When it comes to portable solar generators, there’s always a compromise between size and capacity. For some buyers, Jackery Power’s Solar Explorer 240 provides the perfect balance between the two. It has enough power and features for most camping power needs without being too bulky, and it’s one of the few stations this size that uses a pure sine wave inverter. With 240 Wh battery and a weight of 6.6 lbs, it’s a great option for camping with a CPAP machine or powering sensitive electronic equipment.
USB Type A (2)
12 Volt Accessory (1)
Power Output That’s Safe for All Devices
The Solar Explorer 240 has a pure sine wave inverter. This turns the battery’s DC power into alternating current that switches smoothly between polarities. Unlike this modified sine wave inverters usually found in this segment, the Solar Explorer’s AC electricity is safe to use with electronics, electric motors and chargers. The grounded three prong socket delivers up to 200 watts of continuous power and handles surges up to 400 watts from reactive loads.
A 12 volt car accessory outlet lets you power a range of camp-friendly lighting and accessories, or as a way to power a CPAP machine. The 240 Wh battery pack has more than enough juice to keep one of these medical devices running overnight as long as the heater/humidifier turned off. While the unit’s small size and weight may make it seem like a good option for flights, its large battery keeps it from being TSA approved.
Need to charge a phone, camera or other small electronics? The 240 has two USB Type A ports that output up to 2.4 amps for quick charging. Here's what Jackery Power estimates a fully-charged Explorer can recharge:
All ports are on the front of the unit. The 12 volt outlet is above and to the right of the AC outlet. This can be a problem with some large power bricks, like those used for older Macbooks. Due to their size and the position of the outlet, these wall warts can cover part of the 12 volt socket. Each outlet type has its own power switch, letting you turn devices on and off from the station. A small display shows current input and output watts along with the current battery charge percent and charge state. The whole power station turns off automatically after 6 hours of power draws under 10 watts.
Applications of Jackery Explorer 240
Charging Options: Solar, Car and AC
On the left side of the front panel, there’s a 8 mm Type C socket for charging. Using a 50 watt solar panel in direct sunlight, the Solar Explorer’s battery charges in about 10 hours. Keep in mind that the actual maximum input for the Type C socket is just 42 watts: unlike other power stations in this segment, you don’t have the option of stepping up to an 80 or 100 watt panel for faster charging.
Jackery offers their own 50 Watt Explorer panel for this unit, which has an Anderson PowerPole connector as well as USB-C and USB-A ports, giving you two more charging connectors to use while charging your power station. The included power cable has ends to connect the PowerPole outlet to the Explorer’s Type C socket. The panel folds in half and uses magnets to stay closed inside the carrying bag for easy transport. It also comes with built-in storage to hold the charging cables. When it's folded, the Explorer solar panel measures 22.2 x 15.6 x 0.5 inches (56.5 x 39.5 x 1 cm). Weighs for the panel, bag and accessories is 5.4 lbs (2.46 kg). If you go with a different panel, expect a similar size and weight for this output.
The 240 can also be charged by plugging it into a household outlet or a 12 volt car accessory port. Either way, it takes about 8 hours to get a full charge. Jackery includes a 9.5 foot (2.9 meter) AC adapter and a 3.3 foot (one meter) 12 volt charging cable with this power station.
The Solar Explorer measures just 9 x 8 x 5 inches, including a handle molded into the plastic case. It weighs 6.6 lbs. This station can operate at temperature ranging from 14 to 104°F (-10 to 40°C),and it can charge at temperatures between 32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C).This makes the 240 a good option for all- weather camping.
Limitations of the Solar Explorer 240
To make this unit as small as possible, Jackery Power built the 240 with just four power ports. There’s no USB Type C, so newer devices are either limited to 2.4 amps when used with a USB A adapter. 12 volt and AC charging are also options with an adapter, but voltage conversion losses mean higher station battery drain. You should look elsewhere if you have a lot of small devices to power, including phones, tablets, cameras and drones.
Likewise, it only supports up to a 50 watt solar charger. While you should have no problem charging a flat battery on a sunny day, keeping it topped up on cloudy days or while on the move can be difficult.
If you just need to power a couple devices, or need something big enough to keep a CPAP machine running, the Explorer 240 fits the bill. There aren’t many power stations this size that come with a pure sine wave inverter, and it manages to fit a lot of power in a small, lightweight package. The number and type of ports may be a little lacking, but it's also one of the few compact power stations that can safely power electronics and motors using AC power.