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Opinion

Review of KiloVault® RES-Q™ Portable Emergency Power Unit

I finally received my RES-Q today and it was all I hoped it would be. Lets start from the top.

The packaging was perfect. It had the best packaging I have ever seen. The foam was very thick and even if the box was damaged it would have taken a ridiculous amount of damage to damage the product itself. The outside of the cardboard box looked great. It was very well shipped. I was concerned that for the 61 pounds it would arrive damaged but that wasn’t an issue at all.

It had multiple layers of protection. Besides the foam, it was encased in a plastic cover. So even if the box had gotten wet there was a great chance that the unit would not have gotten wet. It had a packet to dry any moisture and it arrived to me with no moisture of any kind. I can’t complain about its condition when I received it.

I didn’t choose to plug it into the wall. My goal is to be as environmental as possible, so even though it is a dark and overcast day I connected my Merlin to it and it started to charge it! I was surprised and thrilled. At first I thought I was looking at the battery charge but once I disconnected the solar input the display icon stopped and disappeared, and reconnected it make it appear again so naturally I concluded it was charging from my solar panel. I plugged in a usb connection a solar light and it started charging that as well. Remember how I said that I liked on my other solar generator how its displayed the watts? Well this does even better. It also displays the amps. A bit nerdy for non technical people, but appreciated since it gives me additional information how things charge and what kind of battery storage is necessary.

What is the negative? So far on its first day I haven’t found a negative. I am not thrilled with the weight, but I accept reality that the weight has to be a result of the storage capacity of the battery. I love the fact that because it is Lifepo4 it will have a long life as long as I take care of it. A very small complaint would the lack of a quick charging connect port. This is not a big deal but it is nice to have.

Included is the adapter if you wish to buy and use an external battery. I will never use that functionality since I would buy another solar generator instead. However before I do that, I would increase the solar panel wattage. Still for now, it is fine the way it is. I need to use it for awhile and see what the next step is. This brings my solar generators count to three. One that I will give to a friend, one that I am waiting to RMA and this one that I am keeping. It is really remarkable how solid and quality materials it is made from.

For example, the handles feel very solid. It feels like you could spin the unit around in circles with the handles although I wouldn’t suggest doing that. There isn’t any sensation that they are going to give or any flex when you use them. I have lifted many computers with handles with similar weighted devices and this is the most solid I have felt. It feels better than some very expensive computer equipment that some companies I have worked with have used.

No I am not a shill for this company. I bought this out of my own funds, and I am not receiving any benefits by saying this. I think this is hands down the best quality unit for the price. The warranty is 2 years and I look forward to this future with this device. If I had a family I would buy one of these for each member of the family and it would do everything they would need in an emergency.

Did I test the cigarette/12 volt adapter? No, I won’t be using that for some time. Maybe never. Will I plug AC devices into it? Yes, once it is fully charged so I can start using it with the multiple laptops that I use for work. I will of course let you know how that goes. Right now my first priority is charging it up with solar and seeing how long that process takes.

I did have to buy an Anderson Power pole cable so that I can charge my older solar generator with it. It will also be helpful as an extra extension if I need to put the merlin solar panel further away from the unit. At this point I have two drawers full of cables, and that is probably not enough. I don’t mind having these spare parts, and once I give away one of my solar generators I won’t need some of the cables.

If I buy another solar generator it will probably be another one of these. The case is very solid and metal and you can easily put your devices on top to charge like I have. They feel strong enough that you could stack them, but I wouldn’t suggest that. Oh, that reminds me. The display tells you the temperature of the unit and has a fan that automatically cools it down if it is too hot. This is a really nice touch and I wish other solar generators told you the operating temperature. It really makes the other solar generators I have look cheap by comparison. I think you lose too much when you buy solar generators below the $1000 price point. You don’t have the information you need to make good decisions.

I posted this and went back to the unit and realized something. I didn’t write about the noise level. Charging from solar to the battery, and charging a usb solar light makes no sound that I can hear. This might change when the AC inverter is on but I doubt it. I think they have done a great job isolating the sounds and finding ways to make this device feel luxurious. The quietness of this would be a great choice for audiophiles who need power conditioning but don’t like noisy/cheap UPS or power strips that are unreliable. This is really a remarkable device.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your choice of solar generators.

Caring for your solar equipment

There are some easy things you can do to care for your solar equipment to get the longest life out of them as possible. I will list things in order from easy to most difficult.

  1. Keep them indoors. Unless they say they are rated for the outdoors keep solar equipment indoors. Solar panels that are rated to work outdoors have special protection but still get damaged by the sun/weather that happens. They develop micro cracks and that reduces the efficiency.
  2. Keep them in a temperature you would be comfortable in. Electronics hate to expand/contract, so if it below freezing or above 110 it shortens the life of electronics. While they may be rated to below freezing and higher than 110 that is not permission that you should run it at that temperature. You certainly can but it will decrease the life of your system. Batteries especially do badly in hot and freezing temps. Some types of batteries get seriously damaged and most batteries will fail to work at freezing temps. Don’t do it.
  3. Keep them in 50% humidity. I know that people don’t have a way to easily measure the humidity but look at the weather report and it will tell you the relative humidity. If there is water that can condensate on the device, it can damage the components. If you can keep it in a structure that is AC or at least dehumidified that will go a long way towards keeping it healthy for a long life.
  4. Keep it away from large electric fields/motors. Now something that isn’t considered often but things that create a large electric field like a industrial motor/large speakers or things like this can affect electronics. Even microwaves/certain mobile home phones can affect electronics. Keep that stuff away from your solar equipment.
  5. Keep UL listed equipment used with your solar equipment. UL equipment is something that is approved by the Underwriters Laboratory. It is a way to make sure that electrical best practices are followed. If you look on electrical devices most of them should have a UL logo on them. If they don’t have a UL logo I would throw that device away since it can cause a fire/unsafe to use. Even UL devices sometimes have problems, but not using a UL device is just asking for problems.

These same instructions are good to follow for all electronics not just a solar generator.