Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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December 16, 2013 • Reviews

The PowerPot V Thermoelectric Generator Review – a Nice Dual-Purpose Camping Accessory

Power Pot CoverThe PowerPot V is a small thermoelectric generator that uses the heat used to boil water and converts it into juice for your USB powered devices.  The PowerPot is billed to output 5 watts of power and can work over any heat source, including an open fire. The PowerPot V sells for $149.00.

The PowerPot on a portable propane stove.

The PowerPot on a portable propane stove.

The PowerPot V includes the PowerPot itself, along with a bowl that also doubles as a lid.  The included USB charging cord is 2.5 feet and is fire resistant.  The PowerPot also comes with USB cord that includes three different tips, including an Apple 30 pin adapter, microUSB, and miniUSB.  All of the accessories can be kept inside the included mesh storage bag along with the PowerPot.  On the fire resistant USB charging cord is a green LED indicator that lets you know that the PowerPot is ready to charge your device, which is very helpful in letting you know you’re ready to go.  The PowerPot and the lid/bowl have arms that fold out to act as a handle for handling the pot and they also fold in for easy storage.  The PowerPot also is supposed to charge most devices at full speed, similar to plugging into a wall outlet.

PowerPot's green indicator light letting my know my iPhone is ready to charge.

PowerPot’s green indicator light letting me know that my iPhone is ready to charge.

I recently took the PowerPot V on a camping trip with me to test it out in real world conditions.  I tried the PowerPot on a portable propane stove as well as on top of a wood stove that’s built into the cabins we were staying in.  The main lesson I learned from using the PowerPot on my trip is that you need to be sure that the heat source is pumping out consistent heat, or else your devices will not get charged.  When I was using the portable propane stove, the PowerPot consistently charged each device I tried.  However, when using the PowerPot on top of an indoor wood stove, the fire needed to be kept very large in order to keep the juice flowing.  When I tried to charge my iPhone 5 from the wood stove and the fire wasn’t roaring, I would get an error saying “This accessory may not be supported” and my iPhone wouldn’t charge.  However, when the fire was kept very large, the juiced flowed and charged my iPhone 5 just fine.

A look at the indicator LED and three included charging adapters.

A look at the indicator LED and three included charging adapters.

Another item to note is that the handles got very hot while set on top of the wood stove.  The handles are covered by plastic in order to keep the metal underneath from conducting the heat from the metal into your hands, however the handles do get uncomfortably hot.  I hope that handles are improved in the future.  That being said, the PowerPot is a really convenient way to charge your devices while camping, hiking, or during a power outage.  The PowerPot only weighs 12 oz, so it can be taken on a hike, and it stores neatly inside the included mesh storage bag.  The fact that you can use any sort of heat source also adds to the convenience, meaning you’re not limited to using propane powered camping stove.  If the power goes out in your house, you can use the PowerPot on the range in your kitchen.  The PowerPot is also a great option because it serves dual purposes, both as a charging station as well as heating water for food.  Another positive worth mentioning is that the fire-resistant cable really is fire-resistant.  While on the wood stove, the cable was leaning against the extremely hot metal of the stove and did not melt at all.

The PowerPot sitting on top of a built-in wood stove.

The PowerPot sitting on top of a built-in wood stove.

Overall, I think the PowerPot V is a great idea and serves as a multi-purpose camping accessory.  It’s light and compact, charges any USB device, and it’s weather and fire resistant.  If you’re planning on using the PowerPot over a well-controlled heat source like a portable propane stove, you’ll find that you get consistent power generation.  If you’re planning on using it over an open flame, you’ll need to be sure you keep that fire going strong.

The PowerPot charging an iPhone while sitting on top of a wood stove.

The PowerPot charging an iPhone while sitting on top of a wood stove.

The PowerPot V can be purchased directly from directly from the manufacturer.

 

MSRP:  $149.00

What I Like:  Multi-function camping accessory; Charges any USB device; Fire-resistant cable works great; Compatible with multiple heat sources; Comes with multiple charging adapters.

What Needs Improvement:  Handles should withstand heat a little more; You need to be sure the heat source remains consistent or else it will not charge your device.

Source:  Manufacturer supplied review sample

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