So how cool would it be if you could charge up your cell phone, GPS, digital camera or flashlight on a camping trip by using a pot to boil water for dinner. Well it’s possible if you have a PowerPot, a thermoelectric generator that converts heat directly into power that can be to charge any USB handheld device.
We discovered the PowerPot V at the National Preppers and Survivalist Expo, (NPS Expo) in Nashville. A couple of the manufacturer’s reps were set up doing demonstrations and we decided it looked like a great idea and maybe we should add their product line up to our store……After a thorough test drive of course…
When you look at the PowerPot V it looks like very much like a typical portable light weight cooking pot commonly used by backpackers all over the world. But the electrical wire attached to it gives a hint to its other function, making electricity. It allows you to cook on just about any heat source and its included USB adapters will charge personal gadgets as the water boils. It holds 1 1/2 quarts of water, weighs 12 oz and made from hard-anodized aluminum. There are no moving parts like some of the similar backpacking related thermoelectric generators on the market, (the BioLite Stove has a fan), so it should be able to hold up to miles of trails and years of use. No need for moving parts is a plus for me as far as possible things to fail.
If this sounds like magic, it is, a little. The technology inside the Power Pot V is called thermoelectric power, (also known as the Seebeck Effect), and it produces electricity by converting a temperature differential between two semiconductor compounds. One side of the generator plate is hot the other side of the plate is kept relatively cold for the electrons to flow. The science is not a new idea but actually dates back to inventions and discoveries made in the early 1800’s by a physics named Thomas Johann Seebeck.
It must have water in it before putting it on the heat or permanent damage will occur to the generator. It is not designed to fry meats or cook thick stews, but when I boiled water and added a dried soup mix it seemed to do just fine. The thicker stews reportedly will not keep the correct temperature differential it needs to make electricity and could harm the magic stuff inside. The best way I found to do is to boil your water for your meal, whether it is a freeze dried Mountain House meal or some Raman noodles, and remove the PowerPot V from the flame source and let your food re-hydrate. Or if you have a companion with you with another pot, pour boiling water into theirs and add some more cool water, put it back on the fire and keep the generator running.
The Power Pot V comes standard with accessories for re-charging several of the most common USB connectors and adapters. Included is the 5 Volt USB regulator and the with a three foot charging cable that is made of heavy-duty, flame-resistant silicon wire, similar to what spark plug wires are made with. The following charging adapter tips are included: 30-pin Apple iPhone, mini USB, micro USB, and tips for Samsung, Nokia, and Blackberry. Included is also a mesh drawstring bag to carry the Power Pot that’s ideal for storage of both the PowerPot and all of the attachments all together.
The Power Pot V will only put out a maximum of 5 watts and that works out to 1A/hr. at 5 volts and is right in line with the power output of your standard wall charger that you use with your smartphone. During my tests I found that when boiling water on a regulated flame like a propane stove or my MSR Firefly, I had no trouble holding a constant charge light producing the maximum power. The results on an open campfire were not as consistent and I think it was because the distance I had it from the fire and I did not have a windscreen with be to block the wind My best results were definitely on a cook stove that I could control the flame with, (MSR Firefly stove). Next trip I’m going to try it out with my recently acquired Solo Stove.
All things considered I found the PowerPot to be reliable, well built and a great addition to my gear. As with anything else we rely on to perform an important function the old saying “Two is One and One is None” applies to any backup charging system you have. Along with the PowerPot, a good hand crank charger and a small solar panel are in my kit to handle my re-charging needs.
I am confident enough in the PowerPot to have added it to my get home bag / backpacking gear and think it’s an ideal tool for anyone that wants the ability to recharge some of the gadgets that our modern lifestyle has surrounded us with while in the woods.
Here is a link to PowerPot’s website. http://www.thepowerpot.com/
Here is a short video from the companies website on how it works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4ufvLPWqgI&feature=player_detailpage
And if your considering purchasing one, here is a link to our store’s website where we have them for sale. As always, this item is included in all of our discount coupon codes in effect.