Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review: Power Practical - PowerPotXL

Another Kickstarted project, another power generating project and addition to my off-grid arsenal.

This is a second generation thermoelectric device, that was launched as a Kickstarter in order to get the new models out there. These are the PowerPot X from Power Practical and I really liked it.

I've covered the charge-indicating power regulator from Power Practical previously, a USB dongle that indicated the wattage being output by power sources, (or conversely, the draw). I've also covered a thermoelectric generator before, in the form of the Tellurex tPod tea-light candle powered light/charger. I also wish-lusted the BioLite camp stove too, but haven't laid hands on one yet.

The PowerPot X is a sleek 10-watt generator that converts heat into electrical power. It works by housing a thermoelectric module between the base of the regular pot, and an aluminium base-plate. The modules are encased in weatherproof high temp silicone casing  Just heat up water in the pot and the PowerPot  will immediately start putting out electricity to power or charge your devices.

The smaller first-generation PowerPot V, only has a 1 amp output, but the X can push up to 2 amps, sufficient to charge larger and more power hungry devices like iPads and SLR batteries. 

The X ships with a standard USB (5V) port, and comes supplies with one of Power Practical's three-headed adapter cables (mini, micro and 30-pin). The detachable cable has a one-way-only connector to the body of the pot for safety, and three-feet of highly durable, flame-resistant cabling.  Built into the USB end of the cable is a solid-state voltage regulator provides safe and stable power at up to 10 Watts charge any number of small high-tech devices.

The PowerPot X comes in two sizes, the X is 2.3L (3 qrt) and the XL (which I selected, because bigger) is 3.8 L (4 qrt), each having the same kind of hard-anodized aluminium pot, with folding handles. The XL measures 19cm x 13cm (7.5" x 5"), and weighs 770g (11.2 oz) . Not bad for an output of 10w, 2amp, 5V as infinate as your water and heat source.

That's one thing to note. You can't run it dry, or the thermocouple will get fried. I've run mine on both an electric hotplate and by gas, both on the home stage, and also a propane BBQ plate, to remarkable success. Whilst out camping recently, we charged a number of iPhones and iPads, in fairly short order.

The size of the pot allowed me to boil 5 cobs of corn at a time as well as charging. This could be used at each meal-time to top up devices, recharge lights and batteries. As long as you have water to act as your thermal mass, and fuel to heat it, the Power Pot is a never-ending source of electricity in a lightweight and dual purpose package.

I almost look forwards to our next power outage, so I can dazzle the neighborhood with my awesome power.

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