Solar generators are growing and adapting quickly to fit modern needs and to make them more practical for the everyday person. One big improvement that is being made is creating generators with pass-through charging so you aren’t stuck with an unusable brick for most of the day when your generator needs to charge.
What is Pass-Through Charging?
Pass-through charging is when a device can be charged and charge another device at the same time. In solar generators, this usually means that you can power your solar generator with solar panels at the same time you have a device plugged into the generator to charge.
As long as the device you are charging or powering isn’t pulling more power than the solar generator is getting from its panels, you can still fill up the generator so that it can be used later. If your device is asking for more power than your panels are providing, you can use solar charging to extend the life of your generator so it can power devices for longer.
However, even when you are charging a generator in a different way, such as through an AC outlet in your home, it can be beneficial. Some older homes don’t have the number of outlets that modern technology requires, and you may often find yourself searching for an outlet to charge a device.
If you are charging your solar generator before you head out to go camping, and you want to charge other devices at the same time, you can plug your generator into the outlet and then your other devices into the generator.
There is a loss of efficiency with this method, so it isn’t ideal for everyday use, but it can be a good option when you need to charge a lot in a minimal amount of time.
Another good use for a solar generator that uses pass-through charging is if your home experiences a lot of black or brown-outs. By plugging a device into a generator, which is then plugged into a wall, you can ensure that the device continues to receive power from the full generator even when your electricity shuts off for a while.
Do Most Solar Generators Allow for Pass-Through Charging?
Not all solar generators allow for pass-through charging, but most of the better companies have made it a standard feature, especially in their larger generators.
For example, Rockpals 300W, ROADOM 222Wh, and Goal Zero Yeti 3000x have the option for pass-through charging.
Some smaller generators that are made to charge basic devices and have limited battery banks may not support pass-through charging just because it is inefficient. If the device and solar panels are too small, they will not be able to provide pass-through charging and fill up the battery at the same time.
Thankfully, most generator companies will tell you, either in their manual or their FAQs page online whether the device can be charged at the same time as it is charging. It may not be called pass-through, but there will often be a warning saying not to use your generator in this way if it can’t support it.