Quality Check

HetoGrow Solar Power Bank Product Warranty

power bank solar charger HetoGrow quality assurance

Quality solar power banks have become necessary accessories for smartphones, tablets and other mobile gadgets. The increasing demand for mobile power backups has also fuelled an increase in fake power banks.

Various types of mobile phone power banks are readily available from online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay in the UK. In Nigeria there's Jumia solar power banks as well as Konga. Many of these fake power banks advertise outrageous capacities like 20000 mAh, 50000 mAh and even 100000 mAh. This is impossible for a handheld power bank that you can easily carry on you on-the-go, as you would your smartphone or notepad.  The introduction of HG solar power bank chargers was born out of a bad experience with a fake 30,000mAh solar power bank that was bought on eBay in London. It never worked. This bad experience inspired a desire to challenge the spread of fake power banks designed to deceive unsuspecting buyers.

Similar fake powerbanks are also being sold in the street markets of Lagos and Abuja, where people like to haggle and base the decision to buy on affordability, seemingly defined by power bank price in Nigeria. 


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Our quality control processes are designed to produce the best power banks which we test for functionality and health & safety. Quality assurance is evidenced by warranty, provision of quality information and excellent customer service. This webpage provides information about power banks in line with our policy of education and public awareness campaign, as a tool against the unbridled proliferation of fake solar power banks. We answer the most common questions from our customers. You will learn about key concepts and issues like:

  1. What are off-grid solar products?
  2. What is a power bank?
  3. How to detect a fake solar power bank - Functionality, Quality and Originality Test 
  4. What does mAh mean? Also amp, voltage and watts. 
  5. How long will a power bank last? How durable is a power bank?
  6. How long will a 10000mAh power bank take to charge my phone?
  7. Some basic power bank clues
  8. What capacity should you buy?
  9. How to charge HG solar power bank - charging with electricity or solar panel
  10. How long will it take to charge a 10000mah power bank using electricity? 
  11. How long will the solar panel take to charge a 10000mah power bank


There's so much more on our blog sites (https://hetogrow.blogspot.com or https://hetogrow.tumblr.com) where specific questions from our customer are discussed in detail. Now lets look at typical human behaviour and what quality really means.



Human Behaviour

It is strange that many people don’t read user manuals and product specifications. They develop own expectations of what a power bank should do. When they have problems they blame it on the product and complain. For instance, a university PhD Engineering lecturer called us some time ago to complain. When we asked him if he read the user manual he said no. He later apologised after much discussion. The problem was that he didn't press the power button because he expected the power bank to work just like when a phone is plugged into a computer. On another occasion a customer called to complain that the product wasn’t working. We asked her the same question and she said no. It turned out she also did not press the power button either.

In the rare occasion of genuine manufacturing fault, we provide like-for-like replacement in line with our warranty terms. Before you buy a power bank, we strongly recommend that you read the user manual, product specifications and the notes on quality below. We are very happy to help if you contact us


Quality Specs to Consider

The primary considerations in designing HG solar power banks are quality, safety and functionality. A further emphasis is placed on price and affordability. These factors impose limits on what we can possibly pack into the powerbanks. Another limitation is uncontrollable FX rates which affect price of power banks in Nigeria especially. A further obvious limitation is size.

HetoGrow solar power banks are designed to be portable. This mobile nature limits what can be packed in hence what it can do. An example is the solar panel. The larger it is the quicker it can charge. It is not magic but a universal reality. Its primary purpose is to top up the power bank on exposure to light. Because of the limited size it is unrealistic to expect it to perform like a roof top solar panel. This mobile size also limits the capacity rating (mAh). It can realistically contain 10000mAh - 12000mAh.

Be cautious of look-alike but typically fake and unbranded universal power banks offering 20000mAh, 30,000mAh, 50000mAh, 80000mAh, etc, similar to the capacity of a standard car battery. See below for detailed information about this.  It is typical for human beings to go for cheap stuff but with a view on quality. So we ask the question, what exactly is affordability? Sadly, many have bought really cheap power banks that look like good quality but either worked for a few days and packed up or never worked at all. The internet is full of personal stories backed up by photo and video evidences of how so called cheap power banks have overheated and melted. Some even caught fire or exploded and damaged phones or caused other irreversible damages. Therefore have ended up being terribly expensive. The difference is clear with Quality Assurance.


What are off-grid solar products?

Off-grid solar products are designed to provide electric power, particularly for various household products, by using available solar technology to convert the power of the sun into electric energy. The solar power generated is stored in embedded rechargeable batteries so that the products can be used when needed. They are particularly useful in areas that are not connected to national electricity power lines, also known as the national grid. The below animated short flash video from Lighting Africa provides a beneficial overview.


At HetoGrow we do post production testing on HetoGrow solar charger power banks. We also do functionality tests to give assured confidence that individual products are in perfect condition before being shipped. You deserve the best and in the below 5 sections we explain what a power bank is, application of solar technology and some basic checks you too can do to test for quality, functionality and originality. Also refer to the User Guide for additional information. If you know your stuff and just want to get yours, you can Shop Now.


The HetoGrow Solar Awareness Campaign

The campaign generally promotes sustainability of power through solar energy. We aim to raise awareness amongst the general public of the potentials of solar energy and limitations of solar technology available today. Key highlights include

HetoGrow solar bullet  solar power and the associated products

HetoGrow solar bullet  their benefits over carbon energy (fossil fuel)

HetoGrow solar bullet  basic checks you can do to avoid the risk of buying fake power banks that tend to look affordable.

HetoGrow solar bullet  what the products are designed to do

HetoGrow solar bullet  how to ensure optimal usage and avoid abusing the products.

Based on available technology, the average efficiency ratio of standard solar PV in general use today is affected by a standard conversion loss of 10% to 25%; but a few may be higher. The solar panel of a standard solar charger power bank should be able to produce up to 2-4 watts of electricity depending on exposure to sunlight and other weather conditions. In furtherance of this campaign we seek to collaborate with other organisations.


What is a Power Bank?

A power bank is a power backup device mostly for mobile gadgets. It is designed with rechargeable batteries in a special case, with a special/smart internal control circuit that regulates electric current. It also monitors the temperature and can cut out to prevent overheating. The batteries can store a fairly large amount of electric power over a long period of time, for later use. You can easily top up your gadgets at your own convenience effortlessly. Power bank is absolutely necessary for your mobile gadgets especially if you are a heavy phone user, you spend a lot of time outdoors or if you are a frequent traveller.

The beauty lies in the fact that you don’t need to buy a spare battery for every gadget you have. You can simply recharge your gadgets with your power bank.  Some power banks have embedded solar panel that should automatically recharge the internal batteries on exposure to sunlight.  A solar power bank should also be rechargeable with electricity via a USB cable plugged into a normal phone charger adaptor or USB port of a computer.  There are many different types of universal powerbanks out there and people tend to like the idea of renewable energy so they buy based on price of solar power bank. You could base your decision to buy on brand, colour and additional design options like flashlight, feel or look; but it is important to base it on what you actually need the powerbank for.

Some power banks are small and light in weight. Others are large and heavy. In between the mix are various types of fake power banks that must be avoided. They are mostly unbranded and where branded, the imprints tend to be of poor quality. They are also very cheap – and you get what you pay for – cheap quality and risk of damage or harm. Caveat emptor is strongly advised as buyer must be aware of what they are buying before they pay.


How To Detect a Fake Solar Power Bank - Functionality, Quality and Originality Test

Firstly, you need to know what you are buying. Do you know what mAh actually means? Do you know what’s really in the box?  In addition to certificated laboratory tests, we also test our universal solar power bank chargers to ensure they are in perfect working condition before shipping to buyers. Some of the functionality tests include electric charging with the attached USB cable, solar PV charging, re-charging a phone, tablet, notebook, Bluetooth headphone, smartwatch, USB light bulbs and lamps, power transfer to other power banks, dual gadget charging, etc.

Detecting a fake power bank basically requires just common sense. The key thing to understand is that most smartphones come with battery capacity of 2000 mah to 3000 mah. Few smartphones fall outside this bracket but the principle still applies. The other thing to note is that genuine power banks generally come with battery capacity of 1500mah to 10,000 mah.  Few go up to 12,000 mah. The higher the capacity, the larger and heavier the size of the power bank. By nature, a product designed as a mobile accessory is limited in size by its purpose. Hence as a mobile device it is not generally practical to carry an accessory that is too heavy. Similarly, it is impractical to design a mobile power bank with very high mAh rating.  Below are clues and suggestions that highlight what to look out for when buying a solar power bank so you can enjoy your gadgets and #TalknSurf4Longer

Power banks tend to be rated by capacity usually denoted by mAh.  What does mAh mean, you may ask? Well, mAh stands for milliampere-hour or milliamp-hour, depending on where you are from. It is 1000th of an ampere hour (amp hour or Ah) which, simply put, is the capacity/measure of unit of electric current that can be delivered over time. So, 1Ah = 1000 mAh. mAh describes the total amount of electric flow a battery can provide over time or can store at a given time (one hour).


A battery stores power at a given voltage. Simply put, this is potential energy in an electric charge. A good example is the water pressure (voltage) in a kitchen tap at home. The higher the pressure, the faster the water flows (current) potentially over a longer distance, and the quicker you can fill up your kitchen kettle.   Mobile devices like phones and power banks normally come with 5 volts capacity.  For instance, a 10000 mAh solar powerbank, which is equivalent to 10Ah, can be expected to deliver charge of 1 Amp at 5v for 10 hours, or 2 Amps for 5 hours.  Factors that can affect this include temperature, type of cable, how fast current is drawn by your device, type of battery in your gadget and its resistance and discharge rate.  For a phone, how long a battery lasts will further depend on usage, screen size/brightness, processor speed, phone settings, etc.


Another unit of measure of electric power to consider is wattage. It is the rate of transfer of electric current/charge. Amps x volts = watts. Continuing with the above home tap example, watts is equivalent to the amount of water passing through the tap over a period of time (per second, minute or hour) at a given pressure (volts) and depending on the size of the pipe (amps). For a comparative understanding, think of a fire engine in action. 


Solar power bank mAh, voltage and watts exemplified by London Fire Brigade engine

 

People often ask “How long will a power bank last?”, “How long will a 10000mAh power bank take to charge my phone?”, or “How durable is the power bank?

These reflect a misconception of how much power can be derived from a fully charged powerbank. mAh can signify how long a battery will last when fully charged and the higher the mAh rating the longer a battery can last. But this depends on many factors including whether or not your power bank has a REAL mAh rating. See some basic clues below on how to detect a fake power bank.

 


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Some Basic Powerbank Clues

It is pertinent to look out for obvious HGT signs of factory & product manufacturing and testing quality certifications like CEFCCROHSSON product certifications, UN 38.3, etc. Look out for power banks with at least 500 charge/life cycles. This means that if you use up your power bank and recharge from zero to 100% everyday, you should get optimal performance for about 1.5 years (or to be exact 500÷365 days = 1.39 years) before the power bank begins to degrade. For detailed information about Quality Assurance and Lighting Global Quality Standards, click here

It is also very important to know that fake powerbanks abound in various forms. Beware of similar sized (dimension of approximately 124*77*25 mm) universal solar charger power banks claiming outrageous capacities like 20000mAh, 30000mAh, 50000mAh, or 80000 mAh. These products tend to be unbranded and do not offer real mAh.

It is presently impossible to pack such capacities into this size. Below are some clues to bear in mind.                                           
solar power bank: HetoGrow's tips to avoid buying a fake
Think! Your standard smartphone battery is typically 1500mAh - 2500mAh on average. Assuming HGT 2500mAh,

HetoGrow solar bullet  30000mAh is equivalent to 12 smart phone batteries.

HetoGrow solar bullet  60000mAh is equivalent to 24 smart phone batteries. It should therefore be heavier.

HetoGrow solar bullet  100000mAh is equivalent to 40 smart phone batteries. It should also be heavier..

This is a crude measure but in the absence of any reliable test kit on the spot, this is a good one to bear in mind. Nevertheless, weight is not a guaranty of quality. For such high mAh, expect to pay exceptionally higher prices. You might be better off with a standard car battery of 45 Ah. Importantly, think of the content of the power bank. Some of them contain sand and other garbage, rather than safe rechargeable batteries.  This is probably the most important thing to think about. You don’t have any gadgets to test on the spot, so ask questions and look out for speed of reply, confidence in answering your questions, additional info volunteered, etc. Use your wits to decipher honesty of intent. If unsure, get a second independent opinion.

Independent tests have shown that some of these unbranded products have bags of sand or other junk in them that make them weighty. Tests have shown that they tend to produce between 0 and 15% of their rated capacities. One product tested claimed 50,000 mAh but it only produced about 7000 mAh - 7500 mAh; based on different devices. In another instance, one product had a rated capacity of 30,000 mAh but actually produced nothing. It failed to charge any smartphone and could not be recharged using the solar panel or USB cable.

Other problems with these fake and outrageous products include possible electrocution, explosion, fast discharge, inability to retain charge, etc. They tend to have shabby and incomprehensible User Guidance notes if any. They also generally do not offer valid warranty.

Top brands do not offer these outrageous capacities for similar size of power banks. Think of the reason why! Ask yourself, can 8 ,24, 40 smartphone batteries be of the same weight and fit into a power bank case of the above dimension?

Beware and do these basic checks before you buy. Buy HetoGrow quality products from our shop or from any of our Authorised  Distributors


What capacity should you buy?

This depends on what you want to use it for.  Based on consumer enquiries received, we have concluded that most people want to know how many times they can recharge their phones with a fully charged power bank, before deciding on the one to buy.

As noted above, smartphones typically come with 1500 - 2500 mAh batteries on average.  It is important you check the back of your phone to know the battery capacity. We have assumed 2500 here. Assume a perfect world and divide the capacity of the power bank by that of your phone. We have determined that a fully charged

HetoGrow solar bullet  4000 mAh recharges a smartphone 1.6 times on average, subject to health of your gadget and battery

HetoGrow solar bullet  6000 mAh recharges a smartphone 2.4 times on average, subject to health of your gadget and battery

HetoGrow solar bullet  10000 mAh recharges a smartphone 4 times on average, subject to health of your gadget and battery

The results should be same for all smartphones, ceteris paribus (all things being equal). However, it is pertinent to note that this is subject to your phone/battery being of good quality and optimal performance. Many power banks claim efficiency ratings of over 90%. In reality, climatic conditions affect these products and you typically end up with about 80% power conversion efficiency rate. It is best to err on the side of caution and expect battery loss of 20% due to general climatic conditions.  A more accurate calculation must account for this viz - power bank capacity (mAh) × 80% efficiency (due to estimated battery loss of 20%) ÷ device capacity (mAh).


How to Charge HG Solar Power Bank

Another typical question is “How long will it take to charge a 10000mah power bank?”  This is similar to wanting to know how long it will take to fill a bottle of water from the tap.

Fill_water_bottle_from_kitchen_tap_HetoGrow_solar_power_bank

It depends on the amount of water passing through the pipe (watt), how large the pipe/tap (amp) is, the pressure (voltage) at which water is flowing, how fast the water is flowing (current), stability and coordination of hand as well as how much of the water is lost. Similarly, for a power bank, it depends on some variables like 

HetoGrow solar bullet  Charger being used. Electric chargers come in various shapes and sizes. Just plug your HG solar power bank as you would your phone.

HetoGrow solar bullet  USB cable and quality/suitability of connection. Best to use 2.0 or 3.x if possible.  The higher the rating the faster the flow of current for High Speed/High Bandwidth or SuperSpeed transfer. 

HetoGrow solar bullet  Amp (A) and its stability

HetoGrow solar bullet  Voltage (v) and its stability. Standard for mobile gadgets is 5v. The higher the quicker it charges

Given that mAh is equivalent to 1000 Ah, using 5V and assuming 10000mAh with different powerbank charger output sources:

HetoGrow solar bullet  1A charger:  10000mAh/1000Ah = 10hrs

HetoGrow solar bullet  2A charger: 10000 mAh / 2000Ah = 5hrs

HetoGrow solar bullet  3A charger: 10000mAh/3000Ah = 3.33hrs

It is therefore important that you know the output source you plug into on your powerbank.  Also be careful to ensure that you use the appropriate voltage.  Also note that the result you get depends on whether or not the phone being charged is switched on or off. Phones consume energy to remain on, hence will take longer to charge up. You will find relevant information in the product specification.


Charging Power Bank Using Solar Power

Many people also ask, "How long will the solar panel take to charge?". The same principles also apply given a 10000 mAh solar power bank. The time the solar panel takes to charge = 10000mAh/power generated. As noted above, power (watts) = amps x volts. HetoGrow solar power banks can produce up to 4 watts of electricity in optimal conditions. It is important to consider the standard energy conversion loss of 10% to 25%, in addition to other factors that affect performance like weather conditions.  4 watts* (75% to 90%) /5 volts = 600Ah to 720Ah. Time taken to charge 10000 mAh solar power bank = 10000mAh/(600Ah to 720Ah) = 14 hours to 17 hours; ceteris paribus. In charging your power bank using the solar panel, it is pertinent to note the factors that can affect the performance of the solar panel such as brightness of the sun, direct exposure to the sun and angle of contact, size or surface area of the solar panels, temperature, battery size and frequency of usage. The implication is that it can take up to 2 days or more to charge up a 10000mAh solar power bank strictly using the solar panels. The larger the solar PV, the faster it can charge and the shorter the time taken.  It is ideal in emergency situations as backup power source in the absence of regular electricity supply. For best results, the user should:

HetoGrow solar bullet  Find a safe and bright spot outside with strong direct sunlight 

HetoGrow solar bullet  Position your HG solar power bank in a way that ensures the solar panel is facing up directly toward the sun 

HetoGrow solar bullet  Ensure there is adequate ventilation to avoid overheating

HetoGrow solar bullet  Monitor the LED light bulbs that indicate the level of power stored in the power bank


Can I use a power bank to charge another power bank?

HetoGrow solar power banks are designed to charge other 5v devices including smartphones and other powerbanks. It works best when transferring power from a high capacity power bank to a lower one.  As noted above, you may not get 100% transfer due to normal loss when current is being transferred. This means that if you transfer from 10000 mAh power bank to two 5000 mAh power banks, you'll likely end up with one full 5000 mAh power bank and the second one slightly less than 100% full.


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