Is this device a fake?

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dgnuff
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Is this device a fake?

I bought one of these from a seller on Ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/131604864414 and was very unimpressed with it when it arrived.

It claims to be made by Aili, bt after reading HKJ’s review of their 4 cell bank, I’m not at all sure. I loaded it up with some close to full charge 18650s, checking the open circuit voltage with my DVM showed them all at between 4.13 and 4.15 volts. The device powered up, I was able to turn on the flashlight LED, but no hint of charge when attached to my cell phone.

Testing the cells individually in another single cell USB power bank I own, they were able to charge the phone there, so it’s not a problem with the cells.

However the big giveaway is the label on the back.

Note that it says “Power Banker”, and that the “-er” is slightly separated from the rest of the word “Bank”. All images I can find on the web of Aili devices have the exact text “Power Bank” in the label on the back.

I still have time to claim a refund from the vendor, I’m very strongly tempted to do so, since I think these devices weren’t even made by Aili.

dgnuff
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@gauss163 There is a certain amount of sarcasm in this reply, but it is directed entirely at the vendor, not you.

That said … Instructions? What instructions? The device came in a bubble wrap bag with no instructions included.

I’ll try it with the voltage select set to 5V, and have a look round for an activation button next to the USB port. I don’t have it in front of me now, but I seem to remember an opening next to the USB output that I couldn’t figure out what it was. I’ll have a poke in there with a toothpick when there’s no batteries in it, to see if I can feel anything, and take it from there.

Film at 11, as the saying goes …

Barkuti
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Funny specs' sticker. Probably at least half of the characteristics are nowhere to be found, and about 90% of them are exaggerated. LOL!

What's inside? A hamster on a wheel? 

Could you post pics of the PCB, chips, etc?

Well, if the thing doesn't works, you may ask the seller for a refund, doesn't it?

Sorry about the sarcasm, I had to make the joke. 

 

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dgnuff
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@gauss163 – good call on your part, damn good call. I set the voltage select to 5v, it had previously been on 6v, and the cell phone is now charging.

@Barkuti There’s a part of me that agrees with your post, the specs on the back for the non-USB output are probably wildly exaggerated.

I did have a close look inside, and found no evidence of hamsters, dead or alive, so that’s a good sign. I can’t easily get a pic of the circuit board that’s in there because it’s covered over by the case, and I don’t want to try and open it up for fear of breaking it. Since I now can operate it as a USB power bank / charger, it’s worth keeping, since I’m only out a few dollars.

dgnuff
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I’m not sure about that. I tried pulling under an amp from it when set to 6v, and it promptly shut down. That’s a lot of the reason I suspect it’s a fake. I’ve heard a bunch of positive reviews about other Aili devices, both the 119 and the 4 cell USB power bank, the one that’s reviewed here: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/25689 .

The fact that these get good reviews and the one I have does so poorly is part of what leads me to think it’s not the real thing.

On a somewhat related topic, but what’s the voltage cutoff when charging with the Aili 119? I am being very cautious, and making sure that I don’t push anything above 4.2v. I haven’t tested how far this will push cells, simply because I know that charging above 4.2 will degrade battery life, and if pushed too far is actually dangerous.

Barkuti
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dgnuff wrote:

On a somewhat related topic, but what's the voltage cutoff when charging with the Aili 119? I am being *very* cautious, and making sure that I don't push anything above 4.2v. I haven't tested how far this will push cells, simply because I know that charging above 4.2 will degrade battery life, and if pushed too far is actually dangerous.

 

I can assure you it is perfectly safe to “overcharge” your cells. Here's the evidence:

 

According to what I read there, a standard 4'2V li-ion is overcharged at 2x the manufacturer's recommended charge current at up 8'4V… 

Still daring to complain about a few centivolts? 

 

Well, of course one thing is safety. Besides safety, other things matter also, one of them being cycle life/lifespan. According to the data I've read at batteryuniversity.com, keeping the no-load battery voltage consistently at or below 14/15th of the “maximum” voltage translates into enjoying beyond 4x the standard service life (removal of voltage related stresses).

I am pretty sure it could be 0K to “overcharge” quality brand name standard li-ions to, let's say, 4'35V like the newer ICRs, and enjoy a 20% boost in energy density. Cycle count may get reduced to just 35% or so but, it may not be that much of a big deal for flashlight users as long as the boost timeframe is kept at a minimum by topping the batteries just before use, and never storing them with voltage above the aforementioned 14/15th of the specified maximum voltage. Yeah, bollocks galore. 

Take care fellows.

 

Cheers Party

The human mind, and its programming, is at the forefront of a particular battle of The Light vs evil dark forces. Nearly every human being on this beautiful planet “Earth” has some sort of negative mind programming in its mind. And you better take care of your mind programming, or someone else will in this wicked world.

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dgnuff
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gauss163 wrote:
Barkuti wrote:
I am pretty sure it could be 0K to “overcharge” quality brand name standard li-ions to, let’s say, 4’35V like the newer ICRs, and enjoy a 20% boost in energy density…

This is incorrect and could prove quite dangerous.

Agreed. I don’t claim to understand the chemistry involved, but above 4.2v nasty things start happening.

To the best of my knowledge, the lithium ions become solid metallic lithium, which can then form electrical shorts. The electrolyte also releases CO2, which raises the already high internal pressure of the battery, which in the worst case can lead to an explosive “vent with flame”. Let’s not forget at this point that the electrolyte itself is a flammable hydrocarbon.

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dgnuff wrote:

Agreed. I don't claim to understand the chemistry involved, but above 4.2v nasty things start happening.

To the best of my knowledge, the lithium ions become solid metallic lithium, which can then form electrical shorts. The electrolyte also releases CO2, which raises the already high internal pressure of the battery, which in the worst case can lead to an explosive "vent with flame". Let's not forget at this point that the electrolyte itself is a flammable hydrocarbon.

Well, according to BU-808b: What causes Li-ion to die?, even 4'2V is already too much, if we are to be picky.

I wonder what is different in those high voltage Samsung & LG ICRs for them to officially support that higher voltage. Example: Samsung ICR18650-30B 3000mAh (Green) review at lygte-info.dk

 

Cheers Party

The human mind, and its programming, is at the forefront of a particular battle of The Light vs evil dark forces. Nearly every human being on this beautiful planet “Earth” has some sort of negative mind programming in its mind. And you better take care of your mind programming, or someone else will in this wicked world.

Please avoid fully quoting lenghty posts, namely with nested quotes. Trim quotes down to the essential. Helps with neatness and legibility. Thanks.

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dgnuff
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gauss163 wrote:
By what method did you measure the current?

Simple but effective. 5w 10 ohm resistor. That’ll draw 0.6 amps from 6v, and 5W is plenty big enough: power = IV = 6 * 0.6 = 3.6W

gauss163 wrote:
Be sure that you are using quality, healthy cells else the high IR of the cells could yield puzzling results.

They’re SE US18650GR scavenged (appropriately enough) from an old but still good Sony laptop battery. They’ve got a few miles on them, but they should still be in good condition. All of them were reading between 3.75 to 3.8 V when I removed them.

dgnuff
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gauss163 wrote:
… if they spent most of their time fully charged in a hot laptop …

Without trying to be smug, but I read a good many years ago that there are two things that shorten the lifespan of a li-ion cell:

1. Keeping it hot,
2. Keeping it fully charged.

As a result of which, all removable (*) laptop battery packs I own spend most of their life at 40% charge in the fridge.

(*) off topic, but while I really like my current Lenovo laptops, I also detest the fact that I can’t remove the packs fom them. In their defense, they do have a “conservation” mode that maintains 60% charge rather than 100%. However that’s a discussion for a different time and place.

That said, I’m 99.9% certain it’s a circuit board problem and not a cell problem. As I’ve noted upthread, a single cell in a “Lipstick” USB power bank with charge the cellphone at 500 ma. So a full load of these cells in a 6P configuration should have no problem delivering at least 2A at 5V / 6V.

In addition, I recently got an XTAR VC2 Plus charger, and pulling 5V from the USB connector on the “Aili” with only four cells in it (4P), it’ll give enough power to the XTAR to charge the other two at 1A each, implying a 2A draw from 5V is possible.

At this point, it’s just not worth my time and effort to try and get other than 5V from it. Other voltages would have been nice but as a USB power bank it does work correctly.

Barkuti
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I've recently dismantled a known to be bad netbook battery pack, I'm going to restore it with a pack of new Samsung 18650-30B cells for a friend who works as a Guardia Civil. He seemed delighted when I told him it would get at least twice the lifespan because of the usage of these higher voltage ICRs. 

Three Samsung ICR18650-22Fs were inside, at 3'6/3'74/3'85V. The weakest one started to leak volts like crazy off the charger, the others fared somewhat better but they were leaking charge anyway. How do you call this phenomena?

Honestly, old laptop packs are very unlikely to contain useable cells unless they've been adequately preserved/stored on purpose. Laptops are usually kept plugged most/close to all the time and that means the perfect recipe for battery degradation: high voltage and high temperature. Facepalm

 

Cheers Party

The human mind, and its programming, is at the forefront of a particular battle of The Light vs evil dark forces. Nearly every human being on this beautiful planet “Earth” has some sort of negative mind programming in its mind. And you better take care of your mind programming, or someone else will in this wicked world.

Please avoid fully quoting lenghty posts, namely with nested quotes. Trim quotes down to the essential. Helps with neatness and legibility. Thanks.

I recommend saying no to Covid vaccine. Listen to your spirit or soul. Innocent 

Keanu Reeves may need your help. Join his Telegram channel here.