Testing the solar-panel charge mode of my 4Patriots Sidekick. A compact, handy 300W unit, the Sidekick is the smallest model offered by 4Patriots and is perfect for our household electricity needs, which in times of emergency mainly just consist of keeping our phones charged.
(And in everyday non-emergency times, it’s perfect for recharging my phone/ebook device while I’m glamping in my super stylish urban offgrid she-shed! <winky heart smile>)
There is also a handy LED lamp built-into the generator, which not only makes a super reading light if I’m reading a paper book while glamping in the she-shed, but for times of emergency also has an SOS signal flash mode.
And, I can also use this baby to power my little coffee-grinder, and my Bullet smoothie maker! Tested it out on both and it works great!
The solar panel is a 40W that folds very compactly, Very convenient and easy to stow and easy to use and it seems to work pretty good. Charging is very very slow, but interestingly enough, charging indoors from the AC wall outlet to DC unit is very very slow as well, and at least with the solar panel I’m not having to pay FPL to recharge the unit ha ha.
By the way, the manufacturer estimated charging time for the unit is seven hours. That’s quite substantial, but also in real life it seems to take significantly longer than seven hours. (Update: actually not sure about that, I lost track of the time. I now think it may be pretty close to the seven hours rated by the manufacturer.)
Overall, I am pretty happy with this unit, but the lengthy recharge time is inconvenient. BUT WAIT!! Great news!! — I just now walked back down to the foot of my driveway to check on the charging status, and saw that it had suddenly reached 100% charged!
So either the solar panels work a lot better than indoor AC-wall-socket-to-DC charging mode, or the battery just charges very abruptly, or maybe both.
But whatever the case, I am very happy with how my charging experiment with the solar panel went today. And I’m very happy with this 4Patriots Sidekick unit.
By the way, 4Patriots offers a full line of different-size generators, some of them capable of powering a refrigerator, air conditioner, or even a freezer. But for needs like that, I myself have always found the “soft skills” of living without refrigeration / freezer capability to be a lot more convenient and robust than relying on a generator for such high-wattage needs.
The manufacturer actually recommends running the unit down to zero at least once every few months to keep the battery in shape. This fits in just fine with my newfound she-shed glamping habit. And I will always make sure it’s fully charged going into hurricane season.
Yeah, you can just call me the Martha Stewart of the zombie apocalypse <wink>.
You can see pics here of the setup charging in my driveway.