Get to Know Your KettleCharge

November 03, 2014
The BioLite KettleCharge is a 10W generator that enables you to charge phones, tablets, lights and other devices with just heat and water. The following is a quick overview to familiarize yourself with the KettleCharge and tips for best use so you can get optimal power when you need it most.

The BioLite KettleCharge uses the same thermoelectric technology found in our stoves, however, the configuration is slightly different; in the case of the KettleCharge, the “cold side” is the water placed in the Kettle. The “hot side” is the bottom baseplate of the KettleCharge which interfaces directly with a flame. The temperature difference between the hot and cold side is what creates the electrical output. This temperature difference is created by two factors: The strength and focus of the heat source on one side, and the temperature of the water on the other. The hotter the heat source and the colder the water, the greater the charge.

Heat Source

The type of heat source is very important - the intensely focused jet of flame from a camping stove like an MSR Pocket Rocket will provide the TEG with the most optimal heat source. The cooler and more diffuse flame of a kitchen burner will work as well, but may not provide the same output. If you plan to use a kitchen range, use your burner with the smallest ring and set it to HIGH.

LED Indicator Lights

The LEDs on the left side (Heat Source Strength) of the handle actually indicate the current temperature difference on each side of the TEG, not just the strength of the heat source. You will get the highest reading from these LEDs when the burner is hot and the water is cold, and the lowest when water is boiling, whether or not the heat source is strong. This is an important indicator and the best way to tell how much power your KettleCharge is currently generating.

Optimal Use

The best way to get consistent power from your KettleCharge unit is to operate it with the idea of a constant temperature difference on either side of the TEG. The following steps will help you achieve this:

  1. Fill your KettleCharge with cold water up to the max fill line, and then place on your stove's burner set to high. After 2-3 minutes, note how many LEDs appear on the (left) Heat Source Strength indicator. This is usually the highest it will go, with the TEG fully heated but without the water rising in temperature too much.
  2. After 7-10 minutes and once the water starts boiling, you can expect the Heat Source Strength indicator LEDs to go down due to the falling temperature difference. You should however notice that the battery level indicator will usually go up one LED during this charging period.
  3. Carefully pour out the boiling water – perfect for tea, dehydrated meals, etc - and immediately refill to the max fill line with cold water, then place back on your burner. The heat strength indicators should begin going up again, followed eventually by another battery indicator LED.
  4. Continue this cycle of boiling, pouring and adding cool water three or four times. With this efficient use, the battery inside the unit should charge very quickly.
Basic Troubleshooting

In the event you leave your KettleCharge on a warm surface but do not fill it with cold water, the KettleCharge may cycle off and shut the power handle down. If you push the Power On button and the LEDs do not light up, even when you fill with water and place over a flame, this may be the case. There is a quick and easy way to restart your KettleCharge: use a double-sided USB cord to plug the KettleCharge’s power handle into your computer or other USB charger. Wait 15 minutes (do not leave it longer than 15 minutes) and the lights will come back on, the power handle now woken back up.

Tips for Care
  1. Never use on an open fire. The diffuse flames can reach the power handle and damage your product.
  2. Stay within earshot. If water levels get too low, the KettleCharge will beep to alert you.
  3. When charging devices in real time, use the custom USB extender to keep cords away from flames and to distance your gear away from hot surfaces.

Questions? Give us a shout.

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