Living off-grid in our bus conversion taught us a deep appreciation for so many practical simplicities; a full water tank, a freshly stocked fridge, a full tank of diesel, or a full charge on a device that helps us generate mobile income and keep living the DIY lifestyle we enjoy!
All of these simple pleasures make us feel more secure. It helps to be appreciative of the little things! For us, expanding our off-grid capabilities is a never ending endeavor and the Jackery 240 Explorer portable power station is a welcomed addition to our collection of power options. The BEST part is it's portability.
We received the Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station shortly before starting our two-week van trip experiment and it was ESSENTIAL to us during that time. So, we wrote this blog to spread the love!
Jackery was awesome enough to send us a complimentary charging station and sponsor an Instagram post. They did not pay us to write this review blog, we simply wanted to because this power station rocks -- it exceeded our expectations. The opinions and experiences we share have and always will be genuine Meag & Ben honesty regardless. Anyhoo — we wanted to share that with everyone. 🙂
About the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
The “240” in the name stands for 240 watt-hours, which pretty impressive for just over 6 lbs. of battery. The lithium ion battery means light weight, zero maintenance (aside from charging, duh), long life and a higher discharge capability. At only 5.19” x 9.05” x 7.67” in dimension it’s extremely portable and easy to stow away in a bus, van, car (car camping!), tiny home or regular home for that matter.
Jackery sells through Amazon and their products are available with free Prime delivery!
The smaller 167wh model is also an option as well.
You can plug virtually anything (200W or less) into the Explorer 240. It has 2 USB, a 12v DC, and a 110 AC output and will charge almost any electronic device multiple times. Each output can be toggled on or off with the press of a button to conserve battery life.
The LCD status screen is a handy feature. It shows exactly what watts are coming in when charging and how much is going out when a device is plugged into it. It also displays the % of battery life left, no conversions no math.
How do you charge the power station?
We charge our Jackery in the bus through our inverter (basically the sun charges our batteries via solar panels on the roof, that goes through an inverter which we're able to plug into and charge things...). We've also charged our Jackery in the 12V port of a rental van recently, same would go for charging in a car or van. Easy peasy.
Optional Jackery Solar Panel
You could also charge Jackery products through a regular wall outlet or with Jackery's optional add-on solar panel. Lots of options!
Bus Life Travel Experience (2018 - 2020)
We have 600w of solar on the roof, 356 Ah of battery bank, and an 8000w Cummins generator (this came with the bus!), that’s a lot of off-grid power already. So why add another battery to the mix? For anyone who has off-grid systems they know it’s not just about what you’re plugging in but when you’re plugging in.
During the day, when we’re pulling in a lot of solar, is the time to be charging devices and running appliances. Typically we have more solar coming in than we tend to use but that’s the Arizona desert. Not every location has this level of abundant sun. At night or when we’re parked in a cloudy/rainy weather for a while we have to be a bit more conservative about our usage, that’s where the Jackery shines.
We also spend a lot of time back home in the White Mountains of New Hampshire! Did you know that the Mt. Washington area (where we met and love to be most) is the second cloudiest place in the country, INCLUDING ALASKA?!
Soooo… we like to have options and backups.
Update 2020 -- We're now renovating a house in New Hampshire rather than traveling in the bus, and the Jackery still comes in handy on an almost daily basis!
Less Waste if we have Excess Solar
As I said earlier, we tend to pull in more solar on a sunny desert day than we use. We try to charge all of our devices during the day to avoid plugging in at night, but even after two laptops and two iPhones there’ still plenty of solar to go around.
The Jackery takes a good 7-8 hours to fully charge which makes it a great solar dump for when our batteries are in float mode.
This means when our AGM batteries are fully charged we are still bringing in electricity from our solar panels that just gets wasted. The Jackery is able to capture it and act as a power source at night, during a stretch of cloudy weather, or when we’re away from the bus. This has and will continue to help us optimize the overall efficiency of our power capabilities.
Yes, we could just add to our battery bank with another AGM battery or two, but the versatility and portability of the Jackery 240 makes it worthwhile. It brings something to the table that bulky batteries cannot. Ever try to move a 178 Ah AGM battery? It’s heavy, very heavy. Not only is portability out of the question, but you’re also adding more weight to your vehicle. In a bus that’s probably okay, but if you’re living in a van you need to be careful about every pound you add.
Portability & Versatility
We recently went on a 2 week van trip with an Escape Campervans. We’re calling it our “vancation”, a test of a smaller, quieter, more maneuverable vehicle than the bus. We talk more about the destinations and experience here.
Anyway, we took the Jackery 240 with us and it was an absolute dream to have. We charged it while we drove from place to place in the 12v port of the van. We had enough power for blending smoothies in the morning, grinding coffee, charging all our devices, and even powering a small fan overnight for that sweet white noise. 🙂 All without it being discharged past 40% each night. Not too shabby at all!
Overall This Jackery Provides a Great Backup Power Source
2020 Update: We’ve had our Jackery Explorer 240 for two years now and we’ve really enjoyed having it.
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