Our main energy source is solar and we very rarely plug in to the grid. As a rule of thumb this provides enough energy to recharge our leisure batteries and then our devices such as ipad, smart phones, bluetooth speakers, AA batteries etc. The downside to charging all these bits and pieces is that it is not always convenient to charge then from the leisure batteries, a good example is we need to charge our motorbike helmets up occasionally and having a wire connected to the leisure batteries is not ideal, plus wiring in a USB point everywhere is not very practical. Perhaps we want to use our iPad outside but the battery is getting flat, having a wire running from outside to the van is silly so we use a portable power bank in these situations.
When purchasing we considered
- Portability: some of the power banks are very small and light whilst others are a lot heavier and bulky.
- Capacity: check the capacity and whatever the manufacturer states expect the pack to deliver around 60-70% of the stated capacity as some of the energy is lost in heat and voltage conversion.
- Input rating, the higher the number the quicker it will recharge.
- Output rating, how fast it will charge your devices.
- Passthrough charge, which means the pack can do two things at once – it will recharge at the same time it charges other devices, if plugged in of course.
There are lots of different makes and models around as well as varying prices. We chose the EasyAcc 2nd Generation as it seemed good value for money and pretty compact. The power bank has enough capacity to charge any of our devices. It has two fast-charging USB outputs, 1 is a 2.1amps the other is 1amp It supports passthrough charging and auto-on/off to prevent power wastage. Black plastic case with orange trim feels solid and not flimsy. The 10000mAh capacity ensures you can completely recharge even power hungry devices like phones and tablets a couple of times.
Just plug your cable into the battery pack and the other end into your device and it charges it up for you. To charge the pack up again you just plug it into a suitable USB outlet like cig lighter adaptor or laptop.
We also purchased a “Juice power station” from one of the supermarkets, it was in the sale. It is basically does the same as the EasyAcc but is shorter and fatter but sadly soon goes to sleep and you need to shake it to wake it…if you remember, so we prefer the EasyAcc.
The power banks work well for us because they work alongside and complement our leisure batteries. Now we can talk longer, listen to more music, watch more videos without worrying about running out of battery life! Plus they are slim, lightweight and convenient for using weather your in the motorhome or not.
After a year the EasyAcc is still working fine but the Juice power station is a little temperamental and the rubber cover became unstuck so the EasyAcc is still the best one and highly recommended.