Do you own a power bank or still planning to buy one? Below are five (5) important power bank tips to guide you on how to effectively and efficiently use your power bank for your electronic devices.
Power banks are considered to be everyone’s bestfriend, at least in today’s modern world. As technology progresses, more and more high-tech gadgets (like smartphones, tablets, cameras, etc.) and even mobile apps are developed to complement our daily activities and make them easier. These modern electronic devices in turn create portability and convenience to everyone but only for a limited period of time. Since mobility stops once power drops, power banks were created to address the need for additional power source especially when you are on the go.
You may want to read: 5 Best Power Bank Brand in the Philippines
5 Important Power Banks Tips
Tip #1 : Know your Power Bank’s REAL capacity
Perhaps the best and most important tip when using a power bank is to understand first how it works. It is only then that you will be able to maximize its full capacity. To start, a power bank’s capacity is measured in mAh (stands for milli-Amp hours or milliAmpere hour) or the amount of energy charge stored in a battery. This is usually printed within the body of the power bank and one of the determining factors for its price. The higher the capacity, the more power you’ll be able to charge but also the more expensive it gets.
The question is: how many times can a power bank charge a specific device? Obviously, it all depends on the capacity. But what’s more interesting to note is that most people have this misconception that having (let’s say) an 8,000 mAh power bank can fully charge a 1,500 mAh phone five (5) times more or less. Well, that is wrong.
In electronics, we have what we call as rated capacity. The rated capacity is the power bank’s actual capacity after an energy loss due to power conversion happening inside the device. On average, it losses as much as 20% of power during conversion. Another 20% of power (at most) can be loss again due to heat generated during the actual charging process. Therefore, you only roughly get 60% of the total advertised battery capacity of most power banks, except for some branded models.
This means that if you bought a new 8,000 mAh power bank for an iPhone 5s with battery capacity of 1,560mAh, then you’ll get at least three (3) full charges:
- 8,000mAh marketed capacity X 0.8 conversion rate X 0.8 heat rate = 5,120 mAh real capacity
- 5,120mAh real capacity / 1,560mAh phone capacity = 3.28 full charges
Use this formula to determine your own power bank’s real capacity too.
Tip #2 : Know when to Charge your Power Bank
Power banks are very useful and handy but only if it is not empty! Oftentimes, we forget to charge them after using or maybe charge them minutes before going out, only to find out the power is insufficient for actual use. Therefore it is equally important to build a habit of charging then and knowing when is the best time to charge.
Since power banks differ in capacity, charging times also vary. But regardless, we can approximately determine how long it will take to fully charge a specific power bank using the input current we use upon charging the power bank. We can use this formula:
- Formula : Power bank capacity / (Input current X 80% energy efficiency ) = x charging hours
- Example : 8,000mAh / (1000mA multiplied by 0.80) = ~ 10 hours of charging
Most power adapters have power input current of 1000mA but only about 800mA per hour is only transferred to the power bank since 20% is consumed during the charging process. Using the above example, you already get an idea to charge your empty power bank at night or before going to bed to be able to get a 100% by morning.
Tip #3 : Keep your power bank in good condition
Each electronic device has its own wear and tear; and a power bank is no exception to this rule. To increase its life span, some basic rules should be observed in taking good care your power bank like:
- Charge your power bank with the correct input power voltage specified. Charging it with less power will result to slow charging rate while charging it with more power can damage the internal batteries and explode.
- Charge your power bank in in normal temperature since battery life span can significantly reduce when placed under adverse environmental condition for a long period. Use it in a ventilated area with operating temperature of between 32°- 90°.
- Do not charge the power bank and charge your electronic device at the same time.
- Do not attempt to open or disassemble it yourself.
- Read carefully the instructional manual included in the package to know how to safely use the device.
Tip #4 : Check if your power bank is compatible with your device
Our gadgets have different power requirements for charging. For example, most mobile phones can accept an input current of 1A (amperes) while more power hogging devices such as tablets requires 2.1 Amperes to optimally charge.
With this, you have to ensure that your power bank is capable of producing the right input current to charge your phone or tablet. Some power bank models have dual USB ports – one port for 1A and another one for 2.1A currents. To avoid damaging your device’s internal battery, do not attempt to connect a 2.1A current to a mobile phone. Though it may seem to be working fine at first by fast charging your phone, long term effects can occur like battery deterioration, battery failure, or worst – it might explode.
To know the input current your phone or tablet requires, look at the original charger or power adapter your phone or tablet then find the printed output current (output since it becomes an input to your phone/tablet) somewhere within the charger.
Tip #5 : Choose Quality power banks
In today’s market, you will see a lot of cheap generic power banks in varying capacities ranging from 2,500mAh up to an outrageous 50,000mAh. While it is really tempting to buy these type of power banks, one major concern about them is quality. Since most of these power banks are manufactured in bulks, quality control can be a major challenge especially when talking about tons of shipments.
Another thing about generic power banks is that fact that they usually sell in MARKING capacity and not in REAL capacity. That is the reason why branded power banks with much lower capacity are able to charge more or about the same as those with 20,000mAh generic ones.
Therefore, if your are planning to buy a new power bank, it would be much wiser to spend a few more bucks to get a branded unit with better quality.
Are the above power bank tips helpful to you? Feel free to add more interesting tips by sending me an email or by post your comments directly below.