Battery banks are handy devices. However, the cheapest available option is not necessarily the best option. Depending on your usage, it may be that reliability, quality or a particular feature are more important than up-front dollar cost.
Selecting a well respected brand for your battery bank, such as Voltaic Systems (NYC) is a good move when you require dependable equipment or when you are looking for a USB power bank which continues to offer high capacity over many hundreds of full (charge / discharge) cycles.
Specific features of a particular model or vendor’s battery bank may also be an influencing factor when selecting a battery bank. As an example the Voltaic Systems V44 and V15 both feature an always on mode, as well as auto power off after charging mode. The always on mode may be essential if you are powering a low drain device such as an Arduino or using the battery within a project beyond just quickly recharging a USB device such as a phone, tablet or camera. The auto off mode may be useful if you are seeking a power bank which maintains it's charge once a the attached device has been fully charged. When you are selecting a power bank, specific features that you require now or down the road are worth considering.
In terms of power bank specifications, specifics to consider include maximum output and input ; current and voltage. As an example, a minimum of 2A current output on the USB port such as is offered by the Voltaic Systems V44 may be required to ensure the fastest charging possible of a particular device such as a tablet. Likewise 2A input for recharging the power bank (as featured on the V44) may also be important in terms of ensuring fast re-charge time for the power bank. When charing via solar power, the maximum current and voltage is often a critical specification in ensuring a fast charge from solar panels.
When charging via USB the voltage and current are both important factors in terms of the time it will take to charge or even if a device will start to charge. Cables, connectors, and the design of the charger and device being charged all affect the charge time. If you are having problems with charging devices or if you are experiencing slow charging, then diagnostic tools are often very helpful in tracking down the problem. Introducing the USB 3.0 Power Monitor from YZXStudio.
The Yelllow YXZ Studio USB Power Meter seen in the video above is essentially the same (apart from the colour) as the Blue YXZ Studio USB 3.0 Power Meter which we offer.
The YXZ Studio USB 3.0 Power Meter offers high accuracy and a ultra clear OLED voltage and current read out which help when diagnosing USB charging issues. As voltage and current are both critical factors for rapid charging via USB the realtime information updates provided are also very helpful in determining if a particular cable or power bank is causing a bottle neck within the charging process. As an example, it could be that a cable in your setup is not able to handle the full current of the device being recharged. When faced with such problems, having the right tools on hand make the diagnosis easier.
Another excellent feature of the YXZ Studio USB 3.0 Power Meter is the ability to automatically store cumulative information about the Ah and Wh recorded, even when the input power to the power meter is disconnected. This allows you to check the health and status of battery banks and devices as they charge even if the input power to the meter is automatically disconnected or if you are testing the capacity of a battery bank by charging over long and possibly interrupted periods.
In summary, sometimes it will be worthwhile selecting high quality cables, battery banks and USB power diagnostic tools. Certainly, the YXZ Studio USB 3.0 Power Meter is an invaluable tool for diagnosing many USB charging problems such as bottlenecks in terms of charging speed or simply checking on a device’s battery health.