January 24, 2023 5 min read

Solar power stations are perfect for accessing power off-grid because of how easy to use they are. 

Most power stations are ready to go right out of the box and anyone can learn to operate them after spending just a few minutes with the user manual. 

Portable, renewable power is more accessible now than ever before. 

But the ease of use has a downside—it’s easy to forget that power stations also require maintenance. There’s a temptation to just throw it on a shelf in your garage and not worry about it until your next power outage or long-distance road trip. 

Without the proper care, your power station’s life can be cut short (in some cases before you even get to use it). 

Fortunately, proper maintenance is simple. It comes down to proper storage and semi-annual inspections. If you do that, you’ll keep your system running efficiently and maximize its life. 

I’d suggest reading the rest of this with your power station close by so we can do the steps together. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can download our  maintenance worksheet and fill it out as you follow along.



The thing that can hurt your power station the most is improper storage. 

Storing a battery incorrectly can cause it to deteriorate quickly. If stored improperly for too long, the battery will become unusable and you’ll be stuck with a really expensive shelf decoration. 

To store your power station (and battery) correctly,

1. Make sure it’s between 50-80% charged. This is especially important right when you first get it. Sometimes power stations are shipped at a low state of charge (15-20%). Long term storage with a charge this low can deplete your battery and possibly ruin it.

2. Store it in a dry place. Portable power stations contain sensitive components, so even being in an excessively humid environment for too long can cause them to start to malfunction.

3. Store it at the correct temperature. Avoid storing it in areas that get extremely cold (like your shed in the winter) or extremely hot (the backseat of an all-black SUV). The user manual can give you more specific information about the optimal temperature for storage but, in general, keep your power station in a temperature controlled environment (like a closet in your house) if the area where you live is prone to extreme temperatures.

4. Exercise your system. You don’t have to take your power station for a walk, but batteries tend to do better in storage if they are used periodically. Every few months (at least twice a year) take your power station out of storage and run some appliances off it. After you’ve drained the battery 10-15% charge it back up to the level it was when you first put it in storage (most batteries drop a percent or two if they’re unused for a while).

Following these guidelines will help you keep your system fresh and ready to use at a moment’s notice.


Semi-annual Maintenance

Every six months you should inspect and clean your system to keep it in peak condition and prevent minor problems from becoming serious. When you conduct your inspection, you should:

1. Check for dust and debris. Believe it or not, dust can cause serious problems for your power station if you let it accumulate. Dust and other particles can get into your system through the cooling vents. Debris inside the system will coat internal components and gunk up your fans, eventually leading to overheating. 

To avoid this, shine a light into the fan vents and check for things that may stop the fan like grime buildup, trash, or hair caught by the fan. Use a can of compressed air to blow out as much debris as you can around the fan and in the system. With a toothpick or similar implement, you can carefully reach into the fan (don’t push anything past the fan) to dislodge more stubborn obstructions. 

Besides interfering with your system’s cooling ability, dust can reduce your system’s solar charging ability. Solar panels need unobstructed access to sunlight and are very sensitive to blockages. Even clear glass can sometimes interfere with a solar panel. If a solar panel is dirty or dusty you could experience reduced output, but never fear. You can clean your panels clean by wiping them down with warm soapy water. Make sure you dry the panels after you wash them to avoid leaving streaks or hard water stains.

2. Check your system for water damage. Look for signs that water may have accumulated in or on your power station such as a foggy screen, salt or hard-water buildup, or water stains on the surface it’s on. Also be sure to check your storage space for signs of water damage. 

If you suspect your power station may have gotten wet, DO NOT turn it on. Remove it from storage and let it air dry in a well-ventilated area for at least 48 hours. You can help the drying process by aiming a fan at the system (specifically towards the cooling vents). DO NOT use a space heater to dry your power station. 

When the power station is dry, turn the system on and check that all outlets and charge inputs are functional. If you notice anything not working correctly, contact the manufacturer for further instruction. 

3. Inspect your cables. Your charging cords and solar panel cables are especially susceptible to wear and tear. The connections on your solar panel cables can become brittle after long exposure to the sun. Take the time to inspect them visually to check for cracking or chipped pieces of plastic. Cracked connections can become a problem if they expose the wire inside or if the latching mechanisms are broken and no longer make a tight connection. In either case, you should consider replacing the connections or possibly the entire cable.

Other charging cables can develop shorts that don’t allow power to pass through (like in the pre-Bluetooth days when you had to hold your old headphone cables just right to listen to music). These shorts can be caused by being wrapped too tightly, a connection that’s not pushed in all the way, and just through normal use. When you inspect your system take the time to plug in each of your charging cables and make sure they properly charge the power station. Also visually inspect the plugs to check for deterioration around the metal prongs. 

If you notice any issues with your charging or solar panel cables, contact the manufacturer for further instruction. 


And that's it! You’re done.

Congrats on completing your first ever maintenance check. I promise it was and will continue to be worth your time. 

Following these simple storage guidelines and inspecting your system twice a year will go a long way towards keeping your system healthy and reliable for the next time you need it. 

If you haven't already, download our  maintenance worksheet to walk you through your next maintenance check and help you keep track of any issues. 

Now, a word of warning: You may be tempted not to inspect your shiny, new system at first since you probably (hopefully) won’t turn up any issues at the beginning. But I promise, as your system gets older and more used, the more important it will become to check up on it regularly. 

Do yourself a favor and get into the habit early on. The worst that can happen is you’ll spend some time on a Saturday with a can of compressed air in your hand instead of a Dr. Pepper. Complacency, on the other hand, can have much more time-consuming (not to mention) expensive consequences.

If you put in the work to take care of your power station, it will take care of you when it matters most.

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