When it comes to loadshedding, South Africans will know that you have to find ways of keeping yourself sane during these stretches of no power. Portable power stations have come along to take the edge off, providing power to devices when darkness falls. One such product is ACDC Dynamics’ Portable Power Station, a 150 W unit that can power electronics such as televisions, modems and lights, or/and charge your notebook, smartphone or tablet.
No frills straight shooter
ACDC Dynamics’ Portable Power Station is a no-frills unit, made from hardened plastic with a black and light green design, weighing in at only 1.6 kg. It’s easy to use, since you carry it wherever you need it, plug in your devices and switch it on. The only added step is perhaps to switch it to AC when powering larger devices such as a television setup, and there’s a big button on the unit to do just that.
The ACDC Dynamics Portable Power Station is really quiet, with a slight buzz of about 40 DB sometimes noticeable when charging and recharging, a big plus in the books. Also, there’s very little heat emanating from it.
As far as outputs are concerned, you have a convenient two AC outlets available (universal so basically two-pin, 220 V), with 2x USB ports (5 V) and 3x DC outlets (9-12 V/10 A) also onboard. You can charge the unit either from regular AC power, or a car battery (charger included alongside a cigarette lighter adapter) or from a solar panel. So far so good.
The company notes this is a high energy density Li-Ion battery, stating that this is safer than regular Li-Ion batteries with an energy storage availability of 1.5x that of regular ones. The lifecycle on the battery is declared as 500 cycles before then offering only 80% capacity. Keep this in mind, since the newer, but also more expensive, LiFePO4 batteries (as found on the EcoFlow River 2) do offer a much higher charge and discharge cycles.
Recharge time a concern
So how much power do you get from this little unit? It's one the smaller side, being a 150 W power station with a capacity of 45000 mAh/162 Wh. In our usage tests it powered a 40” TV, smartbox and soundbar in the region of about 2 hours and 10 minutes. For a notebook and a 24” monitor it managed between 4½ and 5 hours.
If you are going to depend on the ACDC Dynamics portable power during load shedding, especially the higher stages, it’s the recharge time that could become problematic. Recharging takes in the region of six hours, if not slightly more, and during stage six load shedding this will not actually be enough to fully recharge the unit.
The amount of charge is shown through a battery graphic on a small LCD display on the unit, with four bars indicating the level of charge. While recharging the ACDC Dynamics Portable Power Station flashes the bar where it's currently charged at, indicating how far it has charge. It does a strange thing, however, sometimes flashing the top bar (meaning it’s still charging) but when you take out the charger, it indicates a full charge.
Finally, when charging the unit it cannot be switched to AC in order to charge your larger devices. This means your devices cannot be consistently plugged into the ACDC Dynamics as backup, rather once load shedding starts you must unplug your devices from where they are, plug it into the ACDC Dynamics, and then unplug it afterwards - a bit of an inconvenience.
If you are looking to purchase the ACDC Dynamics Portable Power Station, you’ll pay R4 332 from ACDC Express outlets nationwide. This puts it in the lower range in terms of cost, however, you are not receiving a substantial power capacity.
The ACDC Dynamics Portable Power Station is used best as a load shedding solution to power your notebook and monitor, or to charge smartphones and other devices while the power is down, using it as a stopgap measure to power your TV for a few hours. Its weight, size and portability is a big plus, but the relatively long recharge time of 6+ hours takes away some of the shine during the higher levels of load shedding.
DISCLOSURE: The ACDC Dynamics Portable Power Station was received from the company for testing purposes and not returned.