Review Bluetti EP500 5100Wh – In today’s article, we’re going to be reviewing Bluetti’s brand new EP500 solar generator. This thing is big, and I mean absolutely massive. It puts out 5100 watt-hours and it’s capable of some pretty amazing stuff, but it’s far from perfect, and in this article, we’re going to take a look at the unit in detail, put it through a series of tests, and help you decide if this might be something for you.
Review Bluetti EP500 5100Wh
1. Bluetti EP500 5100Wh Overview
It’s got a modern look overall that I like. They’ve even included four wheels, you’ve got two large ones on the front, and these ones on the back can rotate and lock in position. Now, you’re definitely going to need them because this unit is heavy at 167 pounds, and the majority of that weight is due to the batteries.
a. The EP500 LCD
The EP500 uses lithium iron phosphate batteries. These are currently some of the best types of batteries for a battery generator like this. Because they can handle a lot more charge cycles, and they’re actually much safer, in terms of a fire risk. Using it the first time is easy, just flip the built-in circuit breaker to the ON position, press the power button and wait a few moments for the unit to start up. The built-in screen is full color, and it is a touch screen which makes using this a lot easier than other models.
b. The EP500 Ports
All of the ports in the EP500 are covered and they’ve split them up to make it a little bit easier to connect things into them. On the top, you’ve got the DC output cover, and when you flip this open, you can see you have a number of ports you can use. You’ve got a 12 volts dc 30 amp plug along with a fully regulated cigarette lighter style outlet, and additionally, you’ve got two 12 volts dc 10 amp plugs. Then you’ve got the normal USB with fast charging and a 100 watts USB-C port, and you’ve also got wireless charging on the top of the unit.
c. The EP500 Charge
You can charge 2 different devices up to 15 watts each, but you can’t do anything with this unit unless you can charge it up. They’ve given you 2 different ways to get the job done. You can charge it via an AC outlet in your house, or by using solar power. The AC cord is included, just plug it in your regular outlet, and it’s got these pretty cool twist-lock style plugs, just line up the white dots and then turn the blue-collar and the plug will be securely locked in place.
The best way to charge this device is to use the free power of the sun, and the included solar input cable it can actually handle between 70 and 145 volts or up to 1200 watts of solar input. That’s a lot of power and you can charge the unit in as little as 4 hours, and the cable you see is standard and included right in the box.
Using the built-in display is a little bit odd, but it gives you everything you need. The interface can show you how much power is going in and out, the state of the battery, your battery management system, and pretty much everything you need to see what’s going on and customize certain settings. Additionally, this unit has built-in wi-fi, and they will be supplying you with an app.
I had a demo version of the app that unfortunately was beta, and it just didn’t really work. So, I couldn’t show you in the article, you can see in the display, I’m putting in about 561 watts, and that’ll charge the unit up in about 9 to 9.5 hours. It’s also worth noting that the cooling fans are in fact smart fans, and they only turn ON when needed even just a couple of feet away.
You’re barely hearing them at all-around 37 decibels, and when you’re dealing with this much power cooling system is critical. So, the verification was working properly and there was no leakage, I conducted a smoke test. I put the smoke in the front, and you can see the output coming out the rear, and there was no smoke getting out from any other areas of the case.
2. The EP500 Capacity Test
The EP500 is rated for up to 2000 watts continuously, which means you should be able to run 2000 watts at any point in time, without causing any sort of fault. And to test that out, I connected an industrial heat gun, started on a low setting, and then cranked it up. Now, I’m taking about 1800 watts, but I wanted to get this right at the 2000 watt limit.
So, I connected this small heater as well, and now I’m drawing just over 2000 watts. I ran this for about 20 minutes, I didn’t have any issues at all. But what if you’ve got something that has a big startup draw, and could draw over the 2000 watts. Well, the EP500 can actually run 3000 surge watts, but I wanted to put that claim to the test.
So, I added this small heat gun that uses around 300 watts, and we ran it around 2300 watts, and the unit had no problems whatsoever. It actually ran it for several minutes, but then I went ahead and added a much larger heater that used around 300 watts to see if I could overload the unit, and what would happen? So, once I plugged in the heater, it was already ON within just a couple of seconds. You can hear the error tone, and the unit shut down, and this is exactly what it should have done because the unit would have been drawing over 4000 watts.
EP500 claims that it puts out pure sine wave power, and it also states that it’s capable of 5100 watts hours. First, I wanted to check out the quality of the power. So, I used my Tektronix power analyzer and connected it up things like voltage frequency, and harmonic distortion was all perfect. But the sine wave was exactly what I was looking for, and it’s definitely putting out pure assigned power.
3. The EP500 Efficiency Test
Review Bluetti EP500 5100Wh – Now, it’s time for the real test, the efficiency test, because these units all have a dirty little secret, and that’s that they don’t really put out the power, you think they do? Because inside of each one of these devices is circuitry and an inverter that actually uses some of that power that the device stores.
Now, a higher efficiency unit is better for you, because you’ll be left with more usable power. So, I put it through a test on the Tektronix that’s kind of like filling your gas tank up in your car, and then seeing how far you can drive. In this case, we put the battery to 100 ran an electric heater, and we measured exactly how much power we could actually get, and this was the final result 4170 watt-hours. It’s always going to be less than what they advertised, but that ends up being about an 82 percent efficiency, and that is a little bit below average, and I was kind of disappointed that it wasn’t a bit higher.
This device also has a really clever feature. It’s got a communication port and they include a special cable. And if you buy 2 EP500, you can actually connect them together with the special interface box, and now you can put out 240 volts of power. This is a really complicated thing to do. This is one of the first production devices I’ve ever seen that actually offered it now.
Unfortunately, I don’t have two of them or the interface box. So, I can only go by the specs that this will actually work. If you choose this option, another great feature is this unit can actually be UPS, which means if you connect up a computer, or your tv and the power goes out, you won’t even notice, because it keeps the power going to the appliance.
BLUETTI EP500 5100Wh
Final Words Review Bluetti EP500 5100Wh
Review Bluetti EP500 5100Wh – After using this device for several weeks, I really liked it. But I had one major problem, and that was around the weight at nearly 200 pounds. This is going to limit where you can put it, that’s a lot of weight, and even lifting this thing up a couple of steps can be a real challenge for a lot of people. But, the issue is even bigger than that, because this system is not modular, and if anything breaks, and you need to ship it back. It would cost you a fortune.
So, reached out with my complaint to Bluetti, and I was really surprised by what they told me. They’re actually going to arrange for on-site service if you’re in the warranty period, and they will pay for the return shipping, if in fact, they have to send it back. So, that single statement really changed how I felt about this unit, because if you don’t get stuck paying or return it, then you’re not really going to care if you have to, because it’s not coming out of your pocket.
And if you want one of the biggest units on the market that will give you a huge amount of run time, this is definitely the one to get, 5100 watt-hours. This thing is going to run the largest loads for a long period of time. This could be a viable replacement for a lot of people’s gas generators. If you’re interested in buying one of these, I’ve put a link below.
Now, they’re selling it on Kickstarter as a pre-order, which means that you will be guaranteed to get it or you’ll get your money back.