Review: cheap 18650 mobile power bank

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chiefinspectorfinch
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Review: cheap 18650 mobile power bank

Warning ! Apparently there is another variant of this power bank with PCB using FM6316CE ic that appears to be very problematic, perhaps even dangerous. Seems like white color power bank is still OK…

This generic power bank appeared rather recently in many shops with very decent specifications and incredible price in 2-3 $ range ! Although I have no means to test it thoroughly as some other members, some basic info might be helpful…

Construction of this power bank is rather simple and straightforward to use with clearly marked input and output ports.

Only unprotected cells are supported…

Closing lid is quite sturdy and keeps everything nice and tight inside but it might be a little difficult to open.

Overall build and plastic quality is superb and surprising for this price range, even usb connectors feels solid.

Positive battery tab and negative side spring are also high quality and will ensure reliable connection to battery.

Circuitry is based on a brand new ETA9635 ic that combines li-ion charger, protection and step up converter in a single 8-pin SOIC package !

Specifications promise up to 1A/5V output with high efficiency of 85% for 0.9A output and 92% for 0.5A. Battery charging (cc/cv) current is also specified up to 1A. It also promises short circuit, overload protection and 2.8V cut out voltage along with 50uA quiescent current.

PCB looks quite decent.

View of indicator led’s and battery positive tag.

USB output is AFAICT apple coded and it provides 0.5A current to android devices.

Output voltage is well in range of usb specification and quite stable (near 5V or slightly under)

Output current is just a little bit below 0.9A and fairly stable and no detectable heat is produced.

Actual charging current is 0.9A and it seems that cc/cv pattern is followed properly. When battery is full charger stops charging completely. Termination voltage is in 4.17-4.19 V range on all of four power banks I tested and termination current is around 100mA.

Two indicator led’s indicate status of charging or discharging in following pattern:

RED is lit while charging battery, BLUE and RED when done.

BLUE and RED is lit while discharging and battery is over 4V, under 4V only blue remains and shuts off when battery is depleted.

Led’s are adequately bright while charging but when discharging they are barely visible, especially as white lid blocks quite a bit of light…

Overall this is a great little power bank. Quality is mind blowing for it’s price and all examples I tested worked flawlessly and ensured safe operation for both battery and device charged. Weak led indicators are IMHO only real drawback…

It’s available in several colors at popular web stores (currently 1.99$ at BIC)

Society is like a pot full of nuts and bolts, finest pieces always end up on the bottom...

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 06/25/2015 - 14:29
ImA4Wheelr
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Nice review.  Thank you very much.  Looks like a great little bargain for a handy device.

Boro
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Thank you, please post more often Wink

iron potato
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Nice review, thanks for the great work Smile

islisis
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do you have a method for opening this? i got the impression it was a more or less permanent locking design

WarHawk-AVG
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Link to the powerbank?

Also need HKJ to do some voltage/current tests, see if it holds up at 1A clean or drops off like some of the other cheaper power banks...but very very nice they put the charger/setup up circuitry into one IC...most excellent!

 

Found link at Banggood

http://www.banggood.com/Portable-Mobile-Power-USB-18650-Battery-Charger-...

Coupon code BLF does apply!

WarHawk-AVG
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FYI

chiefinspectorfinch
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islisis wrote:
do you have a method for opening this? i got the impression it was a more or less permanent locking design

Small flat screwdriver or plastic lever will do fine. Plastic is quite sturdy and won’t be easily damaged…

Society is like a pot full of nuts and bolts, finest pieces always end up on the bottom...

 

chiefinspectorfinch
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WarHawk-AVG wrote:

Link to the powerbank?

Also need HKJ to do some voltage/current tests, see if it holds up at 1A clean or drops off like some of the other cheaper power banks…but very very nice they put the charger/setup up circuitry into one IC…most excellent!

 

Found link at Banggood

http://www.banggood.com/Portable-Mobile-Power-USB-18650-Battery-Charger-For-Phone-MP3-p-89412.html

Coupon code BLF does apply!

Currently on action at BIC

http://www.buyincoins.com/item/35357.html

BIC4ELECTRO 6% coupon is valid…

Society is like a pot full of nuts and bolts, finest pieces always end up on the bottom...

 

WarHawk-AVG
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Oh even better! Darn good price!

harry218
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I’m thinking at ordering this or Miller 102 V5 mainly for backup power for my phone and 3DS. Which one has better circuitry?

WarHawk-AVG
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This one...the miller just like any of the other single cell portable power banks have 2 separate circuits, one for charge of the Li Ion battery in the pack, then one for the boost output for 5vdc, this one both are contained in one chip, 1A both directions (probably less due to inefficiencies and heat loss)

Unless they have new miller chargers that have something similar...

Like this one (the latest V5 Miller charger)

https://www.fasttech.com/products/1421/10001919/1137904

  • Single TP4056 IC for battery charging
  • Single PT1301 IC for charging devices
dchomak
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I was tempted to order one of each of 6 colors from BIC. At $2 each, even just the cell holder portion is worth it.
However, I resisted the urge and only ordered 1 each of black, white and pink.
See, I CAN control my addictions Big Smile

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dchomak wrote:
I was tempted to order one of each of 6 colors from BIC. At $2 each, even just the cell holder portion is worth it. However, I resisted the urge and only ordered 1 each of black, white and pink. See, I CAN control my addictions :D
I had 10 in the basket and hovering over the buy button then remembered my wife put the kabosh on my spending till payday, already bought 4 at $1.00 more expensive at banggood

I have a BUNCH of panasonic laptop pulls (thanks 18sixfifty) and itching to try em out, I have two super cheapo tube ones that just can't hack it and end up going dead because they leave a draw on the battery all the time (plus the batteries suck anyway!)

Just imagine a "mod" and putting this on a 4x parallel 18650 battery pack!

alphazeta
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looks good.

Initially I had over a dozen in my cart with the intention of gifting these all out but then I thought -> “I’d better order just one to start out.”

Being one handed I’m not sure how much trouble I might have getting this thing open. Better to just try one out now. I can always order a bunch later if it’s a go.

Thanks for the nice review on this!

AZ

mnickolson
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Order two of them to try out. Thanks for the review on these.

chiefinspectorfinch
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alphazeta wrote:
looks good.

Initially I had over a dozen in my cart with the intention of gifting these all out but then I thought -> “I’d better order just one to start out.”

Being one handed I’m not sure how much trouble I might have getting this thing open. Better to just try one out now. I can always order a bunch later if it’s a go.

Thanks for the nice review on this!

AZ

They do come with lid open so it’s not an issue…

Society is like a pot full of nuts and bolts, finest pieces always end up on the bottom...

 

harry218
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WarHawk-AVG wrote:

This one…the miller just like any of the other single cell portable power banks have 2 separate circuits, one for charge of the Li Ion battery in the pack, then one for the boost output for 5vdc, this one both are contained in one chip, 1A both directions (probably less due to inefficiencies and heat loss)

Unless they have new miller chargers that have something similar…

Like this one (the latest V5 Miller charger)

https://www.fasttech.com/products/1421/10001919/1137904

  • Single TP4056 IC for battery charging
  • Single PT1301 IC for charging devices

So V5 is using 2 separate ICs while this one using the same IC for both tasks?
invisiblejules
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Can anyone recommend some good batteries to put in these? Ideally something under $6? Thanks!

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Yes, per the data sheet, it eliminates two separate channels worth of electronics and soldering

invisiblejules wrote:
Can anyone recommend some good batteries to put in these? Ideally something under $6? Thanks!

I am planning on using laptop pull panasonics (or sony [the red ones])

Decent enough and can handle 1A charge and has enough mAh to actually be worth it

CRANK
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WarHawk-AVG wrote:

dchomak wrote:
I was tempted to order one of each of 6 colors from BIC. At $2 each, even just the cell holder portion is worth it. However, I resisted the urge and only ordered 1 each of black, white and pink. See, I CAN control my addictions Big Smile
I had 10 in the basket and hovering over the buy button then remembered my wife put the kabosh on my spending till payday, already bought 4 at $1.00 more expensive at banggood

I have a BUNCH of panasonic laptop pulls (thanks 18sixfifty) and itching to try em out, I have two super cheapo tube ones that just can’t hack it and end up going dead because they leave a draw on the battery all the time (plus the batteries suck anyway!)

Just imagine a “mod” and putting this on a 4x parallel 18650 battery pack!

Panasonic laptop pulls? Link?

alphazeta
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chiefinspectorfinch wrote:
alphazeta wrote:
looks good.

Initially I had over a dozen in my cart with the intention of gifting these all out but then I thought -> “I’d better order just one to start out.”

Being one handed I’m not sure how much trouble I might have getting this thing open. Better to just try one out now. I can always order a bunch later if it’s a go.

Thanks for the nice review on this!

AZ

They do come with lid open so it’s not an issue…

That is great 411. The coast looks clear to order more then…

thanks!
AZ

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Excellent review, what can we buy if we only have protected cells, like the 3400 Panasonic?

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Thanx for the review. I have bought 10 of these and am very satisfied with the performance of each. I use unprotected Sanyo 2600mAh cells and they’re good for at least one charge cycle for my family’s gadgets. Smile

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CRANK wrote:
WarHawk-AVG wrote:

dchomak wrote:
I was tempted to order one of each of 6 colors from BIC. At $2 each, even just the cell holder portion is worth it. However, I resisted the urge and only ordered 1 each of black, white and pink. See, I CAN control my addictions :D
I had 10 in the basket and hovering over the buy button then remembered my wife put the kabosh on my spending till payday, already bought 4 at $1.00 more expensive at banggood

I have a BUNCH of panasonic laptop pulls (thanks 18sixfifty) and itching to try em out, I have two super cheapo tube ones that just can't hack it and end up going dead because they leave a draw on the battery all the time (plus the batteries suck anyway!)

Just imagine a "mod" and putting this on a 4x parallel 18650 battery pack!

Panasonic laptop pulls? Link?
They are Sanyo laptop pulls...sorry
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It’s cheap. But I didn’t see it with a brand li-on battery. Don’t know how long it would last compared to these:
http://www.amazon.com/RAVPower-Flashlight-Lightning-Sensation-Thunderbol...

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Ordered 5, no pink tho Silly

Finaly, proud owner of a Powerex Maha mh c-9000 for my Eneloops:)

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CharlieChoca wrote:
It’s cheap. But I didn’t see it with a brand li-on battery. Don’t know how long it would last compared to these: http://www.amazon.com/RAVPower-Flashlight-Lightning-Sensation-Thunderbol...

It comes with no battery at all. But I guess if you put 3000 mAh cell of quality brand you will get similar runtime to the RAV power (If the later indeed has 3000 mAh battery inside)

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It is cheaper on buyincoins buyincoins

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I’ve been cycling one with the top off. As indicated in the review the LED’s are OK when charging but woefully dim when discharging. I can barely see them with the top off….in the dark. Actual charge performance seems OK. Using with laptop pulls.

I have not tried putting the lid on/off yet. I have an identical appearing one I purchased a couple months ago with a battery already installed. The lid is a tad tricky to get off but does if you work it. In the 1st one I got the (no name) battery is permanently installed. I have not idea what it’s capacity is but similar single cell units I have only measured out to 1000mA. I think the new units are a better buy as you can choose your own (decent) battery and replace it easily if required.

Re RAV power: Read the 3* reviews on Amazon. I would not be surprised if the supplied battery is not all that good. For most reviewers it seems to be “I got one, it works, I think it’s fantastic”. They have no data to back it up at all.

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WarHawk-AVG wrote:

Just imagine a “mod” and putting this on a 4x parallel 18650 battery pack!

Isn’t it true that, ideally, each li-ion have its own charging circuit? I know that paralleling them is commonplace & OK for well-matched cells (not just brand/model but maybe other attributes that change over time?). Talking unprotected cells here.

There are plenty of fleabay USB power packs that clearly & statically parallel 3 or more cells. Wondering, again ideally, if some sort of latch/relay that’d treat the cells separately during charge but parallel them during discharge/use is a better way to go.

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