Review of Power Traveller Power Gorilla: portable power supply

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power-gorilla-portable-off-grid-powerIsn’t it true that batteries always run out just at that crucial moment? Usually when we haven’t got a spare and there’s no mains socket to come to the rescue. And with so many electronic devices running our lives, a flat battery can really ruin your day.

Here’s another modern day nightmare… I’ve got a draw jammed full of power blocks, leads, adaptors, plugs and spare batteries of various sorts. Despite efforts to mark them clearly and stash the leads carefully, it’s still a lucky dip finding the right power supply when I’m in a hurry.

Powertraveller is one company to come to the rescue and provide a portable device that supplies a wide variety of low voltage power options to keep your electronic devices alive and kicking for hours or even days from its massive 21Ah battery.

The Power Gorilla is aptly named, it’s not a small diminuitive mouse, but a substantial power house the size and weight of a large paperback book. It’s not pocket size, but ideal for the back-pack, car glove box, or brief-case.

Lithium ion battery

Having said that this beastly will pack 21,000mAh of power and provide constant outputs of between 5V and 24V from USB and a variety of other popular plug sizes included in the kit. It weighs in at a modest 619g due to the high tech lithium ion service free battery inside. I know, this is close to the weight of a gorilla’s paw on a bad day, but remember, the power will keep your devices online for days, as opposed to just a quick emergency call or short video. Plus, you can recharge it from any portable solar panel, as well as most mains chargers with the right plug.

Mobile power

The powergorilla is a cinch to operate with a simple one button on/off, that also acts as voltage selector and a really clear informative backlit LCD display. It has built in safety circuits for automatic cut-off on overcharge and shut-down when it’s charged your devices. It can charge or power directly almost anything from a small USB MP3 player, or mobile phone to a notebook computer up to 4A.

One outstanding feature of the Power Gorilla is its power status backlit LCD. Press and hold the on button and it comes to life showing the last voltage output selected and the internal battery charge from a 6 stage bar graph. Pressing the button again cycles through the available voltages of 8.4, 9.5, 12, 16, 19, 24 Volts available from the standard DC jack output. Plus a fixed 5V is always available from the standard separate USB output.[amazon-product align=”right” small=”1″]B001FQP1MK[/amazon-product]

There is a further option to keep the USB output on constantly and not auto switch off when a device is fully charged. Plugging in a power supply allows you to see the state of charging and also when the unit is at full capacity.

Off grid living

In use I found some small bugs, such as if you draw too much current from the device, it cuts out and won’t reset, untill you plug a charger in. Mmm, that could be awkward in a field situation with no power socket. It also has a minimum current draw to keep the device supplying juice. I asked Power Traveller what this minimum was, but they did not address this in my email. However, Below whatever this value is, it will simply shut down. This function is probably because its primary use is to charge batteries and this pevents an overcharge situation when fully charged. I tried to run a colloidal silver maker from the 24V output and the initial 20ma was not enough to keep it switched on. Powertraveller sent me a USB plug dongle thing with a resistor in it to simulate the minimum current draw, so be advised this can be done, if you have this requirement for a very low current draw, but it’s not standard part of kit, you’ll have to ask them for a dummy load dongle.

A further niggle is the neoprene case that comes supplied. It’s way too small to fit the device and requires a lot of tugging and stretching to zip up. Yes, it probably will stretch in time, but it needs resizing to save initial frustration.

Self sufficiency

Build quality is robust and up to the rigours of travelling life. There are no switches or appendages to get broken and the metal case is well protected by side rubber grip mouldings. All sockets are recessesd and it appears that the whole construction is held together by screws, as opposed to weak plastic welds. Dropping this unit on a hard surface may well incur a dent to the corner or edge, but I suspect it will carry on working regardless.

The powergorilla comes as a complete kit including several plugs and adaptors to fit a range of mobile devices. Extras are available on request. If you get yourself organised with the right plug tips for all your mp3s cell phones and other electronic gismos, this battery can power and recharge them all in a very efficient and tidy manor.

I don’t feel confident to get rid of all my power blocks just yet, but next time I’m on on the road or vacation, instead of all the plugs and wires jammed in my bag, the power gorilla is coming with me and that will be a weight off my mind and my luggage.

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