Swappable Batteries and Bottomless Power Make the iForway T-rex an Absolute Beast
Some killer features make the T-Rex is another solid entry into iForway’s already impressive catalog of portable power solutions.
- Ternary Lithium battery
- Swappable battery packs
- Up to 17 devices simultaneous charging
- Overload protection
- No power brick
- LCD info panel
- UPS function
- 1 year warranty
- Brand: iForway
- Weight: ~45 lbs
- Size: 410mm x 290mm x 388mm (charging station) / 300mm x 185mm x 285mm (battery pack)
- Capacity: 2000Wh / 1616Wh
- Maximum Discharge: N/A
- Maximum Charge: 2000Wh / 1616Wh
- Solar Controller: 2 MPPT Ports (1 5mm, 1 Anderson)
- Ports: 8 Pure Sine Wave AC, 2 5521 DC, 4 USB-A, 2 USB-C, 12V Car Socket
- Ports: 1 AC 1200W 110 ~60Hz, MPPT Solar 600W Max, DC 12-60V 420W Max,
- Swappable power for expandability
- Casters are buttery smooth
- Inverter slightly underrated
- High-wattage devices work great
- Multiple batteries means almost unlimited power
- Doesn’t roll well over certain types of terrain
- No way to externally charge battery packs without charging station
If you’re looking for a bit of extra electricity, then look no further than a portable power station. These devices allow users to take their electronics on the road and provide backup power in an emergency. They’re great products to have on hand when disaster strikes, but how much power do you need?
Well, according to iForway, a lot. Its new T-Rex is a 2000W beast with swappable internal batteries that aims to thrash its competition. But does the T-Rex deserve to be crowned king of the portable power stations? We’re going to find out in today’s review.
Meet the iForway T-Rex
The iForway T-Rex is a brand new portable power station that promises 2000W of continuous power and 2000Wh of capacity. Both the capacity and that level of constant power allow the T-rex to support most major household appliances, including microwaves, rice cookers, and power tools.
The T-Rex boasts the world’s first swappable power station batteries. Where other portable units like this one use a single battery that you must be recharge if it dies, when the T-Rex is discharged, you open the charging station, remove the battery pack, and drop in another. After you’ve finished using the power station, you can swap the original battery back into the charging station and recharge it via AC, carport, or solar power. It also means that if your battery degrades, it can be easily replaced without disposing of the charging or output circuitry of the main power station.
- Charging station: 16.14 x 11.41 x 15.27 inches (410 x 290 x 388mm)
- Swappable Battery: 11.1 x 7.28 x 11.22 inches (285 x 185 x 300mm)
- Capacity : 2000Wh / 1616Wh / 5000Wh
- AC : 8 x Pure Sine Wave; 2000W rated, 110V/50-60Hz
- USB-A : 4 x QC 3.0
- USB-C : 2 x 100W PD
- DC 5521 : 2 x 13.6V/8A
- Car Socket : 13.6V/8A
- USB-C : 2 x 100W PD
- AC : 1200W max
- MPPT Solar : 12-60V/10A, 600W max
- DC : 12-60V/7A, 420W max
- Lifecycle : 1000 charges
- Battery : Ternary Lithium Battery
- Materials : Aluminum Alloy +PC/ABS
- Display : Smart LED
- Warranty : 1 year
- Cost : TBD. Sign up at iForway to know when the Indiegogo is launched.
What’s in the Box?
Because this is a production protoype, there is a possibility the items included will change. However, these are the items included with the generator as tested:
- The iForway rolling charging station
- Two 1616Wh rechargeable Li-ion battery packs
- Anderson Y-Splitter
- AC power cable
- 12V car charger
- Threaded eyehooks
The key features of the T-Rex are the swappable battery packs, the 17-device charging, the 2000W continuous voltage, and up to 5000Wh capacity (though we only tested with the smallest 1616Wh batteries). The batteries in the unit are ternary lithium batteries which are the same type used in many higher-end electric vehicles.
As for the outputs, iForway states that the T-Rex can support up to 17 external devices drawing power simultaneously. This claim is bold, but you have to remember that the total power output will be a significant factor in how many devices you can use.
We’ll discuss this more in-depth when we talk about testing. Just know that if you want to use all 17 outputs simultaneously, you’ll have to be operating reasonably low-wattage devices. Not 1800W hairdryers or 1000W toasters, as they use a significant amount of the total output wattage.
One interesting feature of the T-rex is that it can function as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). If you’re in an environment prone to power outages or want added security against losing important documents, this feature is fantastic.
However, the drawback to using the unit as a UPS is that doing so makes the power station far less portable. If you’re okay with sacrificing the portability of this unit so that you can use it as a UPS, then the T-Rex might be a good option for you.
The T-Rex also offers pass-thru charging and a unique single AC power cable that does not have a power brick attached. This cable is the same three-pronged one that you can find on most monitors. If you’re like many of us and constantly lose power cables, then it’s comforting to know that you won’t have to go out and purchase an expensive power brick from iForway to replace your lost AC adapter. Three-pronged power cables can be found at many office supply stores, not to mention at most big-box electronic stores. Charging over the AC cable is done at a ludicrously fast 1200W; about an hour and a half should fully charge the smallest 1616Wh battery option. Solar is limited to 600W, though this is still very impressive.
Due to the large size and weight of the unit, iForway has also equipped the T-Rex with arguably the smoothest-rolling casters that I have ever experienced on a portable piece of equipment. Moving this unit around is heavenly, and during testing, I found myself enjoying “driving” this unit around my hardwood floors. Even asphalt and concrete are easy to navigate, though if you’re trekking this unit across dirt, grass, or sand, then you may want to purchase a dedicated dolly with larger rubber wheels. It’ll make transport much more manageable.
Speaking of weight, this unit is pretty heavy. The 1616Wh batteries that came with the demo unit weigh 26.8 lbs (12.15kg) each. The rolling charging station portion came in at around 18 lbs (8.1kg) when empty. Combine the battery and the charging station, and you’ve got a unit with a total weight of 44.8 lbs (20.3 Kg). At that weight, it’s almost better to divide the unit up into its separate pieces and transport each individually. I schlepped this unit up and down the stairs in my home several times during testing and didn’t feel guilty for skipping my workout after.
Then there’s the LCD. It’s bright and easy to read, and when a socket is activated, a small icon appears in the lower corner. This icon gives the user a visual reminder of the specific device types in use.
There is also an at-a-glance battery meter indicating how much charge is remaining. In the upper right corner is a number that shows how much time is until the battery dies. When solar or AC power is connected, this display will also tell the user how long until full charge is achieved.
Who Is the iForway T-Rex For?
The primary audiences for something like this are the outdoor crowd and those looking for portable job site power. Using this unit to power rotary saws, angle grinders, and other electrical tools is one area that the T-Rex would excel, as long as those tools weren’t high voltage and used simultaneously.
While the UPS functionality is possible, the more practical aspect of the T-Rex is its ability to be used as a portable power supply. As long as the extra weight isn’t a concern, and you’re able to lug around an additional 26.8 lb battery in addition to the 44 lbs of power station and battery combined, then you’ll have quite a bit of portable power at your fingertips.
Testing the iForway T-Rex
I wanted to see how the T-Rex handled solar charging using some Jackery SolarSaga 100 panels. Unfortunately, the T-Rex only has Anderson and 5mm barrel input connections, so I had to purchase a cheap adapter to get my panels to work. This purchase wasn’t a big deal, and if you already have solar panels that have Anderson connectors, then you can plug the panel right into the T-Rex.
Included in the iForway package for the T-Rex is also a Y-Connector that converts two Anderson connections into one. While the lack of adapters didn’t allow me to test this Y-Cable, I am confident that the performance of the T-Rex would be just as good with two or more panels than it was with only a single panel attached.
After plugging in the adapter, I took the iForway T-Rex out into my backyard and let the sun work its magic. During testing, I was able to achieve around 93W of input power in the mid-day sun. Capturing this many watts from a single 100W solar panel (93 percent efficiency!!) was excellent. The T-Rex handled the input voltage with no problem, and the LCD stated that it would take 2.5 hours to top up the unit from 89 percent to the maximum.
Using two solar panels would certainly cut down the charge time here, and hooking up a set of four or more would decrease that time further. As long as the open voltage of solar panels you are attaching doesn’t push past the 60V threshold, you should be able to over-panel this unit to get maximum solar charging capabilities up to 600W.
Overloading the Inverter
Because I always like to press the envelope with these power stations, I decided to test the inverter to see how it would hold up to a massive load. I started with an 1800W hairdryer and then added an Armor-All wet/dry vac rated at 720W. Alone, these two items pull a hefty 2520W, which is more than enough wattage to drive the T-Rex’s inverter to extinction. To these items, I added a floor-sized fan and a 1500W space heater.
After plugging all of these devices in, I turned everything on to see what output wattage the T-Rex’s inverter would sustain. At around 2455W of power output, the overload protection on the T-Rex kicked in and shut the unit down.
Having overload protection in this unit is a great feature. It ensures that accidentally pulling too many watts will not result in a dangerous situation for the user. However, if you are going to use a lot of items with this power station, you should check the wattage of these devices first.
Earlier, I mentioned that the 17-device capability is one of the main selling points of this unit. While it is possible to connect all 17 devices to the T-Rex, if you’re using high-wattage devices, you’re not going to be able to power everything at once. If you were planning on using all 17 outputs, each device would need to pull no more than around 117 watts to keep the unit from overloading.
Note: Please do not attempt to replicate this test or overload the power supply of any inverter. Testing was done under controlled conditions, with appropriate safety and fire-prevention equipment present in case of emergency. Failure to comply could result in serious injury, property damage, or both.
Power Drain Testing
I also wanted to see how iForway’s claimed 1616Wh power capacity held up to the maximum output load. So, I started a timer while at the same time plugging in enough items to crest the 2000w continuous output threshold. After leaving these items on for around six minutes, the T-Rex had reduced in power by approximately 12 percent. This figure indicates that the unit would likely sustain this output load for about an hour before the battery died.
Again, it’s not recommended to completely drain the unit regularly as it will affect the life of the internal batteries. Still, it’s my job to do all those fun things that you’re not supposed to do, so you can get a good idea of how a unit like this will hold up to some severe abuse.
I can also see how having an additional battery would be beneficial if you managed to drain all of the power in the T-Rex. The only thing that I question is whether or not the extra battery is practical.
Again, if you’re stationary or using the T-Rex in a camper, etc., it makes sense to have the extra battery charged and ready to go. But if you’re forced to use all of the power in the current battery, then swap to the other, you will have to find a time when you’re not using the T-Rex to charge the first battery.
What Do We Love About the iForway T-Rex?
The T-Rex has some unique features, and the high-capacity batteries ensure that if you need power, you’ll have it. The batteries also come in multiple flavors for added convenience and broader power applications.
The output options are superb; we haven’t even mentioned the full 100W PD USB-C ports, and Quick Charge 3.0 USB-A ports.
The casters on this unit are an absolute joy to use, and if you’re carting this unit around the garage or in your home, you’re going to love the way it feels as it rolls. I know that sounds like a strange characteristic to like about a power station, but you have to experience these casters to know how great they are.
In addition to camping applications, it’s great to see a unit that can power portable power tools. This option means that the T-Rex can take on both small construction projects and remote ones. Could you build a residential home with this power supply? Probably. Of course, it won’t replace a large gas generator if you’re using it on a job site, but it would work great as a backup to keep work rolling if your main power goes down.
Finally, this unit could be handy for those who are prepping for a natural disaster. It’s compact and mobile enough to be stored under a workbench or in a closet for emergencies, and the wide range of outputs means the device could be beneficial if the power is out for a few days.
What’s Not to Love?
If there is one thing for sure, it’s that iForway knows how to make a portable generator. Its units have been considerable successes in the mobile power market. However, the T-Rex does have a few flaws that warrant consideration above and beyond its counterparts.
First is the weight of the unit. It’s heavy, and if you’re going to take it on the road, be ready to burden yourself with the beefy batteries as well as the charging station. Size-wise, the unit isn’t huge compared to others like the Bluetti AC200P, which is a 70 lb beast of a unit that offers two less AC outputs and similar functionality, but it is still substantial. If weight is a concern, then you’re probably better off switching to a smaller unit.
One thing worth mentioning here was the four eye hooks that iForway sent with the T-Rex—these hooks provide eyelets for attaching the T-Rex to a dolly or similar device. In the case of our demo unit, three of the four eye hooks were fully threaded, but one looked as though someone had snatched it from the die just a bit too soon. The last 1/4-inch of threads were missing, and as a result, the fourth eye hook would not thread into the T-Rex.
Since this is a pre-release unit, I imagine that this detail will be remedied when production models are released, but it was something that I noticed when trying to attach these hooks to the unit. Additionally, there was no instruction manual included in the packaging. Instead, I obtained technical specifications from the iForway website.
There were also no indicators of which direction the user should install the batteries into the charging station. The solution here was easy to figure out, as inserting the battery in the incorrect orientation resulted in the machine throwing a tantrum and shutting down. Still, a small arrow or something to indicate the correct direction might be helpful to avoid confusion.
Lastly, it would be great to have some way to charge the extra battery while outside of the T-Rex charging station. A separate charger or something that could top up the spare battery while the other battery was in use would be a boon and would ensure that you didn’t have to stop using the unit to charge up any empty batteries.
Related: The iForway PS500N review
Can You Repair the iForway T-Rex?
This unit is not designed to be taken apart. Doing so may actually cause serious injury. If you need to have this unit serviced, or if something doesn’t work correctly, it’s best to contact iForway. There is also a 1-year warranty against any manufacturer defects.
On the plus side, the swappable internal battery means that you should be able to purchase a replacement should it degrade significantly, or if your needs change—without replacing the entire unit.
Should You Buy the iForway T-Rex?
The iForway T-Rex is a premium option for portable power. While our demo is a pre-release unit, and some of the details might change, as it stands now, the product feels ready for market.
But, while UPS functionality is a great benefit, it doesn’t seem to fit the context for the T-Rex. This unit appears to be more suited to outdoor life, and not many people need backup UPS power while on an outdoor excursion. Unless maybe you’re operating a field office for an alphabet agency.
Overall, the T-Rex is a very nice power supply that I think will work great for many people. It’s easy to use and adds another solid entry into iForway’s already impressive portable power supply catalog. So if you’re in the market for a mobile power station that can offer high wattage output and almost bottomless battery capacity, then the T-Rex is a monster of a deal.
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June 1, 2021 at 07:05AM