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Equipping the Overland Vehicle Vehicle accessories - Making your home away from home comfortable, safe and reliable.
Photo by Ellen Delis, Lagunas Ojos del Campo, Antofalla, Catamarca

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Photo by Ellen Delis,
Lagunas Ojos del Campo,
Antofalla, Catamarca



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Old 28 May 2023
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Bluetti EB70S Portable Power Station review

Why?

If you've ever drained the battery on your 4x4 because you've been charging one too many gadgets, or run the lights too long while setting up camp in the dark, you appreciate the need for extra battery power. If you're doing a lot of off-roading, you might go the the trouble of adding an additional battery to your vehicle, with the significant expense and difficulty of fitting it in, extra wiring and switching etc. Or, especially if you're not out all the time, you could do it the easy way, and add a portable power station like the Bluetti EB70S. Small, light, and charges off anything, including your vehicle or solar panels, and gives you the peace of mind knowing you're not draining the vehicle battery and run the risk of it not starting in the morning.

There's loads of other reasons too, and I'll get into some of them below.

Impressions

On receiving the Bluetti EB70S, I was impressed at the compact size, and all of the wires that came with it - everything you need to connect to any common charge source is included in the box. Nice to see you don't have to immediately run out and buy the "right" connector. (If you want to connect directly to a 12v battery, a rare instance, you will need to get a cable for that.)



(above, and left to right) Charging cables included, wall socket cable, solar panel cable, 12v cigarette socket cable, and wall charging brick.

The packaging was excellent, the unit very well protected, so little risk of damage in shipping.

I also really liked the excellent carrying handle, which makes it easy to move around, and folds down tidily to leave a nice flat surface to put things you're charging onto, and makes it more compact to store.

The included manual is thin, but has all the info you need - it's really not a complicated gadget, and you could easily get away without reading the manual at all - but it's always wise to read it anyway, as you will pick up a couple of tips that could save you some head scratching down the road.

The Battery - the heart of the matter

Lithium-ion batteries are almost ubiquitous today, used in a multitude of gadgets we use every day. However, lithium-ion batteries have many negatives too. For one, they're less eco-friendly, using Cobalt and Lithium, both rare and thus expensive, as well as the ethical and environmental issues in mining in poor countries. Also, we've all heard about the battery fires and explosions! The biggest advantage of Lithium-ion batteries is their excellent energy storage density, excellent power at a low weight, which is why they're the standard in things you carry with you - like your phone.

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries as used in the Bluetti EB70S are a better choice in many cases, as they're much safer, and don't use Cobalt or Lithium, instead using Iron (Fe) and carbon nanotubes. They are becoming very popular in applications where old lead acid batteries were common, including solar power storage.

The EB70S has a 716Wh capacity with an 800W rated continuous wattage with 1400W peak (surge), which makes it excellent for small appliances you might use on a camping trip like mini-fridges, LED lights for the tent, electric pumps for your posh air mattress, and of course phones, game gear like X-boxes, laptops, and, well you can probably think of even more uses!

Power

There are so many ways to charge the Bluetti EB70S it almost seems like overkill - but every method is going to be useful to someone, or anyone at various times.

Charging the EB70S

Fast charging, only 3-4 hours from the wall charger, and 7-8 hours from a 12v car socket, or impressively only 3-4 hours from Bluetti's solar panels (OCV 12-28V, 200W). When charging from any source, be it wall socket, solar, generator, car, or directly connected to 12v battery, it will automatically stop charging when fully charged.

What it's good for - Charging your gadgets!



(above) First ever charge, straight out of the box, sitting in the snow and charging my phone - well, it would have been if I'd remembered to push the on button for DC power!

The Bluetti EB70S has 12 output ports! Two 100w USB C ports and two 3A USB A ports, two DC5221 ports (for connecting LED lights, or even a CCTV system), a 15w wireless charging station on top, a 12v cigarette socket, and 4 AC ports. And you can have all of those in use at once!



(above) Front panel of the Bluetti EB70S, simple and very functional, showing full charge and no load. The upper 000 is input wattage, and the lower 000 is output wattage. All connections are in this one panel, no hunting around in the back.

NOTE: According to the manual, it is recommended to stop charging equipment when the battery gets down to 20% or less in order to maintain the best battery life. There is no warning, you need to keep an eye on the level. I wonder about this, as one of the benefits of a LiFePO4 battery is that they are good at deep discharge, so while I wouldn't push my luck here if I didn't have to, if necessary in an emergency situation I'd run it until it died. Doesn't mean I'd RECOMMEND doing that, you COULD damage the battery and they do warn you in the manual, so make your own decision on that.

Tip: Checking the battery level - This is easiest done by pressing the AC power button. The display will light. You can press the AC button at any time to check the battery status, even if it's currently powering AC items, as the button DOES NOT turn the power OFF - ONLY on. It's NOT a toggle switch IF you have something plugged in, unlike the left panel button DC power button, which DOES toggle off and on, so unless you're not charging anything, you don't want to use the DC button. I just use the AC button by habit. It DOES toggle if nothing is plugged in. Nice!

You can also check the status screen by pressing the light button once. If you press it again, the light comes on. I prefer the AC button, because it's too easy to turn the light on and then you have to cycle through the various levels, and it's BRIGHT to look at! Oh yeah, BRIGHT is a good thing!

Wireless charging - the Bluetti EB70S charges my iPhone 13 in an Otterbox case nicely. Be sure to place the phone on the pad lengthwise, not across the unit or it won't charge well if at all. Also it can be a bit fiddly with placement, and it also won't charge reliably through a thick case, but both are true of wireless chargers in general, so always check that it is actually charging, don't just slap the phone down and walk away.

At one point I charged the unit fully, and left it for a couple of months during the early spring, and when I went to use it wondered what the state of charge would be. I was delighted to find it was still reading 100%. Given that there are only 5 bars for battery state, it could have been lower, possibly as low as 90%; lower and I assume it will shift to displaying 80%, but I'm only guessing here as there is no way to know for sure. Still, the display gives enough information, and that the battery was still fully or nearly fully charged after a couple of months is excellent.




Cool stuff


Onboard light is handy when the power goes out! It has low and high settings, and a third setting will flash SOS!

ECO setting - you can have the unit turn off completely after 4 hours charging on very low (less than 10w) or no load to save self-discharge drain.

Two year warranty is excellent.

The DC5521 ports are high quality, fit snugly.

Things I didn't like:

Noisy fan on the power brick when charging, and it doesn't shut off when the charge is complete, so you may want to unplug it when the unit is fully charged.

It comes with a nice hook and loop strap to tie the cables into a neat bundle, but a simple pouch would have been nice to keep it all tidy.

Charge status bars - would have been nice to have a simple number displayed, but the bars are quick and easy to read and good enough.

Specifications:

Light & Compact

At 9.7kg/21.4lbs, (320x216x221mm / 12.6" x 8.5" x 8.7") it's easy to take the Bluetti EB70s with you just about anywhere, on camping trips for a little glamping, movie night with a projector and laptop at the campground, family picnics, or stored in a closet for emergencies. Anyone can get it out and start charging phones and more in seconds.

Loads of power:

800/1400W Peak. The 716Wh battery delivers 800W continuous power.

The ultra-stable LiFePO₄ battery chemistry, with 2500+ life cycles means it will last you for many years of reliable power.

4 - 110V AC outlets
2 - 100W PD ports
2 - 5V/3A USB-A ports
2 - regulated 12V/10A DC outputs
1 - 12V/10A car port
1 - 15W wireless charging pad
Max input of 200W, can be fully recharged in 3-4 hrs with solar panels (OCV 12-28V, 200W) It can also be fully recharged from an AC wall outlet in 3-4 hrs or a 12V car port in 7-8 hrs.


More information at Bluetti.ca
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Grant Johnson
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backup power, emergency power, lifepo4, portable power, solar power


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