When movies imagine the future, they fall into two broad categories: sleek and cyberpunk. Sleek is the Star Trek model, where everything is almost obsessively cleanly and the technology is miniature, powerful and self-contained. You seldom see how the communication devices attached to their lapels are charged between uses, for example, or pilots worrying whether they have enough to power to keep their music going through a long interstellar trip. Cyberpunk tech on the other hand is modular, jerry-rigged, various parts slapped together to enhance functionality. The reality of tech falls somewhere between these poles. Our subject today, keeping power banks charged, is an apt example.
Pass Through Charging
One of our most popular posts last year looked at pass through charging. In a nutshell, pass through charging is when you charge your power bank via a wall outlet or secondary device, while simultaneously charging other devices connected to the bank. What’s being passed through, in this scenario, is electricity. Our previous post on keeping power banks charged explains:
“Pass through technology… is in essence a series of power regulating circuits inside a power back that helps match the draw of energy needed by an output device to the amps being pulled from a wall outlet. If done right, pass through will move power directly from the wall outlet to the connected device, via the power bank. This is called prioritization. Depending on load balancing performance in the power bank, the latter should charge at either a regular or slower speed than normal when working with an output device.”
Now, you may rightly be asking yourself why someone with access to an outlet would continue charging their devices through the power bank when they could just plug into the wall directly. And you’d be correct: if you have enough outlets (or a power bar) and enough wall adapters for each device, then you’re better off “passing” on pass through charging.
However, there are plenty of scenarios where this might not be feasible: if you only have access to a single outlet, at a coffee shop for example, you may need to get creative. You may also only have USB/Lightning cables to connect to the bank, but no adapters.
How Does The Tech Keep Your Power Bank Charged Safely?
Pass through charging is not entirely without risk to your devices. Excess heat is battery kryptonite, which is why Rav engineers have taken such pains to develop chips that can regulate temperature by manipulating energy intake. The longer something takes to charge, the more at risk it is of building up damaging heat. Under normal use, even our beefiest models like this gargantuan 27000mAh bank can be fully charged hundreds of times without a significant performance hit.
Pass through tech poses an extra challenge to safely keeping your power bank charged however. The normal charge time is extended because the bank is generously offering a portion of its juice to the devices plugged into it. If you’re only passing through for a few hours, our products are built well enough to take it. Longer than that, though, and you’re risking doing some damage to even top-tier products, regardless of the manufacturer.
Going Full Cyberpunk
The nice thing about highly adaptable tech is that it lets users apply their imagination. If you’ve ever watched a hardcore cyclist weave through a traffic jam, you’ll know they have something outside the box in their DNA. That’s why we weren’t surprised that cyclists have been among those really getting the most out of how pass through lets them keep their power bank charged with flair. Look at this biker who uses our rechargeable units to turn their wheels into something straight out of TRON!
We had a commenter on a past post ask some great questions about using Rav products for a complex rig. He was using one of our 24W solar panel chargers to trickle charge his power bank during a long bike tour. The power bank was in turn keeping his GPS, GoPro and iPhone in the green. Although when you’re in motion variations in sunlight will effect how much the panel is able to capture, it’s still a great way to collect extra charge throughout your trip, and particularly during rest stops. When it comes to keeping your power bank charged and you’re off the grid, every little bit can help.
Be Creative Your Way
Are you using power banks in an unusual way? We’ve love to see more of your photos and anecdotes. Send them to us and we’ll try and feature them on our blog, Facebook, or Instagram!
71 Replies to “How Pass Through Charging Lets You Use Power Banks In Creative Ways”
The fellow you cite using the solar collectors is in the minority of bicyclists who need pass through batteries. Most touring cyclists use front hub dynamos which power USB chargers.
Ahh that’s interesting. Seems like something like a hub dynamo would be better, however, we wanted to provide a quick example of a set up using RAVPower. Thanks for letting us know for future! 🙂
Yes, hub dynos with charger do well… as long , as you cycle fast enough. Depending on the terrain and conditions (mud, steep grades, high altitude, strong head or side wind), this easily can be a big pushing for many hours. So using a solar panel is a very valid option. it´s a niche for shure. An even when cycling fast enough: The best dyno driven lights are only just good enough to iluminate your way. So loading an accu during the day and using it´s energy to power additional lights during the night is very attractive for endurance cyclists. No bigger company delivers useable AND reliable devices.
I just bought the RP-PB055 and try to use passthrough power. I want to start using it with battery power and then connect the RP-PB055 to wall outlet but it shut down when I try. Can I do something to get it to work?
Did you read this post? The RP-PB055 isn’t on their above list of devices with pass-through charging capability…
RP-PB055 is present in the image with the title “OTHER RAVPOWER DEVICES WITH PASS THROUGH TECH”
Does the RP-PB067 26.8Ah Ace series support pass-through charging?
It does provide power to a device while also plugged into a charger but I’m not sure whether this is true pass-through (ie charger supplying power straight to the device) or if it’s charging my device from the internal battery.
Good question. I’m not sure so I checked with the product team and they told me it does support pass-through charging. Hope that helps. Have a good day.
How about for RP-PB078, does it support pass-through charging?
Yes it does.
I have a dynamo setup on my bicycle which powers a USB supply which I use to power a smartphone. Problem is the power cuts in and out as I start/stop/really-slowly-climb-hills and this confuses the smartphone about its state of charge.
Is there a Ravpower bank that will pass through a consistent power to my smartphone when faced with stop/start power input? Also, is there a supplier for Ireland? I cannot purchase through Amazon UK as they will not ship batteries.
Unfortunately we do not have a supplier in Ireland at the moment. We are working on it. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Thanks for that, I’ll have to try to be creative in purchasing so…
Can you address the other part of my question please? The bit about stop/start dynamo input?
Sorry about that. I was still waiting for a reply from my colleague. You can try our RP-PB052 22000mAh Power Bank. Please note that our power banks switch off once the connected device reaches 100% battery. As a result, the power supply might not be consistent enough for your use.
Thanks, didn’t mean to pester, just didn’t want the first bit to slip by.
As far as switching off once device is charged, that’s not a problem. The issue that arises for me is that the phone gets confused with the constant on/off nature of dynamo charging but would not be upset by charge ceasing once fully charged. I suspect also that the satnav app I use means that the phone would rarely get to full charge anyway. I want the power bank to buffer the dynamo so the phone doesn’t see the stop/start.
The other issue for me is size. I need the power bank to fit into a handlebar-mounted case. It looks like the 5″x3.15″ size of the RP-PB19 is about right. Is there one of similar size with usb-c (mentioned by Dave below)?
I spoke to my colleagues on the power bank team and they recommended the RP-PB078 10000mAh Power Bank. It has USB-C, is relatively small, and has pass-through charging.
As I research further, I see the RP-PB078 has both usb micro and usb c port. Will this do pass through charging in the fashion mentioned by Dave below? While that’s only 10,000mAh but looks like being (barely) small enough to fit my handlebar bag, is there a higher capacity usb c bank that would fit into under 5.5 inch length?
Check my other reply. We recommend that power bank for you.
For some reason I cannot reply to your later comments below so I’m putting it here.
Thanks very much for your help, I’m off shopping now…
You are welcome. Enjoy.
Hi Connor, there are a few Ravpower products that provide pass through. I have the RP-PB067 which is an absolute beast.
What I’ve found is that you if you charge the powerbank using usb micro (let’s call this input) and charge your device using the usb c port (let’s call this output) then output power is uninterrupted when input power is switched on or off.
If both unit is micro and output is usb a then output is interrupted momentarily when the unit is switched on/off.
Thanks for that info. Just to clarify, my phone takes microusb as input but I should be able to connect to the powerbank usb c with a suitable cable. In that scenario, I should expect output power to be uninterrupted?
On the other hand, if I take output from the usb a port, my phone will see a momentary power cut. Any idea how long that power cut is and (guessing wildly), would the phone cut its charging that quickly (it appears to take 1/2 a second to light/extinguish the charging led)? Does the powerbank resume output without needing a press of its button?
What I’ve noticed is that the phone does stop charging for a second or so.
There is a 10Ah version similar to what I have which is RP-PB078(B) that might do the trick.
Thanks very much for your help, off shopping now…
I live out in the countryside and regularly have power-cuts. I was hoping I could use a Ravpower power bank with pass-through as a UPS for my internet router and wireless access point (which require 5v DC). I only want to draw on the internal battery if the mains supply is lost (it typically only goes off for an hour or so). I believe this will work with a passthrough model but the article indicates that this may shorten the life of the power-bank. If the unit is truly ‘passing through’ power then I’m not sure why that’s the case?
The power bank can use pass-through charging from time to time without damage to the battery, however if you use pass-through charging regularly, the power bank’s lifespan will begin to cut short. Hope that clears that question up for you.
I was evaluating passthrough batteries for my audio player project.
Unfortunately I need 5V 2.4A and 12V 2A, passthrough charging and for the two outputs to be isolated.
So for now I had to settle for a wired solution, I haven’t found any power bank capable of this.
Any plans on such a product?
No plans yet. Sorry about that.
Hi–I’m looking to use one of your products as an uninterruptible power supply for some USB-powered devices in my car.
You mentioned earlier that the power bank will turn off when the connected device has stopped charging. Does that mean when the unit stops drawing power? If so, what’s the minimum threshold for drawing power? Would 1 mA be sufficient, or 10 mA, etc?
SO the minimum is 80mAh. Hope that helps.
Thanks! That’s a little higher than I was hoping but should still work out for me.
We would like to know if we can use this item: https://www.amazon.ca/Battery-Charger-RAVPower-26800mAh-Portable/dp/B012S6IHQC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1546450546&sr=8-3&keywords=ravpower continuously, can it cause problems if use over time if so can you indicate which of you items could do the job, what we want to do it make sure when the power goes out here in Québec that our modem, IP phone and router continues working.
Have you thought about trying this one?
That link is great and all but what I really wanted to know is if we can use any of your product that is registered to be passed through to be used continuously all day? will it make it overheat? and does older models have the same protections as the new ones?
Great question. Actually I will have to suggest you contact our customer and technical support team about this one. There are a lot of intricacies about power banks and they are the ones to ask. Reach them at email@example.com
Have a great day!
I bought two RP-PB058 that I parallelized in order to be able to drain 5Amps on each at have 10A.
But, sometimes, only one of the pack powers up what I need and the other seems in “idle” mode.
Is there a way to deactivate idle mode on your batteries ?
Thanks for getting in touch.
Our tech experts think they need to see some photos of how your batteries are parallelized to provide a detailed answer to this question. Can you email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details? Many thanks!
Do any of your power banks support Qualcomm Quick Charge AND pass through charging?
Yep – check out RP-PB043!
Hi all, sorry if this has been answered already. I am looking for a power bank with pass through charging that has no power button. I would like the unit to keep charging itself from Micro USB as needed, and also charge devices connected to the 2 USB ports as needed without any user intervention or needing any power on/off button press. Is there one like that?
Which sort of devices will you be using with your power bank?
Does Ravpower RP-PB080 support pass through charging? Like if a device is wirelessly charging on the powerbank, can you plug the powerbank in a socket?
Thanks for getting in touch. Yes, RP-PB080 does support pass through charging – but the power bank must be charged to at least 15% before the wireless charge can support pass through.
You can read more about RP-PB080 here: http://blog.ravpower.com/2019/07/rp-pb080-10400mah-power-bank-review-ravpower/ and http://blog.ravpower.com/2019/03/find-freedom-wireless-portable-power-bank/
What is the minimum amount of power of wall adaptor should i use to charge Ravpower RP-PB080?
Can I use both a 5V-1A from Apple and can i use an iPad charger to charge the Ravpower RP-PB080?
Many thanks for getting in contact. Yes, you can use both those chargers. Please be aware that the power bank power must be charged to more than 15% to support wireless charging!
Thank you very much for your time.
I am wondering if RP-PB044-CM model supports pass through technology like RP-PB044 model. Thanks
Thanks for getting in touch – yes, this model does support pass through tech.
Ravpower power bank I have, 16750, appears to satisfy the criteria for a mobile UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for Raspberry Pi projects. But only on one port of my power bank, and only when there’s no consumer on the second port.
What i mean, is that it doesn’t only pass the charge through, it also maintains stable power output across plugging and unplugging of the power bank from “the mains”.
I hope that’s a property of 10000 power bank as well, as I am thinking of buying a smaller one in order to go light. I am building a wearable computer after all!
We would recommend RP-PB058 (26800 mAh) and RP-PB159 (20100 mAh) as they can meet your requirements. Hope this helps!
Thanks for the advice. Specs of those devices look really cool.
It would be cool to use them as RPi4 is really power hungry. But I need to carry the battery on myself so I’d really love something smaller! Is there any battery model which is lighter?
We can suggest PB077/078/165/173 as 10000mAh lighter power banks, but we think the larger capacity power banks recommended before would be better suited to your needs. Hope this helps!
Hi Andrey, for your RPI, which external battery did you go with? I’m assuming it continues to provide power to the RPi when there is a power cut without any power delay on the usb port, and when power is restored, it again switches back without any power delay?
Any suggestion for a powerbank that have “pass through” technology and able to power up raspberry pi 4 ( i.e output 5.1V and 3A). I appreciate your suggestions. Thanks
I think that the previous post answers my concern..
I think the previous replies suggested powerbanks that can be used to power up Raspberry pi4 but unfortunately they don’t support “pass through” technology.. So your suggestions are highly appreciated 🙂
Many thanks for getting in touch. We suggest RP-PB058 or RP-PB059, both should be suitable for your needs.
If you have any other questions please feel free to ask!
Thanks for your feedback. It is really appreciated.
I want just to confirm if both of them support pass through tech as I cant find their model no. in the following chart (https://i0.wp.com/blog.ravpower.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2nd-Image.jpg?w=768) .
Thanks in advance
Yes, these models both support pass through tech.
So those models support
– NO outage when supply voltage is interuppted/re-applied
– Always on without power button
– Automatic re-start after discharge state
All these points are necessary to work as a Raspberry mini-UPS. It would be very useful if you can guarantee this function.
Hi, please contact email@example.com to answer your query. Thanks!
Sounds like a no. How about you just answer the question? I’d buy the product if you can answer it, since MarcusAA’s question is exactly what I’m wondering too.
I bought the RP-PB006(B) model to use it to power up my wifi camera ( 5V 1A ) and for sure to use the pass through technology. But I have a concern, is it normal to have my camera restarted when I plug the input power source of the powerbank off or on.. I was expecting to have my wifi camera working smoothly if the power is cut off and when it back without restarting my camera… I need to hear your experience about that, and thanks to confirm if this is expected behavior from all other powerbanks models. Thanks in advance
Don’t worry, this is normal. For PB006, the external charger directly supplies power to the equipment. When the charger is unplugged, it will turn off for 3 seconds, then the power will be supplied by powerbank. Hope this helps!
Thanks for your reply!
Well, can you suggest other models to buy that can work seamlessly ( i.e. not to turn off for 3 seconds ) when its charger is unplugged?
Thanks for getting in touch – we suggest looking at RP-PB058/059/159!
In India, I bought MicroUPS for my Mi Camera which works on 5V 2A, The 360 degree version. It doesn’t power down when you switch to main or to battery. If you are in India, you can get it through amazon or flipkart. https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07YQ8C5PC/ Else, you can contact them at their contact email to get it for your country if they ship.
any of your solar powerbank have pass through technology or maybe working it… ? if not does all your powerbank that have pass through technology can charge with solar panel and power 1 wyze cam ?
Hi, our solar power bank supports pass through charging.
I have the 22000mAh model FBA_RP-PB052(B) power bank, and it is no longer holding a charge. I will plug it in to charge, and all four LED lights will show that it’s at 100%, but as soon as I unplug, onky 3 LED lights are displayed, as if it has lost charge within seconds. However, when i plug it back in, it’ll go right back up to 100%.
I purchased the device new off of Amazon last March, so I don’t think it’d be defective just yet. I have only through charged once, and according to this post my RAVpower bank model should support through charging.
I use my power bank rather often, but a little less than daily.
Could it be that the one time through charging ruined the battery already?
Hi, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and specify your order number in your email. Thanks