TreeHugger Review: Medis 24/7 Power Pack Fuel Cell Charger
This little power pack is a fuel cell charging device that offers instant power for your mobile devices while off-grid.
Encapsulating the dream of convenient wireless charging capabilities, the Power Pack wants to be the easy alternative green power source for gadgets.
But does it live up to TreeHugger expectations?First impression:This is a whole lot of plastic and hubbub for a few quick charges for a mobile device.
Second Glance: All this plastic is worth it if you need it during an emergency. But it still isn't a technology that has "arrived."
Testing out the Medis 24/7 Power PackWhen I broke this open, I realized that I only have two mobile devices that need this – my phone, and an old palm pilot that hasn’t been used in ages. My only other small gadget is a digital camera that doesn’t use plug-in recharging. So I started with the palm pilot. But, the pack didn’t come with an adapter that fit the palm pilot for charging. Bummer. It did, however, come with one that fit my phone.
Step one, remove the protective band, and squeeze the top of the pack against the bottom until it clicks and is activated. Next, plug in the cord to the power pack, and plug the other end, along with the appropriate adapter, into the device. Easy as pie.
I plugged the cord into my phone and Voila! Little charging bars zipped happily along.
I did get this warning for a second or two.
But it disappeared and charging was uninterrupted. My cell phone charged right up. I even got a call while it was charging and easily talked while the charger was still plugged in.
If you have the right adapters, it’s pretty likely that this will come in handy during an emergency or for off-grid needs. Why not use this daily? Well, read on for pros and cons about it.
High Points of the Medis 24/7 Power Pack:Easy recycling is provided so you don’t have to worry about proper disposal. Just save the box, and when your fuel cell is empty, put it back in the box and send it off to the company.
Adapters work. The adapters provided (Comes with USB, mini-USB, Motorola, and Nokia adapter tips, with more are available.)fit a wide range of devices, so it’s pretty likely that if you need a mobile device charged, this will work.
Simple to use. I don’t think you can get more basic than open, squeeze, plug and charge.
Instant power. You don’t have to charge this up via a wall outlet or solar in order to have back up power for another device. It is instant power when you need it.
Earth-Friendly(ish) Production: The technology used for the liquid fuel cell doesn't contain nasties - there is no Mercury, lead, chromium, cadmium or other dangerous heavy metals. Also, the company reports that no ozone depleting solvents are used in its production, no PVC used in our packaging (only recyclable PET), no harmful emissions come from the operating Power Pack, and it is RoHS compliant.
Low Points of the Medis 24/7 Power Pack:Expensive. While having this kind of mobile charging capability is worth the price, I can’t see buying it unless you absolutely know that you’ll need a charger while off grid. The initial pack is $50, with refills priced at $20. Granted, it lasts for about 70 hours of music play and about 30 hours of talk time. So while not out of this world expensive, it still is not cheap alternative power for daily use.
Disposable. It is the nature of the materials involved, but the fact that it doesn’t use readily renewable energy, such as sun or wind, and has to be recycled after a few uses makes it seem wasteful for anything but dire straights use.
Storage and Expiration Issues. While the liquid fuel is stable and non-flammable, it’s a liquid - so if you live in really hot or really cold places, you can’t just put it in your car’s trunk for a few years and expect it to work when you pull it out during an emergency. Rather, it needs to be stored between 32 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit (if you took high school physics, you know why…) and it lasts for only about 18 months unopened, and three months once activated.
Final Impression:This is some pretty fun and handy up-and-coming technology. I’m more impressed with it than I thought I’d be, and should I head off on a back packing trip or a long road trip, I’d likely take this along with me.
More on Fuel Cells:Toshiba Just Months Away From First Fuel Cell DeviceVoller Fuel Cell Battery ChargerJuicing Up Your Cell Phone with Microbial Fuel CellsHydrogen Powered Fuel Cell Bicycle Light By Angstrom of Vancouver