Powerbanks have become an indispensable product for smartphone users. Few years ago, powerbanks used to offer simple USB 1 Amp charging. However, the latest powerbanks featuring fast charging technologies such as Quickcharge or USB-C PD charging are also quite expensive.
The Li-ion or Lithium Polymer batteries in powerbanks have a fixed life cycle of about 500 charging cycles and the batteries begin to degrade after that.
Here are some tips to help you take good care of your powerbanks and maximise their life.
Store Powerbanks at 40% charge
Many users often store their powerbanks fully charged or at very high charge levels. This wears out the Li-ion/Li-Po batteries very quickly and should always be avoided.
Similarly many users store depleted powerbanks for long after a trip and only charge the powerbanks before their next trip. This should also be avoided as keeping the baterries in depleted state for long periods effectively kills the battery in a few months.
The optimum charging for storage for modern Li-ion or Li-polymer batteries is about 40 to 50%. You should therefore aim to not discharge the powerbanks below this level for long periods.
On returning from a trip, if you see that your powerbank is depleted, then you should recharge it till half full (2 lights blinking in a 4-light battery status indicator). before storing it for long periods.
Similarly, if your powerbank is charged to near full, you should “bleed” some charge away by charging you phone till the battery status indicators show about 50% charge.
Keep Powerbanks Cool During Use and Storage
Powerbanks use chemical reactions to produce electricity and like all chemical reactions higher temperatures lead to faster reactions. Powerbank degradation is also temperature dependent and keeping powerbanks in a hot storage will degrade them very fast.
Ideally keep the powerbanks at room temperature (60 to 80 degrees fahrenheit or 20-28 degrees celsius). Also always avoid storing the powerbanks in enclosed glass cases exposed to sunlight or in overly hot workplaces.
The best-kept-cool rule also applies during use. A hot powerbank will discharge much quickly.
Keeping powerbanks cool does not mean that you should refrigerate them or keep them in cold conditions. Freezing temperatures will disable the powerbank altogether. A too cold powerbank will also take ages to charge.
Do not Use Pass Through Charging
Pass through charging means using the powerbank to charge your devices while the powerbank it self is being charged. This wears down the batteries very fast and should be avoided. Most modern powerbanks disable passthrough charging for this reason. However, even if your powerbanks allows passthrough charging, it is recommended to use it only when extremely necessary.
Use Short and High Quality Cables for Charging Devices
Poor quality and long cables waste a lot of current and drastically reduce the usable charge in a powerbank. Long cables cause huge voltage drops and reduce the charging current to a trickle. In fact, one of the biggest reasons behind people complaining about the poor performance of their pwerbanks is that they are using long cables to charge their devices.
It is highly recommended to use high quality and as short as possible cables for charging your devices from powerbanks. Simply replacing a long cable a short high quality cable sometimes triples the usable battery capacity of the powerbank.
6-inches or 12-inches is good enough length for powerbank charging cables. Avoid going beyond 3 feet length. You really do not need 6 foot cables to charge your phone. Also, always use reliable and high quality cable brands.