RockPals power station 1300W battery: test / review
Published on: 11-08-2023 / Modified: 23-08-2023
I'm often asked to test products where I can't directly see how they might be useful to me on a day-to-day basis. For example, I was recently asked to test a surfboard...and it's well known that Belgium is probably the most suitable country for testing this kind of product, and add to that the fact that I don't like water sports...so the decision was easy to make.
The decision isn't always so easy to make, and I particularly had this kind of thought when I was asked to test a portable battery for the first time in 2022. I'm not a fan of camping, so I wondered what I was going to be able to do with this kind of product, but I quickly found a use for it. When I go on vacation, I often cover a lot of miles by car, and with a child, you tend to take half your house with you on vacation. The portable battery quickly became a travel companion, enabling me to run a small fridge or recharge my many devices (smartphones, drone, camera, ...) without having to wait until the evening.
Today I'm going to test my second portable battery, and although this new one will meet the same needs as the previous one, it's a completely different animal. The Rock Pals battery is much larger, heavier and also has a much greater capacity. Before going into the details of the test, I'm going to take a little detour through a sort of checklist that you should go through before buying this kind of product, which will enable me to check each point for the RockPals battery.
I received this battery on August 7, 2023 and it will probably take me a few weeks to complete the test under real conditions. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
Special offer -50%!
The Rockpals 1300W portable battery is available in Europe from Gearberry and there's an introductory offer at -50% and that's not all. From August 15 to 31 you'll also have the chance to win additional gifts!
To take advantage: Gearberry.com
What should you pay attention to before buying a battery? Some criteria are obvious, others less so.
Battery capacity is expressed in milliampere-hours (mAh) and represents the amount of energy stored. The higher the capacity, the greater the autonomy. Capacity will give you an indication of how long the battery can be used for a particular type of device.
Power output is measured in amperes (A) and indicates how fast your devices can be charged. Make sure your portable battery offers sufficient power output to charge your devices quickly. Power will also determine the type of device you can connect. Charging a smartphone doesn't require the same kind of power as running a fridge.
Number of charging ports
Check the number of charging ports available on the portable battery. If you have several devices to charge simultaneously, opt for a battery with several USB or USB-C ports. If the number of ports is too limited, you'll be taking a huge object with you to charge devices one after the other, which is more efficient.
Make sure the portable battery is compatible with your devices. Check whether it supports fast charging protocols such as Qualcomm Quick Charge or Power Delivery (PD) for faster charging of certain devices. There are several charging standards in the smartphone world, and a phone using the QC standard will be slow to charge with a PD charger.
Size and weight
If you plan to take the portable battery on the move, consider its size and weight. Choose a compact, lightweight portable battery for greater portability.
Some portable batteries offer additional features such as LED displays to show charge level, indicator lights, overvoltage or short-circuit protection, water resistance, and so on. Evaluate these features according to your specific needs
Unpacking RockPals 1300W
I was quite surprised by the size and weight of the box when I received it. I had tested a Blitzwolf portable battery last year and that battery was much smaller. The RockPals 1300W is certainly a portable battery, but it's very large and quite heavy (17kg). So you won't be able to carry it very far.
The box contains the battery as well as the cables needed to power it (mains plug, solar panel or cigarette lighter), other cables are not supplied.
The first thing you need to know is that this battery is quite large (43.434 x 24.638 x 25.908 cm) and quite heavy at 17 kg. So it's not the kind of battery you're going to carry under your arm or in a backpack. Of course, all this has to do with its capacity and cooling system, so it's not really a nomadic battery: once it's installed somewhere, it's likely to stay there for a while.
In terms of functionality, this Rockpals battery has most of the features found on other products of this type, here's an overview:
The connectors near the screen all have the same function, they're used to charge the battery. The transformer supplied with the battery enables this portable battery to be charged from a standard mains socket; there is a version for Europe and another for the USA. You can also use a cigarette lighter to charge the battery from your car. This connector can take 160W, which means the battery can be charged in theory in 8 hours, but in reality this time will probably be longer, as the charging of this type of battery is not linear. I'll come back to charging speed later in the article.
There's also an Anderson-type input for connecting solar panels, the cable for which is supplied with the battery. There are kits with solar panels that you can buy directly with the battery. If you use the solar panels as a recharging source, the charging time will be shorter, as the battery can receive 250W through this channel. I don't have any solar panels that I can associate with this battery, but if I buy some later, I'll add a paragraph about it in my test.
On the right are a series of connectors that may differ depending on whether you're using the European or American version. The European version has two mains-type connectors, while the American version has three. On the left-hand side of the panel, there's a cigarette-lighter-type output, two 12V DC outputs, and to use them, you need to press the little 12V button underneath the two connectors.
On the right-hand side of the panel, there are 2 outputs with standard sockets and several USB outputs: 1x USB-C with 60W (PD protocol!), 1x USB-A with 5V 3.1A, 1x USB-A with 18W and 1x USB-A with 18W (QC protocol). There's also a small button to trigger charging. You'll be able to charge 4 devices here, provided they're compatible with either the QC or PD protocol. If your device is not compatible with these standards, it will charge at a slower speed.
The display is very simple and easy to read. It shows percentage remaining, temperature (in °F), input watts, output watts and a ventilation indicator.
Battery data sheet:
Cell type LiFePO4
Pack capacity 1254 Wh (22.4V, 56Ah)
Service life 2000 cycles at 80% capacity
Shelf life Charge every 3 to 6 months
Management system Charge controller MPPT, BMS
AC output port 1300W nominal, 2000W overload; 110V□ 220V□
Port 12V DC 5.5mm (output) 12V/5A, 60W max
Car port 12V (output) 12V/10A, 120W max
USB-A ports (output) 5V/3.1A
USB-A QC port (output) 5-12V, 18W max
USB-C PD port (input/output) 5-20V, 60W max
DC input port (6.5 mm) 11-26V, 160W max
Solar charging port (PV) 12-26V, 250W max
With 2000 cycles, this battery should survive a few years, provided you use appliances that don't consume too much energy, as more power-hungry appliances such as a fridge will start cycling much more quickly. As this battery is not intended for everyday use in domestic appliances, its lifespan will probably be measured in years.
The choice of a LiFePO4 (Lithium / Iron / Phosphate) cell is a fairly common one for this type of product. Both format and chemical composition ensure stability and greater temperature tolerance.
The RockPals battery is equipped with a ventilation cooling system to prevent overheating. Ventilation is triggered automatically when the battery exceeds a certain temperature threshold, or if the W flow is high. Ventilation is activated immediately when the battery is charged from a mains socket.
With a battery of this size, it's to be expected that it won't be very quiet. I measured just over 50 db directly above the battery, the noise is clearly audible and unless you're a very heavy sleeper, you're not going to be able to sleep anywhere near the battery. I see that on the official website, they show that this battery can be used to power a cpap and therefore be placed close to someone sleeping. I'm going to test this scenario to see if the ventilation kicks in.
This noise level is not abnormal, I measured more or less the same thing on the other battery I tested.
If I connect the battery to the mains, I can see that it consumes just under 170W, with consumption fluctuating by a few watts at a time. On the battery display I see 164W.
In theory, if I apply an average of 164W for a total capacity of 1254W, the total charge should take around 7h38 (or 458 minutes). If I use a simple rule of three, this should result in a charge of around 4.5% per minute. When I test the charging time of a smartphone battery, I always notice a slowdown in charging over the last 20 percent. To check whether this phenomenon also occurs with this battery, I measured the charge time over the last 20 percent and found no slowdown. I took measurements at 80%, 85%, 90% and 100%. Each time I obtained a percentage close to 5% per minute.
The charging time will therefore depend above all on the stability of the source, and the fluctuation in percentage for my test came from variations in Watts at the input. The charge fluctuated between 160 and 167W. Battery temperature did not exceed 30 degrees throughout the charge, but the fan was clearly audible
To test the battery's autonomy, I used several types of device, which you'll find below. The battery clearly lives up to its promise in terms of capacity, but charging via USB can give very different results depending on the type of device used.
I tested several smartphones on all the different USB ports available. Unfortunately, I don't have any smartphones compatible with QC or PD.
Here are the results for each USB-C PD, USB-A 5V, USB-A, USB-A port (in the order of the panel with the connectors).
Samsung Galaxy S23: 21W, 9W, 14W, 14w
Samsung Galaxy S10+: 14W, 14W, 14W, 0W
Unihertz Luna: 4W, 2W, 12W, 2W
Tablet KUU: 25W
To benefit from fast charging, you need a phone (or other device) compatible with the battery charging protocol, otherwise charging will be relatively slow.
Formovie S5 projector
I tested the Formovie S5 projector, which consumes just over 40W and needs good stability to operate. The display shows 40 watts of consumption and I can use the projector without interruption. I tested charging the projector with a tablet charging at the same time, and the battery consumption rose above 60W without the ventilation kicking in.
This projector consumes 140W and I plugged it in at the same time as charging a tablet, the battery consumption rose above 160W and allowed both devices to operate at the same time. Battery ventilation, on the other hand, kicked in fairly quickly. The battery provided enough power to keep the projector running without interruption.
I also tested a portable projector from XGIMI, which consumes between 50 and 60 watts. I used it for several hours, using the battery as the only power source. There were no interruptions, and the battery temperature always remained below 30°C, whereas the ambient temperature was around 24°C.
I connected a Resmed CPAP to the battery and obtained a consumption of just under 40W, with some fluctuations in consumption at start-up. Using a CPAP alone on the battery doesn't trigger the cooling system and therefore doesn't generate any additional noise. If you combine it with other devices, however, the sum of these devices could push the battery to activate its cooling system.
The promise of being able to use a CPAP with this battery without being bothered by noise is therefore kept.
I tested a Dell laptop (core i5) on the battery and was a little surprised by the consumption indicated because at rest (but with the screen on), consumption was less than 10W. Power consumption fluctuates with the use of the pc, but I find it hard to believe that a pc with a 14-inch screen could go below 10W.
Review / Conclusion
I received this battery just before leaving on vacation, so the timing couldn't have been better. I had placed the battery in the bottom of my car boot and started using it 3 days after arriving at my vacation destination. The battery hadn't lost a single percent during those 3 days when it was confronted with high temperatures (over 40°C) and lower temperatures at night (around 15°C). I then removed the battery from my trunk to start using it in real-life conditions, but with its weight, I decided to leave it in the same place for the rest of my vacation. The battery has two handles for easy transport but it weighs quite a lot, so you're not going to be moving it every 5 minutes.
I then used the battery to charge all sorts of devices and in most cases, the battery lived up to its promise. Just bear in mind that to benefit from fast USB charging, you need a compatible device. In other cases, I mainly used the battery to connect a projector and watch movies in the evening. The battery has enabled me to set up anywhere and still benefit from a stable supply of electricity.
This type of product was designed for nomadic use (camping, caravanning, etc.), but I find that its use is not limited to that. When I travel, I cover many kilometers by car, and having such a battery in the trunk of my car means I don't have to wait until evening to recharge all my devices.
- capacity / autonomy
- ease of use
- Loading time
- number of possibilities to connect devices
- efficient cooling
- temperature only in Fahrenheit
- requires compatible protocol for fast charging