This is for the CPAP users here that want to camp.
EBay currently has a coupon for 15% off which brings this unit down to $177.65 +tax with free shipping. The version that comes with the 12v car charging cable is just $10 more. This is arguably the ...
Here’s a lengthy review left on Amazon by a CPAP user.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best small Solar Generator on the Market
Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2022
I bought the EB3a to test out its functionality and to hopefully use it as backup power for my CPAP in our frequent power outages. It has a 600W sustained load rating and a peak output wattage of 1200W. It will only allow you to hit that peak rating for a split second or two before it reads overload and will shut off so you need to be sure to look at the input needs of each device before you plug them in to ensure compatibility.
I have had this unit for about a month and have used it off and on almost daily, testing things that would work and may not work. This has yielded some interesting results. But before I get into that I wanted to give you a brief list of my credentials so that you have some idea as to my background. I was an electronics technician in the navy for 20 years before retiring and have hundreds of hours of experience working on small electronics as well as large equipment with very high voltage requirements. I have been involved in testing and certification of new equipment for the US military and have spent time as a shift test engineer.
That said there are several video’s out there that discuss the efficiency and the capacity of the EB3A so I wont bore you with those types of details. Honestly what do you need to know?? What can it do… What can I use it for….. Is it worth the asking price… Am I going to get value out of it….First question what can it do and what can you use it for.. These are VERY open-ended questions because the reality is that anything that fits inside its power output range it can power. Some of the sicario’s that I have put it through were things like. Charging a laptop, charging two iPad Pro’s and 2 iPhone 12 Max’s. Will it overheat or shut down if I charge multiple tablets and how about a hair dryer? Can it power that?
Well, the answer is yes maybe…. Depends on the brand and rating of the hair dryer. I was able to get it to run on low and with low heat if I pulsed the heat on and off. This may seem odd but to the right group of people this info could be very useful, take my wife for example…
Also I was able to charge and use my electronic tooth brush with Water pick. All functions worked with no difference between using it plugged in to normal house power and plugged in to the EB3A. In fact the only time I really ran in to any issues was when I tried to run my coffee pot on it. Every time the heating element came on the EB3A would shut down with an overload condition, to be honest this was expected as the coffee pot has a 1300w rating which GREATLY exceeds the 600w rating of the unit itself. It also powered an ultrasonic sink both heating and pulsing its ultra-sonic waves with no issue.
The last thing I tried was a house box fan. This surprised me the most of all the tests I did. The box fan ran for 6 hours on low. I charged it up and it ran for almost 4hours on high. Now don’t take these numbers as some kind of promise that it will power your fan for that long but hey, I was impressed.
This little unit has some guts! It weighs in at 10.2lbs so its not something that you would want to take hiking into the wilderness BUT day camping or car camping I would throw this in the bag with no hesitations.
I did run my CPAP off this and was able to get 10.5hours out of it with the heater off and running it off the AC inverter. That really surprised me that I could get even 1 night's sleep on it.Is it worth the asking price…
When looking at battery-powered devices the quality of the battery is the whole price tag and its what makes a good device good and a bad one well bad! You wouldn’t think twice about paying top dollar for a big top-of-the-line truck or muscle car but you would be mad if someone tried to sell you a ford pinto for $50K. The same applies to things like a solar generators.
If the maker puts cheap 18650 cells in it at a standard market price and they start to fail after only a handful of uses then where is the value, but if they put LiPO or even better LiFePO batteries and ask just above the standard market price you can expect years of reliable use and there for the additional money now makes more sense and brings added value to your purchase. I have charged and discharged this unit nearly daily and sometimes 4 or 5 times in a single day just to put it through its paces and using the box fan as my constant I still get 6 hours on low even after more than 60 cycles of the battery from full charge to full discharge. Why is this important?
Well.. Battery cells can often be a place where companies will try to cut corners to reduce the cost of a unit to make it more appealing to the general public. Back in 2019 I was in the market for a CPAP battery but didn’t want to pay the premium price tag that medical-grade equipment has.
I ordered multiple Solar generators to power my CPAP and even tried car jump battery pack that had a built-in dc-ac converter. None of these worked for more than in some cases a few hours in others I could get 1-night sleep on them but they would require hours in some cases all day to recharge and after several charge-discharge cycles I started to notice that most of them wouldn’t hold that same level of charge for very long where I might have been able to get a full night to sleep now I was only getting 6-7 hours and while this is not terrible at some point its just not useful.
I finally found a unit that would hold a charge and would give me multiple nights of sleep. But that is for another review. I have now slept on the EB3A for 3 separate nights two nights as a stand-alone power source and one night with it in UPS mode. During the two nights that I spent using it as an external power source, I slept for roughly 9.5 hours and woke up to the EB3A still having 15-20% charge. Anyone that knows or has worked with battery-powered units will tell you that the last ~25% is always iffy and should be treated as suspect because most battery-powered units are really only guessing at the percentage remaining that said you should always assume that a battery at 25% or below is in need of charged and should not be relied upon for continued use. But to have even close to 25% left in a battery pack that is converting the DC power into AC and then the unit to convert it back to DC that's darn good. Honestly, the only way to make this better would be for Bluetti to add a 24vDC outlet onto the unit directly and while powering a CPAP isn’t the primary mission of this solar generator I feel for such a small and compact unit this does a wonderful job. And truthfully I expected it to be dead after 9 hours, so this is a pleasant surprise, please note: my Cpap settings are a little higher than most because im a bigger dude I run about 12 to 15 on the pressure settings, a lower setting like 6 could possibly yield you close to 2 nights on your CPAP with the heater disabled.
The charge time from 0% to fully charged is not far from the manufacturer's stated times. In Eco mode with silent charging, it averaged 1 hour and 20 ish minutes to a full charge. This can be hastened by turning on the fast-charging mode but beware that this causes a lot of excess heat and will shorten the life of the batteries. I did use Fast-Charging once to see what the difference in charging was. In silent, it charges at roughly 111w in Fast-Charge it ramps up to 456W. While the difference is huge, I would tend to guess that by using this mode you are most likely to only get ½ of the rated cycles out of the battery pack. It is always best to charge a battery at the lowest charge setting to reduce the amount of heat that the cells experience. That said there are times when a more vigorous charge may be warranted.
But I’ll leave that discussion to another time. The cost of this unit at the time of recording is roughly $300 that said compared to many other models on the market some that I have reviewed in the past or have sent back and refused to review. This unit has features that many lack such as wireless charging and voltage conditioning on the DC side of the unit.
The voltage is very stable both in DC and on the AC side this means that sensitive electronics won’t be negatively affected by the voltage drop of the battery or battery bounce back which happens when a load is applied and then disappears. Most of the solar generators on the market are made with LiPO batteries and not even name-brand cells the LiFePO4 batteries in the bluetti should last over 2000 cycles which when compared to the LiPO life of 200-250 cycles means you are getting a LOT MORE for your money.
All that said what are some things that I didn’t like? First off the fan (in silent mode)… The fan is a variable voltage/speed fan and when it first ramps up during charging it makes a highish pitched noise that when you first hear it makes you wonder if it's going to blow up. Don’t worry once it's up to speed the noise goes away and all you can hear is the standard noise that most small fans make. That said its very quiet and can’t be heard from across the room. Second the max load… This is a tough one because really I think 600W is great for a smaller lighter unit it can power a LARGE range of things without much hassle and the trade-off of a 700 or 800w ac inverter would be that you would end up needing a bigger battery to afford the higher ac wattage. 3rd The screen…. I really wish that it would stay on longer. Or give you the option to see the time remaining in the app. It’s a small thing but sometimes when you plug something in you want to see how the unit is handling it and what to expect from the battery as far as how long it will last…. And well you have to keep hitting the button to see the estimated time remaining and battery draw.
Lastly The app I LOVE the app it has SOOOooooooo much potential. Please Bluetti adds more functionality to the app. There is much that a web-based app can provide such as a number of discharge/charge cycles, battery health and more accurate/averaged discharge rate and battery time remaining, this is great for loads that change constantly like a CPAP…Final Thoughts:This is one of those things that if you have never had one before you wonder what you did before you had it. In testing, I plugged in as many devices as I possibly could and as long as I kept it below the max 600w it handled it all beautifully. I am impressed with the fit and finish of this unit none of the buttons feel like they are cheap the plastic is well made the handle is very secure.
Overall I feel like it is well built and well worth the asking price. With today's technology and the need to have a device charger close at hand, this is a great option for daily use as well it will prepare you for power outages and even a great power source to take on the road.
This is best for 1-2 people and if you intend to use it for a larger family I would recommend looking into the larger EB50 or 70s models. There definitely seems to be a correlation between price and quality when you compare the Bluetti EB3a to other comparable brands. I will be uploading a video soon with much more information. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions about the unit.UPDATE: 08/30/2022Have been using the EB3a now daily since we received the unit. Still love having it around.
I recently received the Solar Charge Cable for the unit and have tried charging it a couple of times with the 2 100W panels that I have on top of my shed, it is for sure slower than charging it via 120vac wall power that's too be expected but the versatility is AMAZING. I will be using this in our RV when we are able to take it out. I was concerned about using my panels with no charge controller as it was going to be a hassle to wire in the charge controller in its current location.
After reaching out to Sarah and Cimy they assured me that a charge controller was not necessary and that the open voltage must be between 12 and 28vdc and it must not exceed 28vdc open voltage. After checking my panels they were well within spec 15.8vdc so I plugged them in and away it went charging like a champ. I have to say that I am even more impressed with this unit than I was initially. Thank You to Sarah who worked with me to get the solar charge cable she was very quick to respond and very professional she is a great asset to the Bluetti organization. Also to Cimy who has assisted me with many random questions that I have had. They are both great assets to this company and a pleasure for someone like me to work with