Anker™ PowerCore 20100

Wednesday, 6th April, 2016

I have been testing an Anker™ Power Core 20100 since Sunday with a view to using it as a portable charger for my phone on a planned cycle camping trip. If you have been thinking of getting something like it you might find the results of the test interesting.

PowerCore 20100 and EE Rook phone

This will be my first cycle camping trip so I will be keeping it short, just enough to check that I can do it and that my equipment is up to the task. Since I will most probably be using a campsite which has little connection with the known world (Think in terms of 18th century technology) I will need a guaranteed way of charging my phone which does not rely heavily on having access to the National Grid

I did consider building another wheel using the Schmidt hub dynamo which has been lying idle for several years, but then I would still have the problem of converting its output, nominally 6 volts a/c, to something a phone could use i.e. a stabilised 5 volt supply. There are devices available that will do this, but they are either very expensive or they only work when the bike is moving. The better devices appeared to use a rechargeable battery as an intermediate storage device which could provide power for the phone even when the bike is not moving.

In an effort to reduce the amount of stuff required to make the system work, I reasoned that one large capacity battery might hold enough charge to keep the phone going for several days without resorting to any kind of recharging system, hence the purchase of a 20100 mAh portable charger.

Saturday, 9th April, 2016

The test has now been running for almost a week. My phone hasn't been connected to the national grid since last Saturday night. I have now established a routine of connecting the phone to the Anker PowerCore at about 21:00 every evening which allows about 2 hours of charging before bed time. The Anker is disconnected overnight and reconnected when I get up in the morning. Most days it will take about an hour to get back up to a 100% charge at which point the Anker is disconnected again.

I should point out that my phone is an EE Rook running Android 5.0, it is left switched on continuously 24/7. I do not make many calls and it is never used for data (I can't afford the charges for web browsing), I do use the WiFi facility frequently so this too is left running all the time. You also need to know that there is an audio monitoring application on the phone which is permanently running and needs to contact its server at least once per day.

When I disconnected the device this morning it was still showing two out of four indicator lights which indicates that there is still between 25% and 50% charge remaining. I don't know how accurate this is, but I am sure I will find out soon.

Sunday, 10th April, 2016

I said it wouldn't be long before I found out about the level of remaining charge. During the breakfast top-up this morning the 3rd indicator light went out, it is now showing just one lamp. This confirms that the Anker PowerCore has less than 25% charge remaining. I am guessing that it will struggle to give me one more complete charge and that I will be concluding this test tomorrow. At least I have enough in the phone to get me through the day and I will be singing an old Kris Kristofferson song as I go up the wooden hill to Befordshire. "Take the ribbon from your hair..."

As expected, the evening charging cycle did not complete. I managed to get about 60% charge into the phone before the Anker turned itself off. Since I was conducting the test at home there was no problem with connecting the phone to its normal charger and leaving it connected to the mains overnight as usual.

Conclusions

So that was it, the Anker™ PowerCore 20100 had completed its first assignment, in doing so it has theoretically allowed me to set off on an imaginary trip with a fully charged phone on Sunday 3rd April and to keep the phone running 24 hours a day for 7 days. I think it would be a big risk to ask it to get you home on the eighth day, but on the results of this test it probably would have succeeded. We should bear in mind the fact that this was a brand new Anker PowerCore 20100 and its ability to hold a useful charge will reduce gradually with use.

The final part of the test was to get the Anker PowerCore 20100 back up to full charge. For this test I used an old phone charger which was lying around in the office. This particular charger is fairly typical of such devices and is capable of providing 5 volts output at a maximum current of 1 Amp. I put the Anker on charge on Sunday at 23:00. When I checked at 09:41 on Monday charge lamp 1 was lit and lamp 2 was flashing. Lamp 3 was found to be flashing at 12:26 the same day and was still flashing at 15:06. It was 18:40 before lamp 4 started to flash and full charge was achieved by around 19:57. The total charge time with a 1A charger turns out to be 21 hours give or take a few minutes. I think the possibility of extending the tour time by recharging the PowerCore at a convenient stop is limited by the amount of time it takes to recharge. If you have a charger with you it would be better to recharge the phone from the mains and save the PowerCore for when there is no mains electricity available.