With our penchant for ever more electrical devices, power banks such as the Bluetti EB3A portable power station have become a popular part of motorhome kit.
Yes, leisure batteries are increasingly effective (even if you’re taking your motorhome off-grid for a few days), but the security of an independent power unit makes good sense.
Inverters are one option, but an easy-to-use portable power station with an integrated inverter offers an attractive solution to the problem.
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Using the Bluetti EB3A
The first thing evident on unpacking the Bluetti EB3A is its compact size and smart finish. It comes with an AC and a solar charging cable; other accessories, such as vehicle and USB-A to USB-C cables, can be purchased separately.
On top is a neat handle and there are vents at the side for cooling. All input and output sockets are on the front, with a powerful LED lamp on the right-hand side.
Output ports are a car-style 12V socket, two 12V DCs, two USB-As and one USB-C, and a 220-240V AC/600W port; there is also one DC input port and one AC input port.
We found the 15W wireless charging pad very useful for topping up phones.
Most of its functions are activated by buttons on the unit, but you would need to download the Bluetti app to enable power-lifting, which allows output voltage and current to be adjusted to a higher level for higher-power devices such as electric irons.
Charging up the EB3A is straightforward: you simply plug it into the mains using the AC charging cable. But with the right accessory, you can charge it via a 12V port or by connecting up to solar panels or a generator.
In standard mode, it should take no more than 1.5 hours to charge fully from a wall socket. In our experience, charging the unit was quick – it came out of the box with 66% charge and within an hour, was at 100%.
Performance of the Bluetti EB3A Portable Power Station
Bluetti says that the unit can run a 10W light for 22 hours, a 60W car fridge for four hours or a 80W TV for three hours.
The 600W AC pure sine wave inverter (1200W surge) and the 268Wh capacity also accommodate more powerful items, such as a mini rice cooker, but my particular interest was in seeing how it would function when used to simultaneously charge several small devices.
Incidentally, the EB3A’s inbuilt circuit breaker will trip automatically if the AC current exceeds 10A. Pressing the AC Circuit Breaker button once resets it.
Out and about on a recent tour, we made good use of the unit over the course of two days while we were off-grid – mainly to charge up four iPhones and a laptop.
Although I didn’t record the exact battery depletion in the field, it still had well over 50% battery life when we returned to electric hook-up, and was fully charged within an hour.
Back at home, I recorded the results shown in the table (below) while using the unit to simultaneously charge a laptop through a USB-C, two iPhones (one via USB, the other on the wireless charging pad) and a 30W electric fan via the AC plug. The fan was on its lowest setting for the full hour.
Overall, I was impressed by the EB3A. After an hour, the laptop was fully charged and the phones had plenty of juice to keep them going for several hours. It’s a luxury, but one I’ll be putting on my touring kit wishlist.
You can also take a look at our review of the Jackery Solar Generator 1000 to see what we made of the power source.
Reason to buy:
- Neat unit that looks smart and has wireless phone charging
Reason to avoid:
- Only suitable for powering smaller devices
Spec of the Bluetti EB3A Portable Power Station
- Price: £269
- Inverter: 600W AC pure sine wave inverter (1200W surge)
- Battery capacity: 268.8Wh (12Ah)
- Cell type: LiFePO4
- Dimensions: 255 x 180 x 183mm
- Weight: 4.6kg
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