Power banks lack the delicate screens of smartphones and flimsiness of folded laptops, so it’s easy to forget they’re vulnerable too; our guide to power bank maintenance and troubleshooting can help you put a finger on whether you’re in a repair or replacement-type situation.
Why Do Power Banks Stop Working?
- Battery Age: Battery technology is improving all the time, but even the latest and greatest are still mortal, especially batteries that are frequently and irregularly charged and discharged (like power banks and smartphone batteries). If you’ve had your power bank more than two or three years and use it often, you may’ve simply worn your battery out.
- Cable/Socket Issues: Not all power bank maintenance issues are battery problems. If either the AC power cord (if applicable), USB cable or USB socket is damaged, you may have difficulty interfacing with your device. Fortunately, a USB cable at least is much cheaper to replace than an entire power bank.
- Weather/Temperature Damage: Batteries are sensitive to differences in ambient temperature. In this interest of holding your hand through all kinds of weather, we’ve prepared guides for using our power banks in both extreme heat and extreme cold. (Look for our guide on power bank safety in extremely nondescript weather, publication TBD.)
- Owner Abuse: This is a no-judgment zone. So you can be honest. Have you dropped your power bank a couple of times over the years? Spill anything on it? Piled a bunch of stuff on it? These look like toothmarks here on the cord, but we’ll assume they’re from the cat. If you’re using your bank on the go, it’s likely to have absorbed a beating—eventually this takes a toll on performance. Sometimes “power bank maintenance” is really just a commitment to do better next time.
- Manufacturing Defects: If your power bank is basically new (and you haven’t buried it in a snowbank or chucked it against the wall) and it doesn’t work properly, you may have a manufacturing defect. If you bought the bank in-store, we’d recommend returning it along with your receipt; if online, contact the retailer. (If it’s one of ours, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your order ID and we’ll take care of it!)
Troubleshooting Your Power Bank
Now that you know a little bit about power bank maintenance and the most common ways they fail, we can explore how to narrow down the issue.
- Does the device you’re trying to charge work? In a scientific experiment, researchers will establish a “control” group to serve as a baseline to compare their results to. If you’re mainly using your power bank to charge one device, try it with a different one. This will help you determine whether the problem is with the bank itself and not the other device. Make sure you’ve established that the phone or other device you’re using for this test works properly.
- Double-check your cables: Likewise, try your USB cable with another pair of devices to make sure it’s working right. Cable quality matters!
- How are your sockets? The USB socket on your power bank should be stable—if it wiggles, or you have difficulty pushing cables into it, it’s likely been damaged. Fortunately, USB sockets are a fairly cheap fix in most scenarios.
- Contact customer service: If your device is relatively new, you may still be covered by a manufacturer’s power bank maintenance warranty. If the manufacturer determines you’ve been using your device in a reasonable fashion, and you are still within the warranty period, they will repair, refurbish or replace your unit. We offer a standard 18 months on all products. You can add an extra 12 months on-top in less than a minute over at our homepage.
Power Bank Maintenance: Looking After Your Power Bank
As every old-timer (plus ‘80s hair metal legends Cinderella) loves to say, you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. Every power bank stops working eventually, but there’s a lot you can do to put off that fateful day. Try these simple power bank maintenance techniques:
- If the power bank is used infrequently or hasn’t been used for a long time, we recommend fully charging it every three months. This will prevent battery damage resulting from over-discharge of the product.
- The recommended temperature range for power banks in use is 0°–45°C (32°–113°F), while the safe ambient temperature for devices in storage is -10°–45°C (14°–113°F). Make sure you store your tech in a dry and ventilated space!
- Avoid dropping, knocking or hitting the power bank! Physical shocks can cause PCBA components and batteries to be damaged.
- When you’re not charging a device from your power bank, we suggest unplugging the cable from the USB socket. Leaving it plugged in risks damaging the inside of the port.
We hope this little power bank maintenance guide proved helpful, and we love chatting with readers in the comments! What’s the longest a power bank has ever lasted you, and did you do anything in particular to maintain the unit?