REVIEW – Only a few months ago I reviewed one of the most interesting power stations I’d seen yet: the Runhood RALLYE 600 Pro Power Station. The premise of a power station with hot-swappable batteries seems perfect for many power station scenarios like camping or RV trips, and the versatility added with solar charging and “mini engines” to use the spare battery packs for other things is icing on the cake. Runhood sent over the RALLYE 1200 PRO (1296Wh/1200W Portable power station with 100W solar panel) package to review, which shares a lot with the previous 600 Pro setup but has central power station with a higher AC wattage rating and more output ports.
What is it?
The Runhood RALLYE 1200 PRO (1296Wh/1200W Portable power station with 100W solar panel) is a portable power station with swappable battery packs to run AC and/or DC/USB devices. There are multiple package options available on Runhood’s site, ranging from the power station with two battery packs to the one sent to me which includes 4 battery packs, the mini AC/USB “engines”, and a portable solar charging panel.
What’s in the box(es)?
The box containing the Runhood RALLYE 1200 PRO (1296Wh/1200W Portable power station with 100W solar panel) opens up to a lot of boxes.
The above picture shows most of the contents of those boxes.
The system as reviewed consists of:
- HE600: Host engine 600W power station without batteries, needs at least one EB324 to run
- EB324 (x4): Engine bar, 324 Wh (each, for a total of 1296 Wh), can power HE600, UE256, or AE80)
- AE80: Mini AC Engine, connects to a single EB324 bar for up to 80 watts AC on a single port
- UE256; USB Engine, connects to a single EB324 bar for a combined output of up to 256 watts (including two 100W PD USB-C ports)
- SERI 100: Solar Panel 100 Watts
- AC charging cable
- MC4 to DC cable
Click to view (specs for the Runhood Rallye 1200 Pro (1296Wh/1200W) w/ solar panel package
- AC output (distributed between 3 outlets): 1200 Watts AC pure sine wave output (2400W peak)
- AC input: 400 Watts
- DC input:
- Battery capacity: 1296 Wh (324 Wh per EB324 battery pack)
- Battery lifespan: 1000+ charging cycles to 80%
- Wireless charging: yes, 15W
- Solar panel: 100 watts, Voltage: 18V, 5.5A, Open Circuit voltage: 21.6V, Short Circuit current: 6.16A, Working Temp: -10 – 60C, Size folded: 14.2″ x 14.2″ x 2.4″, Size unfolded: 90.6″ x 14.2″ x 0.2″
- Mini AC power station: 80 Watts x 1
- Mini DC (USB) power station: 2 x USB-C PD 100W output (200W max), 2 x USB-A QC 3.0 28W max (56W total max)
Design and features
The power station component of the Runhood RALLYE 1200 PRO system is pretty similar to the previous RALLYE 600 I reviewed, but with an extra AC port and wireless charging (as well as double the wattage output on the AC ports). The front of the power station has the trio of AC ports on the left, information panel and overall on/off button up top, input (charging) ports below the LCD panel, and a DC section on the right which includes a car charger outlet, two USB-C 100W power delivery ports, and two standard USB-A charging ports. Each cluster can be turned on or off with the button at the top of the cluster. The LCD screen shows current input/output, which battery bays are in use, and the overall charge level. The screen also shows time to full/empty at current charge/discharge rate, which is a feature I always appreciate.
The right side of the Runhood RALLYE 1200 PRO power station has two battery bays. There is a cover on each slot that you’ll remove when first installing the batteries. Once at least one battery pack is installed, the power station can then be used. If there are no batteries installed it’s completely dead, but since it can run on just one it means you can “hot swap” out a dying battery pack for a fresh one, then repeat with the other and have no interruption to power supply to attached devices.
The back of the power station features the Runhood logo and nothing else. Moving on.
Up top is a 15 watt wireless charging pad, which is a nice addition. The top is also flat when the folding handle is folded down. I always like a nice flat surface that I can store or stack things on.
On the left side is an LED light that can be toggled on or off with a simple button press. This light has low, bright, and flashing modes.
The solar panel (SERI 100W) is a very compact panel for its wattage rating. It has fold-out legs to give it a good angle towards the sun when deployed, and a built-in zipper pocket to store the cables you might need with it:
The solar output is to an MC4 output, which you can convert with the included cable to a DC pin that connects to the power station. I like the MC4 standard a lot, this is compatible to many other power stations and has excellent weather resistance built into the design.
The solar panel unfolded and set up facing the sun.
The battery packs of the Runhood RALLYE 1200 PRO (1296Wh/1200W Portable power station with 100W solar panel) system are each long rectangular bricks. The slot on the front helps to grab the pack to pull it out of the power station.
Up top is a power button, which shows the current charge level on the 5 white LED lights when short pressed. Long presses toggle power state on and off if a “mini engine is attached”.
Speaking of “mini engines”, the above is the AC 80 Watt mini engine which ,when attached to a single standalone battery pack, provides up to 80 watts to an AC device. This is pretty low as many appliances use more than 80 watts, so you’re limited to using things like lights or very small fans (or chargers for electronics that don’t use a USB charging port). I tested it with a 30 watt LED light, and it works as advertised.
The back of either of the two “mini engines” shows the connector.
The second mini engine is the USB version, which features two USB-A ports and two USB-C power delivery ports (both can power devices up to 100 watts – even simultaneously). One of the USB-C ports can also be used to charge the attached battery pack, a feature I love.
Another charging option is to use the included Y-splitter (or at least it’s included in the package I received to review). This allows for charging one or two battery packs at the same time.
Setup of the Runhood RALLYE 1200 PRO (1296Wh/1200W Portable power station with 100W solar panel) system is as simple as unboxing and charging things up. You can insert two battery packs into the power station and then charge via AC power, a car outlet, or solar input.
You can also use the Y-splitter as shown above to charge the extra pair of battery packs, by any of the input methods mentioned above. If you’re setting up the solar panel, it’s as simple as unfolding it and deploying the legs so the panel faces towards the sun.
After charging the Runhood RALLYE 1200 PRO (1296Wh/1200W Portable power station with 100W solar panel) system, I stress tested it by plugging in a space heater. It spiked to nearly 1200 watts when starting up and then settled down to just under 800 watts. The peak wattage rating on the system is 2400 watts, so you’d really have to use something pretty hefty (or a combination of things) to overload the system. If you did manage to do this, the battery management system will shut everything down for safety. You can then unplug one or more of the offending items and use the reset switch to try again.
I also tested out charging multiple tablets and laptops with the USB-C PD 100W ports while also running a fan on the AC side, and everything worked perfectly. The battery packs hold charge nicely too: I had them sit unused for over 2 weeks during the review period, and came back to the exact same battery percentage showing on the power station (some previous systems I’ve reviewed have dropped several percentage points per day, requiring frequent recharging if you want them ready in case of emergency.
I tested out the 100 watt portable solar panel on a cold November day, and I got just under 50 watts maximum, with around 40 average.
I really like that you can charge two of the battery packs via solar while using the power station. I could see this being a great camping solution, so you don’t have to keep the power station within cable’s reach of the solar panel, but rather swap out as needed with the solar charging setup in an ideal spot and the power station somewhere else.
What I like
- Hot swappable battery pack system
- Mini engines make the spare battery packs useful on their own
- Generous 2 year warranty
What I’d change
- Still would like to see a version with longer lasting battery cells – many other power stations in this price range are claiming 2000-3000+ charge cycles to 80% battery life instead of the 1000+ with the Runhood battery packs
- Price is higher than comparable power stations – if you’re not going to need the versatility of hot swappable batteries you might do better with a larger/heavier/cheaper option.
If the modular hot-swappable features of the Runhood RALLYE 1200 PRO (1296Wh/1200W Portable power station with 100W solar panel) system would be useful for you, then it will probably work great for you. I’ve loved having the RALLYE 600 PRO around: I have used it to power various things during power outages and have the USB mini engine plugged into one of the battery packs and set next to a couch where there’s no outlet. This gives me a charging station for phones/tablets/laptops that I don’t have to recharge after each use (roughly once a month with various random charging sessions). When we go camping, it’s been the system I go to so that we can power just about anything we want to and have the hot-swappable solar charging option. The RALLYE 1200 PRO will be taking its place, the extra AC plug and higher wattage capability makes it that much more useful for us.