Outdoor activities such as camping are fun to do. You will learn a lot and meet new friends whilst enjoying the wonders of nature. This activity, usually a part of school extra curriculum, has now become a part of the weekend or holiday to-do lists of many families.
There are a lot of factors which may discourage you from going to campsites. Among these are the safety of the camping sites, the cost of camping gear to be brought, your health condition as a camper, the job you might not be able to do because you are far from home or office, and the absence of electricity in remote parts of the campsites.
At the campsite, imagine the struggle of generating light from sticks or the agony of responding to emergency cases whilst struggling in the dark. For sure, these could discourage you from exploring the wonders of nature.
There is one thing common about the concerns mentioned above—all of them could be alleviated if only there is a reliable power supply in campsites.
Thanks to generators, these things are no longer much of an issue nowadays. However, you may ask: What type of generator can I bring for camping? How much does it cost? How would I know if what I got is what I really need? What are the signs that I got a good one? Where can I buy the type that I need?
Searching for the right camping generator
We know that electric generators convert mechanical power into electricity. Mechanical power comes from outside sources such as wind, water, and fire, among others. If you would notice, these outside sources can provide you sufficient power. You just need a device to tap such renewable energy and convert them into electricity.
All types of generators, be it the electro motive diesel, the diesel-powered, natural gas, and portable generators can perform those tasks. But not all these types are suited for camping, as generators are usually made up of huge components that are impractical to bring and assemble for outdoor activities.
Nobody would want to suffer the hassle of carrying disintegrated parts that might get lost during camping activities. Thus, of all the generator types, only the portable ones are suited as camping generators. These are of two types: the conventional one, which has a set up similar to the older generators, and the inverter generator, which combines all its components into one unit. This is more practical and more camping friendly as it is more portable.
What if fuel is not readily available?
Sometimes, though, due to natural disasters or other occurrences, mechanical energy becomes unavailable. When this happens, even the portable conventional and inverter generators might have trouble working. It’s a good thing that there are battery-powered generators.
Imagine those cells powering your smaller gadgets. Yes, the same components of those small cells can be used for larger batteries to generate electricity. Battery-powered generators have batteries within solar power generators, and these convert the direct current output of batteries into alternating currents. These batteries are rechargeable using portable solar panels. Recently, the use of this type of generators has become popular, probably because of the consumers’ desire to have a more portable, efficient, and readily available power source.
Advantages of battery-powered generators
Battery-powered generators have a number of advantages. First, it is good for those who do not have space to store huge equipment. Second, as long as it is properly charged, it can run even during bad weather when there is not enough sunlight to fuel its solar panel or in case there are power interruptions. Third, it is cleaner and easier to operate. It is also easier to dispose of, should you decide to stop using it. Finally, battery-powered generators are cheaper.
With these benefits, this device is not only used in homes and establishments but also for other purposes like agricultural work and outdoor activities such as camping. Imagine, from being a power generator in houses and buildings, this equipment has now evolved into something that can bring the comforts of one’s home to outdoor venues. Thus, a lot of manufacturers have started to produce and sell this product.
Pros and Cons of Using a Battery-powered Generator for Camping
A battery-powered camping generator will not require campers to scout for more spacious camping sites for its storage. Thus, their movement around the campsite is not limited. Campers can also be assured that there is less chance of getting complaints on the generator’s noise and emissions. Finally, campers will not be burdened with looking for a technician to operate the generator.
However, whilst a battery-powered camping generator is generally advantageous, one of its downsides is that you have to purchase it, usually for non-permanent usage, such as camping or purely short-term emergency cases. Thus, whilst it appears to be cheaper, it is an additional expense on the part of campers. For more frugal customers, it may be better to rely on traditional sources of power such as bonfire and other improvised ephemeral gear.
In any case, these pros and cons are only points to consider when purchasing a camping generator. The more important thing is that the buyer knows what they should look for or examine when they intend to buy a battery-powered camping generator.
What are the signs that I got a good battery-powered generator? What are the red flags that you should consider in purchasing this type of generator?
How to Determine a Good Battery-powered Generator
1. Battery Duration is from 7 to 12 hours
As discussed earlier, a battery-operated generator contains batteries to store power. So, what are the signs of a good battery? Essentially, a battery should continuously supply power to gadgets and appliances for seven to twelve hours. It must allow you to go on with your activities with no interruption for such a duration. Like in mobile phones and other gadgets, when the battery of a generator set easily drains, it means that there is a problem.
Sometimes, battery duration varies. It depends on what gadgets you have powered using these cells. Naturally, the battery drains more easily when the power requirement of the appliance that you have powered with it is higher.
However, have you noticed fluctuations in the battery duration of some of your battery-operated gadgets? For example, one day, your cellular phone stays up on battery for eight hours, but the following day, you just recharged it, but it went off right after sending two to three messages? Such fluctuation could also mean that there is failure in one or more of the components of the battery. If this is true with your battery-powered generators, then it could mean that something is wrong.
2. Short recharging duration
What else can you look at to know if the battery is in good condition? Have you ever noticed that when your mobile phone is new, it takes only an hour or a little over an hour to fully recharge it? Short recharging duration is an indication that the battery is fine.
Similarly, fluctuations on the recharging duration indicates that there is a problem with your batteries. If, one day, you have to recharge for only a few hours, then the following day, you needed several hours to completely recharge your batteries, that means they are damaged. The same goes with battery-operated generators. Long hours of recharging could be a sign that your generator is not in good condition.
3. Compact design
You should also look at what other accessories you need to buy along with the portable generator. Of course, the reason for buying a portable generator is its portability.
You should prefer the more compact ones, rather than having several disintegrated parts that might get lost or left out in transportation. A battery-powered generator has panels that convert energy into currents. Whilst these panels can be bought separately, a good battery-powered generator must have a built-in panel.
When you have to buy it separately, you must take a second look at it. There may be a problem with the device itself or worse, it could be a strategy to encourage you to buy products that you do not actually need.
In relation to its portability, a good battery-powered generator must be light, as its components consist of light materials. Modern batteries are made lighter. If the generator is too heavy, something could be a bit awry with it.
It is assumed that most of our outdoor activities are exhausting. Thus, the consumers must not unnecessarily exert extra energy in transporting the generators to wherever they are going to use them.
5. Low emissions
Other types of generators are also criticised for emitting pungent smells. This is due to the chemicals that fuel them. A battery is not supposed to emit a pungent smell, as all its components are supposed to be contained and sealed in a cell.
The same goes with battery-powered generators. Because their components are essentially the same, they must operate in the same manner without any strong odours. Such foul emissions are signs that the battery is damaged.
6. Silent operation
Are generators supposed to be exclusively used outdoors? Supposedly, generators should be able to supply power at any occasion, may it be a formal, solemn, or festive occasion. Thus, generators must be quiet and discreet. Most battery-operated devices boast of operating quietly, so when you have a battery-powered generator and it creates noise, something could be wrong.
Humming is also a sign of damage in the battery. As in other devices, a humming sound indicates that an internal component may have been misplaced or lost.
7. Absence of leakage
Another sign of a good battery-powered generator is that it does not have leaks. Leaks could indicate that there are holes in the battery cells or one of the wires. You should also find a generator easy to operate. A single person must be able to readily handle it. When the assistance or service of another person is needed, it means that the device is not working properly.
When the above qualities are present in a generator, it is a good camping gear.
One should take note that camping itself is an exhausting activity. Thus, campers or hikers should not waste their energy on keeping their power supply. A good battery-powered camping generator must be able to provide lighting to the campers from the time they are about to take their dinner up to the time they are about to wake up and start with the next day’s activities.
It must also be able to supply power to other gadgets. It must re-charge easily, in time for the camping schedule. It must be light enough so as to allow campers to bring other important gears that they intend to use. Most of the time, campsites are suburbs, sacred places, or emergency sites.
The quietness of these places shall not be disrupted, even by power supply. Thus, a good camping generator must not make so much noise. Preferably, it is as quiet as a modern air condition set, or even more quiet.
Most campsites also have strict rules on wastes and pollutants. Battery-powered camping generators must not add to the pollution. Thus, a good one must not have foul emissions. Also, since campers should usually attain their goals for the camp in a limited time frame, their camping gears must be easy to operate; otherwise, their time for more important activities will be wasted in trying to figure out how to operate their power source.
Portable generators are not meant to replace permanent power supply but when purchasing one, you must check all its components. You must examine whether all its parts are properly installed and working the way they were designed to. Its individual components must have come from reputable distributors such as OutbaxCamping, Australia’s leading online seller of outdoor equipment and gear. Check out our generators today!