Accessories, Camping, Gear, Off-Road, Overland, Reviews, Tech

RockPals 500w Power Station Review – How to Setup, Testing and More

Updated 11/27/20 / Read Time: 7 mins

RockPals Power StationRockPals 500w Power Station Setup, Testing and Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Overview

Now more than ever, people are loving the opportunity to escape the everyday grind and go off the grid.

This power station can get you off the grid or help in emergencies without breaking the bank. Having a portable power station allows you to power your electronics without needing to run your 4Runner.

I was interested in this power station to charge at home and throw in the 4Runner for camping or little trips where I know I will need more electricity for my devices.

What is a Power Station

A Power Station is a smaller version of a gas generator without the need for gas. Technology has already come a long way with these. They are versatile lunch box sized devices that are great for camping, construction sites, or anywhere you will need electricity.

About RockPals

RockPals is a portable power source company. Their goal is to keep you outside and exploring while providing power sources for all of your electrical needs.

They have 4 options in portable solar panels, 4 options in power stations, an eco gas generator, a portable car battery charger, a camping lantern, and a portable fridge.

Find it online

  • RockPals 500W Power Station: Check Price
  • RockPals is offering a special 20% off for Trail 4Runner readers until December 30, 2020. Use code: trail4runner

What’s In the Box?

The box includes the Power Station at 14.33 lbs (7.87” D x 12.05” W x 6.93” H). It also includes an AC outlet wall charger and a DC cigarette lighter charger as well.

Features

  • All of RockPals products come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 2-year warranty
  • 520WH/46.85AH or 140,400mAh/3.7V. The pure sine wave protects your sensitive devices from damage
  • >1000 lifecycles to 80%
  • Short circuit protection
  • Voltage Control (over voltage/under voltage)
  • Temperature control 14°~104°
  • Over current Protection
  • Overload Protection
  • Overcharge Protection
  • Low Battery Alarm
  • Easy to read charge/discharge data and battery life LED display
  • Foldable handle for easy transport

The power station features 3 input port options and a total of 11 varying output ports.

Inputs:

  • AC wall charger
  • 12V cigarette lighter
  • 13-22V/max 6A solar panel charging

Full recharge ranges from 7-9 hours depending on input.

Outputs:

  • 1 USB 5V~9V/2A Quick Charge 3.0
  • 1 USB 5V~9V/2A Type C Quick Charge 3.0
  • 2 USB 5V/3.1A
  • 2 AC outlets
  • 1 DC Cigarette lighter
  • 4 DC 5.5×2.1mm

LED Display

RockPals Power station has an easily readable clear blue LED display. It has 5 bars for the battery level right in the middle. The power button and the AC/DC buttons are in a row under the display. The USB button is to the left of the USB outputs.

When you press the power button, the battery level is shown. Once it is on, you can press the button for desired output and it will show on the display. The display is like a map to let you know what is powering. The words “OUTPUT” will be displayed below the battery level and then and arrow will go to the “AC” on the left screen or “DC” on the right. If you select “AC”, the map will display “OUTPUT–>AC–>Sine Wave Image” and the DC outs will display “OUTPUT–>DC–>DC jack image”. Finally, USB’s have 3 arrows coming from the DC letters signaling that all the USB type outputs are on for output; USB, USB 3.0, and Type_c.

Charging The Power Station

When the unit is charging the word “INPUT” will display at the top left.

Besides charging it at home, you can also hook it up to solar panels, or use a cigarette lighter.

I unfortunately do not have solar panels, but it is a nice added charge feature for those that want to be truly off the grid. RockPals recommends using 100-200W, 18V solar panels to charge it.

When the power station is fully drained it took 8 hours to do a full recharge from the AC wall charger. I plan on plugging it into the DC converter in the back while I drive if I didn’t charge it prior. This would allow you to still charge your fridge or other items while driving using the 4Runner’s AC out. Then, when you get to your location you can switch to using the power station’s outputs to charge your items.

*Do note that the power station cannot charge and power the AC outlets simultaneously; it can however power the DC outs simultaneously.

Where it fits

The area by the 4Runner’s power inverter in the back cargo is the best area that I have found to place the power station while driving. The power station doesn’t fit perfectly in this side area, but it’s close. All of the inputs and outputs are on the front of the power station. Because of this, the clearance needed to plug in devices takes away a little more storage room in the cargo area.

If one of the AC outputs would have been placed on the side where the red vent is, it would make it a bit easier to fit in this section without taking away any cargo space. For those of you with cargo trays, it might be a tight fit. You may not be able to pull your tray out if you have anything plugged into the power station.

Testing the Power Station

To test the amount of charge I could get out of the power station, I first used it for my work laptop and docking station for the day. I plugged my docking station into the power station and was able to get 3, 8-hour charges out of it. It was plugged in for the entire 8 hours each day, keeping my dock and laptop charged at 100%. If I only used it for my laptop (without the docking station), I’m guessing I could get a couple more days out of it. This will definitely be enough power to let me go on more road/camping trips while working remotely.

I then tested my usual devices I use for day trips and outings. I charged my iPad for the kids to use during a quick beach drive, my drone, DSLR camera gear, and GoPro. The power station was able to keep everything fully charged and barely drained any of the power station battery level. I can now easily go on day or weekend trips with a peace of mind knowing that I do not need a wall outlet to charge any of my gear.

RockPals 500w version that I went with allows you to charge a wider range of items and for longer period of time. You cannot charge something that is more than 500W. Most guys I see are getting a power station to charge a portable fridge and this works great for those. I have future plans for a fridge, which is why I went with their highest wattage power station.

Approximately 70 Hours of Power for USB Charging

The USB ports are 2A. You can charge your smartphone or USB device for about 70 hours. According to amp-hour calculators, you would have ~30hours for the AC output alone. Charge times will vary depending on the type of items you are charging, the amount of items charging, as well as weather. Charges tend to drain faster in colder weather.

For reference, a mini portable battery pack that can charge your smartphone is about 3,000 mAh, and this bad boy is 47x more powerful with 140,400 mAh.

These formulas will help you get a good idea of how long you can charge your devices:

  1. AC output working time=520WH * 0.85/the power of your device.
    For example, assume your power of device is 60W, working time will be 520wh * 0.85/60w=7.37 hrs (roughly calculated)
  2. DC and USB output working time=520wh * 0.96/the power of your device.

Final Thoughts

I wish this station included plugs to cover up the ports when not in use. I plan on being out in the dirt or near a beach when I use this. I wouldn’t want any debris getting into the ports when they are not being used. As mentioned earlier, moving one of the AC outputs to the side of the unit would make it more versatile and it would fit better in the 4Runner back cargo area. Overall, I really like RockPals power station. I think it is comparable to other brands but at a more affordable price point. This is one of RockPals competitive advantages:

We position ourselves as a medium-low end brand, to ensure our clients can find a reasonably high-quality product at a reasonably low price.

With quick shipping, a money-back guarantee, and a 2-year warranty, I am happy I purchased my power station from RockPals over other brands.

Comments or Questions? Leave them below!

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