Durable, hefty, solar charge capable 15,000 mAh LiPo battery from Renogy.
Over the past five years, my two sons and I have enjoyed several weekend Cub Scouting camping events. In addition to a tent, sleeping bag, a few days worth of clothing, a flashlight, and a water bottle, my sons bring along their Gadget Gizmos. I typically bring my iPhone 11 Pro Max and Apple Watch Series 4 as well. To keep our devices charged, I have relied upon portable batteries (10,000 mAh). Unfortunately, there always seems to be someone who forgets to bring along a charger for their phone. Furthermore, a scout is “..helpful, friendly, courteous, kind…” and I often feel the need to lend my battery to them. Depending on the activities for the weekend, I may need more charge than a single battery can provide. Without an available power supply, I turn to solar chargers to add a little more fun to the weekend.
According to businessinsider.com, the amount of solar energy hitting the Earth each hour is more than enough to power the entire planet for an entire year. It is estimated that each hour 430 quintillion joules of energy hit the Earth and humanity uses 410 Quintillion Joules per year. To put this into a more understandable framework, I like to use the zebu.uoregon.edu website. The sun bathes each square meter with roughly 164 Watts over a 24 hour day, which means the planet receives 84 Terrawatts of power per day. Since the entire world only uses 12 Terrawatts per day, the sun is a very valuable source of energy. Interestingly, solarpowerrocks.com showed an image of the United States with a small box filling ~1/8 the size of Utah. At first it seemed that this was a large section, but the caption noted that the area would be enough to power the entire country for 1 year. Imagine what we could do with a cheap, clean, inexhaustible energy source!
The Renogy 15000mAh Power Bank arrived in a 4 3/4 inches wide by 6 11/16 inches long by 7/8 inches thick retail box. I loved the use of the black background with the contrasting bold white “RENOGY” title across the upper left corner, “POWER BANK” along the bottom right corner, and the subdued grey “15000 mAH” just below the product name. In addition to the black/white color scheme, I appreciated the splash of bold blue along the bottom rim. Continuing the black on white theme, the back panel provided the product specifications along the top left: Solar Panel Power 2W, Solar Panel input 5V/400mA, Battery 15,000 mAh Li-Pro, 5V/2A input (micro-USB), output 5V/1A, 5V/2A, 6.3×3.1×0.7inch dimensions, and 0.64lb weight. You will find a white SKU sticker and several of the typical product manufacturing labels along the bottom right. The top, front, and side panels were devoid of writing/imagery. Lifting the front flap, I found a plastic-wrapped 3 1/16 inches wide by 6 5/16 inches tall by 5/8 inches thick battery. Hidden beneath the internal cardboard, I found a black carabiner with silver clip, a 20 inches long USB-A to USB-micro cable, and a 16-panel multi-lingual instruction manual.
I removed the battery from the internal translucent plastic and examined the surface. The front panel had a 2 1/2 inches wide by 5 3/4 inches tall octagonal solar charging array, with a surrounding plastic shell. The top panel had two USB-A output ports, labeled “Out 1” and “Out 2,” flanking a 5V/2A USB-micro input port. Just above the 5V/2A input port, you will find a bank of four blue LED, and a small lanyard attachment point (3/4 inches wide by 1/16 inches tall). The rear surface had a 1 9/16 inches wide by 15/16 inches tall bank of 2 x 3 LED along the top, listed the product specifications along the middle, and provided a 2 5/8 inches long by 3/8 inches wide nylon lanyard along the bottom. Prior to packing the battery into my backpack, I used the included USB-A to micro-USB cable to fully charge the battery (1.5 hour). Assuming 80% efficiency, the 15,000 mAh RENOGY battery should charge my iPhone 11 Pro Max 3969 mAh internal battery roughly three times. You can expect approximately 3.5 charges for the iPhone XS Max (3174 mAh), four charges for the iPhone 11 Pro (3046 mAh), 1.5 charges for the iPad Pro 11” (7812mAh), and 4.5 times for the iPhone XS 2658 mAh.
To test the output of the battery, I plugged a DROK USB-C LCD Multimeter into the USB-A output port 1 and then plugged an Apple 1M USB-A to lightning cable into my iPhone 11 Pro Max. I found the multimeter read 4.92V/0.98A. I moved the multimeter to the USB-A Port 2 and the multimeter read 4.97V/0.98A. Concerned with the rate of charge, I tried a second DROK USB-A multimeter and found the ports would not output any higher than 5V/1A. I left my iPhone 11 Pro Max plugged into the 9.45-ounce battery and monitored the levels over time. Starting at 6:13 am, with 18% power, my phone was at 20% by 6:19 am, 24% by 6:27 am, 38% by 7:05 am, 49% by 7:29 am, 62% by 7:59 am, 78% by 8:37 am, 96% by 9:38 am and was fully charged by 10 am. I was a little disappointed with the rate of charge, since it is possible to fast charge the iPhone 11 Pro to 50% in 30 minutes, using Apple 18W, 29W, 30W, 61W, or 87W USB-C Power Adapters. After testing the output, the LED battery indicator still had 3 blue LED. I repeated the test and was able to charge my iPhone an additional 3 times.
I wanted to test the solar charging capabilities of the battery but I was unable to find a method to evaluate the rate of charge. The four blue LED were not accurate enough for the purpose. Interestingly, the instruction manual provided a notice: “The Solar Charger is only for emergency use, not a primary charging resource, it is recommended to charge faster by wall charger.” After testing, I was concerned with the size, the weight, the rate of charge, and with the lack of USB-C input/output. I wanted to enjoy the full 15,000 mAh but the lack of USB-C was concerning. Furthermore, the lack of dual 5V/2.1A ports was also concerning because that is essentially the current industry standard for USB powered devices. I appreciated the included carabiner, the carry strap, the included LED light, the shape of the battery, and the 15000 mAh battery size. Additionally, I appreciated that the battery was The 2W solar panel worked best when placed perpendicular to the light source. If you are going to use this device over time, I would encourage you to charge it up before going out and that if needed, you leave it in the sun as much as possible.
For a low price of $24.99, this would be a reasonable spare battery to have on hand. Stay tuned for a review of the Renogy 5W and 10W Portable Solar Panel Charger.