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Author Topic: USB PD powering  (Read 415 times)

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Offline breakonthru

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USB PD powering
« on: February 21, 2024, 04:57:39 AM »
There was a discussion awhile back in another thread

I've revised my power setup recently and thought id share some info

i travel a good bit and have replaced my cumbersome laptop brick with this setup which works great:

with cables such as


For the most part* these cables work with the large PD-delivering batteries including the 24k mAh Anker 737:

and the newer 20k mAh Anker Prime:

Both of those batteries go on sale for $85-$90 from time to time. They are handy as they have real time wattmeter displays for both charging and discharging so you can get a feel for how effective your charger is, and what kind of loads your gear will draw. Ive seen some youtube reviews with a benchmeter that the meters aren't deadly accurate (especially in regard to battery capacity percentage - which most people understand is difficult to gauge from voltage alone in mid-cycle), but they seem accurate (at least repeatable) with the various chargers and loads I've tried. The 737 goes up to 28V and the prime goes up to 20V. i really dont have a use for the 28V at the current time and the 737 might be a little more capacity than i need, its 20% capacity makes it almost exactly 20% heavier and larger. They both charge up quickly using the common 45W and 60-65W chargers, even a cheap 30W usb-c charger does well (and will charge my laptop in a pinch provided it is in standby or powered down) . Ive even charged the batteries with a 100W usb-c charger, which in some cases causes them to get warm and protect themselves. The 100W is a huge multi-port beast to the point of falling out of many receptacles so its not my first choice. Based on my use case id say 45W charging is the sweet spot and probably beats on the batteries less. I baby my cellphones the same way (charge slowly and try to stay between 40-80%). A pair of the 45w chargers (or replace one with the handy 65W ones with dual ports - USB-C as well as USB-A) in the bag does everything i need. Dare I say that $17 Anker 45W is 'sexy'? - it is sleek and cheap and well built and just checks all the boxes. It feels like its made of aluminum or magnesium, its solid and dissipates heat well. a real performer for its size and if you're shopping these, look for the GaN II and III which are generally smaller than the first gen devices

I also bought a pair of these cheapies on sale for less than $10 each. 65W with dual ports and a unique form factor that doesn't fall out of wall or stress cables but may not work well in all situations. It is good to have in the stable though, for what it costs. USB-A is not dead yet and it has its use.

It really does deliver 65W and can take those huge batteries from 20% to north of 80% in under an hour - the 45W charge takes about 20% longer. The faster charging is a lifesaver if on the road or in an airport layover, etc. Find an outlet in the venue/fest and get all the power you need for the next set in the 20 mins you have

In regard to powering gear, I have used these "trigger cables" in the past to power 12V gear in the field from 10000 mAh batteries (most 10000 mah batteries are limited to 12-15V)

WARNING: note that they look identical to the 20V cables and with the wrong battery combo could provide 20V to your gear and let the magic smoke out - i test the various battery/cable combinations with a voltmeter and mark the cables accordingly. I personally wouldn't trust a cable that is sold as "12V" to only deliver 12V when connected to a battery capable of higher voltages- i would test it myself at home with a voltmeter under every scenario first. Or better yet for safety's sake you could not ever attempt to drive a piece of gear that cant take over 12-15V from a battery capable of delivering 20V - use the 10K mAh batteries which generally run a piece of gear at 12V for 4-7 hrs. While they are not always well explained in the listings, almost all batteries have their voltages and corresponding currents printed directly on them.

The swiss army knife of powering has got to be this guy - select 5,9,12,15, or 20V and an array of tips. Outstanding value for what it costs (currently OOS but was $13) and is a useful tool for tapers and travelers or hobbyists:

*this asterisk is in regard that the 20V usb-c male to 2.5x5.5 one-piece cable did not play nice with the Anker 737 - It couldn't properly negotiate voltage. the other two cables i have (including the adjustable Farsense) work fine with the 737. the 'problematic' cable works fine with the 20K Anker prime battery so perhaps they updated the firmware in the latest iteration.

I hope this information is helpful to others. These batteries are cheap and versatile and a great alternative to the aging talentcell stable. As i almost always travel with my laptop when traveling to see shows its a much better solution to have a stripped-down integrated solution that can charge laptop/phones/etc while being equally at home in the gear bag. Especially as so many devices take 5V usb power anyway these days. They also are more common and look a lot less suspect than some of the power options ive had to take through TSA in the past.

I have yet to test the 20V trigger cables with the USB-C ports that the newer Southwest Max-8s have, but its marked '60W' so i suspect it should be able to power my laptop without issue.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2024, 06:41:17 AM by breakonthru »

Offline breakonthru

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Re: USB PD powering
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2024, 05:33:44 AM »
Wanna dork out?

Yes, yes you do
« Last Edit: February 21, 2024, 05:35:49 AM by breakonthru »


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