Power for Dishy: The Anker 521 Powerhouse

One thing I was pretty certain about when I bought my Starlink terminal was that I would put it in places where power would not be readily available. Maybe only a few meters away, but still, out of reach. As the Starlink router requires a 110/230V power source, a USB battery pack doesn’t work. And even if it did, most USB battery packs could not supply 55 watts on average and 70-80 watts during startup. So I was looking for another solution that could supply power for at least a few hours.

I finally chose to go for the ‘Anker Powerhouse 521’, which can supply 230V from lithium batteries. For around 240 euros, the devices includes a 256 Wh battery and in practice drives my Starlink setup for around 4.5 to 5 hours. There are also higher capacity versions available, but at 3.5 kg, the smallest one felt like a good compromise between cost, size, and weight for my use case. Apart from showing the remaining battery charge percentage in large digits, the display also separately shows how much power is drawn from the 12V car socket on the left, the USB ports in the middle, the 230V socket on the right, and how much time is left at the current power draw.

While I bought the Powerhouse for its 230V standard socket output, from which it can supply up to 200W, there are also USB and USB-C sockets, the later one with Power Delivery (PD) functionality and an output of up to 60W. Great to recharge smartphones and notebooks. And, perhaps particularly interesting for campers, 12V at 10A can be drawn from a round car socket.

120W maximum recharge power when using two chargers

From a recharging point of view the Powerhouse has an interesting ‘double charge’ option: There’s a small 12V round power socket at the back of the device to either charge the device with a 12V car battery adapter, or from a 230V to 12V power supply at 60W. Both are included in the kit. A third option is to charge the Powerhouse from the USB-C connector at the front with up to 60W. It is also possible, and this took me quite by surprise, to charge it from the front and the back simultaneously at a maximum rate of 120W. This cuts the recharge time in half. Very handy!

One feature that is unfortunately missing: The device is not waterproof, there are holes on the side which are required to vent air in and out of the device with a little fan. I never heard the fan while powering my Starlink terminal, but when charging at 120W with two power supplies, some fan noise can be heard every now and then. Over the past month, I’ve used the power supply quite a number of times and am very happy with it. Fully recommended!