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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Chargers > Brunton Revolt 4000 USB > Test Report by Andrew Buskov

Brunton Revolt 4000 and CordBrunton Revolt 4000
Brunton's shockproof, weatherproof, u-proof USB charging device.
Andrew Buskov
Initial Report: March 16, 2015
Field Report: June 1, 2015
Long Term Report: July 28, 2015

Tester Biographical Information:

Name: Andrew Buskov
Age: 40
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 207 lbs (94 kg)
Email: Rescue(at)Corridor9(dot)net
City, State Zip Madisonville, Kentucky  USA

Backpacking Background:

I’ve been backpacking for nearly 25 years, and have slowly started developing my ideal style. I’ve gotten my pack weight down to roughly 20 - 25 lbs (9.1 - 11.3 kg) before water, and am whittling it down every hike. Day hiking is nice, but getting out over multiple nights is really what I enjoy. I like to take my time and view the scenery as opposed to hiking hard. I also like being comfortable and insist on an air mattress. I usually tent or hammock, but stay in shelters when needed.

Revolt packagingProduct Information:

Item: Revolt 4000
Manufacturer: Brunton
Website http://www.brunton.com
Year of Manufacture: 2015
MSRP: $49.99 US
Listed Weight: 4.9 oz (177 g)
Actual Weight: 4.8 oz (136 g)
Color: Black
Additional Colors: Yellow, Orange, Mint Green, Olive Green

Revolt Front

Product Description:
Per information from website & enclosed materials

The Revolt 4000 is Brunton's 4000 mAh, recreational charging pack. It is designed for outdoor adventurers as a convenient way to power music players, phones, and even UV water purifiers. Brunton designed this device to essentially be U-proof (you proof) in that it should handle any abnormality thrown at it; dust, dirt, shocks, drops, and water. With its textured rubberized sides for easy gripping to its Vibram sole for secure stability on a variety of surfaces, the Revolt 4000 should be able to survive a variety of abuses and still keep plugging along.

Product Impressions:

Upon opening the box that the Revolt 4000 shipped in, I was presented with a very nicely packaged unit with lots of information about the product. I've always been partial to companies who describe their product with much detail, which Brunton has done as the pictures here have shown. Upon opening the package, I took a look at the unit itself. It is smaller than I thought it would be, which in the end is better packability wise as long as it is capable of providing the described charge. Included is a multi-device charging cable, which I will describe more in detail below.

Revolt Size keysI'm very dedicated to reading the instructions on all my electronic devices prior to using them. If I'm going to pay the money for a quality device, then I want to know everything about it and make sure that I understand all the functions. As such, I carefully read the instructions on the Revolt 4000 prior to trying it out the first time. The instructions start off with an illustration describing all of the parts of the Revolt, an overview with waterproofing information, and instructions on "loading and charging" the unit (one in the same I'd think). There are also tips, troubleshooting advice, specifications, and a warranty information section. The warranty section doesn't give a definite time frame other than "according to local regulatory requirements", but the box does say "Buy it, Try it, Bust it, Return it. No Questions Asked".

The device itself measures out to be approximately 3 x 3 x 1 in (7.5 x 7.5 x 2.5 cm), while the length of the USB cord is just under 11 in (28 cm). On the front of the device is a small flap with a yellow piece of rubber that seals up the charging ports thus making the device "waterproof" (more on that later). The top has a small button with five lighted dots. Pressing the button without a device attached illuminates the dots indicating the remaining charge that the unit has left in 20% increments. When a device is plugged in, the dots light automatically and the highest charge dot begins blinking to indicate that the Revolt is charging the attached device. The bottom has the usual information found on most electronics with the dreaded "Made in China" label. My device arrived fully charged as per the indicator dots, but it is not known if all devices ship charged.

After looking the Revolt over and getting the necessary weight requirements I plugged in my HTC One M8 phone to test it out. My phone was sitting at approximately 68% battery and started charging almost immediately. The indicator dot began blinking as it should and within approximately 45 minutes my device was charged up to 97% before I needed to unplug it and run errands. I have not had the opportunity to test charge time as compared to a conventional USB power cord, but will definitely do this within the next few months. In addition, I have also not had the opportunity to test the manufacturer's claims of charges, though I will do this as well within the testing series.

Revolt ConnectedBecause of some missing information, or things I wasn't clear on in the documentation, I contacted Brunton support to inquire about a number of issues I'd had since receiving the Revolt 4000. Because I often do some programming on my tablet while hiking, I was very interested in using the Revolt to charge my tablet. However, the 30 pin charging port on the USB cable is a proprietary Apple port and not a standard 30 pin port, thus it didn't fit my tablet; a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. I contacted Brunton support to see if they offered additional connectors to fit different devices. The representative that I received an email from stated that they did not make additional adapters, but that the charging OEM cable I received from Samsung should work, which it does. During this email I also inquired as to the fact that I can't seem to get data to transfer over the included USB cable. The reply was that the included "3 in 1 cable will transfer power only, no data." This is definitely an issue for me as now I have to carry two additional USB cables to transfer data (which I often do when I can find signal), or just leave the included 3 in 1 cable at the house. Poor implementation in my opinion.

Revolt Micro USB BrokenI also contacted Brunton regarding the charging status of the Revolt, specifically how do I know that the Revolt is charged. The representative that emailed me back stated that when the Revolt is done charging, the device's indicator LEDs should stop flashing. I have charged this device twice now and neither time did the Revolt's indicator LEDs stop flashing and go solid. I have not fully discharged the unit so I will definitely keep an eye on this throughout the test series.

There was a word in the documentation and on the website that kept nagging at me for some reason; waterproof (weatherproof on the website). I checked out the IP rating code and discovered that IPX5 (without going into extreme technical specifications) indicates that "[w]ater projected by a nozzle (0.25 in or 6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects" and "[i]ngress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact." This to me does not indicate 'waterproof' as mentioned by the manufacturer.

Revolt 30 pin dimplesI again contacted Brunton to inquire if "the Revolt 4000 [is] waterproof even when the charging port flap is open?" I received a reply that stated "[t]he Revolt is water resistant only and this state requires the port cover to be closed otherwise moisture will penetrate the ports and damage the unit." If the unit is only water resistant, and the IP rating describes this as such, then in my view the words 'waterproof' and 'weatherproof' should not be indicated in such general terms on the packaging without further in depth explanation on the enclosed documentation, something that is definitely missing.

 I was also able to get a bit of back-country time with this device over the past weekend. I took my son on his first boys-only hiking trip. One of the activities that we participated in this weekend was Geocaching. As my One M8 has a quality compass and GPS sensor built in, using it to find our 'treasure' was very functional. During the trip I plugged in the One M8 and had the Revolt sitting on the phone's face. As shown by the picture above this in no way places any stress on the included USB cord. However, over a period of about 30 minutes, after arriving at our first destination, I saw that the yellow cable had already pulled out from the black micro USB charging plug and was exposing the charging wires. After further inspection of the cable I found indentions on the 30 pin Apple power plug, a plug that I haven't used as I have no Apple devices. This leads me to believe that rather than the charging plugs being molded over the yellow cable, the yellow cable sheath was instead mechanically pressed into the charging plug outlets. This would explain the rapid failure I've experienced. This is yet another issue. To me the 3 in 1 cord is definitely not "U-Proof". I'll have to keep close tabs on it over the duration of the test series. However, I will state that had I purchased this product, I would definitely use the "Return it. No Questions Asked" portion of the warranty.

Field Report: June 1, 2015

Charging TabletTesting Location & Conditions:

During the past two months I have been able to use the Brunton Revolt 4000 on two overnight backpacking trips, geocaching trips, day hiking, and even at work. In total, I've probably used the Revolt 4000 roughly 10 - 12 times. Most of these uses were simply to maintain or lightly recharge the battery condition, but at least two were times of heavy recharging. All of the trips were in the western Kentucky area where elevations varied slightly around the 500 ft (150 m) range. Both overnight trips were clear sky nights with temps hovering around 62 F (16.7 C).

Performance:

In my use of the Brunton Revolt 4000 over the past few months, I've had varying degrees of satisfaction with the device. During trips where I was able to leave my devices plugged into the Revolt for over an hour or so the Revolt functioned fairly well. However, during our geocaching and dayhiking activities where my electronics were repeatedly plugged and unplugged during use I found using the Revolt to be more of a hindrance than a benefit. The base issue was the physical design of the Revolt itself.

While I would have thought that having a Vibram sole would make the Revolt grip better, the device doesn't weigh enough to really give the sole any grip strength. When setting the device on a rock (semi-round rather than flat), I was often picking both the Revolt and my electronic device off the ground. Even though my device usually sits on rocks with no problem due to the case material, once the Revolt started slipping and sliding it regularly took my device to the ground with it. This is most certainly not a very desirable effect when trying to charge devices where the ground may be very dusty or muddy. After a few falls, I found that the rubber material on the sides of the device gripped various surfaces much better than the semi-rigid Vibram sole. I would have liked to see the Brunton charge indicator button recessed a bit into the rubber material so I could flip the Revolt over when the Vibram sole wasn't providing adequate traction on various surfaces.

Revolt BottomThe cord has continued to separate over the past few months, allowing dirt and dust to get inside. I'm hoping that the cords will make it through the entire testing period before they need to be replaced. Unfortunately, I don't have any I-devices that would use the other two cords. I have however noticed that the cord on the 30 pin connector is starting to come lose as well. I can only assume this is from storing the connectors in my packs as I don't use them with the Revolt.

I also noticed that the time necessary to charge the Revolt was exceptionally longer than I would have thought it should be. While I'm not finished with my testing and documenting of various times, I found that it took the Revolt roughly six hours to charge yet only provided charging capacity to my devices for roughly three hours. These are gross estimates and I will make sure to have all timing documentation ready for the Long Term Report phase. However, I will say that at no time has completely charging the unit been less than five hours and 20 minutes.

I was extremely disappointed with the amount of charge that I received when charging my tablet as pictured above. I usually don't let it get down very low as I'm constantly working on it. However, I did let it get down to 5% battery since it sat in my backpack for a few days. I thought this would be a good time to test out the Revolt. I knew per my discussion with Brunton's support team that charging my tablet would be slow, but I never figured the charge would be as low as it was. Figuring that my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has a battery with a capacity of 7000mAh, and the Revolt has a charging capacity of 4000mAh, I would have figured that the Revolt would charge my tablet to roughly half of its rated capacity. However, when I hooked up the fully charged Brunton to my 5% charged Galaxy the total charge time that I received was roughly three hours 25 minutes, but the capacity of charge that I received was only around 26%. That's including the 5% the Galaxy already had, so the Revolt only provided a net charge of 21%, or 1470mAh of charge.

I guess right now I'm on the fence as to whether this unit is as functional as I would expect for the price range. I certainly feel that there are some points that could be improved to make the quality to price ratio slim down. I guess it boils down to how one is going to use the device; I'm sure I'll make a recommendation of this during my long term reporting phase.

Long Term Report: July 28, 2015

Testing Location & Conditions:

I was able to get an additional two nights of use during the Long Term Report phase of the test. In addition, I've also used the Revolt approximately 20 additional times while geocaching, day hiking, at work, and charging the kids devices. My outdoor hikes and geocaching trips were in the western Kentucky area where elevations varied slightly around the 500 ft (150 m) range. Overnight trips were hot and sticky with temperatures hovering around 95 F (35 C) in the day and 75 F (24 C) at night. No precipitation occurred during any of my outings.

Summary:

During this testing phase, I really wanted to get more information on charging time and use for various devices. One of the aspects I wanted to make sure I addressed was continued usage over the long term. With all the use that this device has seen, the charging and discharging time for the Brunton Revolt 4000 has changed since the start of the test. I now find that charging the device takes roughly 5.8 hours at minimum, longer depending on which USB port I connect the device to. I believe this is due to the older computer having a 1 amp load versus my newer laptop which is able to provide a 2 amp load.

The amount of charge available to my devices also went down. When the test began, I was able to charge my M8 from 15% battery to 100% battery roughly 1.6 times. However, now I am only able to get about 1.3 charges out of the Revolt 4000 under the same conditions. I have been able to get some use from the Revolt in charging a rechargeable headlamp this last phase. I'm a bit more pleased with those results as I'm able to get quite a few charges in the time I was able to test. I have not been able to get hard data on the charging of the headlamp though as the Revolt was used on multiple devices in addition to the headlamp before recharging.

I ended up having to use a different USB cable about 3/4 of the way through the whole test. The end of the cable just became too loose and frayed for me to rely on since I was now charging my light source as well. The cable still worked, most of the time, but I was afraid that if the Revolt fell or slid off a rock I would be powerless. As there was only one cable of the three that was even useful to me, bringing along a longer cable functioned better for my needs anyway. With as many times as the Revolt slid off its perch onto the ground, I can attest to the shock resistant capabilities, though I never did find an opportunity to test the water resistance aspect.

The Brunton Revolt 4000 does have some very nice qualities to it; size being one of the biggest. However, there are many drawbacks that could be addressed that would give the Revolt more value in my opinion. Simply providing a more durable and user friendly cable would be an easy fix for many of the issues, but I think a bit of redesign and testing on power delivery issues could make this unit really shine. In the end, had I purchased this product for myself at the MSRP listed above I would have taken it back weeks ago. I'm a bit of a "power user" though so maybe the Revolt 9000 would be a better fit for me.

PROS
CONS
Compact
Shock resistant shell
Durable
Simple to operate

Weak cable structure
No data through USB cable
"Water resistant" per Brunton support
Proprietary 30 pin Apple charging plug
Inconsistent power delivery from rated capacity
Vibram sole not functional

I'd like to thank Brunton and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test the Revolt 4000.

Read more gear reviews by Andrew Buskov

Reviews > Electronic Devices > Chargers > Brunton Revolt 4000 USB > Test Report by Andrew Buskov



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