Mobile power packs, used to charge phones and other USB powered devices when on-the-go, are ubiquitous these days. Companies give them away as trinkets at trade shows, and they can be had for as little as $8 on Amazon. Sometimes those cheap devices actually work; other times, they start fires.
In 2014 the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall for over 175,000 mobile power packs, saying, “When unit is being charged or being used to charge another device, it can overheat, causing a fire hazard.” Where did folks get this power pack? Here’s what the CPSC says:
Power banks were given as promotional items at various meetings, trade shows and industry conventions from November 2013 to August 2014. The products sold for about $8 to $11.
This is not surprising because many companies with no power experience are now commonly manufacturing and selling cheap, unsafe and unreliable power packs
You may be asking yourself, “How are such dangerous, cheaply manufactured products making it to the market?” Because the current mobile power pack space is like the Wild West; an unregulated market with thousands of products from hundreds of companies – most of which have no experience whatsoever in the battery or power business. There’s no accountability for the claims they make in terms of power, charging times and various product specifications.
It’s against this backdrop that APC by Schneider Electric is coming out with two models of mobile power packs that are on an entirely different level from such competition – and that presents an opportunity for partners to sell them by the dozen.
The M6BK provides more than two full charges for a smart phone while the M12BK provides more than 4.5 charges – and that’s from a dead battery to 100% charged. The devices can also charge tablets and cameras – anything with a USB connector. And they support pass-through charging, meaning they can charge connected devices even while the power pack itself is being charged.
Both power packs support Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, which enables them to power devices that support the technology (mainly Android devices) five times faster than using the conventional charger that comes with the device.
Most importantly, all APC Mobile Power Packs are safe. They come with features including over-temperature protection, so when the battery temperature is above the safe operating range, the unit automatically shuts down. That safeguards the power pack as well as the phone or tablet. The devices also have over-current protection, which protects it against current variations. They even carry a one-year warranty.
The power packs are targeted at three core markets:
- Traveling business people who are heavy device users and not always near a power source
- Young people, who spend lots of time on their mobile devices
- Outdoor types, who are often away from traditional power sources
For APC partners, targeting traveling business people is likely to be most fruitful. The M6BK and M12BK could be an add-on product to another APC by Schneider Electric sale, such as the Smart-UPS line of UPSs. Many companies will want to buy lots of the power packs to outfit their traveling sales people and executives. Sell them on the idea that they can’t afford for these important employees to be out of touch with their colleagues and customers. They need a mobile power source that will do the job quickly, reliably – and safely. And they won’t get that in a $10 trinket.