Some power banks do not charge devices that require low voltages. Gadgets such as fitness bracelets, smartwatches, Bluetooth headphones, etc., are the most common examples of such low-power devices.
In this article, we will explain the reason for this issue, talk about some power banks that offer a way around it, and enable trickle charge mode in your power bank.
What Is The Trickle Charging Mode In Power Banks?
Not all batteries are the same, and they all require different amounts of current to recharge them. Even though power banks can usually charge batteries of all smartphones irrespective of their specific capacity, they are not always suitable for low-power devices like Fitbit bracelets, Apple Watch, BlueTooth headsets, etc.
This is because these devices are equipped with a very tiny battery that requires a very low current to recharge them. The process of charging these low-powered devices with tiny battery packs using a very weak current is known as low-current charging.
Another term that you’ll see people online use for describing this process is “trickle charging”. Although trickle charging can refer to other things as well, in relation to power banks, we can use it interchangeably with “low current charging”.
Why Do Some Power Banks Fail To Deliver Low Current Charging?
There can be several different reasons why a power bank might not be able to charge low-current devices:
Minimum Current Threshold: Power banks often have a minimum current threshold. This means that if the device connected to the power bank doesn’t draw a certain minimum amount of current, the power bank may not detect it and might shut off to save power. Small devices like Bluetooth earphones, fitness bands, or smartwatches may not draw enough current to exceed this threshold, causing the power bank to shut down.
Lack of Trickle-Charging Feature: Some power banks may not have a trickle-charging feature, which is a mode that allows the power bank to deliver a very low current. This mode is useful for charging low-powered devices with small batteries that require a low current. If a power bank doesn’t have this feature, it may not be able to charge such small devices effectively.
Insufficient Power Management: Power banks with poor power management may not be able to regulate the power output effectively to cater to devices with low power requirements. They are designed to charge more power-hungry devices like smartphones and tablets, so they might not be able to deliver the steady, low current needed by smaller devices.
Incompatibility: In some cases, there could be compatibility issues between the power bank and the device, especially if the device has unique power requirements or a proprietary charging system.
Some Examples of Power Banks With Trickle Charging Mode
Even though the market is filled with countless power banks to choose from, it is challenging to find options that suit low-power devices. So, to help you, we found and tested a few power banks that are ideal for your small-capacity gadgets. Let’s take a brief look at them.
The AUKEY Basics Pro power bank has a 20000mAh battery that can deliver a maximum output of 10W for charging your regular devices such as smartphones and tablets. On the other hand, it delivers a 5W output for low-current charging gadgets such as Bluetooth earphones, smartwatches, etc.
This power bank takes a little over three hours to charge entirely, and it can charge an iPad in about two hours. It features Quick Charging 3.0, Power Delivery, and Qi Wireless charging, and all these charging technologies make the AUKEY Basic Pro a great choice to support all your gadgets.
Speaking of its portability factor, this power bank is relatively compact and is only 0.6 inches thick. It weighs only 8.5 ounces, and similar to the Anker Powercore, you can easily carry it around in your pocket without discomfort. Furthermore, it feels sturdy to use, and it can withstand ordinary shocks and drops with ease, so you won’t have to worry about taking it on outdoor trips. However, if you’re looking to charge your laptop with this power bank, it might set you back to knowing that it is not fast enough for it.
If you are looking to charge a wide range of devices, the 10000mAh battery of the Zendure Supermini is more than enough to support it. You can use its USB Type-C output to charge gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, speakers, etc. And it is robust enough to charge a 2018 iPad Pro, Nintendo Switch, or even Microsoft Surface Pro with an 18W output.
This battery charger features a single button on its chassis that you can double press to switch it to low charging mode. When you’re done charging your wireless earbuds or Fitbit bracelets, you can simply double-press it again to revert to the original settings. However, since this power bank only features one output port, you’ll be unable to charge multiple devices at once. When it comes to its dimensions and weights, the Zendure Supermini is one inch thick and weighs a little over 6 oz.
How to Enable Trickle Charging in Your Power Bank
Some power banks have a built-in low-current charging feature, but you will need to enable it first. Follow these steps to enable it.
- Connect one end of the data cable to the low-current charging device of your preference and the other end to the USB-A port of your power bank.
- To enter the trickle charge mode, double-press the power button on your power bank. (This mode will be active for two hours, and your power bank will return to regular charging mode after that. You can also press the power button again to quit it manually)
- The LED indicator on your power bank will flash in a sequence, indicating that the trickle charging mode is currently active. You can now charge your device.
- Once your device is charged, it is recommended that you manually exit the low-current charging mode. If your device is not charged after two hours, double-press the power button again to re-enter low-current charging mode.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about low current charging in power banks.
Is it Safe to Charge Low-Current Devices With a Power Bank?
It is safe to charge a low-current device with a battery charger only if it is designed to charge such devices. Most power banks are not compatible with low-current devices and treat them just like any other smartphone. This may cause them to send a high-intensity current which can damage your device.
Why Do Power Banks Charge Low Current Devices for Five Seconds and Then Stop?
Most power banks have an inbuilt power detection feature where they send out a charge to the device they are supposed to charge to read their current status and charge holding capacity. When you connect a low-current device to a battery charger, it sends out a charge for a few seconds and then stops because it is not able to detect the presence of any battery due to its small size.