Has anybody actually found a battery pack that can charge the MacBook Pro (2017 15" w/ Touch Bar)?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Bbeelzebub, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. Bbeelzebub macrumors member

    Bbeelzebub

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    #1
    So, I have a RavPower brick w/ built in AC (20,100 mAh) and boy does it suck. I got it in December and never had a chance to use it. Luckily, it's also defective and Amazon is giving me a refund. (Only charged my iPhone once and was dead.) Via USB-C it's only 2.4 Amps. I can use the AC plug, but that entails carrying around the wall charger still and the efficiency is awful and still results in a ridiculously slow charge.

    Anyhow.... It seems that nothing from Anker, RavPower, etc... can actually charge a MacBook Pro. I get that the wattage is maxed out at 30w. on most of them, so that it would be a slower charge... but the reviews are endless of people saying that it doesn't even keep the current power when connected. :-(

    I'm not expecting miracles, but perhaps something that could give me another 50% to last a few more hours.

    I've seen the talk about Mophie's XXL Usb-C bank, but again, only 30 w. Are we still in the early days of battery packs and awaiting better technology?
     
  2. Mike Boreham, Mar 26, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018

    Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #2

    Yes, these will: USB-PD RavPower and Anker USB-PD. The key spec feature of the battery pack is that it should support USB-PD (Power Delivery). Answers to customer questions on both these say they charge the 2017 15" MBP fine.

    You have to connect to the MacBook with the USB-C port on the battery pack, not a USB-A which will only be 5V 2.4A= 12W. USB-PD will charge at 30W with 15V or 20V, so slower than the 87W of the wall charger supplied by Apple.
     
  3. Bbeelzebub, Mar 26, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018

    Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member

    Bbeelzebub

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    Yes, I saw both of those on Amazon. There seems to be some people on there claiming they do not work. Comments that they only work on the 13" and are falsely advertised, etc, etc. I try and take Amazon customer comments with a grain of salt and was hoping to find somebody here with real world experience using them. After what RavPower has claimed in the past on their product capabilities, I'm a lil' cautious. (I will note that before packing up my defective RavPower pack with the 110v AC plug, it charged my MacBook Pro from 74% to 100% in about 25 minutes, however it also completely drained the battery pack. I don't so much mind the slower speed in charging, but really would like more than a 25% increase in battery.)
     
  4. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    H'mmm. I am afraid I can't vouch personally for those battery packs with a 15" MBP. I own both and use them with my 12" MacBook. I took the Amazon Q&A saying they worked with 15" MBP at face value.

    Dont be misled by the "26800 mAh" spec number. MaH is not a measure of battery capacity. Both these are 100 watt-hour capacity. My 12" MacBook battery is 41 watt-hour, so allowing for a transfer efficiency of 60-70% I can charge my MacBook from flat about 1.5x. RavPower Tech support agree this is about right. According to this article the 2016 15" MBP battery is 76 Watt-hour so neither RavPower or Anker is likely to do a whole charge from flat.

    Of the two I would recommend the Anker over the RavPower, as it has a bit more capacity (although rated the same), and my first RavPower was defective.
     
  5. JPack macrumors 68040

    JPack

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    #5
  6. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    https://www.amazon.co.uk/ask/questions/Tx25B2TE78H3JNN/ref=ask_dp_dpmw_al_hza
    Thanks looks nice. A bit smaller than the RavPower and Anker which I do find somewhat hefty.

    The Xiaomi is 72Watt-hour compared to the 99Wh of the RavPower and 96Wh of the Anker so won't charge a 76Wh fully allowing for 60/70% charging efficiency.
     
  7. JPack macrumors 68040

    JPack

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    #7
    This PD backup battery pack has a peak power output of 45 watts (15V/3A). If the MacBook Pro is idle or has low CPU load, the PD backup battery pack will actually charge the MacBook Pro's battery. If the MacBook Pro is busy crunching numbers with high CPU utilization, the PowerPack 20000 will still slow down the battery drain and extend the battery life. The 15" MacBook Pro, the most power hungry model, has a built-in battery rated at 76 watt-hours. In comparison, the PowerPack 20000 has 72 watt-hours in it. Even after taking into account conversion loss, the PowerPack 20000 will still extend the battery life of the laptop significantly.

    https://www.amazon.com/ask/questions/asin/B072BD98CM/1/ref=ask_ql_psf_ql_hza?isAnswered=true

    The Q&A section is pretty helpful!
     
  8. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Indeed they are. There is one which expands on the "extends" comment above:

    "First off, this battery pack works with MBP 2016 and later models. The number of charges depends on your MBP model. For the 15-inch MBP, the battery pack can extend the battery life by 60-65%"

    Which sounds right for 72Wh topping up the 76Wh internal with 60/70% efficiency.

    The 45W charging rate would be nice for MBP owners, but wouldn't actually help my MacBook which will only accept 30W, but I am tempted for smaller size and weight.
     
  9. Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member

    Bbeelzebub

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    #9
    Wow, never knew they made power banks. I didn't know they made much other than Samsung clones and Apple Knock offs. I'll look more into it. Those appear they may be a good fit.
     
  10. JPack macrumors 68040

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    #10
    Their power banks are considered one of the best in the industry because they source battery cells from LG, ATL-Amperex, and Lishen, which are the same companies which supply Apple.
     
  11. Marc_S macrumors member

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    #11
    Can't speak to the 15" but the Mophie Powerstation XXL charges my 13" MBP with TB even whilst in use and it's extremely portable, fast and efficient! Mophie has a more powerful Battery with an AC adaptor. It's bigger in size but check it out and talk to Mophie in case it works. Mophie are excellent! :D
     
  12. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #12
    The Apple store only shows the Mophie XXL as compatible with iPhones and iPads, but a lot of 5V battery packs will indeed charge the 12" MacBook (my experience), and from your experience 13" MBP, but 5V 2.1A is only 10.5W, so it can't be fast compared to a 30W or 40W USB-PD battery.

    One of the significant benefits of USB-C is that it allows USB-PD with much faster charge and recharge rates.
     
  13. Marc_S macrumors member

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    #13
  14. JPack macrumors 68040

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    #14
    It doesn't appear any of the Morphie products support 40W output. Also unfortunate they don't disclose the Whr rating which is always suspicious.
     
  15. Marc_S macrumors member

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    #15
    Well I'm a user and it works extremely well for me!
     
  16. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    Ah yes that is a very different Mophie PwerStation XXL from the one I was looking at !
    Mophie need to give a bit more thought to their product naming!
     
  17. Marc_S macrumors member

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    100% agreed! But more importantly, they work! Signed, Marc: aka ‘road warrior’ ;)
     
  18. Bbeelzebub, Mar 26, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018

    Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member

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    #18
    Any of the 30w output packs should work decent on the 13" MBP because it only accepts 30w. maximum charge. The 15" (2016/2017) accepts an 87w. charge. So all of the battery packs on the market currently don't offer the same speedy charging for the larger model. That is why the higher the output, the faster (in theory) it should be at charging. Due to Power Delivery, the more power hungry models can accept the lower wattage, but the charging is at a slower rate. Due to current battery tech, the efficiency can greatly reduce the amount of charge one gets from the pack.

    A lot of the 30w. units from Anker, Aukey, Rav Power, Mophie, etc... support up to 30w. and include PD for optimal performance. Still, it would be a much slower charge (approx. 60% slower than a wall plug w/ the apple cable and power unit).

    This is probably why the reviews for various products are filled with, "This doesn't work!" etc... People are not paying attention to realize that with such a slower charge, if you use the computer while charging, you may not notice any difference. For best results, keeping the laptop off or lid closed and not being used would be the fastest way to get a charge, otherwise, if one is lucky, it may keep your battery steady without using so much of the inbuilt battery while in use.

    That is why the ZMI model may be interesting. 40w. is closer to the right direction closing in on 50% slower than the wall unit. Additionally, I'm seeing some promising 60w. etc on Kickstarter, but until those models are shipping and people are using them and raving about them, I consider them vaporware.

    (Oh and I could be wrong in the way I'm summing this all up, but this is just what I gather from reading today. LOL )
     
  19. Marc_S macrumors member

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    #19
    Hmmmm interesting.. by-the-way the 2016/2017 13”
    MBP supply is 61W. Yes the 15” is 87W. Check Mophie web site for the 100W version as mentioned to Mike above for 15” support.

    To give you an example of charging speed I was using photoshop editing high res photos in a coffee shop over the weekend no access to wall plug power so I pulled out the Mophie when I got down to 15% and carried on working. An hour and a half later I was at 79% and finished what I was doing and the Mophie still had some charge left to give. Appreciate that may be slow for some peeps but was great for me. Cheers, all the best.
     
  20. JPack, Mar 26, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018

    JPack macrumors 68040

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    Part of the reason is cost and safety.

    If you look at the teardown of the ZMI bank, it uses all high quality components. It's built using an aluminum chassis with expensive power management chips from Texas Instruments and Intersil. The cost of the components alone is close to US$40. Other brands use questionable cells, chips, and a plastic enclosure. Without Xiaomi's support, I doubt ZMI would be able to price their product for less than $150.

    http://news.mydrivers.com/1/515/515170_2.htm
    --- Post Merged, Mar 26, 2018 ---
    The 100W version features an AC outlet which is ridiculous for efficiency. It's great for old notebooks without USB-C though.

    However, power would be going from DC to AC and back to DC. The cumulative decrease in efficiency probably results in a 25% loss.
     
  21. Marc_S macrumors member

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    #21
    Cool! To be honest I’m not clued up on all the science/components etc, hence my real world usage example, but sounds good. At the moment I get approx total of 12 hours out of the internal Apple battery and external Mophie combined before needing a wall socket. Hopefully I’ll get another 3 or 4 years out of my current setup by which time we should have some technology advances from Apple and others backed up by some actual real world usage evidence.... again hopefully!
     
  22. Mike Boreham, Mar 26, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018

    Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #22

    As Marc says I think the 13" MBP charges at 61W, (only the 12" Macbook is 30W).

    I think there are a variety of reasons why there are "doesn't work" reports including using wrong leads, not using USB-C to USB-C, maybe some USB-C leads are not compatible (eg data only?), faulty batteries etc. It sometimes takes several seconds for the handshake USB-PD connection stops be completed. I still see more success reports than won't work reports, and bear in mind people are more likely to come on line to complain.
     
  23. Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member

    Bbeelzebub

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    #23
    Also, I notice on reviews I've been reading is that it's better to use the USB-C cable that was included with the computer. The cheap ones people buy online or the battery packs come with just aren't that great.


    I think I've narrowed it down to the Anker or the ZMI model.

    I appreciate everybody's comments and input!
     
  24. Mike Boreham, Mar 26, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018

    Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Something to watch out for if you get either the Anker or ZMI is what input voltages it supports. This is important to be able to fast recharge the battery. I wrote the following in the my review of the Anker in Amazon UK:

    "I am very impressed with this pack but there is a snag. The battery inputs are 9V 3A or 5V 3A. It is aimed partly at 12" MacBook owners who will own the Apple supplied 29W charger which only outputs at 15V 2A or 5V 2.4A. This means if you try and charge the Anker battery with the Apple MacBook charger it only charges at 5V.....thus losing half the advantage of a USB-PD battery...fast recharging. The competing RavPower does support 15V so will fast charge from the Apple 29W charger. I have not been able to find the compatible Anker charger which would charge it at 9V 3A for sale in the UK. In the US it is sold with the 9V charger. Fortunately I have an Apple MacBook Pro 87W charger which does support 9V 3A but it is a big beast so not for the road.

    UPDATE. The Anker 60W five port (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anker-Premium-Charger-PowerPort-Delivery/dp/B01C89H12K) supports fast charging of the PowerCore. It is bigger than the Apple 29W but because it has five ports and supports multiple voltages it can charge my MacBook, PowerCore, iPhone and iPad, so I can take this one charger when travelling and leave three at home"

    These big batteries can take a long time to recharge at 5V 2.4A.

    Summary:
    The Apple 29W charger does not fast recharge the Anker (so I had to buy another charger)
    The Apple 87W charger does fast recharge the Anker
    I dont know if the Apple 61W would support fast charge, but from this link it looks like it has the same voltages as the 87W so would be OK.

    I dont know what USB-PD input voltages are supported by the ZMI, but to have fast recharging by the Apple 61W charger it needs to support 9V or 20V if the info in the above link is correct
     
  25. Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member

    Bbeelzebub

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    #25
    From what I found on AliExpress, it said this regarding the ZMI:

    • Fast Charge Technology:USB PD 2.0
    • Color :Black
    • Input:5-20V 45W(MAX)
    • Output USB-C:5-20V 40W(MAX)

    Part of me says just buy the Anker, as it comes with a wall plug has a slightly better capacity... but part of me says go ZMI just for the slight chance of a faster charge. Depending on efficiency, there may not be much of a difference.
     

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