Power Banks

Gabion Groyne

War Hero
Looking at getting a power bank so what are @rrsers thoughts on the requirements to cope with a few days off grid along with potential urban power cuts (in the same way having a Jetboil lurking in the cupboard could be useful). I'm a Grade A dunce when it comes to them so you know where to start from.

Review sites are all well and good but I'm looking for some practical experience of using the things, particularly where weight is to be considered when lugging stuff about. My phone is Android so no fancy-Dan iPhone stuff required (although I do have a Mk I iPod which suffices for music).

Cheers.
 
I reckon if you’re really looking at something for dealing with potential power cuts, then any power pack worth having will cost far more than a small portable generator.

If on the other hand you’re just looking at something to charge up your phone, iPad etc. then all the cheapo power banks I’ve had have been crap & failed, whereas the Anker ones I have bought have always worked perfectly. Often come up on sale - eg Black Friday or January sales on Amazon

10,000 should charge up your phone about 5 times
 
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Gabion Groyne

War Hero
Cheers. It is more something that is not going to be a weight penalty while keeping a couple of things going when hiking, but I'll look at Anker products.
 
I have two main power banks, each with a capacity of 10000 mAh. One I bought from Lidl when they were cheap, the other was bought for me by my daughter. The Lidl one is used most often as it charges from the mains faster and charges my phone faster.

For a long time, I treated the other bank as just a handy spare but I've come to realise that it's an essential. It does wireless charging. Initially, I thought that it was just a gimmick but recently my phone got wet a few times. Not a problem, it's washable - except that it displays a warning not to charge the phone until the USB port dries out completely - something that can take several hours. Alternatively, it also states that I can still charge wirelessly.

The moral is that it's not a bad idea to have two chargers, a fast one and a wireless one. Just in case.


edited to change Aldi to Lidl.
 
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This whole market is rife with scams, units promising 10000 or 20000 mAh that don't hold anywhere near that much and rapidly lose their ability to hold a charge at all after a few cycles. The Chinese have flooded the market with them, and even the formerly reputable brands have given up and are just re-badged versions of the same junk. They ship a few good ones to get some good reviews then follow up with the crap ones and cash in. Good luck with your search.
 

Diko

Old-Salt
I have two of these charged by my solar panels during the day. They will cook our evening meal in our fan oven, supply lighting during the evening, run a large chest freezer and a fridge freezer power two TV sets and boil our electric kettle every evening but that’s about it. They won’t discharge fully always leaving 20% in them. They cost about £800 each.
 

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Check the battery capacity of your phone, it may be somewhere in the settings or search on line against the model number.
This will allow you to gauge how many times it should be able to charge your phone - and also once you’ve used it a few times you can gauge whether the power bank is giving the advertised capacity

You can supplement power banks with a small fold up solar panel.
When I’m away for weekends at shows etc or in a Ford for a week etc I make plenty of phone use and have an iPhone so there’s a fair bit of power being used, and I’m known to have them so may be giving out emergency charges to others as well
I pre charge a few power banks then as I use them I put them on the solar panel to top back up

Another alternative as a multi function is car starter booster power banks. These are chunky power banks plus a small set of battery clamps. You then have the option of preserving it in case you can’t start the car or using it as a larger capacity power bank as charger.
There’s a lot around and they need to have sufficient capacity for your car. Check the advertised specifications.
They also have short cables for the battery clamps so could be awkward on some cars, so check that before relying on one.
 
I have two main power banks, each with a capacity of 10000 mAh. One I bought from Lidl when they were cheap, the other was bought for me by my daughter. The Lidl one is used most often as it charges from the mains faster and charges my phone faster.

For a long time, I treated the other bank as just a handy spare but I've come to realise that it's an essential. It does wireless charging. Initially, I thought that it was just a gimmick but recently my phone got wet a few times. Not a problem, it's washable - except that it displays a warning not to charge the phone until the USB port dries out completely - something that can take several hours. Alternatively, it also states that I can still charge wirelessly.

The moral is that it's not a bad idea to have two chargers, a fast one and a wireless one. Just in case.


edited to change Aldi to Lidl.
Lidl Silvercrest 10,000 is inexpensive and it works, cost about £10. I've had a few different ones, mainly as promotional items from various suppliers in my industry and they've been very poor. This one is about the size of two packs of fags and can recharge my phone about 3 times.

 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
I have an alarm panel 12V battery and a solar panel that hangs on the back of my bergen, a 12V to USB adapter & leads and charger for satphone etc. The whole lot weighs less than a kilo. Although I use paper maps, I take along a handheld GPS (Garmin) that uses AA batteries, I prefer Alkaline rather than rechargeable and have a 'stick' of them wrapped in some black & nasty to stop them rollong round, shorting out and getting lost.

The alarm panel battery was about £8 and the solar panel was £25 with the 12V leads.

Also remember that phones get very power-hungry when there isn't a GSM signal as they're constantly scanning for one, same goes for using it as a GPS mapping device.
 
It’s not a power bank but I have one of these. They are very quite and as an invertor generator, you can safely run computer equipment off them.


I bought it because we might buy a caravan in the near future plus we have a 6m x 3m marquee and are looking at outside craft fairs for our picture framing and it would be handy to have some power available.

In the event of the apocalypse taking place anytime soon, it will also power the tv, heating and lighting ect in a couple of rooms of the house until the zombies finally break in and get us.

About £500 odd quid.
 
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I have an alarm panel 12V battery and a solar panel that hangs on the back of my bergen, a 12V to USB adapter & leads and charger for satphone etc. The whole lot weighs less than a kilo. Although I use paper maps, I take along a handheld GPS (Garmin) that uses AA batteries, I prefer Alkaline rather than rechargeable and have a 'stick' of them wrapped in some black & nasty to stop them rollong round, shorting out and getting lost.

The alarm panel battery was about £8 and the solar panel was £25 with the 12V leads.

Also remember that phones get very power-hungry when there isn't a GSM signal as they're constantly scanning for one, same goes for using it as a GPS mapping device.
Solar panel? I guess you don't go walking in Scotland ;-)
 
This whole market is rife with scams, units promising 10000 or 20000 mAh that don't hold anywhere near that much and rapidly lose their ability to hold a charge at all after a few cycles. The Chinese have flooded the market with them, and even the formerly reputable brands have given up and are just re-badged versions of the same junk. They ship a few good ones to get some good reviews then follow up with the crap ones and cash in. Good luck with your search.
This scares the crap out of me. Lithium battery fires on board aircraft are rising exponentially and are now at the top of just about every aviation orientated Risk Register in existence. Almost all are the result of people (everyone?) not knowing anything about power ratings and not realising that cheap invariably means poor build quality.

If you’re looking for a handy reason to never set foot on an aircraft again, consider that on every aircraft the number of PEDs etc is roughly equal to 3x the number of passengers then Google “power bank catches fire on aircraft” or similar.
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Solar panel? I guess you don't go walking in Scotland ;-)
Well I did (just above Kielder), but I had to point it towards England to get it to work...
 

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