You no longer need to whine about the lousy battery life of your phone. Just plug in a USB battery pack to your device and you are good to go! In our exhaustingly busy schedule, power banks are an absolute necessity.
Our cellphones are getting better and faster every day. But this is at the expense of heavy power usage. The best fixation for this power greed is the power bank.
There are tons of power banks out there. What are they for? How do they differ? Which one should you buy? Read on to get your answers.
What are USB battery packs?
USB battery packs or “power banks,” as we usually call them, are devices which can store electrical energy. Hence the name. They have an ability to control the flow of the stored energy, supplying it when required.
Once charged, you can connect it to any USB device to charge its battery. They are just like your internal mobile batteries. Charge them and get power on demand. While there are jokes doing the rounds on how we are hooked to the wall outlets, which is synonymous with using landlines, external batteries are here to stay.
The only difference here is that instead of charging your phone directly from the wall socket through a charger, we are plugging it into the external power bank.
The following are some reasons because of which power banks are a rage these days.
- Several charging cycles—Once charged, the power can be used several times to charge your device up to the 100% mark
- Extremely handy and compact—Power banks are small in size, can easily fit into your pocket, and can be carried along with you wherever required.
- Capacity according to your requirements—Power banks come in various capacities. You can choose whichever is suitable for your device according to the duty.
- Attractive—Yes! Power banks are attractive. They come in various shapes and colors which add to their desirability.
- They retain power for several months—If the power bank is unused for months or weeks, it usually retains most of its power. However, low-end power banks do not offer this feature. They might lose the charged power over time.
Devices that it can charge up
All USB charged devices—these include mobile phones, portable speakers, kindle, iPods, etc.
Charging a power bank
Charging a power bank is as simple as charging any other device. You might not get a separate charger meant exclusively for the battery pack while buying it. But this won’t be an issue since you can use any USB charger to fill up your power bank.
Like regular phone batteries, power banks also have a limited charge-discharge cycle. Hence, it is advisable to keep the use of the power bank to a minimum. Use it only while traveling and in emergency situations. Power banks have an efficiency if about 75%. That is, it will deliver only 75% of its total capacity.
Almost all power banks come with a minimum of two ports—one full USB port for discharging and one mini or micro USB port for charging itself.
The charging time of external battery packs greatly depends on its capacity. The higher the stored capacity, the more time it will take to charge. The charging time also depends on environmental conditions, like temperature.
Exposure to high temperatures might cause permanent damage to the power bank. In addition to this, if you are charging it through a computer or laptop, it will be relatively slow. Because of this, it is advisable to use wall chargers.
Using chargers with several charging outlets work great for power banks since it can charge your phone, power bank, and other devices simultaneously saving you a great deal of time.
The best match
It is imperative to know your power requirements and working environment to zero in on your ideal match. Figure out the number of devices that need to be charged from the power bank. It is advisable that you choose a power bank with a greater capacity than the total power required.
The battery pack cannot completely deliver its stored energy. Moreover, over time your phone batteries also lose its capacity to charge up to 100%. Depending on the usage and time, the battery health depreciates for both.
Here’s an empirical way to calculate how many times a given power bank will charge a phone/device of a certain capacity.
Real capacity * (phone battery health / phone capacity) * conversion rate = total charge times
36000 x 0.9 x (0.9 / 1500) = 5.12
Here, 36,000 and 1500 are the capacities of power bank and mobile batteries respectively.
0.9 signifies the efficiency or conversion rates for the power bank and mobile battery. They need not be the same. These figures indicate the overall health of the battery.
Branded power banks deliver almost 100% of its mentioned capacity. However, cheap power banks degrade over time giving less efficiency.
Some people also fear about the stability of the power bank. It is an energy storage device. The chances are that it may explode in some extreme circumstances. But this does not mean power banks are unsafe. Such accidents are extremely rare, and power banks are quite safe for use.
USB external battery packs have definitely made our lives easier. Now you don’t have to go hunting for a charger or wall socket every time you run out of power on your phone.