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What’s the real capacity of your power bank?

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  • 4 min read

Power banks have become a must-have for most people these days with phones growing more and more power-hungry, and our addiction to them becoming stronger, power banks have turned into the saviour for smartphones.

However, people often don’t get the expected number of charge cycles going by their capacity. When we buy a 10,000mAh power bank, we hope it to charge our 2,000mAh battery on our phone at least five times. However, in reality, we would be able to recharge it about 2-3 times only.

Memory devices and power banks have something in common. Do you want to know what it is? They both fall short of our expectations with their capacity. A general rule of thumb is to presume that the actual usable size of your power bank is 2/3 of it’s indicated capacity. So, a 10,000mAh power bank is good enough for around 6,600mAh only.

Also read: 7 reasons why your smartphone is heating up and how to tackle it

But why?

The actual reason for this is pretty simple; mAh merely is not the best unit to measure your power bank’s battery capacity while the voltage of the batteries is different to the ones that are charged by it, the Li-ion batteries on the power bank have an output of 3.7V, but modern phones get charged at 5V. Watt-hours (or Wh) is a better way to measure the energy stored in the battery.

So, with the help of some math, a power bank with a 10,000 mAH rating and an output of 3.7V comes out to 37,000mHW. Considering that the phone’s battery was charging at 5V, the output will be around 7,400mAh. Additionally, energy is also lost in the conversion and transfer. Ambient temperature and age of the components impact the process and also play a role in the performance of the power bank. If we assume a 10 percent loss (7,400 x 0.90), it would leave us with roughly 6,600mAH, which are around 2-3 cycles of charge that we usually get.

Take this with a pinch of salt as these are all subjective of your phone and power bank’s capacity. Over time batteries and components tend to degrade which would bring down their performance.

How to maximise your power bank’s capacity?

What's the real capacity of your power bank?

So with that out of the way let’s explore some tips on how to maximise your power bank’s capacity.

  • Charge cycles: Maintaining proper charge cycles with your power bank could improve your power bank’s life.
  • Avoid overcharging: Avoid overcharging your power bank as it would deteriorate your power bank’s battery faster.
  • Use manufacturer approved cables: Always use manufacturer approved cables with your battery bank as others may cause them to heat up and damage the circuitry.
  • Use shorter cables: Using shorter cables could limit resistance and energy transfer loss.
  • Choose the right quality power bank: There are many power banks on the market choosing a good one from a reputed manufacturer can save you the trouble of failure and will last you as advertised.
  • Avoid using fast charging cables: Fast charging cables are designed to be used with a fast charging power brick and they don’t play well with power banks they waste precious power and may even damage your power bank.

Power banks are a blessing to gadget freaks and phone users alike. A better understanding of their inner workings would better serve its users and avoid misconceptions.

Also read: Top 7 Gaming Mice for all budgets

Mani Maaran

Mani Maaran