Unbelievable life-time: 10 years or 2000 charge-discharge cycles until capacity falls to 80%. This is an incredible advantage, that only LiFePo4 based solar generators can reach.
Just imagine, you buy a solar generator when your kid is just about to go school, and use it still when he or she has already graduated from it. Extremely tempting, don’t you think?
So, let me tell you in more detail how the Energizer PPS320 portable power station works and what to expect from it.
Model name : Energizer PPS320
Power 300 watts (in reality it also holds 350 watts)
1*USB-C output/input 5V/3A,9V/3A,12V/3A,15V/3A,20V/5A
1*USB-C output/input 5V/3A,9V/3A,12V/3A,15V/3A,20V/5A
PACKAGE AND APPEARANCE
The packaging differs from the Energizer PPS700 only in size and model name. Pretty good reliable package, nothing to add.
Inside, isolated from transportation hazards by a thick layer of foam rubber, lies the Energizer PPS320 portable power station itself and a box of “kit included” stuff above it.
Kit includes everything you need: 60 watt PSU, Type-C cable, MC4 to solar panel adapter connectors to 5521 pin, cigarette lighter chargin cable, manual.
Manual is paper-sized , really detailed one.
This is my 4th solar generator and they are all made in the same “suitcase” form factor. They differ slightly, only in size, number and location of connectors.
The other two in the photo are Nitecore NES1200 and Energizer PPS700
As you can see, only Energizer solar generatos have light sourse. But only PPS320 has it installed in good and useful place, where you dont need to twist your hand to illuminate path ahead of you.
This pair of photos is best illustration of sizes difference between all these models.
What makes Energizer PPS320 remarkable ?
First, the size. Here 230*130*202mm and 4.1kg of weight. Its capacity, and hence the size, is significantly less compared to the more capacious, powerfull and expensvie model.
LiFePo4 has worse capacity / power ratio comparing to Li-Ion. But Energizer managed to produce real power beast, based on this chemistry. I mean Energizer PPS2000(link is external). Unbelievable capacity, power and (hell, yeah!) lifetime. You know, there are just few things that i really wanted to have (basically, camera and guitar stuff) and I own all them. So i`m not crazy about buying new gadgets, consumerism is not for me. But PPS2000 is sort of stuff that i really want to have. Hope i get it finally and tell ya what it is capable of.
Secondly, as i`ve just said, there is an LED panel on the side. Yes, Energizer PPS700 can also work as a light source. But it`s LED is much less bright and, most importantly, is located on front panel, it is simply inconvenient to use as walk around light.
Here LED panel is located at the side and there is no need to twist the hand, directing the light ahead of you.
It gives good diffused light. There will be no throw, but I am sure that in the case of a solar generator, the convenience of working close will be more important to highlight camp site.
There are 2 CONs here, though. Common for manufacturers who are far from producing flashlights. You guys at BLF, know what i mean.
(1) Disgraceful UI. Namely:
a) the light starts from HIGH mode and then goes to LOW.
In order not to go blind at night, you will have to press the LED panel towards you until you switch to the minimum brightness.
b) SOS and strobe are inside primary mode set. They should have separate access, for example, 2 quick clicks. You will hate the stroboscope after the first time it blinds you. If you need a good camping lantern, then see the review of Sofirn LT1S
now it is HIGH-LOW-SOS-STROBE-OFF. crappy UI for flashlight. OK, for solar generator. Hope Energizer will consider my feedback and improve UI in next models as it is so easy.
(2) The light is cold. Undoubtedly, 4000-5000k color temperature is much more pleasing to the eye. Again, however, the light is still not frankly cold, Energizer could, out of ignorance, turn something disgustingly cold, above 6500K.
There is a cigarette lighter socket and a 220V socket (pair of 110V for US market) at the opposite side from the LED panel
And I certainly would prefer AC socket to have a rubber cover like the cigarette lighter socket does.
There are something like protruding “X” on the front and rear panels, with mirrored stripes located on the left and right from each “X”. I assume that these stripes are needed as light-reflective elements and to help to locate PPS320 in darkness Good decision.
There are 2 groups on the front panel: input and output.
If you chase for ideality, then, I think that DC input pin should be placed between 100 watt Type-C input\output and 60 watt Type-C output. Why ?
Ok, it is dark, and you decide to charge Energizer PPS320, insert the cable coming out of the powerful type-c power supply not into 100W input-output connector, but into the 60W OUTPUT. Not that the solar generator will break then, no. It will just beep, reporting an error, and turn off. But if it is possible to separate the same-looking input and outputs, then it is better to do it. I also think that the outlines and letters could be printed with phosphorescent paint. However, no one bothers you to attach a couple of phosphorescent stickers yourself. I would stick one under the entrances and one above the exits.
Next to the 60w Type-C output are a pair of USB-A connectors with a total maximum power of 18 watts and a standard 11.2-14.6V/10A DC pin output.
The screen of the PPS320 is smaller than that of the PPS700, but it shows more information. The fact that it shows error codes is not so important. It is important and convenient that Energizer PPS320, like Nitecore NES1200, shows the remaining runtime and current power output
The rest is the same: the percentage of charge and the connectors used.
Nitecore NES1200 and Energizer PPS700 have their own switch for each output type: USB, 220, DC. In case of Energizer PPS320, all output connectors on the front panel are immediately available immediately after turning this solar generator on. The second button turns on only AC and cigarette lighter located on the side.
The last thing I will pay attention to. Since PPS700 is larger, it has a platform under the handle where you can put a charging smartphone. This is actually convenient. Energizer PPS320 does not have this just because it is more compact.
Finally, Energizer PPS320 can be disassembled. This will require a regular Phillips and torx screwdriver.
I didn’t manage to completely disassemble it, but I think that fans of electronic dismemberment will find something to say.
The LED panel is not very bright, manufacturer could have made a plastic powerboard. But no – they used metal \m/, as it should. Well done.
Unlike all my other solar generators, Energizer PPS320 does not use an set of 18650 li-ion batteries, but LiFePo4 instead.
The disadvantage of this chemistry is a lower capacity and power output comparing to Li-Ion of the same size and weight. .
But LiFePo4 has another and very significant advantage – fire safety and life-time. This battery can withstand 10 years or 2000 charge-discharge cycles before the capacity drops to 80%! A colossal advantage.
Also, LiFePo4 is not so afraid of a deep discharge.
Once again, think about it. You buy this solar generator when your kid goes to the first class in school. You start to use the generator, discharging and charging it almost every day. And after these 10 years of school your kid graduates. And battery is still in perfect working condition.
Another noteworthy point. This solar generator can be easily disassembled. And it only has a few LiFePo4 batteries. Swapping them out for new fresh ones after dozen years, when the time comes, will be a lot easier than resoldering 50-60 pieces of 18650 Li_ion batteries.
Charging protocols and output test
All necessary charging protocols are supported, up to 20v PD
Energizer PPS320 really gives in and out 100 watts. And this pleasantly surprised me. More powerful and capacious Energizer PPS700 solar generator is for some reason limited to 60 watts. Not enough for my laptop, one video card of which consumes 130 watts, I have to turn on 220v AC.
Immediately, 100 watts through Type-C allow you to fully work in reduced performance mode. Although, sorry, what 100 watts? The tester showed that the Energizer PPS320 turned off at 114 watts at the declared 100 and at 70 at the declared 60 watts for the second Type-C connector. Excellent result!
Charge and Discharge
The power station when charging through the DC pin will not take more than 60 watts.
But with Type-C PD, the situation is better. I have already reviewed a powerful GaN charger for smartphones – Ugreen GaN 100w (review). Wit it Energizer PPS320 takes the declared 100 watts in
No matter how I tried, I could not run a 100 watt charge through the tester to show the charging time in this fastest mode on the graph. (it takes around 4 hours)
The rest results are perfect.
The solar generator gives out 284 watts*hour vs declared 320w*h with 100w load, a good result. It would be interesting to see how much it gives in 220v mode, but a smart socket with a watt*meter is only on its way to me.
Let me remind you that we are promised 300 watts of power. But this does not mean anything, the same Energizer PPS700 holds almost 900 watts with the declared 700w. The maximum that I managed to see in the PPS320 is 350 watts, then it turns off.
This compact solar generator holds 450w for about 5-7 seconds, then it is cuts down due to overload.
At 7%, 220v mode does not turn on, but USB outputs still work
So, what can Energizer PPS320 power up?
For example, a drill. 250 watts, it is quite possible to use it, in case of urgent need. The video has an example of work. Although, of course, who would buy such a beast power plant for the sake of being able to use a drill?
Something less powerful? As it turned out, the Energizer PPS320 is enought for my Indesit refrigerator in countryhose. Given the fact that it does not work constantly, refrigerator will work much longer than the time on the display. But the old Soviet refrigerator, the compressor of which periodically jumped above 400 watts input, worked unevenly.
TV? Yes, it’s easy! 40 watts and 6 hours of operation from a full charge.
The pool filter consumes the same amount. There is a wonderful feature to mention. You can connect a solar panel to this portable power station and turn AC output on. If load is lower then input from solar panel, solar generator will not discharge. Really cool. You can use AC output, and charge solar power station at the same time.
Notebook? No problem.
And here is a rare use case that I recently encountered. The electricity was down for several hours, but wife insisted that she needed wi-fi. It turned out that if i connected a router and “this box for optical fiber” to solar generator, then Internet appears. Consumption is frankly symbolic, like 13w.
And, of course, a bunch of all sorts of phones + laptop
There is not the slightest point in considering Energizer PPS320 as a reserve source of electricity in case of blackout.
300watts of power will only help not to defrost the refrigerator, watch TV and work on a laptop. Not that it was not enough… But if we are talking about solar energy, then in such a situation it is more reasonable to have a powerful solar panel (look, here is the most powerful folding solar panel from Aliexpress) and 3-4 12v car batteries with a 2-3kWatt inverter. Or goode olde gasoline generator, of course. Or just wait until blackout is over.
Energizer PPS320 was created as an energy source for caravanning. And, given the relatively small size and weight (relatively to more powerful and capacious solar generators), it can even be used for bike rides to nature. 4kg\8.81lb and a hundred watt panel should not be a real burden here. And that’s where Energizer PPS320 can help you out.
You can charge absolutely amything with it: laptop, tablet, smartphones, navigator, drones, car refrigerator. In this regard, Energizer PPS320 does exactly what is required – it gives you complete autonomy from electrical networks while traveling. The main thing is not to forget about the solar panel, without which its purchase is meaningless. Here, fortunately, there is the kit with an amazing solar panel, It will allow you to quickly charge this solar generator and, moreover, use it while it is charging.
The capacity and power (size\weight\price as well) here are significantly less than PPS700 model has. So Energizer PPS320 can be called an entrance ticket to the world of modern portable solar energy. The device is affordable for a much larger number of people. Most of camp devices are low-power, so PPS320 can handle them. If not, well, there is PPS700, with its PROs (capacity\power) CONs_ (size\weight\price\lifetime)_ comparing to PPS320
And, unlike Li-Ion based solar generators, LiFePo4 battery will last for an incredibly long time and you can literally charge and discharge it daily for 10 years after purchase, and even then its capacity will only drop by 20%. Divide price to 10 years and cost of use per season will make you smile.
As a result. If you like fishing or hunting, sea or river trips and you like to use some electronic devices as well, adding some modern comfort to usual guitar`n moonshine rest on nature,
and you don’t want to spend too much, then Energizer PPS320 is quite suitable. And due to the huge life time, the price per kWh of its capacity may turn out to be even lower than that of more powerful and capacious models.