go to zero (or almost zero if it’s turned ‘on’) when there’s no load.

1000 watt
1000 watt with solar panels
(view on amzn)

Advantages of the Jackery (or other similar generator device)

It’s 100% silent.

It’s safe to operate indoors. Therefore very convenient to plug in devices. Obviously a gasoline or propane generator must be outside for safety/fumes, and a power cord brought inside the home.

Many can be recharged with solar panels. For example, pairing with two 100 watt panels, the Jackery 1000 could theoretically recharge in about ~ 6+ hours of full sun (you never get full rated power on solar panels in the real world).

You might say that it provides “endless” power, provided that you have the solar panel option.

They’re much smaller and lighter weight than a typical generator. Easily handled. These devices are becoming increasingly popular for use while camping or RV camping.

UPDATE: Jackery now makes a model with 1500 watt hour capacity, and 1800 running watts. Comes with four 100 watt solar panels for recharging.

(I have no affiliation with Jackery other than providing a link to their product via amzn at no extra cost to the consumer)

view on amzn

The technology is constantly improving. It is an intriguing method of energy storage and delivery, for preparedness.

Yep, it’s expensive compared to most gas generators. Though my Yamaha’s were expensive! (I was willing to pay extra for their Very Quiet operation and high quality line inverter). Similar to the Honda.

But I’m keeping an eye on this battery technology and the adaptation to generators.

Battery Generator Portable Power Stations – Watt Hours Explained… (Wh)

[ Read: ‘Kill A Watt Meter’ — How to Measure Power Consumption (kWh) ]

[ Read: Compact Refrigerator Freezer For Solar Power Energy System ]

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36 Comments

  1. Ken,
    I’ve been looking at the Jackery Explorer 1500 set up as a back up to my gas and propane powered generators and I was mainly interested in running my well pump (1.5hp 1200 running watts) but the Jackery 1800w surge capacity will not be enough to start the pump.

    I found the EF ECOFLOW Delta Max Solar Generator 2016Wh with 4 X 160W Solar Panel, 6 X 2400W (5000W Surge) on amazon and it’s $3,899 but I do not know anything about the company or if anyone has had any experience using this brand. Are you or any MSB readers familiar with this company and does it look like a system that would work with a well pump?

    1. @ Romeo Charlie,

      Don’t you need 240 volts AC for your well pump? The unit you mentioned appears to be 120VAC (like all similar units).

      Unless you plan on using a 120 – 240 step-up transformer, which is what I have for emergency conversion…

      As far as ECOFLOW I have no particular opinion at this moment. Though ratings on amzn seem to be good.

      I did find this, “EcoFlow was founded in 2017 by entrepreneurs who emerged from a leading drone developer where they had worked to perfect the drone battery to be lightweight, long-lasting and, most importantly, powerful.” Evidently located in San Francisco.

      1. Ken,
        Thanks for catching my oversight and for the info on the step up transformer. I have a very basic electric knowledge ( I’m still amazed at extension cords) so I am really not sure what I need to get the results I want which is to power my well with a portable battery generator.

      2. Hi Ken,

        Can you expand a little somewhere about how you use the step up transformer, and which one you like? Might be another good tool in the faraday cage. Tried to find an earlier article about it but not very successful (tho’ lots of other good information, lol!).

        Thanks!

  2. a short term solution to a long term problem. ill stay with my solar set up. the Jackery may be good for apartment dwellers to get buy for a day or two. even a little power will help in an emergency for a few days, if they manage it right.

    1. This isn’t a one or the other type of thing (solar setup versus a small generator intended for temporary power).

      Rather, it’s a potential solution to a number of particular power related issues. Mainly, short term. Though in theory this could provide power every day with enough sun to recharge it.

      I have an off-grid (side-by-side with my grid) solar set up that powers my homestead. I also have three different size gasoline generators. The Jackery type of battery generator is yet another tool in the tool box. I don’t have one (yet), but it has some appealing attributes. Some of which I mentioned in the article.

  3. I just purchased the Jackery 1500W solar generator. Other than testing it out on several appliances I have not had the occasion to use it during an outage or camping. I am impressed with the obvious quality of the unit as well as the solar panels. Reviews on Jackery’s customer service were good. I also have gas fueled generators. Rolling them out and all the necessary tending can be a PITA, especially for a short duration, not to mention the noise (but my Honda hums along quietly). Thats where the Jackery will come in. Take it out of the hall closet and put it to work. No noise.

    1. @ Whydah,
      Keep us posted and refer back to this article’s comment section if and when you get some more use out of your Jackery 1500! I’m glad we have someone here who has one. Like you said, something like this is a lot simpler, easier, and quieter to hookup a few things around the house if and when there’s a power outage – than rolling out the typical generator. Caveat of course being that the battery powered genny will require recharge after awhile.

      1. I am intrigued by the Jackery. A little afraid to commit that much $$. I have 3 gas generators but have always been concerned about fuel availability and length of storage for gas. So I went and got a propane generator since propane basically lasts forever. But I will have to think about the Jackery.

      2. Will do as requested. I might add that we ventured into solar panels with a battery backup using a Generac Power Cell. Price? $80400! Price reductions for various qualifications dropped it to $7200… seriously. The backup battery would only provide 80 amps service, the circuits that you chose to run during an outage. Not much!

  4. Use the battery(s) in your car…as the battery(s), to which you attach your 2500 Watt converter, even purchasing a large capacity Marine battery to augment. The car’s engine only runs to augment the solar cells, to charge the dedicated batteries.

  5. Ken J.
    I have no affiliation with Northern Arizona, just used their service because they provided me with good solid i fo when most others were only interested in a sale. Their site has a “learning “ section fpr beginners like myself at the time I needed it most with setting up my water system.
    Just thought others might be looking for good support.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Bugman

  6. Romeo Charlie,
    Have you considered using a 12 or 24 volt submersible well pump. Solar panels can be used to charge your batteries for cloudy weather and provide you with water 24 hrs per day regardless of clouds or at night.
    Bugman

    1. Hello Bugman,
      I have considered it but it would require pulling the existing pump to install in the solar pump and on a long term basis that might work but not for short term situations. I have a Generac whole house generator which runs the pump but was looking for a solution that wouldn’t require running it just to get water from the well.

      I am on the North side of a mountain with tall hardwoods and only get a couple of hours of direct sun light as the mountain peak blocks the sun in the mid Fall through early Spring. I would like a system where I can move solar panels to areas on my property that get sunlight (down at the garden)to charge the battery then bring it back to power the well when needed.

  7. Great timing. I was just looking at this.

    I currently have a 6K and a 1k generator for outages. I live in Washington State and worry about outages during the winter. My house is all electric and I did install a pellet stove. My 6K is connected to a Gen-Tran box but it’s not enough to power my heat pump. So during an outage, my primary heat will be the pellet stove. My pellet stove is rated a 800W when first starting. When it’s operating at normal, it’s rated at 100W.

    I was thinking that one of these battery units would be great to run the pellet stove at night. I could then recharge it in the morning when I fire up my main generator.

    Does anyone have an idea how years these unit will last on standby?

    Thanks!

    1. Mildot, if you need a fan to attach to the unit that requires no battery power, they make one that mounts an t really helps it throw air.. I saw it on tinyhouse prepper-on u tube, …now they call the channel” live simple , live free” should be in their sris on th mini stove they used for a true tiny house….won’t help for feeding the stove

  8. Another alternative – battery backup with inverter. Same idea. Inverter provides electricity (as long as batteries have charge). Use generator (or solar) to charge batteries. Only running generator (using gas) as needed.

  9. Generator keeps running, yes.
    That’s why I would turn the thermostat all the way down to maximize generator run time.
    Would be just one hour to 90 minutes a day like that in the late afternoon, no wasted generator time.

    No wasted gas, no problem.
    Even use the 1.2k generator that runs 1/2 load for around 9 hours on 1.5 gallons gas.
    No need to make things more difficult than they need to be.

    I can’t afford a schmancy glorified power pack but I might be able to build one from the parts here.
    I’d be left using led-acid batteries though.

  10. I have a Bluetti AC200P which is similar to the Jackery 1500 but somewhat larger in battery and inverter capacity.

    My plan is to use it to power the fridge, and the blower motor of my gas furnace, then recharge it as needed from a gasoline generator. That way, the gasoline generator only needs to be run when the battery gets low. Think hybrid car, like a Prius.

    Units like the Bluetti and Jackery, with “everything” (charge controller, battery, inverter, monitoring, controls) built-in, fill an void between having nothing, and a full-blown solar panel / large battery bank system. IOW, they have their place for modest needs, but are no match for large systems comprised of individual components that cost much, much more.

  11. OH,
    Where you live in the panhandle, solar doesn’t make much sense. I agree with you on small diesel gensets and growing your own fuel.(I picked up 5 & 6 hp diesel engines this summer to do just this). Of course living in western Colorado with 320 days of sunshine each year, I also invested in 7kw of solar panels too. Hybrid electrical system adapted to my local conditions. ( found an old coal mine within a mile of the farm, so if it gets really rough, I can look at coal gasification or steam generation.lol) you really have to look at all these systems and see what makes the most sense for your situation.

  12. I see these things as a “possible” for some people; especially people who RV and use the thing all the time. I occasionally come across generators at yard sales being sold dirt cheap. Why? Because they were used so infrequently and stored so improperly that the fuel systems gummed up. This will be the issue with these battery “generators” as well. People will lay out the big bucks to “go green,” use the “generators” once or twice, and then shove them to the back of the garage. When finally needed again, they won’t work because the batteries will have completely discharged, become sulfated, and won’t take a charge. OK, the user might be able to find replacement batteries, but not during the current outage. As one of the other commenters said, this might be an answer for apartment dwellers and the like, but when the SHTF, I don’t see it as a viable solution. In fact, living in California, I see it as another “Gavin Newsom knee-jerk feel-good solution…

    1. That’s an unfortunate negative outlook. On the contrary, I recognize the use-case-scenarios for all sorts of various alt-energy devices. Each with their pros and cons. A gasoline powered generator has its prominent place in the world of providing temporary power. I have three of them. Various outputs. Also, so do the various sized solar systems with integrated battery banks of all types and sizes. I have one of those too. Powers my house essentials without issue. More in the summer, including my AC’s. The lithium-ion battery generator has become increasingly popular, and for good reasons. They too have their place, and, pros and cons. Battery technology and their energy density is constantly improving. The sulfated problem you mention is often exhibited in poorly maintained lead acid batteries (which are different chemistry than used in today’s battery generators). Lithium-ion batteries are very forgiving in charge/discharge parameters and lifespan. Though they certainly are more expensive (upfront cost).

      Anyway, I’m simply countering your attitude with a positive one. Hope it helps someone.

      1. Ken J,
        preventive maintenance is the key for EVERYTHING. IF YOU DON’T TAKE CARE OF YOUR TOOLS NOW THEY WILL FAIL WHEN YOU NEED THEM MOST.
        good luck

          1. Let’s not forget dual fuel or propane generators. They provide the benefit of running more cleanly (doesn’t gunk up carbeurator since fuel isn’t left in it) and it’s a lot easier to get a large filled propane tank to run it off of for long(er) periods of time.

            Personally I have a dual fuel one and I plan to use propane until that runs out and then switch to gasoline for the last ditch effort.

            Of course this has similar pros and cons just like the solar/gas.

  13. Tom MacGyver,
    while i depend on solar panels, i also have generators for backup. these jackery systems would be a great backup for the others.
    you can’t depend on the weather for sunlight, you can’t always depend on being able to get gas. just wish i was able to afford one.
    just remember the two is one and one is none thing. electricity makes the DW happy.
    happy wife, happy life : )

  14. Next year these power station blocks will be scalable, you’ll be able to connect them in parallel, ex. 3 x 1,000 watts, etc. Stack, twist, lock, close the buss. Also there will be a strong push for solar panel recharge, the panels will also be scalable in parallel connection.

    1. They’re already here, or at least announced.
      I watch Will Prouse and “hobo tech” on U toob from time to time, as they review a wide variety of these types of devices.

  15. Well I just ordered the Jackery 1500 without the solar panels through Ken’s amazon link. My siblings now live with me and we are all too old, that we cannot pull the starter on the generator. We have to wait for my son to get home from work to start the generator. We lost power overnight from a Nor’easter and this would have come in handy as a temporary solution until power is either restored or until someone is here that can actually start the generator. I will eventually replace our generator with one that has a push button start, but this will work for us for in the meantime. Lately our outages have been short in duration as well, since the electric company was fined for not being prepared for the last major storm, so they have stepped up their game. I will report on how well it works with the next outage.

  16. If you’re interested in getting the Jackery, I suggest you use their site rather than Amazon’s (even though Ken doesn’t get his small little kick-back–sorry, Ken!). Personally, I’d prefer not to use Amazon as much as possible. Right now, if you go to jackery dot com and give them your email (surely you have a junk account you give to businesses, right?), you’ll get a coupon that expires in seven days. They are having a Black Friday sale Nov. 26-28. If you wanted the Jackery 1000 watt with solar panels that is listed above, their regular price is $1500–the same as at Amazon. While the coupon is up to $200 off, that’s only if you spend $2,000. If you spend over $1,000, you get $100 off. Assuming that the sale price is $100 off and you get a coupon for $100 off, you’ll save $200. It’s still a bunch of money to spend, but if you’re thinking about doing it, at least get it at the best price available!

  17. Jackery’s and the like are not “generators.” At all. They are storage devices. Please stop saying otherwise, it makes you sound ignorant.

    1. Dalton,
      I get your point. However one could also say that the Jackery (and other similar brands) are generators if you connect solar panels for them to charge (the gasoline equivalent analogy).

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