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Common mistakes that can break powerbanks

In summer, people flock outside. Tablets, smartphones and mobile speakers are a must. To ensure that the devices don’t run out of power while out and about, many people resort to power banks. But these should also be handled with care.

Powerbanks are small mobile power dispensers that can be used to charge the batteries of electronic devices via cable or even wireless charging while on the move. But care is needed to use powerbanks safely, effectively and for as long as possible. Although there are various safety precautions, incorrect handling can lead to short circuits and fires in the worst case, informs the TÜV Association (VdTÜV), among others.

Powerbanks do not like heat

The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising – what drives us outdoors is sometimes very harmful for Powerbanks. The mobile power banks do not like high temperatures and direct sunlight at all. As with smartphones, the optimum operating temperature for most powerbanks is between 0 and 35 degrees, according to the VdTÜV. If they overheat, for example due to a short circuit or external heat, an internal thermal reaction can be triggered. In extreme cases, this can even lead to an explosion. So don’t leave the energy dispensers open in the car or even on the dashboard in the summer.

It is also not a good idea to charge the cell phone with the power bank in your pants pocket or another tight space such as a backpack or handbag. The heat generated along with high summer temperatures could cause burn injuries.

Inspect the powerbank carefully after a fall

Care should be taken with a powerbank after a fall or even with general external damage. Is the housing inflated or deformed? Are there tarnish points on metal parts or melting points on the casing? In such cases, it is better to dispose of the devices professionally. If the powerbank gets hot without being connected, this is also a danger signal. The device should then no longer be used. Also, if the battery discharges much faster than usual, this is an indication of a defect.

In general, owners should not leave the charging device completely unattended. For example, it is a good idea to regularly check the temperature. If the powerbank gets so hot that it can no longer be held in the hands, it should be disconnected from the smartphone etc. immediately. You should also not leave it charging for too long, for example overnight. By the way, the same applies to electronic devices in general, as it can shorten the life of a battery .

Buying tips

In general, there is a certain risk of fire and explosion with lithium-ion batteries as well as powerbanks, despite safety precautions. When buying, consumers should therefore always look for a CE mark, advises the VdTÜV.

The voluntary “GS mark” provides additional guidance. Those who are primarily active outdoors should also look for an IP67 certification. This means that the powerbank is dustproof and protected against water, among other things. It has to withstand temporary submersion up to one meter for up to 30 minutes.

Inferior power banks can not only damage the device to be charged, but also pose a fire and explosion hazard. Especially in the case of self-imported devices, for example via the Internet, false or misleading CE marks cannot be ruled out. If in doubt, take a close look and make sure, among other things, that the abbreviation stands for “Conformité Européenne” – and not for “China Export”, as the TÜV association has already discovered with some Chinese goods.

Caution is also advised with so-called no-name goods: “If no manufacturer is indicated, it is better not to buy the powerbank,” advises the association. Accordingly, skepticism is advisable, especially in the case of extremely cheap offers with high performance promises.

Models with intelligent charging mode

Who buys a device should ensure that the output voltage matches that of the device to be charged, otherwise there is a risk of damage. Often there are multiple ports, which then charge at different amperages. Some models have an intelligent charging mode and can detect the device to be charged accordingly itself and adjust the charge. All those who do not use the device for a longer period of time should not let it discharge completely, but partially charge it from time to time, which can prolong its life.

Sources

  • dpa
  • TÜV