For this edition of Gear Check, we’re turning our attention away from UAVs, and taking a look at a piece of equipment that could be beneficial to any drone operator or mission. The folks over at 4Patriots sent us the Patriot Power Generator 1800 to put to the test and use in the field to see just how capable this machine really is. Before we get into my experience with the Patriot Power Generator 1800, let’s look at the specs it boasts:
2x 120-volt AC Outlets
4x USB Outlets
1x 12-Volt Solar Extension Cable Outlet
1x 12-Volt DC Outlet
At face value, the Patriot Power Generator 1800 has a true plug-and-play design. It truly is as simple as setting up the panels, plugging the cord into the generator, and watching the magic happen. On top of that, you can get a full charge to this generator’s battery in a hurry. Charging from 0% to 100% takes about 3.5 hours via the included AC cord or 10 hours when using the solar panels.
It’s got an incredible lifespan for an electric generator with a battery that is rated to last 2,500+ lifecycles. That’s 6.8 years of daily use. The Patriot Power Generator holds a full charge for up to 1 year, but it is recommended to charge the unit every 3-6 months.
When you pair the generator with its solar panel it becomes an energy source that is as green as it gets. No carbon footprint, no greenhouse gases or other emissions—this thing is totally safe for the environment while in use.
Within its power class, it’s lightweight and portable. This generator weighs only 40lbs, making it half the weight and delivering more power than competing products. And the cost is economically sound as well. For the power you get from this unit, the total overall cost is reasonable at just $2,500 USD. That’s just a dollar per battery cycle! What I found interesting though were the potential use cases for the generator and how long the battery would power some commonly-used equipment and devices – here are just a few examples:
USB Lamp - 193 Hours
Phone Charger - 153.6 Hours
Mini Fridge - 106 Hours
Fridge/Freezer - 19.2 Hours
Aquarium Heater - 5.1 Hours
CPAP Machine - 15.4 Hours
Portable Stove - 38 Minutes
Microwave - 51 Minutes
Now, while the general specs on the Patriot Power Generator 1800 are impressive, how does this powerful little machine rate when it comes to use by drone pilots? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons I found with it when using it for drone ops:
+ Extreme Power for equipment, batteries, and accessories of any size or demand.
+ Powered all my charging and chargeable equipment and accessories.
+ Powered Colorado Drone Chargers case.
+ Super easy plug-n-play setup. Takes less than 5 minutes to get charging with solar panels. Even less than that when using AC cord.
+ Solar Powered when out in the field – pipeline inspections, remote settings, etc.
+ Fully Portable while in-use. Internal battery continues to operate even on-the-go.
+ Easy to use and quick-learn instructions make it perfect for anyone to use.
+ Perfect power solution to larger commercial and enterprise drone operations that need a lot of power no matter where they are located.
- Despite being sleek for its class, it’s heavy overall. It’s lighter than most other generators in its class, but it’s still a whopping 40lbs. While it is technically portable, it’s not necessarily easy to move around. Not ideal for projects that require air-travel or for smaller set-ups and vehicles.
- Set-up is easy overall, but the solar panels in-particular are kind of hard to handle solo and some of the outlet placement is mildly confusing at first glance.
- No sun and no access to a power outlet means no charging.
- Expensive. Yes, it may only be $1 per charging cycle, but it’s still $2,500. Unless you’re a larger operation or are dealing with projects that pay you thousands of dollars per day, this may not be the best investment for you for a mobile power solution.
General: 8.6 out of 10
Drone Operation: 6.9 out of 10
In conclusion, I was really pleased with the power this generator provided. It is reliable and easy to use overall. I could see this being a lifesaver for a production team out in the field if they needed a power source that could handle a heavy lift type of demand. This thing can, quite literally, power the basic operations of a house (fridge, microwave, stovetop, space heater, fans, etc.), so handling a handful of charging stations and devices for a drone pilot is nothing.
All that said, I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s not the right solution for solo-operator missions and companies like my own. While I cannot discount the utility of this device, I also cannot name any instances out in the field where something like this would have saved a job for me or made my life easier. I have smaller devices that allow me to turn my Jeep’s battery into a power source for most of my equipment and I don’t often find myself in such a remote location that I would need to lean on this to recharge my equipment. Between the size and price plus the solar panels used to power the generator, I just don’t see this as something that makes sense for smaller operations and solo operators.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the product and I want to sincerely thank 4Patriots for sending this out to me to review. It’s a GREAT product and if you’re a drone pilot who also likes to have options (aka you’re a “prepper”) when the brown stuff hits the fan, I’d highly recommend the Patriot Power Generator 1800 to you.
As this is not a drone, we cannot accurately determine categories for scoring, I’m going to give it two overall scores – one for general use of the product and the other for drone operations.