Gone are the days when world class mobile devices needed not much amount of charging. We used to plug it in to charge once in a week, and it would give long battery life. Now, everything going portable – what with laptops, mobiles, tablets and many more – even our chargers have gone portable. The portable chargers, which are known by the name of Power Banks, have been a rage these days. With our smartphones and other devices becoming our constant partners, and a complete dependence on them for all our needs including but not limited to communication, entertainment, business and what not – we need them to last at least a day. And that’s where the power banks have become a necessity. Power banks are portable energy source that can be easily carried in a pocket or backpack and provides smart phone and tablet users additional power when their devices are running low.
Unfortunately, most of us do not know what is a power bank and how it works. Even the manufacturers or sellers do not feel the need to educate the buyers on this necessary information. There are some points to be taken care of while choosing a good power bank depending on your device. Pondering over these aspects, I felt the need to compile details of such precautions and technicalities and the result is this article.
Power banks store energy in an internal Lithium Ion battery and can charge the mobile and tablets. They are nothing but a special battery encased in special casing along with required circuitry to control the flow of power. That’s how I can explain them in a non technical manner. They store the energy in them just like you deposit money in the bank and have a means to charge a device like you withdraw money! That is the perfect analogy. Now that the battery capacity of the devices we are using these days has gone too low what we have been expecting it to with a myriad of tasks being performed, there is a need for an auxiliary power supply and that’s where these power banks come into action.
Choosing a power bank
These are some basic guidelines on what kind power banks to buy. It all depends on your individual requirement. If you have the habit of carrying too many devices while on travel, you may need to get yourself a high capacity power bank. Else, a low capacity portable charger would be sufficient. Her are a few tips based on the major points –
Capacity: This is the most important deciding point in choosing a right power bank. Power Bank capacity refers to how much charge is inside a power bank battery. It is measured in mAh or milliamps per hour. But one thing you need to understand that when a power bank is charging your smart phone or tablet, some of the energy is lost in transfer of power. So the real capacity is about 60-65 percent of the battery capacity listed on the power bank. For example a power bank with battery capacity at 2200 mAh has real capacity in the range 1320mAh to 1430mAh. And this is for quality battery, for downgraded battery the loss of power is even more and hence the real capacity would be less than 1320mAh. Should you decide to buy a power bank, keep your own usage in mind. To meet ever growing charging needs of users, many higher mAh units are available today. Higher end power banks can charge almost any type of devices, from laptops, iPads, tablets and smart phones.
Connectors: Pay specific attention to the number of connectors and the type of connector. It would be more advisable to go for a power bank with built-in cable.
Portability: We are buying a power bank because of its portable nature. If you have to carry a huge power bank than your device, it is too impractical.
Price: Power banks which promise higher capacity at a substantially lower price may not be genuine. Most of them use refurbished battery and may not last long. Go for a power bank from a well known brand. Though it may be a bit expensive, it will keep your device safe and give the required performance.
Protective Circuitry: Ensure that your power bank has additional features to protect your device. Pay attention to following –
Short Circuit Protection – This will help keep your power bank and the device safe when the short circuit problems happen.
Over Charging Protection – This feature will let the power bank cut off the supply when your device is charged fully. Thus, it will be useful in cases of the device being left for charging and forgotten.
Temperature Protection – This will help identify the cases of device overheating while charging the device.
Certification: Check for the UL certification of the device. It will ensure that the power bank you have been buying meets all standard quality requirements.
Phones get faster every year, but battery life doesn't seem to get any better. If you need to keep your smartphone - or tablet or other USB-powered device - going all day, you need a power bank.
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