Nothing lasts – or serves as intended, if it is not properly maintained. Accordingly thus, to get the best of your portable solar generator and importantly, extend its lifespan, you must master and deploy these 11 solar generator caring tips.
These maintenance tips, when properly adhered to, will see that you have a solar generator that will NEVER fail you and importantly, will serve you in the long run, for years to come. This will mean that you’ll not need to go shopping for another unit for a long time to come.
However, before we proceed with these maintenance tips, let’s see why you really need to care for your portable solar generator by bothering with these tips in the first place.
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Why Should You Bother With These Solar Generator Caring Tips?
Here are the top reasons why you should not only bother with caring for your solar power unit, but go all the way to the end to ensure that your generator is actually properly cared for and maintained:
- A well cared for solar generator will last longer than one that is ignored or neglected. With an increased lifespan, you’ll thus need to open your wallet less for a replacement, saving money in the process.
- Portable solar generators that are well maintained will hardly disappoint you. This is important when you’re in the wild, are experiencing an emergency or cannot afford a delay in your output.
- Properly caring for your solar generator means ensuring that your safety is given premium. A poorly maintained generator can easily be the cause of an accident that may threaten life, injure you (or loved ones) or at the very least, bring in a tonne of discomfort.
- Finally, a solar generator that is well cared for deploying the solar generator caring tips that we share below will ultimately ensure perfect peace of mind. This means that, instead of being stressed up daily and wondering if your generator will deliver or not, you’ll comfortably ride on, knowing that nothing will ever come between you and steady, portable power. Now, who doesn’t love and appreciate that feeling of certainty and assurance?
Let’s now take a careful look at the 11 smart tips for caring for/maintaining your portable solar generator we have compiled for you.
11 Smart Maintenance Tips For Caring For Your Portable Solar Generator
Here we go; these 11 tips will help you keep your portable solar generating set up and running for a long time to come.
1. Do Not Expose Your Solar Generator To Dust
Dust particles and the internal diodes and circuits of your generator do not go well together. This effect is however not easily seen or felt – in the short run.
However, in the long run, the dust may harden into something much more formidable than mere flying particles. It is at this stage that the smooth running of your generator will be threatened.
To avoid this, do not use your generator in a dust infested place. However, if you must, use a hair dryer and power out the dust (via the air vents of the generator) and get everything clean again before the next cycle of use is due.
When storing, ensure that you keep your unit in a place that is dust proof or you dustproof it by wrapping it in a dust resistant leather to keep the annoying flying particles off and away.
MORE: Still Confused About Portable Solar Generators? Get Your Answers Here
2. Avoid Water (Even If Your Model Is Waterproof)
Some portable solar generators (like the Renogy KIT FIREFLY 20W All-One-Generator Kit) have a waterproof case – and this makes such generators are resistant to water.
However, there is always an upper limit to which even the best and most reliable waterproof solar generator will tolerate. Beyond that point, the generator is just a plain generator and will accordingly, behave as such 🙂
Usually, the strong-point for waterproof solar generators is a water splash or an accidental and quick immersion, usually, not exceeding 3 meters. Anything beyond this ultimately negates the ‘waterproof’ in the generator’s name.
An easy way out of this is to treat even the most reliable and rugged waterproof solar generator as one that is not so featured. This way, you will not have to ever face the challenges of a generator that meets water the wrong way.
Summary? Do not willingly let water touch your solar generator, even if it is waterproof. Only remember that it is waterproofed when you’re faced with a rainy situation (or an accident) and there is practically no way out 🙂
3. Do Not Let The Generator Fall (As Much As Depends On You)
Accidents, ordinarily, are sudden, unintended and always, happen by chance.
This is the general position that has been taught over the years – and what we all have come to believe.
However, the sad truth is this: what many persons refer to as an accident is simply, carelessness and often, stupidity.
For instance, there is no point getting drunk and handling your portable solar power station or worse, transporting it. Any damage that is incurred when such a risky action takes place isn’t really an accident, it is the intended product/direct result of gross stupidity!
One of such sad things that can happen to your generator (especially when you’re not paying attention) is a fall – a reality that will ultimately damage it or shorten its lifespan.
As much as depends on you thus, do not let your solar generator fall. Once it falls, your woes have begun – even when it does not show visible signs of damage!
4. Store At Half Charge
The temptation to store the battery of your power generator at full charge is great when you’re not using it. This is done mostly to tackle the ‘storage leak’ issue that happens all the time when batteries are in storage, irrespective of their type or make.
However, to ensure the longevity of the batteries and to ensure that they serve you awesomely when you’re ready again to use the generator again, it is a smarter option to store the batteries therein only with a 30-50 percent charge.
When in storage too, it is a smart option to ensure that the environment is cool and free from heat, that is, if you’re interested in getting your batteries back in the state they were stored in.
5. Charge Every 3-6 Months When In Storage
Closely related to the immediate point above is the reality that, when in storage, you’re supposed to charge the battery of your generator at least, every 3-6 months.
The logic behind this charging schedule is to ensure that the charge in your battery is sustained – with the sole objective of ensuring that you get the same battery that you stored (without a battery drain – and possible ‘cell death’), when you finally decide to start using your generator again on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
This ‘maintenance charge’ is for the benefit of the battery so charged and should not be skipped. This is the reason why the 3-6 months interval is given. If you have so many things on your mind, be sure to set a digital alarm or mark your calendar so that you’ll get the battery of your unit charged as and when due.
6. Do Not Deplete More Than 95% Of The Power When In Use
Maintaining the battery of your solar generator is key to having it serve you consistently, over time in a manner that you’ll be proud of.
One of such battery maintenance tips, apart from the ones already treated above, is to ensure that not more than 95% of your generator’s battery is depleted before you attempt to recharge it again.
This means that, you need to ensure that, your generator does not run right to the point where it is flat before you stop it – or plug it in.
Allowing your generator to run and deplete 100% of its power before you bother with recharging it drains the battery of its charge and to a large extent, cycle as each successive charge is seen as charging from the ground up – and ultimately counts toward the cycle lifetime of the battery before it hits the dust and needs to be changed completely.
Further, some batteries/generators have difficulty charging up when they’re 100% depleted and may need a boost to be able to pick up and charge normally. This is particularly so when you’re charging the unit with solar power and the sun isn’t very bright.
7. Use Only Recommended Charging Accessories
When you pick up a portable solar generator, it comes with its own charging accessories: both for AC & DC (solar panels via the sun).
When this is not the case, recommended charging accessories are prescribed and it is suggested that you ensure that you very well stick to these charging accessories, if you desire a safe unit that will also last its way through the years.
One way you can ensure this is to always make certain that you use the chargers (both AC and DC) that your generator came with. In this wise, you’ll be following the manufacture’s recommendations and will not fall foul of any warranty issues, especially the bit about void warranties.
However, if you need to use any other charger (solar or otherwise) other than the ones that were supplied with your generator, kindly ensure that you pick only suitable and compatible models from either 3rd party marketplaces like Amazon or directly on the manufacture’s site.
If the 2 options immediately above fail – and you’re left with no other solution but to get an OEM product from China (or any other product for that matter), be sure to carefully check the ratings and ensure that the options you’re getting match the ratings of the original accessory you’re replacing.
The reason for this is that, the power ratings of accessories is not decorative: it is the best ‘power-point’ that the your generator will function optimally. Thus, using any other option or unprescribed power accessories is an invitation to both danger, anarchy and ultimately, a short life span of your portable power generator.
8. Get (Only) The Right Battery When Replacing
Right next to getting the right accessories is the reality of ensuring that you replace your generator battery with the exact model and type when you need to do so (for models that have removable – replaceable batteries).
This means that, the volts and raw power of the battery you’re replacing should match with the initial original that accompanied the portable solar generator.
As with the accessories, this can be realized by either getting the original and compatible batteries by buying directly from the manufacturer or on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. However, with batteries, be ultra careful choosing OEM versions, even when they appear to have all the specification that match the original. Often, such batteries are poor counterfeits and contain something else entirely.
Failure to adhere to the tips above will most likely end in an accident, explosion or something much more deadly/lethal. At the least, you could sadly wind up blowing your circuits, ICs and other important fuses in your generator.
The good thing is that, genuine batteries are generally cheap – and easy to both get and replace, even if you are a novice or it is your very first time using/opening up a portable solar generator.
9. Protect Your Portable Solar Generator From Extreme Heat
Heat, especially the extreme variant, is not good for your generator, especially when it is working. If you force it to work under such conditions, the fan gradually proves inadequate and at the end, the main-board is affected – leading to partial or total malfunction.
The trick is to avoid operating your generator above the stated temperature range – specified by the manufacturer and contained in the manual or on the body of the unit itself.
As a rule, any temperature that makes you uncomfortable directly and puts a desire in you for a fan is not a great temperature range for operating your generator, especially for long periods.
Aside practical use, extreme heat (when in storage) is not also a smart idea for your power station. Storing the generator where there is adequate ventilation will not only ensure that sensitive parts last their longest, it will also make certain that you enjoy your unit when you pick it up again to use after the initial storage period.
However, if you must operate the generator in an instance/place where it is unavoidable to escape harsh temperature, the smartest thing to do is to use it for a brief period – allow it to cool down before using it again. This way, you’ll also ensure that your battery keeps a charge always – a charge that will certainly prove handy when the need for it actually presents itself.
10. Never Overload Your Solar Unit
The trap of solar technology (and renewable portable power by extension) is that many users tend to genuinely believe that it is infinitely inexhaustible. This belief, sadly, is chiefly responsible for abuses – which overloading often tops.
Overloading your unit is a situation where the total load that the generator is bugled down with is more than the generator’s total carrying capacity. In this case, the generator’s inverter is forced to carter for a range of appliances that ordinarily, it is not supposed to carter for. Picture your 5 year old son carrying her 18 year old sister 🙂
You get the gist.
To ensure this never happens, always ensure that you take a look at the total rated watts of the inverter of your generator. When you have this, we recommend that you never load more than one third of that figure.
Other ‘experts’ argue that this figure should be two-thirds. However, this is not an ideal ratio to start with. We therefore submit that, the two-third ratio should be looked at as a maximum, an upper cap and not the recommended basic that you should always subject your generator to.
MORE: Is Buying A Portable Solar Generator A Wise Decision?
For example, if you have a portable solar generator that has an inbuilt inverter rated at 1,000W, we recommend that the total load you should subject the unit to at any given time should not exceed 333W.
However, if you’re in dire need to add more load, then, we recommend an upper cap of 666W. However, do not take this upper cap to mean your ‘new normal’. Instead, understand it to mean a spot you’re not allowed to proceed beyond.
Never should you, on any account, load your power source (assuming it has an inverter rated 1,000W) north of 900W…this will make the power producing piece pack up faster than anyone will imagine or comprehend!
11. Do Not Run Your Generator Like The Grid
Finally, it is instructive to understand that, your solar generator is not the grid – do not thus run it as such.
This means that, no matter how pressing you are in need of power or how consistent you believe you need energy, do not form the habit of running the generator 24/7.
It is advised that you run the generator around the range of 8-14 hours a day and use the remaining hours of the day to charge it – or simply allow it some rest.
To achieve this, kindly ensure that the gadgets that you use the generator to power are electronic pieces that are in themselves running great batteries capable of holding a charge. In this wise, you’ll not need to keep the generator on for prolonged hours a day.
Besides this, for gadgets that are without a dedicated battery, the smartest thing to do is to limit use and only power them by your renewable energy generator when it is necessary and no viable alternative actually exist.
Remember, the generator is not the grid…in a positive and responsible way. You have to manage it yourself!
The concept of portable solar power is still entirely new – and understanding of how these awesome little devices/gadgets work is still clouded in mystery – to a large and appreciable extent.
This is why we decided to put up this piece – to complement the awesome work great portable power brands like Goal Zero, Kalisaya and Suoaki are doing.
We sincerely believe that, you will enjoy whatsoever solar generator you decide on in the joyful years to come. We also believe that, if you religiously follow these tips, your generator will serve you in an unceasingly and completely unfailing fashion.