With the wave of hurricanes and natural disasters hitting the US today, a portable solar generator (like the Audew 500Wh solar power station) is one of the most important things every household in America ought to have.
Unfortunately, according to research, many homes in the US do not have any such alternative energy source.
These homes, do not bother with even the traditional gasoline models; in such an instance, the newer, better models powered by renewable energy are still light years from being used by the average American.
The reasons for this are legion. However, many homes held that they had either not known (prior to being interviewed) that such solar powered option existed or they were not financially buoyant to afford one.
Today’s article, the Audew 500Wh portable solar generator review addresses this challenge in a brilliant and smart manner.
The post seeks to achieve the dual aim of enlightening households about the various power options during emergencies and importantly, also seeks to brilliantly introduce a cost effective option in the Audew 500Wh solar power station.
So, what is the very first impression of this power station?
First Impression Of The Audew 500Wh Portable Solar Generator
The power station from Audew, churning out a decent 500Wh of power from its inverter is designed, primarily, to appeal to the senses.
Made to be naturally sensual, the manufacturers know exactly what they aimed at and make no pretenses about this.
Accordingly, the very first impression of the unit is one of a giant MP3 player – or a smart radio set at best.
However, the AC power outlets at the side of the unit remain what sorely saves the unit from passing off as a fancy radio set – the sort you give to your daughter on her 16th.
Despite this redeeming feature, one would be pardoned and completely excused if he or she imagined that the device is a radio set that somehow manages to power other devices via some sort of stored energy within.
However, on closer inspection, it is crystal clear that the unit in question is none of the above – thanks to a clear labeling system that sees to it that the power ports are instantly identifiable and importantly, the power they convey, properly stated.
It is at this point that the love for the Audew 500Wh portable solar generator begins; it is also at this point that the true aesthetics of the unit come to the fore and heartfelt thanks begin to pour towards its unquestionable genius design.
A touch to the device finalizes things: the unit is made of tough plastic: the variant capable of taking some bashing (read: serious bashing) through the years, yet still performing its job – day in, day out.
What Can The Audew 500Wh Portable Solar Generator Power?
The Audew 500Wh portable solar generator is a moderately sized unit, generating decent power, enough to power your units on the go or in an emergency that threatens your power supply.
The unit, by its sheer design and weight (it weighs only 14 lbs) is also meant to be used for camping and other mobile applications.
This does not in any way mean it does not pack some serious punch, necessary to do its work.
As independently tested, here’s what the unit is capable of powering:
- A Laptop for 9 plus hours.
- A traditional camping lamp for 100 plus hours.
- A mini Cooler for 5 plus hours.
- A 32 inches plasma TV for 12 plus hours.
- A traditional table fan for at least, 15 hours.
Now, these are the gadget that I tested, independently. However, it is important to understand that the generator can brilliantly power any small unit within its power in a reliable and efficient manner.
Such units include (but are not restricted to) cellphones, digital cameras, music players and tablets.
Key Specifications And Features
The key specifications and features of any thing tech generally excites any tech inclined person and provides a key decision tool even for someone who is not (so) tech inclined.
The reason is not far fetched: with these, the very soul of a unit is laid bare for the entire world to see and importantly, analyze.
It is this all important process that the Audew will now pass through.
- Dimensions: 11.5 x 7.09 x 6.38 in.
- Weight: 14 lbs (6.3 Kg).
- Voltage: 110 Volts.
- Wattage: 200 Watts.
- Solar: 10A(Max)/14-40V.
- Power capacity: 156000mAh/500Wh.
- Jump-starter ability.
- Smart display for important summaries.
- Ultra portable size.
- USB connectivity for smart USB use.
Weight, Noise And Runtime Analysis
In the business of weights, it can either be a blessing or a curse, depending on how one looks at it.
However, in the world of portable solar generators, the weightier a solar generator is, the more challenging it is to move it from place to place and importantly, ensure that it actually qualifies for the world, ‘portable’.
In my tests and measurements, I found this unit to weigh about 14 lbs which translates to about 6.3 Kg – a weight reality which I absolutely had no problem with.
I also discovered that the Audew 500Wh Portable Solar Generator is one of the very lightest power stations that I have ever had cause to either use or review.
So light is the unit that I carried it in one hand without any challenges or any form of tiredness – took it for a (long distance) walk, up a flight of stairs and even attempted running while firmly clutching the unit to my person: all these worked in an amazing manner.
On this, I have no other choice but to score the generator, without any fear of contradiction, a 10 out of 10!
Noise wise, the generator is reasonably quiet – but it is certainly not as dead quiet as one might expect or love.
Working with the Audew in a room, placed about a foot away from your ears presents no noise – or even the slightest semblance of it.
However, when testing in the dead of night (with the unit on my laptop table as a power source), the extra silence around brought to the fore a low hum that is barely noticeable. While it is worth noting this, I must also note that this is not something that will make me (or should make you) lose sleep as either a professional or a casual renewable energy user.
Runtime wise, the generator performs averagely – and delivers like something you will expect for its battery and inverter size and importantly, its price point.
For instance, I was able to run my laptop, an Elite Book (from HP) with the support of the solar power station for a whole business day. At the end of the day, I was fulfilled – and the generator was drained, needing a charge before it could perform again the next day.
However, it is important to note that with its rating of 500Wh of power, the unit is only awesome for light electronics and devices like tablets, laptops, cameras, cellphones and for these, it certainly does an awesome job and delivers on its runtime in a smart fashion, exactly as one would expect.
To keep things this way, all you have to do is to ensure that after the generator is charged and heavy electronics like power drills or coffee makers do not find their way close to the ports of the alternative power source.
What You Should Understand Before Considering The Audew 500Wh Portable Solar Generator
Usually, when buying a portable solar power generator, it is always awesome to understand some facts well before proceeding with the decision to make the unit your own.
These facts, as a matter of prudence and buyer education, ensure that you are well informed and as a matter of practical reality, actually know what to expect before you even set eyes on the unit in question.
The Audew 500Wh generator is no exception.
Before you contemplate further whether or not the generator is a great fit for your needs, what is instructive is to note that, this unit is an almost petite-sized option with a moderate power output: 500Wh.
This is not some giant power monster like the Goal Zero Yeti 1300 Lithium, capable of powering all things power hungry.
If you decide on this, be informed right away that its power will conveniently (and safely) power small electronics like laptops, tablets, digital cameras and cell phones.
Occasionally, it will also power things like fans and a mini fridge for periods when it must absolutely do so; it is not a unit that should be bought for such bigger power demanding options sorely (that is the domain of the bigger units, especially the Yeti 3000 lithium mentioned above).
Please, be properly advised.
Charging Times And Means Of The Audew 500Wh Portable Solar Station
The strength or otherwise of a power station lies in so many things, However, of the key domains where this strength is determined remains the charging times and means of a unit.
Here, one is brought face to face with what it takes to power on a unit and for how long, the powering on process, the very soul and essence of the solar generator in the first place.
The Audew 500Wh solar generator is charged via three methods, principally:
- AC and
- The 12V DC of a traditional car.
Solar wise, the generator is rechargeable by a 30 to 100 Watts solar panel – though this is not supplied and would need to be bought separately. With this range, one thing is clear: the higher you go, the faster the unit gets charged up, all other things being equal.
In my tests using the Rockpals 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger, the unit recharged itself from a completely flat battery to a 100% in about 15 hours, average tropical sun.
However, on a very bright sunny day, it generally takes me less than 10 hours to get the solar generator fully charged up from a completely flat state.
It is worth noting that the Audew 500Wh solar power station though does not come powered with its own solar panel, comes standard with a solar powering cable that can be brilliantly used for same purpose, one a solar panel has been got.
It is further instructive to note that I chose the foldable solar panel option because of its light weight and ease of carriage and storage, especially, when in transit or when the opportunity to camp presents itself.
AC wise, I did not need to bother myself much: the Audew comes standard with both the ability to be charged by means of an AC option and importantly, also includes a wall charger to achieve same.
However, the wall charger I found in the box (which is standard issue, by the way) is one of the most under-powered wall chargers I have ever seen in my use and review of portable solar generators: the charger is rated at a miserable 4 Amps!
This makes recharging the unit by way of a traditional wall socket not as fast as it should be, given the size of the the generator’s battery and importantly, its capacity.
From a flat battery at 0%, it took me about 8 hours of consistent power to bring the battery to a healthy 100%.
Those 8 hours (which may be very okay with some), is a little too much for me: I would have loved to see 5 or at most 6 hours – a reality that is very possible if the charger is given at least a 60% boost in amperage.
DC wise, the 500Wh loyal portable power companion from Audew took about 3 hours to ensure about a 21% charge increase. This was during a long camping trip as I am not in the habit of running my car’s battery simply to recharge these units, for whatever reason 🙂
While this recharge time may not be ideal (especially if you need to really use the unit fast), it remains on average, especially in the solar portable power world.
It is also important here to be reminded that the DC charging option is simply to give the generator a boost, some sort of power either during emergencies or when the need actually arises to charge them up while in heavy traffic or during long journeys.
The DC charging option thus remains an emergency ‘refill’ option (much like the DC charging option of your phone or tablet) and not a conventional means that should be relied on consistently, through rain and shine; thick and thin.
Special Feature(s) Worthy Of Note
It is quite common, in the winter (especially) to park a car outside and in the freezing temperature, the traditional lead acid battery packs up, leaving you stranded when you get in the vehicle after picking a snack or enjoying a drink.
Sometimes, its the dead of the night that does the damage: you park your car at home and with the night, comes both snow and cold, essentially freezing the living hell out of your battery.
The next morning meets you cranking and cranking, all to no avail: the juice in the system simply isn’t enough to start up the car.
Does any of this ring familiar?
My guess is quite simple and straightforward: it does.
If you’ve felt powerless in such an instance and practically experienced exasperation, the good news is that, the Audew 500Wh solar generator comes with a jumpstarter as an inbuilt functionality.
What this means is that, should your car ever refuse to start (on account of a poor battery), the generator can be smartly used as a boost to get it to start your car again and then, the battery will recharge itself by means of the alternator in the vehicle.
However, it is important to note that the power of the jumpstarter (and by extension, the internal battery of the unit) is limited to serve vehicles in the 3.5 L range. This limitation is standard across the portable jumpstarter world.
If you thus have a 5.7 V8 engine, paired to an SUV for instance (or even a sedan or coupe), you may need to look for another jumpstarter, if you absolutely must jumpstart sooner or later.
This may not be necessary however. This is because, cars today typically come powered with engine sizes that are well below 3.5 L, thanks to increased awareness of environmental responsibility and rising fuel costs.
Pros And Cons
No matter how awesome something is, it must have some downsides; no matter how bad another is, there must be some good to them, still.
Portable solar generators are no exception in general and the Audew 500Wh portable solar generator in particular, conforms to this general rule.
Let’s see what the pros and cons look like.
- Handy jumpstarting function that could be a lifesaver when your car’s battery won’t simply crank.
- Smart portable size that is light (only 14 lbs) and carryable without much ado. This reality also makes it great for picnics, camping, RVing and general outdoor use.
- For the beauty inclined, the unit is a sight to behold. Compliments are bound to occur during carriage and usage.
- Easy to use interface that is practical and simple, even in the dark.
- Three standard ways to recharge: AC, solar and 12V DC of a traditional car.
- AC charging takes about 8 hours, no thanks to the 4 Amps charger. It is a little more than other units in this category.
- Though capable of solar charging, Audew does not make the panel available with the unit neither does the even sell it separately. You’ll need to buy a (random) solar panel of your choice.
The Audew 500Wh Portable Solar Generator is a nice, light piece of portable solar power. Unfortunately, it charges a little too slow for my liking, no thanks to its 4 Amps AC charger.
However, if a solar generator of its size taking 8 hours to charge on AC is not a cause for alarm or challenge for you and importantly, if the fact that you need to buy a separate solar panel – not from the stables of Audew does not bother you too, you’ll find use for the many talents of this small, little bad boy, notably, its impressively long runtime and importantly, its ability to jumpstart regular vehicles.
This is not to mention the beauty that it is – which is clearly there for all to see and not just the beholder(s).
Now is the time to take a look at the Audew 500Wh solar power station on Amazon directly, read what others who have also used the unit think and then, make your decision.