With our penchant for ever more electrical devices (from laptops to TVs), power stations such as the Bluetti EB3A have become a popular part of caravan kit.
Yes, leisure batteries might be increasingly effective (even when you’re taking your caravan off-grid for a day or so), but the security of an independent power unit makes sense in this digital age.
Inverters are one solution for those seeking more power, but the ease of use and design of a dedicated power station with an integrated inverter makes them an attractive proposition.
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Using the Bluetti EB3A
The first thing that is evident on unpacking the Bluetti EB3A is the compact size and smart finish. It looks and feels like a quality piece of kit.
It comes with both an AC and a solar charging cable; other accessories, such as car and USB-A to USB-C cables are available to buy separately.
On top is a neat handle and there are vents at the side for cooling. All input and output sockets are arranged on the front, with a powerful LED lamp on the right-hand side.
Output ports include 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.
In addition, we found the 15W wireless charging pad very useful for topping up phones.
Most functions are activated by buttons on the unit, but you 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 a straightforward procedure: you simply plug it into the mains using the AC charging cable. However, with the appropriate 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 fully charge 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
Bluetti says that the unit can power a 10W light for 22 hours, a 60W car fridge for four hours or an 80W television for three hours straight.
The 600W AC pure sine wave inverter (1200W surge) and the 268Wh capacity also allow for somewhat more powerful items, such as a mini rice cooker, to be used in your caravan, but my interest was in seeing how it would function when being used to simultaneously charge a number of small devices.
Incidentally, there is an inbuilt circuit breaker should you overpower the EB3A – the switch 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 at various intervals over the course of two days while we were off-grid – mainly to charge our phones (we had four iPhones between us) 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 (left)while using the power station 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 unit. 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 I’ll be putting one on my caravanning 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 items
- 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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