myVolts power bank - low current draw
August 20, 2019 by

Using myVolts Ripcord to power devices with very low current draw, from a USB power bank

Ripcord‘s great for powering all kinds of devices from cheap USB power banks, as it gives clean, noise-free, hassle-free portable power.
However – you may find if you’re powering a device that draws very little current from a USB power bank, total current drawn in the region of less than 50mA, the device might shut down. This can happen with some guitar pedals and tuners, as they demand so little amperage, sometimes just a few milliamps.
This is a power bank problem, rather than a Ripcord problem – but we have a couple of solutions for you, so read on…

Many USB power banks switch off, or go into “sleep mode” if the current being drawn is too low – so your device powers for a couple minutes, then both device and power bank shuts down.

SOLUTION 1: Buy a power bank with “Always On” feature

Some power banks have an “always on” feature, specifically for applications where little current is drawn, like the Voltaic V15 USB Battery Pack. It’s billed as having a built-in “Always On” feature for IoT and Time-Lapse Projects – and it works great for anything that draws only a teeny-tiny bit of current. Read more about “always on” here.

SOLUTION 2: Add a USB light

Most power banks have 2 or more ports, so take advantage of this by adding in something that draws a little bit of current, like a USB lamp, to keep your power bank on. You can get them in Euro or Pound shops for just a couple of quid, or in the usual places like Aliexpress / Sunsky. There’s one on Amazon here: NiceButy Mini 1LED USB Lamp Light Flexible Travel for PC Notebook
With some power banks, you can remove the light after a minute, once the power bank’s concluded it’s OK to supply power – but that varies from power bank to power bank we reckon.

SOLUTION 3: Add a “USB battery pack keep-alive load”

Another “take up a port on your existing power bank” option is to use a USB battery pack keep-alive load – just plug it in, it makes a little variable current, with enough draw to keep your power bank on.

Got any other solutions, need any more help? Just get in touch!

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Caroline is a leading authority on power supply adaptors. Although there's not a lot of competition, admittedly. She's been at MyVolts for more than 10 years, is Director of Operations, and works in the Dublin office.

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