DJI Power 1000 Solar Generator Hands-On Review

For overlanding, camping, or surviving a zombie apocalypse, this power bank and solar charging system will keep your devices going until the end.
DJI Power 1000 Solar Generator Review

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You don’t have to be a doomsday prepper to want a solar generator like the DJI Power 1000 kit. I’m not quite to the point of full-hermit. I have no desire to live off-grid in the middle of nowhere; most of the time. That doesn’t mean I don’t see the value in having the ability to generate power with solar panels and store it for later use. In fact, it looks like we are in for a hot summer here in Vegas. Planning for brownouts is likely a necessity. Although I knew beforehand this wouldn’t power my AC unit for more than an hour, or run my fridge for more than a few hours, I wanted to see how much of my lifestyle it could maintain.

Solar generators like this 1000 watt-hour DJI aren’t just for home use. In fact, they’re ruggedized so they can be taken out into the wild. In my case, “the wild” is a few miles outside of town for hobbies that require power when I am nowhere near an outlet. I could get away with just the power bank portion of the solar generator on most days. For longer stays that are more or less day camping, it’s nice to be able to throw a solar panel on the roof of the car and get free electricity.

DJI Power 1000 Solar Generator

How much is a DJI Power 1000, or what am I paying for free energy?

I know that half of you clicked on this just to find out how much it costs and at least half of you price searchers just want to rage-post about it. So, here it is. The total recommended retail price for the power bank, solar panel, car charging cable, and accessories is $1347.00. There it is, get angry. Tell the world how you can get a couple of car batteries and a junkyard alternator mounted to the stationary bike you bought at a garage sale, and get the same results. 

As I write, a few places including the DJI website, have the whole thing on sale for $1047.00 but I can’t find an end date listed for that sale. That’s an entire package, let’s look at some individual prices. Just the power bank retails for $999.00 and is on sale for $699.00 from DJI. I had a solar panel adapter module, for $59.00. It allows you to connect up to three solar panels. Each 100-watt solar panel is $299.00 separately. You can also buy it in a kit with the adaptor and three panels for $956.00 which is a little savings. If you aren’t familiar with solar generators and power banks, all of this may sound expensive, but the DJI is priced competitively with the Ankers, Jackerys, and other top brands.

How long will a 1000 Wh power bank power your home?

First, what is a Watt-hour? A Watt is a unit of power. As the name suggests, a Watt-hour(Wh) is 1 Watt sustained for an hour. Power x Time = Energy. If you produce 2 Watts for 30 minutes, that is still 1 Wh. The Power 1000 as you may have guessed is rated at 1000 Wh. If you have something that requires 100 Watts, this will run it for roughly 10 hours. There are losses, so it won’t really go the full 10. 

The first thing I did with the Power 1000 was take out to the RC plane field and use it to charge LiPo batteries. DJI offers adaptors to charge the battery packs for its drones directly off the power bank. I used a Traxxas smart charger, which I’m sure is not as efficient. Still, my charger pulled at most 20 Watts while charging. I was also using the solar panel, which was generating between 70 and 85 Watts. Even when we let a friend charge at the same time with a second smart charger, we still had a net positive gain for the battery bank. It was in the low 80s that day and the Power 1000 didn’t show any sign of getting warm.

Next, I decided to see how it faired powering my daily activities. I had planned ahead and charged it to 100% using the solar panel the day before. Free energy! I got up in the morning and ran my coffee grinder off it first. It pulls about 75 Watts and runs for 35 seconds. It didn’t even register as usage. Then I found one of the biggest electron gluttons in my house, the electric kettle. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

My water comes out of the fridge at roughly 42°F(5.6C) and I have my kettle set to 202°F(94.4C). We’ll call that plus 160°C. The Kettle holds about a liter(1000 grams) of water. It takes 1 calorie to increase 1 gram of water 1 degreee C. So that’s 1,000 grams x (94.4 – 5.6) = 88,800 calories. Which converts to 103 Wh. The power bank went from 100% down to 88%. If it did really lose 12% or 120 Wh, that means my kettle is around 86% efficient. That surprisingly beats the pants off a microwave.

I immediately plugged in the solar panel and let it charge while enjoying my coffee and getting in a quick workout. In that time, I was able to bump it up to to 93% charge. I plugged in my normal workstation, which is an M2 Macbook Air, a 27-inch monitor, and I was charging my wireless headphones. All of that together pulls about 75 Watts. I didn’t have my modem/router plugged in, that would have added another 15 to 20 Watts on top of that. It certainly would have lasted my 8 hour day. Although, if I was really serious about it, I would have moved everything downstairs and plugged back into solar, and it would’ve been close to net-zero.

I’ve used the Power 1000 to charge my Blaupunkt E-Bike, which pulls about 90 Watts. It’s a 36 volt, 10.5 ah pack, so about 380 Wh total. It took about 3 hours to charge, but registered that it used 45% of the power banks energy. I was curious so I pulled out the Topdon thermal camera I recently tested. I found the Blaupunkt charger runs at about 140°F, I wonder where all that energy is going? Anyway, I had used solar to charge it to begin with and then again to recharge it, so big gains for the environment, bro.

What are the specs of the DJI Power 1000

Maybe I should have led with this, but let’s take a look under the hood. I’ve already mentioned that this is rated at 1000 Wh, but if you dig around the specs you’ll find it is actually 1024 Wh capacity in its LiFePO4, lithium ferrophosphate, batteries. These are more stable and provide more charge cycles than either Li-ion or LiPo. They are however heavier and the power bank alone weighs about 30 pounds. It’s roughly 18 x 9 x 9 inches, has handles on both ends and is made from quality materials. The solar panel is 51 x 21 x 1 inches unfolded and looks like it could be made by Tumi, it’s nice. It folds to roughly 14 x 21 x 3 and has a zipper pocket on the outside for the cable and legs that fold.

You have a variety of options for power input and output. There are two normal AC ports, two USB-c, two USB-A, and SDC and SDC-Lite and an AC input. A separate adaptor allows you to use 12-volt sockets for both input and output. The maximum continuous output is rated at 2200 Watts, which I never saw, and total peak is rated at 4400 Watts, which would be one powerful water kettle. The USB-A ports max out at 24 Watts and the USB-C at 140 Watts. Oh and it comes in black with very, very dark grey accents.

DJI Power 1000 Solar Generator: The Verdict

DJI Power 1000

When I heard DJI was making a solar generator, I expected it to be good. I also expected it to be expensive, like really expensive. I know a thousand bucks is a big chunk of change, but it’s a competitive price in the market. You can find cheaper units, but I’m not sure I would want to depend on them in an emergency or keep them in my house. 

This is a tough market, Amazon is overflowing with power banks and solar generators. My first suggestion to anyone buying one is to look for a reputable manufacturer. Not only for safety, but most of these include a decent warranty. This DJI has a 3-year warranty that you can extend by an additional 2 years when you register your product. Other products may have a similar warranty, but if you aren’t sure that company will be around, what is that warranty worth?

The DJI Power 1000 is easy to use. Easy to setup, and it does everything intuitively. Basically, there’s an on/off button. A button to turn on the AC ports. A switch to control the rate of charge, and then a screen that shows battery capacity along with Watts in and out and an estimate of how long it can provide power at whatever the current rate happens to be. 

As much as I like the idea of having something like this around for emergencies, I like being able to use it for normal outdoor activities. My son and I are out flying RC planes or driving RC cars on a weekly basis. It’s nice to be able to use a power bank rather than having to idle the car the whole time to power a charger.

Right now, I have an e-bike for commuting, but I have been eyeing an e-MTB. This could definitely be useful if and when I pull the trigger on one of those. If you camp or overland, this a no-brainer. A 1000 Wh power bank isn’t going to save you when the power goes out for days in the heat of summer or the cold of winter, but it might save what’s in your fridge or allow you to charge devices and maintain communications. I feel like I;ve said this a few times recently, but I didn’t realize how useful this could be until I started using it.