Modern computer and internet technology has come a long way from where it was just a few short years ago. Nowadays, literally billions of people around the world are proud owners of iphones, tablets, smartphones, laptops, and other similar mobile technology gadgets.
These modern marvels have become more and more powerful as time has gone by. Most of these devices are now capable of not only browsing the Internet, but can also handle many kinds of media offerings such as online games, music, movies, and other kinds of digital video.
These heightened capabilities do come with a cost, however. Many of the functions of, for example, an android smartphone, require a lot of power to run. Simply loading and watching a few YouTube videos can depleted a fully charged battery faster than a person can say ‘lickety split’!
And this is not the only problem. Many of the batteries used by modern communications devices tend to have fairly high capacities, and practically this means that when these batteries run out of electrical power, they can and often do take many hours to recharge to their full capabilities. In the meantime, the user of the device is left to swing in the wind, losing precious working time and in many cases, money as well.
Because of this, the mobile device industry has seen a rise in special external power packs that are generally known as “Power Banks”. These devices can be worth their weight in gold if a good one is purchased, but they can just as easily be useless to the user if an inefficient model is procured.
For this reason, it’s important for people to have a general understanding of power banks in general, and of some of the more popular models of power banks in particular. This article will shed some light on the subject by answering some questions which are common to the subject.
POWER BANK FAQ’S
WHAT EXACTLY IS A POWER BANK?
A power bank is a special device that basically serves as an external battery pack for various mobile electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops. They are manufactured by many different companies, and different varieties of power bank have different capabilities and uses.
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH MODEL OF POWER BANK IS THE BEST FOR MY SPECIFIC DEVICE?
There are a few basic things which users of power banks should be aware of when considering which model is the best for personal uses.
The first thing to be aware of is the overall capacity of the device in question. For example, a phone that runs in the 1500 mAh range and makes use of a power bank with a capacity of 2200mAh will be able to be charged one time by that power bank. Since it is considered desirable to have a power bank that can charge a phone multiple times before it needs recharging itself, it is usually a good idea to purchase a power bank that has several times the capacity of the phone or device that will be used.
The second thing to think about when choosing the right power bank is the number of outputs the power bank in question has. Some power banks have only one power output, and thus can charge or power only one device at a time. Other models have two or more power outputs, and are therefore capable of powering or charging multiple devices at the same time.
A third aspect to be aware of is something known as output specification. These output specifications come in a few general ranges, with 1A-1.5A outputs being generally in use for smartphones, and 1.5A- 2.0A outputs generally being used for tablets.
HOW IS THE POWER BANK ITSELF USUALLY CHARGED?
In most cases, the power bank in question will be capable of being charged by the charger that came with the phone itself, a USB port on a computer or tablet, another power bank, or a special charging cord that ships with the power bank itself.
HOW LONG DOES IT USUALLY TAKE TO CHARGE THE POWER BANK BEFORE IT CAN BE USED?
The time it takes to charge any particular power bank is based on the actual, or real, capacity of the power bank being used. A general rule of thumb is that the larger the capacity of the power bank in question, the longer it will usually take to fully charge up. Another thing that can affect charging times is the method of charging that is used.
For example, a power bank that is charged using the specialized cord that comes with it will generally charge a lot faster than a power bank that is charged using a USB port on a computer or other device.
WHAT DOES mAh MEAN?
The term ‘mAh’ stands for milli ampere hours, and it is basically just a way to measure what the capacity and the output of the power bank in question is.
WHAT IS THE LIFESPAN OF A COMMON POWER BANK?
The effective lifespan of different power bank’s varies, but many of the more decent models can retain at least 80 to 90 percent of their original power capacity for at least 400 to 500 charge/discharge cycles.
HOW CAN I TELL WHEN THE POWER BANK IS FULLY CHARGED?
Most varieties of power banks have tell tale lights that let the owner known exactly when it has a full charge, and some of the higher end ones automatically take it off charge when the battery is full.
CAN I CHARGE MY DEVICE AT THE SAME TIME THE POWER BANK IS CHARGING?
In most cases, the mobile device can be plugged in and used while the power bank is charging up. This is known as simultaneous charging and discharging.
CAN I USE MY DEVICE WHILE IT IS BEING CHARGED BY A POWER BANK?
In most situations, the device in question can be used while being charged by the power bank. This can, however, result in the device taking longer to be charged up than it would normally take.
IF I LEAVE MY DEVICE CHARGING ON THE POWER BANK, WILL IT OVERCHARGE AND SUSTAIN DAMAGE?
Most of the better power banks have built in overcharge protection, and will stop charging the device when it senses the battery is fully charged.
DOES THE USB CHARGING PORT ALLOW FOR DATA TRANSMISSION?
This usually depends on the specific model being used, but in many cases data and power transmission are not possible at the same time.
DOES THE POWER BANK BATTERY NEED TO BE SPECIALLY CHARGED AT FIRST?
Many power bank manufacturers pre-charge their power banks before shipping them to customers. They usually undergo special aging treatments at the factory, and thus are almost always ready to go upon receipt by the customer.
ARE THERE POWER BANKS THAT CAN BE USED WITH APPLE PRODUCTS?
Yes, there are certain brands that work with various Apple devices.
DO MANY POWER BANKS REQUIRE A BUTTON PRESS TO BEGIN WORKING?
No, most of the better varieties of power banks can sense when the device is plugged in, and begin working automatically.
DO ANY POWER BANKS COME WITH SPECIAL ADAPTERS FOR DIFFERENT DEVICES?
Absolutely, many power banks are made to work with various devices.
SHOULD THE POWER BANK BE ALLOWED TO COME INTO CONTACT WITH WATER?
No, under no circumstances should any power bank be submerged or have any contact with liquids, unless it is specifically designed to be used in wet circumstances.
IS IT OKAY TO LEAVE THE POWER BANK IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT?
A few minutes of sunlight will not hurt most power banks, but it’s not a good idea to let these devices roast in the sun for hours on end.
DO MOST POWER BANKS COME WITH WARRANTIES?
Absolutely, and if any damage occurs that is not the fault of the owner, most manufacturers are happy to replace malfunctioning units.
CAN I GET AN INSTRUCTION MANUAL ONLINE FOR MY POWER BANK?
Yes, in almost all cases it is possible to easily find instruction manuals online.
IS IT NORMAL FOR MY POWER BANK TO HEAT UP DURING CHARGING?
Yes, many devices require the charging voltage to be raised to 5v, and the excess power is often dissipated away as heat.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR BRANDS OF POWER BANKS?
There are many different manufacturers of power banks, but a few of them stand out from the rest. Here’s a list of some of the more popular and capable brands of power banks.
These brands of power banks have some small differences, but for the most part each model comes with some of the best features available on the market today. These include multiple power outputs, quick recharging times, variable output currents for different devices, full manufacturers warranties, easy to understand user manuals, and user friendly interfaces.
Which specific model is purchased will depend on the specific device, but prospective buyers can rest assured that all of the listed models are more than capable of holding their own, and are sure to provide users with years of faithful and reliable service.