The accident occurred atIpsar Amerigo Vespucci of Milan in the past few hours, where it is a power bank explodedhas again placed the focus on dangers of portable batteries. Such events risk triggering panic and circulating inaccurate rumors about the operation and safety of these devices, but in this article we will try to explain what is a power bank and why it can sometimes get damaged or even explode. But also how to prevent this from happening.
What is a power bank?
And power bank is a support device, equipped with a more or less large rechargeable battery, which allows you to in turn recharge smartphones or other devices electronics such as tablets and smartwatches. It is equipped with some USB ports for charging the internal battery and others to allow you to charge third party devices instead, under any circumstances. In addition to being extremely useful in emergency situations, when perhaps you are traveling and you need to recharge your smartphone without having wall sockets available, power banks are usually small in size allowing it to be carried in backpacks, bags or even in a pocket.
There are so many power banks available on the market: the choice is based on some key characteristics that also determine the price of the same. The first is the capacity, expressed in mAh as for smartphone batteries. There are power banks with small dimensions and a capacity of only 2000-5000 mAh that allow you to recharge your smartphone in an emergency; and instead much more performing power banks, that exceed 20,000 mAh, and which allow you to charge a smartphone or tablet several times. The other main features that differentiate the models are the number of USB ports present and the power delivered by each port.
But why do some power banks explode?
Once you understand, in broad terms, what a power bank is, it is also necessary to understand why some models could be dangerous. Being a portable lithium-ion battery, like the one found inside smartphones, the quality and performance of a power bank is not measured only by the capacity and number of ports. The energy capable of recharging external devices is generated through a chemical reaction inside the battery. The lithium ions pass from the cathode to the anode, in the recharging phase, and in the reverse path in the discharge phase. This leads to normal heating, when operation is regular, but if the lithium cells are not of good quality there may be overheating. This can lead to damage or even explosion of the battery.
Quality power banks, produced by certified companies, are equipped with several security systems to prevent and avert events such as the one that happened at the Milan school. Portable batteries, in fact, usually come with a sensor that controls the temperature and prevents operation over a certain range; in addition to other sensors that control the overload battery or the presence of any short circuits.
Our tips for the safe use of portable batteries
If you are wondering if these portable batteries can explode at any moment, the answer is no. In the last few hours, as is normal, the underlying thought is that power banks are extremely dangerous, but that’s not the case. True, they are more delicate devices than smartphone batteries, because they are often much more capacious, but there are some very simple precautions to be takenwhich will allow you to use the battery packs peacefully.
First of all it is good to always buy certified power banks, produced by well-known and safe companies. These carry out several tests before putting a product on the market and enter security systems which allow to avoid overheating, overloads and short circuits. The inserted sensors allow the charging phase to be interrupted as soon as a parameter does not respect its normal range, precisely to avoid unpleasant events. At the time of purchase, always check that the device is equipped with a protection systemas explained in the description of this power bank on Amazon.
Our advice is to avoid using cheap power banks, of dubious origin, such as those given away as gadgets on various occasions, from trade fairs to marketing campaigns. It is also good check your portable battery often: most likely, before it explodes, it will overheat noticeably or you will notice an unusual swelling of the device. At that moment it is necessary to turn off the power bank and stop using it. This applies to any battery inside a device, from smartphones to tablets: the alarm bellis usually a overheating or swelling.