RIVER, a 500W-rated, 5.5kg portable charging station, back-up generator and emergency battery developed and designed by EcoFlow, can be used both indoors and outdoors. The Li-Ion battery can be recharged via solar charger, car charger or wall charger. The latter two are included when you buy a RIVER. The new device, which is slated to begin shipping in June, is a dream for documentary makers.
The RIVER battery management system is unique in that it allows RIVER to automatically adjust its power output to what your device needs, regulate its temperature and connect individually to each of the 11 output ports so if one were to short circuit or max-out the other 10 continue charging.
RIVER has a streamlined look and is equipped with four USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, two DC 6mm outputs, two AC outputs and one 12V car port. RIVER gives you flow-through charging, meaning you can charge it while it’s supplying power by devices. The device is made of several layers for security and robustness. It has an aluminium shell and integrated battery armour — the same kind that electric car manufacturers use.
The reasons why this new battery system may be such an ideal solution for documentary makers lies in its usability specifications. A RIVER can be used in temperatures ranging from 0° to 45° C and, while it isn’t waterproof, its optional Protective Case is water resistant up to IP63 standards (rain, dust, sand, etc.). That case has a shoulder strap for easier carrying. In addition, one RIVER charges 11 devices simultaneously. Each device you plug in is sensed for its wattage needs. If RIVER senses nothing is plugged in, it will first turn idle, then turn itself off.
Also optionally, you can buy a foldable 21W or 50W solar charger for the RIVER to charge the device when you’re far away from power plugs. Charging the RIVER with the solar panel will take longer than using a power outlet, though. How much longer remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t use the 21W rated panel, as even 50W will take a long time, depending on the available sunlight. As a guideline, recharging from empty to full via the mains will take about seven hours.
The battery inside the RIVER has a shelf life of one year. That’s why you can also use it as a backup generator — charge it once a year and it will still keep its charge. The developers claim RIVER is incredibly easy to use. There is an on/off switch at the front, below its large LCD screen. The back of the unit holds another button to turn on AC power. This is because AC power usage is regulated separately.
I can’t wait to try it out in the wild. Hopefully I’ll be able to test it with the 50W solar panel, as this accessory will make it even more enticing for filmmakers, even if it’s only to trickle-charge the RIVER while they’re powering devices off it.