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Ask Arthur: Why won’t
my powerbank last?

A reader wants to know why her portable charging pack can no longer fully charge a smartphone. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK has 5 answers.

Q: My portable powerbank used to charge my phone fully, and now only gives it half a charge. What is going wrong?

A: There are at least five factors at play:

Battery Aging: Just like us, power banks suffer from the effects of time. Their lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries start feeling a bit worn out after numerous charging cycles.

Memory: If a power bank sits around like a couch potato, not getting charged or discharged regularly, it might develop a peculiar case of “battery memory effect.” It’s as if they forget their true potential and become lazy in delivering their juice.

Environmental: Power banks are sensitive to temperature extremes. Give them heat or freezing cold, and they say, “I’m not feeling up to my full power today, sorry.”

Overcharging: A power bank hooked up to a charger long after it’s fully charged is like a never-ending buffet for the battery, and it can become a bit overwhelmed. Similarly, if you drain it to the point of no return, it demands more downtime.

Quality: Not all power banks are created equal. Cheaper ones might have batteries that wave the white flag sooner than expected. Also, pushing a power bank to charge devices that are way out of its league is not going to end well.

To keep a power bank going longer, avoid extreme temperatures, use it regularly, and let it rest in a cool, dry place.

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