Jackery Solar Generator 1500: The Best Solution for Powering Camp? | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Jackery Solar Generator 1500: The Best Solution for Powering Camp?

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bryceCtravels

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brycercampbell.com: Jackery Solar Generator 1500: The Best Solution for Powering Camp?

If you’re anything like me, you like to disconnect. Whether a long weekend, or years driving cross-country, everyone has their preferred methods. Something that everyone has in common, though, is the need to power their lifestyle. Whether you simply need to charge your phone, or run a fridge and electric heater, the Jackery Solar Generator 1500 is something to consider.

Although Jackery did send me this unit to review, I have used their products in the past and their only request was that I share my thoughts on the unit and share details on their 9th anniversary promotion.

For Jackery’s 9th anniversary, they’re giving away $17,000 worth of product. Along with that, their entire site will be 15% off from Oct. 18 - Oct. 20. You can find all the info here:
Jackery's 9th Anniversary

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As for my review, I’ve spent the last few months with the Explorer 1500 in the passenger footwell, while the 4 100W SolarSaga panels have become ubiquitous with setting up my tent. Here are my genuine thoughts.

Firstly, what exactly is does the Solar Generator consist of? There are two parts. The Explorer 1500, which is a 1534Wh lithium-ion battery capable of 1800W and up to 3600W surges. If you purchase the Solar Generator combo, which is what I’ve been using, you also get 4 SolarSaga 100W solar panels. These panels are literally plug and play, which leads right into the main selling point and benefit of this setup…

DSC_4616.jpg

The convenience is unmatched. From the moment you open the box, to the moment you start plugging devices in, there’s genuinely zero thought required. I have friends who range from having done DIY solar setups on their Sprinters with tiled showers and full kitchens, to others with a single 160W panel taped to their RTT, and I can confidently say that the Jackery is as simple as it gets. Do you lose a bit of customization in exchange for easy of use? Absolutely. Is it worth dodging the electrical headache? In my opinion, yes, but you have to decide that for yourself. You take the 4 panels, plug them into 2 connectors, and then boom, you have 400W of solar and 1500Wh of battery.

As for build quality, there’s not much to complain about. The Explorer 1500 is around 30lbs, and I’ve had zero problems with durability. There is a screen on the front that gives you charge percentage, as well as incoming and outgoing power usage. The screen is easily readable at a glance and very convenient, and another benefit of the screen is that it shows you the expected time to fully charge, as well as the expected life of the current charge depending on usage. Being as it spends a decent amount of time in my footwell, I’ve had probably over 100lbs sitting on it at multiple points and it’s held up. I have no doubt it will last for many years. Although it does have some heft, it has a very convenient handle which makes moving it from the front to the back of the cab, or even picking it up while climbing into the tent quite easy, and I don’t even use a ladder.

DSC_5346-2-2.jpg

I don’t have any complaints about the build quality of the SolarSaga panels yet either. They have easy to use grab handles and are pretty light, so moving them around is zero problem. The only thing I could see being a problem is that the panels are flexible and made out of a canvas or fabric. The obvious downside to that is that it could tear or bend over time (if you put weight on them, especially in storage), but the big upside, and why I assume they build them as such, is that they can be folded in half to store much more easily than a rigid panel, and can be pointed wherever the sunshine is landing. All in all, I don’t see it as a downside, more of a compromise — the benefits are obvious. I would not go walking around throwing rocks at the solar panels, but I would be cautious to prolong their life.

I mentioned the different ways to charge the Explorer 1500. Jackery claims the 4 100W SolarSaga panels can charge the unit in 4 hours, and I’ve found that to be pretty accurate, obviously depending on the weather. But if weather does become an issue, a cigarette outlet can fully charge the unit in 13 hours, and a wall outlet in 6 hours.

DSC_5834-2.jpg

Obviously a big question with a setup like this is how long will the charge actually last. I can not say for you, only from my experience. For you to know how long you can go without charging the unit, you have to research your power requirements and do the math. For me, without a small cooler/fridge/freezer, 3 weeks seems very realistic. I did try my full size house fridge and I could easily power that for 7.5-8 hours, and being based in the very hurricane prone Charleston, South Carolina, the Jackery now serves a bigger purpose than simply powering my truck on multi-month road trips.

Something else that’s been bugging me is what I saw when I was at the Walmart in Ellsworth, Maine, which is the closest Walmart to Acadia National Park. Near Acadia, there is basically nothing in the way of free camping, so the parking lot gets absolutely slammed every night. I had the true campground experience. Not only was the drone of generators driving me insane, there was also the smell of gas and diesel. I’m always surprised by how many people are continuing to use traditional generators when there are easier, cleaner, quieter solutions like the Jackery. In the overlanding world, no one uses generators. In the travel trailer/RV world, I think we’re quickly coming upon the days where instead of starting a generator, you simply hit a button and plug a device in.

Back to the main point, the Jackery Solar Generator has made life on the road much more convenient. Not only that, it has made my life at home during hurricane season and any inclement weather much less worrisome as well.

DSC_4619-2.jpg

As for downsides, the only real downside is the price of a ready to use unit versus a DIY solar setup. I think most people know the direction they want to go from the beginning. You either buy all of the components for your system and wire them yourself, or spend a bit more and get something that is ready to go when it arrives on your doorstep. I can’t tell you which is better for you, but I can tell you what is better for me, and I have seen both sides of this coin in many different instances. I’m taking the Jackery, and I don’t see it leaving my footwell anytime soon.

Of course, if you have any experiences with any Jackery products (or any of the solar generators), please share them as well. How you do solar is one of the largest decisions someone will make for their rig, so it's best to give them as much info as possible.
 

mep1811

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The Jackery is not a generator. That is very misleading to many people. The Jackery is a battery. The solar panels produce power under limited conditions.
RV'ers use generators to power A/C units, fridges lights charge batteries. Your Jackery is not going to power a RV's A/C unit, fridge, lights and charge batteries. Not a accurate comparison.

Battery packs have their place in certain situations .
 

Road

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Based on my own experiences of staying on the road 8-10 months out of the year, off-grid and all over North America, I much prefer my own set up of panels and deep cycles, custom to my needs, over any ready-made solar 'generator.'

They're far too gimmicky, drastically overpriced ($2700 for a 1500 w/4 100w panels) and play too much to beginners for my style of dependable product. Even the false pretense of these products including "generator" in their name--they don't generate anything--is aimed largely at new buyers who haven't done their homework.

To state "In the overlanding world, no one uses generators" is to assume an awful lot, is just plain in error, and steers me away from believing the rest of your review.

Here's a good--and unbiased--review on the 1500 from a knowledgeable and very experienced product reviewer:


.

"Reviews" on products that have been given to folks in exchange for posting reviews and pushing that company's promotions, should remain on folk's own websites, not public adventure forums.

.
 
Last edited:

mep1811

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Based on my own experiences of staying on the road 8-10 months out of the year, off-grid and all over North America, I much prefer my own set up of panels and deep cycles, custom to my needs, over any ready-made solar 'generator.'

They're far too gimmicky, drastically overpriced ($2700 for a 1500 w/4 100w panels) and play too much to beginners for my style of dependable product. Even the false pretense of these products including "generator" in their name--they don't generate anything--is aimed largely at new buyers who haven't done their homework.

To state "In the overlanding world, no one uses generators" is to assume an awful lot, is just plain in error, and steers me away from believing the rest of your review.

Here's a good--and unbiased--review on the 1500 from a knowledgeable and very experienced product reviewer:


.

"Reviews" on products that have been given to folks in exchange for posting reviews and pushing that company's promotions, should remain on folk's own websites, not public adventure forums.

.
Good review.
 

bryceCtravels

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Based on my own experiences of staying on the road 8-10 months out of the year, off-grid and all over North America, I much prefer my own set up of panels and deep cycles, custom to my needs, over any ready-made solar 'generator.'

They're far too gimmicky, drastically overpriced ($2700 for a 1500 w/4 100w panels) and play too much to beginners for my style of dependable product. Even the false pretense of these products including "generator" in their name--they don't generate anything--is aimed largely at new buyers who haven't done their homework.

To state "In the overlanding world, no one uses generators" is to assume an awful lot, is just plain in error, and steers me away from believing the rest of your review.

Here's a good--and unbiased--review on the 1500 from a knowledgeable and very experienced product reviewer:


.

"Reviews" on products that have been given to folks in exchange for posting reviews and pushing that company's promotions, should remain on folk's own websites, not public adventure forums.

.
For your first paragraph, I repeatedly stated that you or me have differing needs. I have worked with friends on full Renogy and Victron builds, I have friends with Goalzeros and Jackerys. Each person has a specific use case.
As for the generator aspect, the battery bank is called the Explorer. The complete unit w/ panels is the solar generator. If I thought that was misleading I would’ve stated so, but it seems pretty clear to me and I actually distinguished what was what in one of the opening paragraphs.
I would be interested to learn more about people using old school generators in North America while overlanding. I’m not aware of that. Most people use solar panels and an alternator switch. Thanks for your input, more info is always best.
 

bryceCtravels

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The Jackery is not a generator. That is very misleading to many people. The Jackery is a battery. The solar panels produce power under limited conditions.
RV'ers use generators to power A/C units, fridges lights charge batteries. Your Jackery is not going to power a RV's A/C unit, fridge, lights and charge batteries. Not a accurate comparison.

Battery packs have their place in certain situations .
I don’t believe I stated anywhere that the Jackery is a generator, if it comes across that way it is absolutely not my intention. Please quote where so I can modify. I did ask the question of why most TTs and RVs still come with generators, and why few come with complete solar systems. Hope to alleviate the confusion.
 

mep1811

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I don’t believe I stated anywhere that the Jackery is a generator, if it comes across that way it is absolutely not my intention. Please quote where so I can modify. I did ask the question of why most TTs and RVs still come with generators, and why few come with complete solar systems. Hope to alleviate the confusion.
The title Jackery Solar Generator 1500 says it. I know it is a marketing thing designed to make people think this system is a replacement for a real generator. It is a battery pack that can be recharged with a solar panel.

When the power goes out, you don't see people running out to buy solar panels , people are buying generators that generate electricity 24/7.
 

bryceCtravels

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The title Jackery Solar Generator 1500 says it. I know it is a marketing thing designed to make people think this system is a replacement for a real generator. It is a battery pack that can be recharged with a solar panel.

When the power goes out, you don't see people running out to buy solar panels , people are buying generators that generate electricity 24/7.
The product is called the Solar Generator 1500. It generates and stores power, derived from solar. Do you have an alternate title? When people google search a review for this product, they will google search “jackery solar generator review”. As for power outages, no one is running their home with a battery bank and panels. But you can run certain residential appliances off of modern outdoor battery banks for many hours. If referring to TTs and RVs, you can run them off of solar and from the research I’ve done it can be a replacement for a generator. Whether a Jackery, an upgrade when ordering your RV, or DIY.
 

Road

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For your first paragraph, I repeatedly stated that you or me have differing needs. I have worked with friends on full Renogy and Victron builds, I have friends with Goalzeros and Jackerys. Each person has a specific use case.
As for the generator aspect, the battery bank is called the Explorer. The complete unit w/ panels is the solar generator. If I thought that was misleading I would’ve stated so, but it seems pretty clear to me and I actually distinguished what was what in one of the opening paragraphs.
I would be interested to learn more about people using old school generators in North America while overlanding. I’m not aware of that. Most people use solar panels and an alternator switch. Thanks for your input, more info is always best.
.
You asked for those with "any experiences with any Jackery products (or any of the solar generators)" to "please share them as well." and that "How you do solar is one of the largest decisions someone will make for their rig, so it's best to give them as much info as possible."

My first paragraph merely fulfills that request. You seem to have become defensive to my honest experience and response. If not prepared for a variety of responses, please don't ask for them.

Jackery and other "solar generator" companies knew exactly what they were doing when labeling their products generators, and some, with increased push back from experienced adventurers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts over the misleading generator name, have started making more clear that their units alone are not generators.

I've used solar and deep cycles for years when adventuring. No, most don't need an "alternator switch." I have two independent systems; one for my trailer, one for my vehicle, and neither depend on the alternator. As for "old school" generators, you are limiting yourself to think of them as only old school and that no one uses them, and again show your inexperience and willingness to jump to false conclusions.

Most adventurers I know that keep a generator keep them for emergency backup power, rarely have to use them, and certainly do not run them if ever staying in Walmart lots.

The more you travel and wander, the more you will understand that having a backup can be a life-saver.

Good luck with your adventures.
.
 
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bryceCtravels

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You asked for those with "any experiences with any Jackery products (or any of the solar generators)" to "please share them as well." and that "How you do solar is one of the largest decisions someone will make for their rig, so it's best to give them as much info as possible."

My first paragraph merely fulfills that request. You seem to have become defensive to my honest experience and response. If not prepared for a variety of responses, please don't ask for them.

Jackery and other "solar generator" companies knew exactly what they were doing when labeling their products generators, and some, with increased push back from experienced adventurers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts over the misleading generator name, have started making more clear that their units alone are not generators.

I've used solar and deep cycles for years when adventuring. No, most don't need an "alternator switch." I have two independent systems; one for my trailer, one for my vehicle, and neither depend on the alternator. As for "old school" generators, you are limiting yourself to think of them as only old school and that no one uses them, and again show your inexperience and willingness to jump to false conclusions.

Most adventurers I know that keep a generator keep them for emergency backup power, rarely have to use them, and certainly do not run them if ever staying in Walmart lots.

The more you travel and wander, the more you will understand that having a backup can be a life-saver.

Good luck with your adventures.
.
I am simply replying to your post. I have nothing to defend. I suppose a lot of this should be aimed at Jackery for their naming system, not at someone who wrote a review and referred to the unit by its name (and also specified what the unit is, as well as what it is not). As for the rest, nearly everyone I know who runs solar on their rigs has it wired to the alternator through a relay, and charges their batteries while driving. Most of these have a physical toggle to disable it when the vehicle is parked for long periods. Most people you know who have a generator keep it for backup, I’m sure that’s the case. But from my understanding the vast majority of people either use a generator or use solar. Space is valuable on any rig. Thanks for your time
 

mep1811

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The product is called the Solar Generator 1500. It generates and stores power, derived from solar. Do you have an alternate title? When people google search a review for this product, they will google search “jackery solar generator review”. As for power outages, no one is running their home with a battery bank and panels. But you can run certain residential appliances off of modern outdoor battery banks for many hours. If referring to TTs and RVs, you can run them off of solar and from the research I’ve done it can be a replacement for a generator. Whether a Jackery, an upgrade when ordering your RV, or DIY.
"It generates and stores power." The Jackery is a battery pack. Jackery battery pack with optional solar panels would a more accurate description.
 
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bryceCtravels

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"It generates and stores power." The Jackery is a battery pack. Jackery battery pack with optional solar panels would a more accurate description.
The combined Explorer 1500 and SolarSaga panels are the Solar Generator. They are 3 different things. See my wording in screenshot. B8813F71-0297-4981-881C-146CB54236EA.jpeg
 

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I am simply replying to your post. I have nothing to defend. I suppose a lot of this should be aimed at Jackery for their naming system, not at someone who wrote a review and referred to the unit by its name (and also specified what the unit is, as well as what it is not). As for the rest, nearly everyone I know who runs solar on their rigs has it wired to the alternator through a relay, and charges their batteries while driving. Most of these have a physical toggle to disable it when the vehicle is parked for long periods. Most people you know who have a generator keep it for backup, I’m sure that’s the case. But from my understanding the vast majority of people either use a generator or use solar. Space is valuable on any rig. I will say, please don’t come into this thread, derail it, and then disappear.
.
Good lord - I've replied to each of your replies to me; not disappeared in the least.

Derail? By replying with what you asked for?

Again, sorry you seem so defensive. Not everyone is going to agree with you as much as you seem to want.

I'll say again, that posting a review and agreeing to push an individual company's anniversary promotion in exchange for receiving a product at no cost is best left on a personal website, not a public adventure forum. It turns off more folks than you realize.

.
 

bryceCtravels

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Good lord - I've replied to each of your replies to me; not disappeared in the least.

Derail? By replying with what you asked for?

Again, sorry you seem so defensive. Not everyone is going to agree with you as much as you seem to want.

I'll say again, that posting a review and agreeing to push an individual company's anniversary promotion in exchange for receiving a product at no cost is best left on a personal website, not a public adventure forum. It turns off more folks than you realize.

.
I changed my “derail” comment immediately after posting as it was mistaken. If we are talking about the concept of companies sending products for reviews, that is different. That is not what this thread is for. This thread is to discuss the article I wrote, I fear we have become off topic.
 
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huachuca

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brycercampbell.com: Jackery Solar Generator 1500: The Best Solution for Powering Camp?

................. In the overlanding world, no one uses generators. In the travel trailer/RV world, I think we’re quickly coming upon the days where instead of starting a generator, you simply hit a button and plug a device in
I've never figured out just exactly what an 'overlander' is so don't know if I qualify or not but we drag a small (19' Scamp) fifth wheel molded fiberglass camper around the country, park it (usually for multiple days) at dispersed sites on public lands and explore nearby backroads and trails with the truck. We also tent camp from the truck and make the occassional backpack overnighter.

I'm not a big fan of gas powered generators but typically have our Honda EU3000 along on any trips where high temps are expected 'just in case' AC is needed. Its most commonly employed when travelliing and we pull into a rest area for a few hours sleep where its too noisy to leave the windows open and rely only on the Maxx fan for cooling. There's no way a practical battery based power supply could handle that. If we're alone in a remote spot and another camper decides to pull up nearby when there are plenty of more distant sites available, I've also been know to fire up the genset. Other than that, we have no need for 110V power (I can recharge the camper batteries with a 750W inverter mounted in the truck and my shop charger).

It sounds like the Jackery system works well for you and that's a good thing. I just don't see it being a total solution for everyone who enjoys camping (overlanding?).
 
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I'd like to see a portable 150AH system without the inverter and with 12V Anderson input and output. This would enable reliable connections to the vehicle and fridge. Square it off with good tie-downs and a non-skid rubber bottom. Design a quick-release mounting bracket like the Milwaukee Tool Packout boxes. Add non-proprietary solar, a couple standard USB ports, and a USB-C, and I would be set.
 
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bryceCtravels

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I'd like to see a portable 150AH system without the inverter and with 12V Anderson input and output. This would enable reliable connections to the vehicle and fridge. Square it off with good tie-downs and a non-skid rubber bottom. Design a quick-release mounting bracket like the Milwaukee Tool Packout boxes. Add non-proprietary solar, a couple standard USB ports, and a USB-C, and I would be set.
Last year I was researching something more comparable w/ an inverter. Battle born with a 160w/200w renogy setup. I think that ran $1200-$1300 and the Jackery ran $1500ish. Who knows with current pricing as it’s gone bonkers. That’s the main downside to the Jackery. It’s absolutely more expensive than doing it DIY, like I mentioned in the article. Convenience/price — the age old compromise.
 

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I've got their 300 and just ordered one of their "100w" panels, prior to that I was using one of my own 100 watt panels (larger heavier than theirs) with an adapter. I waited till sells popped up and purchased them, typically I charge the unit while moving between sites off of the 12v outlet of the vehicle. There will always be a market for "push button, make work" people and when it comes to solar/electricity there are a lot of them, I'm one of them many times, and I think the Jackery brand fills that niche of the market and their marketing team just happens to be good at their job. I built my own "solar generator" in a Pelican style case before I owned the 300 as a fun project. It worked but was heavy because I used SLAs instead of Lithium batteries for cost savings. And largely during a power outage it was easy for my wife to set it up to run a few fans and charge her phone and maybe run the router as needed. She hated carrying it though lol. The Jackery 300 was small, light and convenient and just works so it was money well spent in my case.

I will admit just reading the OP's first post it does read like a paid advert. That's just my interpretation of it personally. I'll never own the 1500. The 300 fills the needs of what I need which is to power camp lights, a USB fan at night, charge phones and a tablet and run my smallish 12v fridge. And honestly it runs my 12V fridge only if I'll be in camp more than one night, if I'm just overnighting or one day/night I just leave it on the vehicle battery. I couldn't imagine needing something as large/expensive as the 1500 unit plus the 1200 dollars worth of their solar panels.
 

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I've got their 300 and just ordered one of their "100w" panels, prior to that I was using one of my own 100 watt panels (larger heavier than theirs) with an adapter. I waited till sells popped up and purchased them, typically I charge the unit while moving between sites off of the 12v outlet of the vehicle. There will always be a market for "push button, make work" people and when it comes to solar/electricity there are a lot of them, I'm one of them many times, and I think the Jackery brand fills that niche of the market and their marketing team just happens to be good at their job. I built my own "solar generator" in a Pelican style case before I owned the 300 as a fun project. It worked but was heavy because I used SLAs instead of Lithium batteries for cost savings. And largely during a power outage it was easy for my wife to set it up to run a few fans and charge her phone and maybe run the router as needed. She hated carrying it though lol. The Jackery 300 was small, light and convenient and just works so it was money well spent in my case.

I will admit just reading the OP's first post it does read like a paid advert. That's just my interpretation of it personally. I'll never own the 1500. The 300 fills the needs of what I need which is to power camp lights, a USB fan at night, charge phones and a tablet and run my smallish 12v fridge. And honestly it runs my 12V fridge only if I'll be in camp more than one night, if I'm just overnighting or one day/night I just leave it on the vehicle battery. I couldn't imagine needing something as large/expensive as the 1500 unit plus the 1200 dollars worth of their solar panels.
Spot on. I too picked up the 300 V2 as soon as released and the SolarSaga 100 watt panels. I think the best size for these things is something in the 500 - 750 watt range.
 
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