Last year, MyBroadband uncovered a number of fake capacity claims on power banks available from local retailers.
There are a number of suspicious power banks listed for sale in South Africa, usually boasting very high capacities and surprisingly cheap price tags.
To determine whether these cheaper products were legitimate, we opened a number of them up and inspected their real capacities.
In some cases, we needed to drain unlabelled 18650 lithium-ion cells found in the power banks to determine their capacity.
Other power banks included labelled lithium-ion cells which allowed us to calculate the total capacity of the product.
Spotting a fake power bank
In Europe, the United States, and many other countries, power bank manufacturers are required to print the device’s capacity in watt-hours (Wh) on their packaging in addition to mAh.
This is because the amount of mAh supplied by a battery depends on voltage, while Wh is a constant and comparable representation of capacity as it is equal to amp-hours (Ah) multiplied by voltage (V).
Power banks in South Africa and a number of other countries prefer to use mAh, however, operating under the assumption of compliance to an industry standard of 3.7V for calculating capacity.
While this 3.7V standard is observed by most manufacturers, there are a number of fake power banks on the market which calculate their mAh capacity using lower voltages or simply list false capacities.
Power banks which are severely underpriced, physically light, or seem too small for their capacity are probably fake, and we found this to be the case with the fake power banks we tested.
The products we tested which listed false capacities were from relatively unknown brands such as Fonsi, Viaking, and Sinye Tech.
Energizer, Samsung, and Astrum all passed our capacity tests.
Testing a Romoss power bank
Many MyBroadband readers own Romoss power banks and were curious about how the brand would fare in a capacity test.
To determine whether Romoss correctly labels the mAh capacity on its power banks, we disassembled a Romoss Sense 8P+ power bank to check the stated capacity of the lithium-ion cells inside.
The power bank was provided to MyBroadband by Syntech, which distributes Romoss power banks in South Africa.
The Sense 8P+ has a stated capacity of 30,000mAh, and its chassis lists a watt-hour capacity of 111Wh.
It was also significantly heavier than the fake power banks we tested, weighing in at 692g, and it took a lot more work to open up.
Once it was open, we could access the lithium-ion pouch cells inside. There were three 10,000mAh (37Wh) cells inside the power bank – verifying the Romoss Sense 8P+’s capacity claim.
If you are looking for a new power bank, our tests show that you should trust Romoss, Energizer, Samsung, and other major brands over cheaper products with unknown or non-existent brand names.
Below are the results of our previous power bank capacity tests, including the Romoss Sense 8P+.
|Brand||Stated Capacity||Cells||Real Capacity|
|Energizer||5,000mAh||2 x 18650 2,500mAh||5,000mAh|
|Fonsi||10,000mAh||1x 606090 4,000mAh||4,000mAh|
|Fonsi||30,000mAh||8x 18650 2,000mAh||16,000mAh|
|Viaking||12,800mAh||5x 18650 1,000mAh*||5,000mAh|
|Sinye Tech||26,800mAh||8x 18650 1,000mAh*||8,000mAh|