Extend lifetime and performance on your USB Power Bank
USB Power Banks or USB Batteries are becoming more and more popular in a world in movement, where we all depend on having enough power on our mobile gadgets (iPhone/Smartphone, iPad/Tablet, Camera, GPS etc.)
USB Batteries are a great accessory, so you can always bring your own spare power, instead of having to chase outlets constantly. Therefore, you probably like to get the most out of your USB PowerBank!
Lower Powerbank price means cheaper battery cells and limited safety
The two most important factors in a external USB PowerBank is the Battery cells and the Safety circuit. However, those are also the two most expensive parts. If you have bought a fairly cheap PowerBank from a fairly unknown brand, you can be pretty sure they also use fairly cheap and unknown battery cells, and perhaps also saving on the electronics. In this case, you are probably already doomed, as cheap/poor battery cells just degrade quite fast and will not last long.
If you bought a high quality USB Power Bank from reputable makers such as Chill Innovation, you can also expect they care more on using good battery cell quality, safety features and performance. Obviously, this makes the products a bit more expensive, but it will give you the desired base for good performance and longer lifetime.
However, as with all other battery related products, there are some important guidelines in order to extend lifetime and performance. These are crucial, no matter the quality, as battery cells are made of active chemicals/gasses with limited lifetime. If not treated correctly, the Li-Ion / Li-Polymer cells will gradually degrade/collapse much faster.
Keep these three guidelines in mind to ensure the best possible lifetime and performance:
- Use your USB PowerBank regularly! Minimum one full cycle every 3 month*
- Never store your USB PowerBank in a depleted state (store it around 50% charged for longer periods)
- Do not expose your USB PowerBank for high humidity conditions and heat / direct sunshine.
(* lower quality / cheap PowerBanks might require to be cycled far more often)
These are the top three most important things to follow to ensure good performance and lifetime of USB PowerBanks and Li-ion / Li-Polymer batteries in general.
If you buy a new PowerBank and bring it on holiday for a week or so, and then afterwards just store it for several weeks or months, perhaps even in a discharged state. You can be fairly sure it can no longer deliver the initial performance (mAh) anymore. Since this is not a manufacturing related damage, but a natural behaviour, such depleted batteries / Powerbanks are not covered by any warranty.
Better USB PowerBanks, like Chill Innovation, actually have a built in safety function, which ensure the batteries are not actually fully depleted, when it is reported as empty. This way it will not take damage if not recharged immediately, but obviously, you should still recharge it within a few days at least. If you intend to store a PowerBank for longer periods, then you should keep it 50-70% charged. This is normally the best storage state for batteries.
USB Powerbank Durability and Lifetime
If you do not follow these basic guidelines, you will experience that lifetime and performance will gradually degrade faster for most types of mobile batteries (Li-ion / Li-Polymer), including cheap PowerBanks and even the best PowerBank available.
As the overall lifetime of batteries highly depend on the operating conditions, it is also hard to give a clear answer on how long they can actually last. In perfect conditions, a good USB PowerBank could last a few years. High quality cells can normally still deliver +50% capacity after ~200-300 cycles.
Happy traveling - May the Power be with you!
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