In this article, I am going to explain how to charge a solar generator from solar panels, wall outlets, and car 12V outlets, and can you use a solar generator while charging.
The solar generator has become a basic necessity for many campers, outdoorsmen, and people who need a cleaner, efficient, and quiet backup emergency power for their homes.
A solar generator is all in one solution –a battery, an inverter, and a charger with no installation required.
But, the question is, how to charge a solar generator, and can it be used while charging?
How Can I Charge My Solar Generator?
A solar generator can be charged using solar panel input, a wall outlet, or a 12V DC car plug. The charging time and input power of the plug depend on the solar generator type, the power output of the generator, and the input capacity of the port. If 400W of solar panels charge a 1000W solar generator, it will take about 3.5 to 4 hours.
1. How to Charge a Solar Generator Using Solar Panels?
I am going to explain this charging option using Jackery Explorer 1000.
Purchase a solar suitcase kit without a charge controller because most solar generators including Jackery Explorer 1000 have a built-in charge controller.
If you come across a solar suitcase kit with a charge controller, you are going to have to bypass the charging cable (Anderson power pole, or 8mm input).
Follow the steps mentioned below to charge your power station.
- Jackery has an 8mm connection. Look for either a 7.99mm or 79x55mm barrel connection. Jackery also has an Anderson power pole port that is 30A. Jackery accepts 10A but the connection can accept up to 3OA.
- Either connection will do the job, but I prefer the Anderson power pole connection because it accepts higher amps, it is not wobbly, and it is stable and solid.
- Check how much input your solar generator can handle.
- If your power station is set to accept 100W of solar power to charge, then purchase a 100-watt solar panel. Don’t try to give it more than it can handle.
- When you plug the cable, an indicator light will turn on to let you know it is charging.
- Make sure to place your solar generator at the perfect angle.
- Sometimes the display doesn’t show accurate input readings due to the clouds obstructing solar rays. Don’t worry if such is the case. There is nothing wrong with the power station.
2. How to Charge a Solar Generator from the Wall?
- To charge a solar generator from an AC wall outlet, plug it into the wall as you would do with any regular appliance.
- Most of the time, a cable is provided to charge the unit directly from the wall. You can easily purchase it from Amazon if it is not shipped with the package.
- An average 1000-watt solar generator like Jackery Explorer 1000 would take about 6.5 to 7 hours.
- If you are powering your house using a standby or 50amp portable generator, make sure the power coming to your house has less than 5% harmonic distortion.
- You can plug a solar generator into the wall to safely charge it.
3. How to Charge a Solar Generator from a Car?
A lot of the power stations can’t be fully charged from 12V. They charge slowly from the car DC outlet.
The solution to the problem is Bestek 300W pure sine inverter. This little sucker can double the charging speed and it can handle 12V up to 700 watts.
My Jackery Explorer 500 charges like 40 watts from the vehicle, and when I use the Bestek inverter, it charges like 82 watts which is twice as fast.
- First of all, get the AC charging cable that comes with your solar generator.
- Plug it into the Bestek Pure sine inverter.
- Plug the inverter into the vehicle using the cigarette-style port.
- It will double the charging speed.
Can Solar Generator Be Used While It Is Charging?
You can use a solar generator while charging from the car outlet, solar panels, or wall outlet. However, it will slow the charging process because the energy is being constantly used. If your power station takes 4 hours to charge 500 watts, don’t use 500 simultaneously during the charging. Limit the energy usage during the charging.
Is It Safe To Use Solar Generator While Charging?
Most solar generators are safe to use when charging. However, if the user manual says it is not ok, then you shouldn’t use it while charging.
Using and charging a power station from solar panels doesn’t create any issues and it is very safe. The worst thing that can happen is a cloud cover.
Be more careful when you are charging your unit from a wall outlet or the 12V port of the car because there are a lot of elements involved.
Never use faulty cables or broken outlets.
If you are planning to get a solar generator for your whole house makes sure to read this guide before making any decision.
Why does Solar Generator Charging Take Longer?
When you use your power station while charging, it will take longer to charge because the energy is constantly being depleted.
Another reason is overheating. I have tested this theory multiple times with different models. Overheated solar generators tend to take longer to charge.
Avoid placing your generator directly under the sun and in places where the temperature is higher.