The left side of the Explorer 160 has a 12-volt outlet used with the included adapter and socket. I bought a 12-volt-to-USB plug, which is shown here charging a headlamp and a flashlight. The right side has three USB outlets. The two USB-A ports are in use here charging camera batteries; the USB-C port is idle. As the unit charges these lights and batteries, the LCD screen is showing an output of 7 watts.

It has been a while since I could venture into the wilderness with all the electricity I needed supplied by a single battery for my headlamp. Now on my overnight boating trips I need to power cameras, a cell phone, a GPS, a VHF, running lights, weather radio, and often a small laptop. Some devices, such as my handheld depth sounder, get by with a single battery for the duration of a cruise, but devices used more frequently—running lights, smart phone, or cameras—require either backup batteries or recharging.

The right side has a 110-volt AC outlet, used here to charge a VHF radio. The onboard inverter, its cooling fan, and the transformer for the radio all consume a a lot of of electricity. I plan to find a plug and cord to connect the radio’s charging base to the 12-volt outlet on the front of the unit, thus bypassing the electrically demanding inverter.

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