Jackery Power Station How to & Troubleshooting Guide

If you like to camp or live off-grid, then a Jackery power station is your best friend. You can even use it in place of a generator even if you do not live off-grid. This power station is an upgraded version of UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). It can be charged using solar, an electric generator, a car outlet, or a wall power outlet. 

So how do you use a Jackery efficiently and fix it when it malfunctions? Keep reading to find out.

How to charge a Jackery power station

Before use or storage, plug your explorer 500 into the wall until it is fully charged. If the LCD screen shows less than 20% capacity, plug it into a power source, like an ac outlet or a solar panel, as soon as possible.

There are three methods to recharge your Jackery power station:

  1. Charge by solar panels
    • For the E1000 and lower models: Panels must output 12v-30v and have the correct connection plug (7.9mm*5.5mm*0.9mm).
    • For the E1500 or higher: Panels must output 12v-51v and have the correct connection plug (8.0mm*5.5mm*2.0mm).
  2. Charge by wall outlet through the ac charger that comes with the product.
  3. Charge by car outlet through the car charging cable with the Jackery.

Expected recharge time for each method;

  • Wall charger 6.5 hours
  • Car charger 7.5 hours
  • 100w solar panels 9 hours
  • Electric generator 6.5 hours

How to use the saga 100w to charge the E500 

Jackery recommends the best match: use one Jackery solar saga 100w solar panel to charge the E500.

Solar recharging steps:

  • Find the dc interface on the back of solarsaga 100w;
  • Connect the dc interface of solarsaga 100w with the input of explorer 500.

Can I use a 3rd party solar panel to charge my Jackery?

Yes. Jackery power stations can be charged with a third-party brand solar panel. You must match the plug size and input voltage of the Jackery power station you are trying to charge.

For example, third-party solar panels for the explorer 1000 should have the following specs:

  • The voltage must be between 12-30v
  • The plug connection size: outer diameter 7.9mm, inner diameter 5.5mm, inner needle diameter 0.9mm (empty)

However, Jackery does not recommend other brand products to recharge your Jackery power station. As the safety and quality of those products can’t be guaranteed. And they do not provide after-sale services for them. It is highly recommended that you purchase the matching Jackery solarsaga solar panel(s) for your Jackery explorer.

Jackery not charging – cause and fixes

  • Check if all connections are okay.
  • Use the provided ac charger to charge to see.
  • Use a soft cloth to remove the dust and dirt on the surface.

Test under midday strong sunlight. Connect the solar panel, and make sure there is no shadow cast on the panel. You can unplug and plug in several times to see.

If you are using another brand of solar panels to charge the E500:

  • Check if all connections are okay.
  • Use the provided ac charger to charge to see.
  • Use a soft cloth to remove the dust and dirt on the surface.

Test under midday strong sunlight. Connect the solar panel, and make sure there is no shadow cast on the panel. You can unplug and plug in several times to see. If E500 can be recharged by ac charger well, it shows that there is nothing wrong with the E500 and checks if there is a problem with the solar panel.

Jackery ac outlet not working

When the power station has something wrong with input when using the ac charger cable:

  • Check if the charger cable and the power station are reliably connected; whether the charger indicator light is on.
  • Check if the original charger is used.
  • Whether the charging indicator of the power station power supply is on and whether the screen displays the charging power.
  • Try to use the provided car charging cable to charge to see. This troubleshooting is also fit for dc input failure.

Jackery power station solar panels are not working

A solar panel can stop working due to one or more issues: low voltage/amperage, poor cable connections, hot spots (non-performing cells), micro-cracks, panel stains, and internal malfunction. These issues mostly come from adverse weather conditions and poor maintenance.

Solar panels are sensitive devices; you can avert certain problems before they worsen by paying attention to the warning signs.

If your portable solar panel isn’t working, it can be due to low sunlight conditions, incompatible connectors, dirty solar cells, or an internal malfunction.

Below are some of the reasons your solar panel may have suddenly stopped working:

1. No power output

This frequently happens with solar panels and can be caused by a faulty charge controller, poor sunlight, or (for two or more connected panels) a problematic panel in your PV arrangement.

One problematic PV module is enough to shut down your entire solar system since they are interconnected. In addition, sometimes, a charge controller cannot handle the amount of energy running through it.

This can be checked by using a multimeter to review the solar input section of the charge controller. Next, use the multimeter to test the vmp (voltage at maximum power) and imp (current at maximum power). These numbers can be found on the back of your solar panel.

Depending on your solar setup (series or parallel), you will typically have a higher voltage or higher amperage when using multiple panels together. If you only have one solar panel that doesn’t use a charge controller, the below issues may better suit your situation.

2. Low voltage or amperage output

Some of the major reasons for a low voltage or amperage from a solar panel include shading, temperature, and faults from the solar panel. To test this out for your panel, a multimeter is the best option if you do not have a power bank or a similar device that measures amps and volts.

3. Poor cable connections

Another way a malfunction can occur is from using a poor-quality or incompatible connection. The solar panel came with several connector tips to charge different devices (laptops, solar generators, etc.). Still, the initial solar input reading was very low when using the best connection fit into my Jackery (66-67w).

If you’re using third-party solar panels with a solar generator (or any device) to charge it up, make sure you confirm that they are compatible or not.

4. Hot spots on the panels

Giving your unobstructed panel sunlight can solve/prevent hot spots

Solar panels generate electricity, which flows through each cell in a panel and out to power your gadgets.

However, electricity flow can be obstructed by a non-performing cell – the result is that the excess electricity is transferred elsewhere. In this case, the energy is converted to heat.

This situation resembles a water pipe, where one section is constricted. As a result, the narrow segment will experience higher pressure –higher pressure is the same as higher temperature!

Hot spots on your solar panel can be caused by a dirty surface which results in one section of the panel receiving full sunlight while the dirty section receives only part of its full potential. Thoroughly cleaning the surface of your panel may bring it back to its full capabilities (output power).

Another way this can happen is from improper sunlight coming to the panel throughout the day.

A way to check this is to observe the panels on a sunny day every 2-3 hours. Check to see if the panel (or panels) are being blocked by trees, bushes, or any other objects.

If only part of one panel is receiving full sunlight at a certain period in the day, this can cause a hot spot to occur.

Either relocating the panel or removing any brush in the way can help your panel recover to its full specifications.

If these options don’t work for you and you think it may be an internal error, most solar panels are covered under long warranties. However, if you believe the issue is internal and not easily fixable, i recommend calling customer support to get your money back or a replacement panel.

5. Micro-cracks

Micro-cracks in solar cells are a regular and complex task for makers of solar panels. It is challenging to accurately measure their impact on a solar panel’s overall effectiveness and durability. Micro-cracks are one of the main sources of faulty or even inactive cells.

However, micro-cracks are virtually difficult to avoid and, in the long run, will distress most solar panels, including high-quality panels. They are prompted by mechanical, chemical, and environmental factors causing stress to the panel – such as hail, snow, sun fluctuations, wind, and severe coldness.

Stress factors are geared to the thermal cycles of the solar cells involving contracting, expanding, and flexing metal contacts, solder, and wire.

This is a complicated problem to fix and will most likely be solved by using your warranty to get the panel (or panels) replaced.

In addition, micro-cracks are much more common in permanent solar installations. Therefore, if you use a portable solar panel occasionally, this is probably not the core issue for your malfunction.

6. Panel stains

Panel stains often build up over a long period of usage or can occur after using on a single occasion if using a portable solar panel. The larger the solar panel you use, the easier it is to get stains on it from dirt, grass, leaves, you name it.

Sometimes a layer of dust can accumulate on the solar cells if you use the panel frequently without cleaning it. Any particle on your panel can reduce its output, but stains rarely cause the panel to stop working completely.

If your solar panel isn’t performing to its specifications, clean off the cells and backtrack to see if the low power output is due to a different issue.

How do I know if my portable solar panels are working?

There are several ways to test if your solar panel is working properly

Portable solar panels work properly when their rated open-circuit voltage (voc) and short-circuit current (isc) are similar to your testing using a multimeter. However, voc changes according to temperature – solar panel voltages will decrease in hot weather and increase in cold weather.

You might easily detect a faulty solar panel by observing your solar system’s performance at specific times. 

The following tips will help you self-diagnose your solar panels;

1. Check for obstructions

Some of the things that might obstruct sunlight include:

Trees, branches, plants, leaves, etc. Covering the panel

Dust and debris that may have settled on the panel over time

Placing the solar panel on an uneven surface

2. Check the solar panel’s indicator light

First, check your portable solar panel’s led indicator light to see if it produces power.

If it’s not on while attempting to use it and it’s not charging your desired devices, then there’s likely an internal malfunction in the solar panel.

3. Use a multimeter to check amps and volts

Each portable solar panel has an open-circuit voltage (voc) and short-circuit current (isc) rating. “voc” is measured in volts (v), while “isc” is measured in amps (a).

  • Open-circuit voltage (voc) – measured in volts (v)
  • Short-circuit current (isc) – measured in amps (a)

A multimeter will be able to test the amps and volts from the solar panel to ensure it is working correctly according to its specifications.

Caution: using a multimeter with a solar panel may cause the ground (black) connection to spark, and you may hear this as a brief cracking sound. This is a standard procedure and is perfectly normal.

How do you test a portable solar panel?

You test a portable solar panel by connecting its leads to a multimeter to measure its open-circuit voltage (voc) and short-circuit current (isc) rating. First, connect the solar panel and multimeter leads by corresponding polarity – positive (red to red) and negative (black to black).

As stated before, “voc” is measured in volts (v), while “isc” is measured in amps (a).

These power ratings are typically found on the back of the panel.

If you can’t find the ratings on the panel, your user manual is the next place to look for them.

Why are you testing your portable solar panel?

There are two main reasons why you’d test your portable solar panel:

  • To make sure it’s compatible with your devices
  • To confirm if the panel is working to its specifications

Both the voc and isc are excellent ratings to measure in a portable solar panel because these numbers let you know if your devices can handle the maximum voltage and current coming from the panel.

If you’re using usb ports from the solar panel, you most likely don’t need to worry about testing these ports.

These ports are already programmed to output the correct amount of power for usb charging.

These types of plugs/connectors are usually found in solar panels that are rated for over 30w.

In a portable power station, a charge controller manages the solar panel’s output within a specific range. So if you’re using your portable power station to charge from solar, the panel needs to be within the specifications for its charging input.

If your panel is too powerful or too weak for your power station, it can either damage your system (too much power) or not power it (the solar panel is too small – low power output).

The main idea is to ensure your charge controller can handle the maximum allowable voltage and amperage delivered from the solar panel.

Important notes: When measuring voc, as temperatures outside go above 77 degrees fahrenheit, the panel will produce an increasingly lower average voltage than its voc rating.

As temperatures continue below 77 degrees, the average voltage will be higher.

This is because every solar panel uses STC, short for standard testing conditions, to measure its power ratings. As you may have assumed, 77 degrees Fahrenheit is the STC for temperature.

When measuring isc, temperatures exceeding the STC will typically produce a slightly higher amperage than the listed isc on the panel

With these facts in mind, you’ll be able to test if your panel is working correctly and if it will be compatible with your portable power station setup.

Maintaining your portable solar panel

Below are some maintenance tips that you can use to expand the lifetime of your solar panel;

1. Properly secure the panel when using it

Portable solar chargers x-dragon 20w Sunpower solar panel waterproof foldable camping battery charger with dual usb ports & solariq technology for iphone, ipad mini, samsung, other cell phones

Most panels are strong and durable, but they also are very thin when unfolded.

In addition, most portable solar panels are foldable, which can bring some wear to the folding sections after heavy use.

For a long-lasting solar charger, use buckles, carabiners, zip-ties, or something similar to strap your panel onto your backpack or wherever you intend to place it.

The less it moves when fastened, the better.

2. Avoid water

Too much water from splashing or rainfall can damage a portable solar panel. Although you probably won’t use a portable solar panel in the rain, you may be exposed to it when camping or backpacking.

If you do, store your panel in a certain part of your backpack or inside your tent. Most portable solar panels are waterproof on the panel face; some are even completely water-resistant.

That being said, the water resistance rating or ip rating (ex: ip67) is vitally important to understanding how much water a solar panel can tolerate.

Most companies give you a rating like this in their product listing. Nevertheless, there is a limit to which even the best and the most dependable waterproof solar panel will endure.

3. Clean your panels regularly (solar cells & connectors)

Cleaning solar panels (portable ones or residential ones) should be a regular maintenance routine. Portable solar panels can get dirty fast depending on how often and in which environments you use them.

It’s best practice to clean the solar panel cells whenever you notice them getting dirty. You can use a sponge or damp paper towel to clean the grime off easily. On the same note, the connectors on the solar panel should be cleaned with a qtip or compressed air to remove any particles that can accumulate when used outdoors.

This will not only make the panel work better, but it’ll last longer while maintaining its original performance.

Jackery power station no power from USB outlets

Ensure you are charging items using a USB that the power station’s USB outlets can support. Additionally, they should not require an immense power amount as the power station will not be able to power it.

Also, check if the connection is loose and remedy the issue. Lastly, hold the display power button for 8s to reset the battery before using it. If this does not work, contact Jackery customer service.

Jackery power station not charged after 10 hours

Below are some reasons why your power station may not be charging;

Faulty solar panel

One of the most obvious things is your solar panel is broken. Thus, it is unable to provide you with enough voltage to charge the battery. Here are some common faults with solar panel

Hot spots:  if you are using your solar panel for a long time, hot spots are bound to appear. If you look at your panel, you’ll see part of the panel is covered by shadow. And this spot will have a greater temperature; thus, hotspots appear. Soon it damages the solar module and grid line, and your solar panels lose efficiency.

Weird pattern: your panel can get cracked easily. And water will seep into it as a result. Once inside the PV cell, a weird reaction can create weird patterns on your solar panel.

Cracked panel: your panel may already be cracked. It is hard to notice cracking with naked eyes. Crack often causes mechanical failures and reduces power output this destroying the solar panel day by day

Broken diode: if your panel by any chance has a broken diode and you are connecting your panel directly to your battery, the current flow will reverse at night and drain your battery. Be careful of this phenomenon. Maybe your solar panel is getting drained, and you are not noticing it. 

Low-quality panel: if you are using a cheap solar panel or a very old one, there is a chance it will not work. Old or low-quality product has faulty internal circuit and can get busted at any time. Thus trying to use old or extremely low-quality solar panels can cause problems like battery not being charged.

Solution:

Look at the wiring if your solar panel’s power output is zero. Make sure that positive and negative poles are not reversed. Then make sure your panel is not getting handicapped by shadows or weather. Then check if your specs of the panel are correct. For example, the open-circuit voltage must meet the controller’s requirement. Also, be sure not to use overpowered solar panels. 

If this fails and your solar panel fails to function properly, it is most likely broken. If you use cheap, low-quality, or old panels, consider replacing them. Otherwise, if you spot a hot spot, weird pattern, or cracks on your panel, it’s time to replace it.

Faulty battery

If you are trying to charge a broken battery, it will not work at all. Also, don’t try to charge incompatible batteries with solar panels. You can identify a faulty battery is to looking for leakage, discoloration, budge, etc. 

Another problem is when you don’t charge the battery for a long time or run out of power and let it sit idle for a long time. In that case, you can’t directly charge your battery using a solar panel.

Solution:

Your battery capacity needs to be reasonable. So first, check if your battery is dead (you will see no voltage from the battery in that case). If you are trying to use a ruined battery, it won’t work. So take good care of your battery and refrain from using low-quality ones. Also, refrain from trying to charge incompatible batteries. 

One crucial problem is letting your battery sit idle for a long time. Then it becomes hard to charge the battery using the solar panel. Check your battery voltage; if it is low, fill it out with a current charger. 

If your battery is badly damaged and isn’t working at all, it’s time to use a new battery.

Broken equipment

Most commonly, the culprit here is either inverter or the charge controllers. But do note other things can be broken too. Be sure to check your regulator, too, to see if it is busted or not. Also, check all the equipment related to the charging system needs to function fully. 

Solution:

If your charge controller or other equipment is broken, it is highly recommended that you replace those and buy new ones. Of course, if you are confident in your skills, you can try to self-repair it but replacing the broken components is easier.

Wrong setup

Without proper setup for solar panels, charge controllers, and batteries, you’ll end up with a non-functioning system. One mistake people make in setup is to connect panels to batteries directly. Instead, it’s highly recommended to use a solar controller. The wrong setup includes improper connection, bad connections, and messing up the positive and negative pole connection. Also, add in open circuits and voltage mismatch. 

Another key part of the wrong setup is the environmental factor. Your solar panel won’t work in extreme weather conditions or without proper sunlight. If trees are near your solar panel, the shade will lower your voltage, and charging won’t happen. 

Correct setup guide

  • Here is a quick setup guide on charging your battery with a solar panel. 
  • Connect your solar charge controller with the battery. Do not connect the panel before connecting the battery and solar charge controller. 
  • Make sure you connect the positive and negative poles properly. (positive wire on positive terminal, negative wire on negative terminal)
  • Check the voltage of the solar panel in the sun. The voltage of the solar panel must be greater than the voltage of the battery.
  • Connect the panel to the solar charge controller. Don’t mess up the positive and negative sides.
  • Your solar charge controller should indicate both battery and panel have been connected. 

You probably won’t face such problems if you set up your system correctly and have good quality equipment. However, do note this is a guide for a simple system. If you have a much more complex system, it is highly recommended you hire a good electrician to troubleshoot your system. 

Also, along with this setup, make sure your solar panel is getting good sunlight and not being shadowed by trees or other things. And weather conditions should be normal.

A faulty solar charge controller

Your solar charge controller can be broken. In that case, your battery won’t be charged. Usually, low-quality charge controllers have this problem. Sometimes the charge regulator gets damaged and needs replacing. Also, solar charge controllers can have various problems like moon error symbol, display freeze, and no power, which will cause problems charging your battery.

Also, your solar charge controller settings can all be messed up. If you have an advanced interactive solar charge controller, ensure you don’t accidentally set up some unknown settings. 

Solution:

Solar charge controller troubleshoot. 

If your solar panel is showing a problem moon error symbol, zero power, frozen display, etc. It affects your battery charging. The easy fix is to reset your solar charge controller.

As with any electronic resetting works like a charm. A quick restart can easily resolve the solar panel not charging the battery. There are two types of reset. Hard and soft. Try the soft one before attempting the hard one.

A soft reset is simple. Press the reset button and restart your charge controller. In some models, you must press both the power and the reset button, and in some, four buttons together. Its screen will blink and flash, returning to the same display screen soon after. It’s basically like rebooting a phone. 

A hard reset entails disconnecting the system. Do this night if you attempt it. Disconnect the battery first, then disconnect the panel. Do not forget in which order you disconnected the wires. Wait like two to ten minutes. It depends on the controller. Reconnect the wire in the same order you disconnected them. 

In most cases, a soft reset is enough. However, if it is not working, attempt a hard reset. Resetting a solar charge controller is one of the most common solutions if your solar panel is not charging the battery, so don’t forget it.

Jackery power station not holding charge?

Try to reset it and then charge it to see if it will start holding charge. You should also note that a power station will need more than solar energy if it has been sitting without charge for a while. In this case you need to use an electrical generator or a power outlet to charge the power station. 

You should also ensure that you charge your power station within an ambient temperature of 0-40°c (32-104°f). And keep it flat while charging. 

If this does not work, it could be an indication that your power station is damaged. Have a certified professional assess and repair it before you write it off. Alternatively, you can reach out to the Jackery support center for assistance. If your power station is still under warranty they may repair or replace it. 

Note:  you should not charge your power station via a power supply outlet that is outside the 100-240v range. 

How do I reset my Jackery power station?

To reset a Jackery explorer 500w portable, hold the display power button for 8s to reset the battery. To reset a Jackery 1500, hold the display power button and USB button simultaneously for at least 13 seconds to reset the battery.

Why does my Jackery turn off?

The battery would auto turn off if the draw is below 10w in 6 hours. The explorer 1500a will shut off if unused (i.e., drawing under 25w of power) for 12 hours. Suppose you have the updated explorer 1500b. In that case, you can prevent it from automatically shutting off due to no-load/low-load by simply pressing the ac switch and display button simultaneously for 10 seconds.

Alternatively, it could be on “economy” mode. Some Jackery power stations have an economy mode that shuts the unit off after 3-4 hours. Refer to your user manual to figure out how to turn off the mode.

Can I leave my Jackery plugged in all the time?

There’s no danger of overcharging a battery if you leave it plugged in all the time, even 24/7. As soon as it hits 100 percent, it will cease charging and won’t start again until the voltage falls below a certain level. So keeping the Jackery plugged into your wall will mean that it’s always fully charged and ready for use. 

Jackery recommends that you discharge the explorer 1000 every three months to keep the batteries in good shape. That said, it is important to note that fully discharging a battery will damage it. Try to keep it at 20% minimum.

Can you replace the battery in a Jackery?

No, the batteries inside of Jackery power station can’t be replaced – at least not easily. The unit is not user serviceable.

Can you charge and use a Jackery at the same time?

Yes, Jackery power stations support pass-through charging. But we don’t suggest it, especially if you want it to charge it up very fast.

Can a Jackery be used as a UPS?

Though it won’t typically work like a UPS, you can still wire appliances you want to be backed up to it and leave the Jackery plugged to mains power constantly. It will pass through power when charged and only kick to drawing from the batteries if you want.

Check this too: Can a Solar Generator Power a House?

However, a Jackery shines when used as a power backup instead of having it constantly on while still connected to the mains like a UPS.

Can a Jackery power a refrigerator?

The explorer 1000 can run a residential refrigerator rated at less than 1000w for up to 7 hours depending on conditions. In addition, the Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station will power a mini-fridge for 3+ hours, and the Jackery explorer 500 portable power station will power one for 8+ hours.

Can a Jackery power a tv?

Yes. The Jackery power station can power lights, phones, laptops, TVs, blenders and much more. For example, the Jackery Explorer 240 can power a tv for over three hours. The explorer 1000 can power a tv for 14 hours on a full charge. Additionally, you can use pass through charging to keep powering your tv for longer than the anticipated charge time.

How to store your Jackery

Keep the battery power above 20% when regularly using or storing the power station. A fully charged battery can last for several months. However, recharge it every 3 months to keep the battery power above 50% if you don’t use it.

Oscar

In his spare time, Oscar loves tinkering with electronics. Solar panels, wiring, old TVs and sometimes DIY powerwalls. When he is not busy trying not to electrocute himself, you can find him in the garden tending to his vegetables and chickens.

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