Living in the country, is really great, but there are a few problems that one can expect. One is loss of electrical power - especially in the winter months, where I live - in Western Oregon. We have a lot of rain, and it causes trees to fall across power lines, knocking out power, and we lose our power at times, for days. I have a back-up generator, and I use it to keep my refrigerator and freezer cold, so I don't lose any foods. I don't have a need to watch tv all the time, or surf the 'net, so I don't use my back-up generator power for that. However, I do like to keep my cell phone charged, as does my wife, and daughter who lives next door. I hate to waste a lot of precious gas running the generator to charge-up some cell phones, so this can be a problem.
I was recently sent a review sample Power Pot. To be honest, I wasn't even sure what the Power Pot was, until I read the instructions. I though it might have been a strange-looking camp cup for cooking soup or heating water. Well, it does heat water, but not the way you think. The Power Pot can be filled with water, and placed over a small fire - and you don't need a large fire - once the water heats up you can connect your cell phone to the power cord from the Power Pot, and charge you cell phone. What? Yes, you simply boil water, and you can charge your cell phone, rechargeable batteries, GPS systems, lights and more. You can charge a wide variety of of USB devices with up to 5W of power. This is all possible though Thermo-Electric Generator (TEG) technology.
Let's back up a little bit, why would anyone want to haul around a little pot in their backpack or BOB, out in the wilderness? Well, there's good reason to haul the Power Pot. Suppose you are traveling and get stuck on a back road in the winter, and you can't get out? You cell phone battery goes dead, and you can't reach anyone. I've heard this story numerous times on the tv news - someone gets lost or stranded, and try calling for help, and their cell phone battery dies just when they need it the most. Not a good thing! You can even pack the Power Pot in your glove box or the trunk of your car, and you won't know it's there, until you need it the most. You can carry fuel, or something like a small camp stove, and once you gather fuel, you can get a fire going, and add water to the Power Pot, and once it starts boiling, plug you cell phone into the heat resistant power cord - and in no time, you'll have your mobile devices charged and ready to go.
One of the main things you need to be aware of is that, you can NOT run the Power Pot without water in the cup, if you do, you'll ruin the TEG junctions, rendering it irreparably "dead.". You must keep an eye on the water level, don't let the Power Pot run dry, ever! How can it actually work as advertised? Well, I'll tell you what, I took an old cell phone, with a completely dead battery, and inside of about an hour and a half, the batter was fully charged. Yes! I did have to add more and more water to the Power Pot, but it wasn't that big of a deal to do. And, it doesn't take long for the Power Pot to start generating power - once it heats up, we're talking 10-60 seconds, and you can power-up you cell phone or other mobile device. No, you're not going to charge it in 10-60 seconds, but you can "start" the charging process that fast.
I questioned the durability of the power cable, coming from the Power Pot to the cell phone I was charging - how would the heat affect the power cord? Well, the cord cable has a heat-resistant silicone fiberglass protective layer that can withstand temps as high as 600-dgrees. Still, if I wanted to make sure my Power Pot keeps working, I'm going to try and keep the power cord away from direct flames from a camp fire. Can you cook with the Power Pot - probably, but it's not a good idea, you might damage it and it would be of no use to you when you need to charge a mobile device. The maximum power generated by the Power Pot is 5W - and as low as 1W with low heat - and this is more than enough to power many mobile devices.
The only drawback I can see with the Power Pot is - water! If you happen to break down, or get lost in the wilderness, and there isn't any water source, you can't use the Power Pot. However, if you are prepared, you will have water in your BOB or in your vehicle. Failing that, you will have to find a source of water.
The Power Pot works very well. It comes with a lifetime guarantee, and if you follow the instructions, it will give you a lifetime of trouble-free power. Now the price. The Power Pot is almost $150 - yes, that's a bit spendy. However, how much would you pay, if your car broke down, on a back road, in the middle of winter, and you needed to charge you cell phone, so you could call for help? Yes, that's what I thought: you'd pay just about anything to be able to charge your cell phone or GPS. I believe the Power Pot is a very worthwhile investment for any Prepper. I don't want to run my back-up generator, for hours, just to charge my cell phone, and was all that fuel. I can go in my carport, and start a small fire, and put the Power Pot on, with water, and charge my cell phone that way, and save my gas for my generator for more important tasks. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio
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