EnerPlex Kickr IV And Jumpr Solar Power Pack

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
March 13, 2013
Manufacturer
EnerPlex
Product Page
Kickr IV
Product Page
Jumpr
Views
76721
EnerPlex Kickr IV And Jumpr Solar Power Pack
With the recent storms that caused widespread power outages, emergency power solutions are now on many people's minds. Solar systems, like the one from EnerPlex, fills the USB solar charging needs and does it very well.

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Page 1
Introduction

Hurricane Sandy showed us many things. One of the important lessons learned was that power isn't always available at the flick of a switch. Many families suffered weeks of prolonged power outages. Think about not being able to turn lights on or even stay in contact with your friends and family. Do you have a cell phone? How long will it last without power? Think about that if you've never had a power outage.

Many people did plan ahead and have portable gas generators or more robust systems for backup. Some even had grid tied solar systems for their houses, but those were useless as the grid was down. Gas generators were great, except for the time when you had to get replacement gasoline. Long lines and shortages were the norm for many days. There are few technology that promise power without the need for fuel. None of them come close to the benefit of solar for a distributed application. After the storm, people realized that solar was a good backup plan for charging their portable devices.

The sun is always out in the sky, even if it is behind clouds. Pair a solar system up with a battery to collect the power when not charging and you've got yourself a good backup plan. EnerPlex, an Ascent Solar company, specializes in making products for the solar market. Kickr IV is their newest, flexible, solar panel system for powering USB capable devices. The Jumpr is the battery storage for saving that solar energy while your not using it. The pair go together so well that we thought to review both at the same time. Did we mention these panels are flexible?

About EnerPlex

Quote

EnerPlex represents the consumer side of Ascent Solar, integrating Ascent’s transformational CIGS technology into products which consumers use everyday. Through EnerPlex, Ascent has pivoted into the consumer space in order to put solar in the hands of every consumer. With an industry leading 11.4% conversion efficiency, Ascent’s solar modules provide the greatest power density and best power to weight ratio available on any solar form factor. These high efficiency modules allow EnerPlex products to provide a robust and mobile charging solution in any environment.

http://enerplex.biz/about-us/
Page 2
Packaging

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The Kickr IV solar panel array is packaged in a white box with some green accents. The retail box doesn't really give a feel of what the product does from the picture. When you think solar, you want to see the panels.

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The back presents the representation that people expect to see. You have four big solar panels that are flexible. Also on the back are the various specifications.

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The Jumpr (4400mAh) is EnerPlex's take on the backup battery for USB devices. It can be charged from any source and charge any USB device. It also supports pass-through charging. Not many products support this and it is a key for using the system in a disaster.

Specifications

Kickr IV

  • Rated Wattage 6.5W
  • Cell Type Copper Indium Gallium di-Selenide
  • Open-Circuit Voltage 9V
  • Conversion Efficiency 10.5%
  • 5V USB Charging Port (4.7mm)
  • Weight .68 lbs (.31 kg)
  • Dimensions (Unfolded) 7 3/8 x 33 7/8 x 1/16 in (18.7 x 86.0 x .16 cm)
  • Dimensions (Folded) 7 3/8 x 6 7/8 x 1/4 in (18.7 x 17.4 x .64 cm)
  • Optimal Operating Temp. 32-104 F (0-40 C)
  • Optimal Storage Temp. 32-86 F (0-30 C)


Jumpr

  • 110 mm (4.3”) x 45mm (1.7”) x 24mm (0.9”)
  • Weight: 126g (0.27 lbs)
  • Input: 5V DC 1000 mA Min (Micro USB)
  • Output: 5V DC 1000mA Max (USB-A)
  • Battery Capacity: 4400 mAh (Lithium-Ion)
  • Recharge Time: 5.5 hours
  • Power Consumption: ≤250 uA


Marketing Summary

Kickr IV

Quote

From the top of a mountain to a campsite on the river, with the Kickr IV you can capture solar energy to charge any device that has a USB hookup.

Featuring a light and flexible body weighing less than a pound, the unit easily folds into a small and portable square, making transportation effortless. With the Kickr IV™, this versatile 4.5-watt regulated unit can provide electricity to help charge phones, tablets, digital cameras, GPS’s and more!

http://enerplex.biz/kickr-iv/


Jumpr

Quote

The EnerPlex Jumpr is the perfect accessory to throw in a backpack, a briefcase, or a gym bag while on the go. This portable battery is convenient when you don’t have time to connect to an outlet or get a charge from the sun.

It’s lightweight, small, and light enough sit in your hand and to throw in your pocket so you can take it literally anywhere. The battery also comes with a built in flashlight to help guide the way when the lights are out.

http://enerplex.biz/jumpr/
Page 3
Parts

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EnerPlex includes the solar panel system, a multi jacked USB charging cord, and some directions on how to use the Kickr IV (you put it in sun and you're good to go). The USB cord includes mini, micro, and the older generation iPhone plugs.

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The Jumpr comes with the battery pack, a micro USB cable, an iPhone to micro USB adapter, and some literature.

Kickr IV

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The Kickr IV is made from a flexible rubberized plastic material. It can bend and fold up. Even the panels, themselves, are bendable. They won't take a large amount of flex, but unlike rigid panels, these can take punishment. You wouldn't want to drop a glass-like set of solar panels or bother to lug them around camping. The flexible panels here provide great durability and make the system lighter overall. You also get a very large surface area when folded out. More surface area means more power.

Jumpr

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The Jumpr is a fairly standard battery backup charging solution for USB devices. It is about the length of a phone and a bit thinner with more depth. It has a slightly rounded back with a gray front. Four blue LEDs will light for status indication and charge amount.

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The output end of the Jumpr has the standard USB-A style plug. Take your mobile device and plug the USB cord into this end. The Jumpr also includes a handy light.

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You might think it is a useless feature, but as was said in a »previous USB battery backup review, there are times when having this feature will come in very handy. The small amount of light is infinitely better than nothing.

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To charge the Jumpr, simply plug in a power source into this micro USB port. It is located on the side of the unit instead of the top. This is a slightly awkward placement if you want to use the device in pass-through.

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The other side contains the only button. It is a multi-mode button. You do a momentary click to turn the light on and off. To charge a device, you'll need to hold down the button until the Jumpr responds with its blue LEDs on the top.

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Rounded may be good in some instances, but for laying on a flat surface, we'd prefer if the entire bottom was all flat.
Page 4
Use

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Take a good look at this picture. What is shown is a Droid 4 being charged by the Jumpr that is being charged by the Kickr IV. Compared to competing solar solutions in the same category, you have a massive increase in surface area to collect more of the sun's rays. We found that using all four panels would put out about anywhere from about 700-850mA over 5V USB. All this depends on the incident angle of the sun and various other factors, but you will be able to charge your devices as quickly or quicker than if you plugged them into a computer.

The second benefit of using a battery this way allows you to not only charge a device, but to store the energy when you are using the device elsewhere. If you wanted to use your cellphone during the day, you would miss out on the power of the sun. This isn't a problem with a USB battery pack like the Jumpr.

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We can't stress enough the importance of having something like this support pass-through charging. You wouldn't want to be fumbling around with plugging and unplugging devices or missing out on topping off your battery pack if you can't charge the battery pack and device at the same time. Cheaper systems leave out this important feature. You can see in the picture that the Jumpr has a single blue LED on which indicates its charge strength.

Even using the panels in indirect sunlight provided power. Any power you get is better than nothing. You would be surprised at how little direct sunlight you'll need to get usable power. With the surface area of the panels, even a modest amount of indirect light will give some needed juice to your portable devices. Any of the four panels exposed to light will get you power. You don't need all four to be in light for the system to work.

Video Review



The video review goes into how to use both devices. Please give it a watch and post a comment!
Conclusion

Solar panels are not cheap. When you want quality, you have to pay for it. The Kickr IV retails for about $130 which may seem like a lot of money, but not when you take into account the value you are getting. It isn't just a USB solar charging device. It is a durable, portable, and flexible solar panel system. It can take abuse and still work. If you are worried about power outages, there are some things that you buy and forget about until you need them. If you only buy this product for emergencies, would you want something cheap, or something that works? I know what I'd want.

The Jumpr 4400mAh retails for about $70. This is fairly expensive considering the market is saturated with products that compete with it. You could end up buying the Kickr IV without the Jumpr and probably be just as well off. That being said, the materials used and the quality of the products warrant the price and EnerPlex should come up with a bundle for USB battery pack solar charging. The Jumpr, while expensive, works well and gets the job done.

I've used USB solar systems in the past and nothing compares to this. Nothing. To really charge a device, you need surface area. Don't be fooled about a tiny solar panel charging a cell phone. It isn't going to happen. You'll end up running out of juice. With the Kickr IV, you will be able to charge and use your device and that's key during power outages and during field trips while camping.

ASE Publishing would like to thank EnerPlex for making this review possible.

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