Last updated on May 9, 2021
What is a Power Bank?
Power banks are commonplace and with our increasing use of battery-powered equipment: everything from mobile phones to battery-powered headphones, portable speakers, MP3 players can be charged via a power bank. They are effectively portable chargers. All they need is a USB charging interface.
Power banks come in a variety of shapes and sizes and to suit many different people and their needs.
- High Capacity: The 25800mAh power bank could charge your phone at least 5-7 times. A must for all travelers!
- 2 USB Ports: let you quick-charge your phone and still have some juice to share with other devices.
- Built-in Security: Built-in security devices protect your devices from excessive power, overheating, and overcharging.
- Suitable for all phones, tablets. But it’s not limited to just phones or tablets. I will often use my power banks to charge a traveling USB fan, my headphones, and a little flashlight. Works great!
- TSA Friendly? Yes! On my last trip, I brought 3 power banks with me and the TSA agents didn’t blink twice.
Power Bank Types
There are a few different types of power bank portable chargers. Obviously, size is one of the main criteria, but there are some other categories that can be considered.
Universal or standard power bank: These are the normal power bank portable chargers which are available in the stores and online. They are charged from the normal USB sources like USB chargers.
These power banks are normally charged from a standard USB charger and there is some indication on the power bank as to its state of charge. This may be a row of small LED lamps or a simple alphanumeric display that indicates the charge level as a percentage of full charge. Typically a micro USB connector is used as the power in connection.
Once fully charged the power bank can be used to charge other devices. There may be one of more Type A USB sockets (dependent upon the particular power bank) that can deliver charge to the devices needing charging.
Solar power bank: As the name indicates, these solar power banks can use sunlight to charge up. To do this they have photovoltaic panels. These are really only able to trickle-charge the internal battery when placed in sunlight because the solar cells are relatively small, but nevertheless this can be a very useful function, but really only in very sunny or bright conditions.
As the solar charging is slow, they can also be charged from a USB charger as well. The solar charging is a useful back-up, especially if you are travelling away from mains power. To ensure that the maximum amount of solar energy can be converted, some of the more advanced solar power banks have solar panels that fold out to present a larger area to the Sun. Even so, it can take over 24 hours to charge some, and as there obviously isn’t bright sun at night, or even all day, it can take a considerable while to charge. As charge times, capacities, etc vary considerably, it is always best to take a close look at the figures, if there is a possibility of buying one.
Like the standard wired power bank, these solar powered ones have standard Type A USB connectors for the output or outputs and a micro USB for the input from a USB charger.
Wireless power bank: With many gadgets like phones, ear-pods and the like now having the capability to be charged wirelessly, this concept has been adopted by the power bank industry.
It is possible to obtain powerbanks that are themselves charged from a standard USB source.
These powerbanks use the Qi standard that has been adopted by virtually all electronic devices that can be charged wirelessly. The electronic device to be changed is placed on the power bank – orientation is often important, so check with the instructions, a button typically has to be pressed to turn on the wireless charging capability, and then it all proceeds until the device is charged.
It is best to turn off the wireless charging power bank once the charging is complete and then the wireless charging circuitry is disabled and the powe rbank will not be discharged unnecessarily.