Test/review of Xtar PB2S Charger & power bank

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HKJ
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Test/review of Xtar PB2S Charger & power bank

Xtar PB2S Charger & power bank
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This is a 18650/21700 LiIon charger and power bank from Xtar with support for QC.
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It arrived in a white cardboard box with specification on it.
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The box contained the charger, a usb cable (A to C) and a instruction sheet.
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The charger is usb powered with a USB-C input and a USB-A output for the power bank function. With the supplied cable it can be charger from a USB-A charger and charge a phone that uses USB-C input. What is not specified is that the USB-C input can also works as a 5V output (With USB-C direction can be automatic selected). On some PB2S the USB-C is marked “in/out”.
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This button is can be used to turn the power bank on and to change between different information on the display. When used as a power bank the display can be turned off by holding the button down.
Holding the button down (instead of a short press) to turn the power bank on will enter low current mode, i.e. disable automatic power off when not loaded.
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Default display, here I am using QC at 12V.
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And 5V, I am loading with above 2A.
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Here I am using the USB-C for output (OUT2).
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Charging, display shows input voltage and current.
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First battery (B1) is full.
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Second battery (B2) is charging with 2.1A.
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The lid uses magnets, this makes it fairly easy to open when you stick you nail into a small slot. The magnets are strong enough that you can easily lift the box in the lid, when it is filled with batteries.
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The specifications are listed on the bottom, but are not fully correct, the box can also deliver QC 12V output, but has trouble maintaining that voltage when loaded, the USB-C connector can supply 5V.
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The slots are only designed for 18650, 20700 and 21700. The negative end is spring loaded and handles lengths from 63mm to 71.5mm.
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There is a strip to put below the batteries, this makes it easy to get the batteries out.
supportedBatteryTypes
supportedBatterySizes
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Xtar gave me two batteries, I can use them here to show the battery space, but with only one of each I cannot test them.
Measurements


  • Power consumption from USB when idle with no batteries is 37mA with display on.
  • Display uses about 50mA from the batteries when on and no external power is connected.
  • Will charge one battery with up to 2.5A
  • Will discharge a full battery with less than 0.1mA when powered.
  • Will discharge a full battery with about 0.1mA when not powered, but has a peak of 5mA at 2.4V
  • Below 0.6V the charger will not charge
  • Displayed charge current is within 0.2A.
  • Displayed battery voltage is within 0.2V.
  • The charger will only increase QC voltage when it needs the power.
  • Will not always restart charging if voltage drops.
  • Will restart charging if battery is inserted or power cycled.

Xtar%20PB2S%20%28SA18650-33%29%20%231
The charger uses a CC/CV charge curve and it looks like it do some sort of test after 10 minutes.
Xtar%20PB2S%20%28SA18650-33%29%20%232
The charger generally starts at a fairly high current, this may be fine for 21700 and high current 18650, but it not ideal for high capacity 18650.
Xtar%20PB2S%20%28SA18650-26%29%20%231
Xtar%20PB2S%20%28PA18650-31%29%20%231
Xtar%20PB2S%20%28AP18650-26%29%20%231
Xtar%20PB2S%20%28SA20700-30%29%20%231
There is not much to say about the charging, it works nicely for all tested batteries.
Xtar%20PB2S%20QC%20%28SA18650-33%29%20%231
Using a QC charger and a single battery did not change anything.
Xtar%20PB2S%200.5ohm%20%282xSA18650-33%29
Adding 0.5ohm resistance in series with the power supply to simulate a long cable or weak supply shows that the charger will reduce usb and charge current, but the charging works fine.
Xtar%20PB2S%20QC%20%282xSA18650-33%29
With two batteries the charger increased the input QC voltage to 9V and maintained a high charge current.
The charger do a couple of on/off cycles at the end of charging.
Temp7032
M1: 40.0°C, M2: 38.1°C, M3: 53.8°C, HS1: 55.7°C
Temp7033
HS1: 62.3°C
There is some electronic inside the charger that gets a bit warm.
PoweronLiIon
The charger starts in about a second.
Unpowered%20voltage%20sweep
The charger has a very low discharge current when not used, except if the batteries are completely empty, then it will drain them too much. This means it is a bad idea to leave batteries in the charger/power bank when not used.
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This charger works fine with a unstable input voltage.
Power bank

  • Will discharge a full battery with about 0.1mA when not powered, but has a peak of 5mA at 2.4V
  • Display uses about 50mA from the batteries when on and no external power is connected.
  • USB output turns off after 90 seconds with load below 50mA
  • Low power mode do not turn off when current is below 50mA and it will slowly flash the display.
  • In low current mode the power bank uses 23mA average (15mA to 52mA) for its electronic.
  • Supported coding on USB-A: Apple 2.4A, DCP, QC3, Samsung-AFC, Huawei-FCP
  • Supported coding on USB-C: Only resistor coding with 5V
  • Higher voltages are disabled when USB-C output is active.
  • It looks like QC and USB-C is sharing a single voltage converter.
  • USB output is partially off when charging (Voltage varies, but is well below 5V when loaded)
  • The two batteries are handled independently.
  • Minimum QC3 voltage is 5V
  • Weight: 86g without batteries (2×18650 batteries will add about 90g, 2×21700 is 140g).
  • Size: 125 × 58 × 27.7mm

CurrentDisplay
The output current display is not very well calibrated, but it gives an idea about the current consumption or the connected device.
The output voltage display is also be too low with heavy loads on the output.
Xtar%20PB2S%20QC5V%20load%20sweep
The power bank can easily deliver the rated 2A with fresh batteries and it has overload protection around 2.7A.
Xtar%20PB2S%20QC9V%20load%20sweep
At 9V it can “only” deliver about 1.7A, not the rated 2A.
Xtar%20PB2S%20QC12V%20load%20sweep
At 12V the output is down to 1.2A, but as can be seen below the output is depend on battery charge state.
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USB-C can deliver about the same current as USB-A (QC) output on 5V.
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With a single 18650 battery the charger can easily deliver 0.5A for nearly 4 hours. It shunts down the output when the battery is down to 3V
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Using two batteries the time is nearly 8 hours.
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It can even deliver 2A from one battery, but only for about 45 minutes. The output voltage is stable, there is no drop when the battery is nearly empty.
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With two 18650 batteries it will run for nearly two hours with 2A output.
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QC9V is also stable until the battery is nearly empty.
Xtar%20PB2S%20usb%20out%20QC12V%2010ohm%20%282x18650%29
The box can also do QC12V, but here the converter has some trouble with a 10ohm (1.2A @ 12V) load, maybe that is the reason it is not listed in the specifications. It maintains the voltage above 11V, this means it will work with most (if not all) devices requiring QC12V and not using more than 1.2A.
Xtar%20PB2S%20usb%20out%20USB-C%202.5ohm%20%282x18650%29
USB-C output at 2A works fine.
10ohm
There is 8mV rms noise and 76mVpp noise.
5ohm
There is 24mV rms noise and 248mVpp noise.
2ohm
There is 24mV rms noise and 262mVpp noise.
10ohmQC9V
There is 39mV rms noise and 307mVpp noise.
10ohmQC12V
There is 71mV rms noise and 556mVpp noise.
Conclusion
This is a very nice upgrade to the PB2 charger and power bank with QC and USB-C support.
I like the size of the charger and the magnetic lid is easy to open. The charging looks good, but batteries must be able to handle 2A charge current. The voltage and current values are not that precise, but good enough to give an idea.
The power bank can deliver a fair amount of power, but not the full QC2/QC3 18W, more like 15W, the coding is fairly universal, this means most device will be able to fast charge from it With support for both 18650 and 21700 batteries it is possible to configure it for light weight or high capacity very easily (50g and 3000mAh difference).
I will rate is as a good power bank and charger.
Notes
The charger was supplied by XTAR for a review.
Here is an explanation on how I did the above charge curves: How do I test a charger

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

Edited by: HKJ on 09/17/2019 - 03:05
d_t_a
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Thanks again for the detailed technical review!

fran82
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I was anxious for this review..

Thanks a lot!!!!

Any clue about the hidden low current output mode??

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fran82
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Finally does it have a hidden low output mode of 10mA or not???

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bmengineer
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Yes it does.

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Henk4U2
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Thank you for this review.
I’m glad that this is a charger that not only is pretty, but also is pretty good!

You are a flashaholic if you are forced to come out of the closet, to make room for more flashlights.

fran82
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bmengineer wrote:
Yes it does.

Is it shown in the HKJ review? Or I missed it?? I think it is not mentioned in the review…

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bmengineer
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I’ve tested it

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Thanks for the review, HKJ Thumbs Up

I’ll have to think about whether to buy the powerbank, though.

It charges cells correctly, accepts protected 18650s and has a much better quality USB output than most combination devices of this type, but none of my cells are rated for charging at 2A.

I wish Xtar had built a 1A charging option in, perhaps as a little switch in a recess under one of the cell slots.

My cells are protected, but the 5mA discharge at 2.4V cell voltage doesn’t fill me with joy, either.

Some of my cells don’t trip until they hit 2.2V – 2.3V, which is fine at high load when you can rely on the cell voltage rebounding to avoid damage, but it’s far too low at 5mA discharge when it hardly rebounds at all.

Not good if I deplete the powerbank whilst travelling and it’s a few days before I can charge it again.

HKJ
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Phlogiston wrote:
Not good if I deplete the powerbank whilst travelling and it’s a few days before I can charge it again.

The nice thing about this power bank/charger is that you can easily remove the cell when they are empty to avoid any problems.

It would, of course, have been better without that 5mA draw and instead doing a total disconnect from the batteries when they are below 2.8V.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

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HKJ wrote:
Phlogiston wrote:
Not good if I deplete the powerbank whilst travelling and it’s a few days before I can charge it again.

The nice thing about this power bank/charger is that you can easily remove the cell when they are empty to avoid any problems.

Good point Facepalm Smile

Now that I think about it, I generally use 18650s, so I could fit a little piece of plastic or silicone sheet in as an isolator if I didn’t want to have some other container for the depleted cells.

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Did i miss something in the review?

What is the standby current when left with batteries in place and no external power?

HKJ
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fluke wrote:

Did i miss something in the review?


What is the standby current when left with batteries in place and no external power?

Around 0.1mA, but there is a curve showing that at 2.5V on the battery it increases to 5mA.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

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Thank you.

fran82
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HKJ: the low current hidden mode works ok? Or does it have noise in the output?

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Phlogiston
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Oh, that’s interesting! I went looking for more info about the low current mode, and the ZeroAir review:

https://zeroair.org/2019/09/12/xtar-pb2s-powerbank-and-charger-review/

has a picture of the user manual. Quoting from that:

Quote:
IV. Button Function
[…]
When discharging, press the button to start USB output or capacity checking. When the charger is off, long press the button to enter to low-current output mode, and then long press the button to close USB output.
I have a couple of small devices that would be useful for Smile
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Phlogiston wrote:
Oh, that’s interesting! I went looking for more info about the low current mode, and the ZeroAir review:

https://zeroair.org/2019/09/12/xtar-pb2s-powerbank-and-charger-review/

has a picture of the user manual. Quoting from that:

Quote:
IV. Button Function
[…]
When discharging, press the button to start USB output or capacity checking. When the charger is off, long press the button to enter to low-current output mode, and then long press the button to close USB output.
I have a couple of small devices that would be useful for Smile

Calvin from Illumn shared that with us weeks ago.

I’ve been looking forward to this test, and appreciate the insights it provides.

XTAR did much to address the weaknesses of the PB2, and while not perfect, what other product out there can offer the combination of capabilities it has? Or better it? From a widely distributed, reputable brand name?

Serious question.

HKJ
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I had missed that low current mode, the review is now updated with it.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

fran82
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HKJ wrote:
I had missed that low current mode, the review is now updated with it.

No worries…

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Interesting to see the behaviour at that hidden low mode…. Waiting for the update.

Btw… Thanks for all your hard work

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HKJ
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samgalax wrote:
Interesting to see the behaviour at that hidden low mode…. Waiting for the update.

I have updated, there is no new curves only a few points extra in the power bank section.
What it does is disable the low current shut off.

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HKJ wrote:
samgalax wrote:
Interesting to see the behaviour at that hidden low mode…. Waiting for the update.

I have updated, there is no new curves only a few points extra in the power bank section.
What it does is disable the low current shut off.

Thank you Sir!

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HKJ
So if I wanted to use a solar panel to recharge the battery’s once the solar panel quit charging due to clouds or whatever it would need to be powered cycled to resume charging?
Thank you

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Klotski wrote:
HKJ So if I wanted to use a solar panel to recharge the battery’s once the solar panel quit charging due to clouds or whatever it would need to be powered cycled to resume charging?

No, I show it in this chart:

The “brown out voltage” at the bottom is how low the output from the solar panel vent.
The cyan dots shows what happens during the low voltage and the red dots show what happens when the voltage returns to full again.

On the PB2S the red dots are at full current all the time. It do not matter if it was a small or large voltage drop, it will resume full current again when it is over.

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That is another good point about it… Still expensive… Hope it gets lower price

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Thanks for the extensive testing, did you do some USB PD tests as well (or anybody with this device)?
Mine sadly has USB PD issues (voltage drop and eventual reset) and I wanted to know if this is sort of common. Sadly I don’t have a QC compatible device at hand, I’ll try to get one.

HKJ
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chiclet_fanboi wrote:
Thanks for the extensive testing, did you do some USB PD tests as well (or anybody with this device)? Mine sadly has USB PD issues (voltage drop and eventual reset) and I wanted to know if this is sort of common.

I did run a load sweep:

And a test at 5V 2A:

I did not detect any high voltage support on the USB-C connector.

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Hmmm… Maybe Xtar will release an updated version??

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Ah, now I noticed, on your device there is no mention of USB PD. Mine has a different marking, PD is mentioned with the “USB-C Output” – the ad on aliexpress also states the PD In- and Output capability. And it works in principle – with both of my USB PD devices (Pixel 3A and Thinkpad X280) it puts out a higher voltage. Just when the devices draw a little more current (above 1 A) the voltage drops and the PB2S turns off (and restarts in 5 V mode). 5 V mode works, but at 1.9 A the voltage also starts to drop to 4.7 V on the devices meters.

EDIT: With a Samsung QC phone it sits at 8.8 V and 1.2 A. Tremendous situation, don’t know if the phone is just happy and doesn’t want more, or it doesn’t ramp up further because it detected voltage drop. I ordered a USB PD cable I can splice into for adding a multimeter and/or additional load. But thanks for the helpful answers so far!

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Specs on the back side of the Xtar PB2S indicates PD3.0 support

Unfortunately I don’t have any PD3.0 supporting device for now.
But have the ZY1276 USB meter.

I was able to do PD3.0 trigger, as shown in this video (unfortunately, I can’t seem to replicate how I did it now, since the ZY1276 USB meter doesn’t want to show display when I do the same setup now…)

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Here it shows the complete protocols detected (USB PD3.0)

Sometimes it doesn’t have USB PD support)

(in another try, it misses the Apple protocol)

All above were tested using a (BlitzWolf) USB-C to USB-C cable from USB-C port of PB2S connected to the USB-C “In” port of the ZY1276 USB meter.

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