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Selecting a Mobile Power Supply

Dollars in your bank account will buy you virtually anything provided you can spend them. But there are occasions when you cannot spend them. You are normally dependent on the use of the internet, particularly if you happen to be in a remote location. And if your internet devices like cell phone and the laptop get discharged, then God help you. Such situations can arise during camping, touring, climbing, site-seeing, etc. A mobile power supply is particularly useful if you do not want to convert a pleasure trip into an undesirable experience. Planning a trip means you need to consider a mobile power supply also. What should you consider when choosing a mobile power supply? There are many factors. Read more here

Capacity– Capacity is expressed differently for different devices. In case of power banks, it is expressed in terms of AH or mAH. How many devices and with what capacity will you need to recharge, and how many times during your outing will you need to do that, will determine the minimum capacity of the supply. In case of generators it is the wattage or the current limit at the rated voltage. Fuel storage will limit the total power delivered by the generator.

Current rating– Maximum current rating of a supply can separately limit the performance of a supply. This is especially applicable to chargers for laptop and cell phones. A power bank would be an example

Reliability– Will it perform when required? What are the chances of a failure? Manufacturer’s figures are more reliable than reviews because the manufacturer can be legally held responsible. Favorable reviews can often be solicited ones.

Warranty– What type of warranty does the manufacturer provide? Is it a total or a partial warranty, and for how long.

Size and Weight– The size and weight must be commensurate with your trip requirements. Larger capacities will normally be provided by large designs.

Terminals– The terminal type is important. A baby must be able to take the bottle. Your power supply must have terminals which mate (directly or through adapters) with your equipment to be powered or charged.

Multiple outputs– How many power outlets are available to simultaneously supply a number of devices. Especially in camping, you may need to plug in multiple devices, e.g., a refrigerator, a television, oven, laptop, etc.

Input Options– In case of chargeable storage devices like power banks, what input options are available to feed the supply itself. For example, can it be charged from the mains where available, or a set of solar panels?

Power Stability– Power stability is an important parameter. Drawing current from a source tends to reduce the output voltage as current flow causes a drop in the source internal resistance. A good regulation system will reduce this effect and provide a stable output within the specified range.

Power Quality– In case of sinewave sources how close is the output to a pure sinewave? Deviations are expressed as distortion. Motorized equipment can malfunction when working off a distorted output. The specified distortion limit must be low and within the specifications for sensitive loads.

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