How to choose a Portable Battery/PowerPack

Whether you're camping, on a long flight, on a missionary trip or even on a day trip to the park, you'll want to have peace of mind that your personal and portable electronic device will work when it's needed. Today, portable electronic equipment, such as cell phone GPS-enabled units, digital cameras, mp3 players, satellite phones and a host of other electronics have become an integral part of our daily lives. Because most of these devices rely on a rechargeable internal battery for power, functionality is lost when the battery loses its charge. Fortunately, a growing selection of portable battery charges is now available to recharge your portable device when a wall outlet is not available or convenient.

Knowing how to select the right external battery to power your devices requires understanding your device input requirements, selecting the correct battery size and learning about recharging your rechargeable power source.

Step 1 : Know Your Device Input Requirements

The first thing you need to consider when selecting your external battery power is to choose a charger that delivers at least the same or greater output in volts. This is an important consideration because the wrong charger may actually drain your battery instead of charging it!

To determine the input requirement of your electronic device, look in the technical specifications section of your device's owner manual. If you lost your manual, you can also locate the device's voltage rating from the marking printed on the wall outlet AC power charger that came with your device.

The voltage will be expressed in volts (V) or milliAmps (mA). When purchasing your portable battery supply, make sure that the voltage delivered is at least the same as your device.

Step 2 : Select the Proper Battery Size

All things considered, the larger and heavier a battery power pack, the more storage capacity it has, which means it has increased capacity to provide multiple charges for your portable devices. Knowing the storage capacity of the device's battery gives you a good estimate of how many recharges you can expect to receive from your power pack.

The storage capacity information of your portable device is located on the rechargeable battery inside your device. It will be expressed in either Amp hours (Ah) or milliAmp hours (mAh). You'll need this number to compare to the Ah or mAh rating listed on the power pack battery, which will be stated in the technical specifications of the power pack.

The storage capacity is important because it determines not only how much of a charge the power pack can store, but how much it power it can send out before it also needs recharging. Keep in mind that the actual power sent out from a power pack may be affected by voltage fluctuations, discharge rate and temperature. Most power pack batteries have a minimum life of 500 charges, although 1,000 cycles isn't uncommon.

Step 3 : Power Charge Type

Depending on the model, portable battery charges can be recharged in a number of ways, including solar, USB (computer), 12 volt DC power (vehicle) AC wall adapter, or AA replaceable battery.

Whether you choose a stand-alone solar charger, a solar charge with a power pack or a stand-alone power pack will depend on the use of your portable device, how often your device will need to be recharged and method of recharging. For instance, for longer trips, you might want to consider pairing your powerpack with a solar charger for multiple recharges.


Whatever your adventure, please remember to consider the following when choosing your portable battery source:
Step 1: know your device input requirements
Step 2: select the correct battery size
Step 3: choose the best power charge type for the length and type of trip.