Article Do's and Don'ts of Portable Battery Packs

Discussion in 'Gadgets and Consumer Electronics' started by JD666, Mar 24, 2015.

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  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    During Mad Scientist Experiment number 376, I decided to open my dying CoolerMaster Choiix Powerfort.

    After prying the case open, I was trying to release the 2700 mAH battery from the circuitry when I saw smoke coming from between the battery and the circuit board.

    I quickly jumped up, with a mental image of all those Li-Ion batteries blowing up in fire and smoke. Rushed outside and placed it in a safe open area. Close call.

    Conclusion - Do not use a flat screw driver to pry a battery from its installation. It can puncture the battery structure and cause a massive fire or explosion even. Also there is a strong possibility of poisoning by inhaling the harmful fumes.

    So I embarked on reading up about Do's and Don'ts while handling power packs. And I decided to compile them in a thread here.

    In no particular order -

    - No Fire, Water or Impact -

    As much as you would be tempted to chuck something at a colleague or office mate that you loathe, Do not chuck your battery pack at anyone. It could be a) painful, and b) explosive. Do not shake it too much if you can manage that. Also if a pack shows signs of damage (cracked, broken, punctured), best to not charge it.

    Keep away from Fire/heat sources - So do not leave it in your car, unless you want your whole car to go up in flames (in extreme cases).

    - Do not open or experiment -

    Refer Mad scientist experiment number 376 above. As tempted as you are, unless you know what you are doing exactly (read trying to eek out extra juice for your R/C Car or Aircraft), do not dismantle or open the battery pack.

    Avoid poking and probing with sharp objects, screw drivers included.

    - Keep it topped up -

    Ensure that you charge your battery pack at least once in ten days if not weekly. I generally top off the battery every weekly off. It would be wise to cycle the battery thru its entire capacity once in 2-3 months to ensure the capacity stays, but the newer Li-Ion batteries are better off when they stay topped off.

    - Charge and Discharge separately -

    Though some battery pack manufacturers allow you to charge your phone simultaneously, while the battery pack is being charged. I generally avoid this because a) it is too slow b) neither gets charged properly c) The battery pack gets too hot at times.

    So unless you have a dire shortage of USB ports, charge your battery pack and mobile device separately.

    PS - If you are traveling, you can always use the spare USB port behind the LCD TV (if you are staying in a half decent hotel) as a charging point.

    - Ensure you have the right charging current -

    Some devices charge well enough with a 1 Amp or 1000 mA current. However certain devices require 2.1 Amps or higher. The iPhone 5S / 6 for instance charge quickly with the 2.1 Amp charger of the iPad. However I have noticed a noticeably faster drain from full when charged with a higher current charger.

    Check the rated input to your mobile device (Written as the output voltage and current on your wall charger). Ensure that your battery pack offers the same or lower current. Higher won't harm, but you might just lose battery life (of the pack) in charging your device.

    - Buy reputed/tested Battery packs -

    Battery packs are dime a dozen in the market ranging from 1800 mAH to 20,800 mAH. Some have sand stuffed in them, while others can barely hold a charge. Steer away from cheap lucrative offers and unknown brand names. Buy a pack that comes with warranty, and from a reputed brand like LG/Sony/Eveready etc.

    A lot of electronic sales offer battery packs as freebies with your purchase. Unless they are of a reputed brand, best offload to someone or sell online.

    - Don't cozy up with it -

    Do not charge/discharge the battery pack when in bed, sleeping or generally slouching. You know, your regular positions. A battery pack gets warm while charging or discharging. If it cannot dissipate the heat away, there is a potential fire risk.

    If you pack is within the covers with you, or hidden under a cushion on the sofa, it is not an optimal place for the device. Ensure that there is enough air around it so it stays cool.

    - Read the Manual -

    We'd generally throw away the user manual. Bah, it's a battery pack, what is there to read. But you do find useful maintenance operational tips that help you understand your battery pack. For instance, I could not get my pack to switch off, realized that I have to tap the button twice, rather than one long press.

    - Cleaning and Maintenance -

    Keep away from water/chemicals/solvents. These are the generic common sense pointers, not much has to be said there.

    Once the pack dies in a few years, do not trash. It should ideally be recycled. I found Nokia Recycling centers to be a good location to drop them off. You can always google around and find one.

    Alright there, enjoy the augmented power of your mobile device keeping the above tips in mind. Remember, with great power, comes great responsibility!

  2. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    To add - Avoid carrying a portable battery pack in your pocket if possible. If something were to leak or explode, the consequences would be painful. I generally place the pack in an outside pocket so it stays cool enough or in the net pocket of my back pack when in use. Easy to connect the cable as well.
  3. Stuge

    Stuge RAID Rookie

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    I prefer to keep battery pack and phone seperatly in bag mostly

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