Teardown & Test: Hillo Power Jin Gangxia Series Power Bank

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Another power bank that has come in for testing is this one from Hillo Power. It came from a very nice brown-ish cardboard box. Unfortunately, the capacity is unknown.

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The box is mostly marked in Chinese except for the side where it’s branded Hillo Power.

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This appears to be a Hillo Power Jin Ganxia series power bank from Hillo (Universal) Industrial Limited. It’s quite a beautiful device, having a nice aluminium finish.

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Along the front and back of the device is a plastic strip section. Along the front strip, there is the microUSB-B connector for charging, as well as spaces for four blue LEDs. The push button activates the capacity display, but it is a bit stiff and difficult to engage.

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Along the sides of the devices, you will find a total of two output ports, one on each side. One port is rated for 1A, the other is rated at 2.1A, but neither port is marked.

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Also included in the package is a basic charge-only microUSB-B cable …

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… as well as a manual, leaflet and QC card.

Teardown

Opening this power bank can be achieved by prying at the corners of the front plastic section and slowly levering it out of the aluminum shell. The plastic part appears to be glued into place, but the glue easily lets go.

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Internally, there is a fair amount of foam used to keep the cells nice and snug inside the aluminium shell, and to keep the PCB propped up above the shell. It also seems there is a certain amount of empty space as well, which could be better used.

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Two lithium-polymer cells are connected in parallel to form the battery.

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The cell has only printing on one side, and permanent marker has been used to obscure the marking. It seems like they have done this to try and increase their competitive advantage where there is a lot of manufacturers making similar components.

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Choosing the right solvent, it is possible to remove the permanent marker without destroying the original markings, however, it doesn’t really tell me much about the cells themselves in regards to capacity and who makes it. That’s definitely an unsolved mystery.

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Removing the foam, the underside of the PCB has little to offer. A small bypassing capacitor between the rails on one of the USB ports, and a surface mount resistor is the only thing on the bottom.

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Similar to other power banks, there is an unmarked microcontroller at the heart of the system. There is also a single MOSFET, marked 8205A, for disconnecting the load. It seems an SK34 3A Schottky diode is used for input polarity enforcement, and two used in parallel to meet the current loading for the converter. This is not a conventional arrangement, as the components may not be well matched enough to ensure even current balance, and a part with a larger current rating may be the better option despite being overspecified to ensure good efficiency.

This PCB does utilize a shielded inductor design, which is more efficient than an open core. Finally, there appears to be a dedicated charger chip, marked FP6258.

Performance Testing

The new power bank testing rig was utilized to test the effective capacity of the power bank, which is the amount of energy extractable from the power bank. This is the power of the batteries, multiplied by the efficiency of the conversion circuit.

Load (mA) Run Capacity (mAh)
500 1 3933.072438
500 2 3934.468271
500 3 3921.476971
500 4 3942.266269
500 5 3901.236432
Mean 3926.504076
Range 41.02983707
StDev 15.95888575
Load (mA) Run Capacity (mAh)
1000 1 3873.320804
1000 2 3853.499237
1000 3 3880.483682
1000 4 3820.658161
1000 5 3864.472834
Mean 3858.486944
Range 59.82552092
StDev 23.42874723
Load (mA) Run Capacity (mAh)
2000 1 3589.573832
2000 2 3616.64148
2000 3 3601.856801
2000 4 3643.172248
2000 5 3596.196105
Mean 3609.488093
Range 53.59841565
StDev 21.31481043

From the results, the effective capacity is 3927mAh at 500mA, 3858mAh at 1A and 3609mAh at 2A. From this, I suppose that the capacity of the battery is likely to be 4600mAh to 5000mAh.

The results are very consistent indicating a good charge termination strategy, with a range under 60mAh in all 15 runs.

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From the voltage trends, it is apparent that the voltage regulation of this power bank is excellent. The voltages are especially consistent for 500mA and 1A loads. Under the 2A loading, the voltage gets a bit “noisy” as it seems the circuit is actively trying to regulate the voltage and compensate for the falling battery voltage. The voltage is still well within specifications, although starting from the lower limit and quickly increasing to operating levels.

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The voltage ripple on the power bank output is also excellent, at 500mA, just 33.3mV peak-to-peak. The oscillating frequency is 541.3khz.

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Increasing the load to 1A doubles the ripple to 62.57mV, which is still very much in the acceptable territory.

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At a full load of 2A, the ripple further intensifies, but only to 75.95mV, which seems to be a very commendable level of performance, exceeding even some stock chargers at load.

Conclusion

While I don’t know the claimed capacity for this power bank, its performance is extremely commendable when it comes to the ripple voltage and voltage regulation at the various current levels. The consistency of the charging of the cells, as well as the discharge termination, was measurably excellent. The aesthetics of the power bank exude quality.

However, the cells themselves are still a little bit of a mystery, and their quality and longevity cannot be predicted. Additionally, the space inside the enclosure isn’t exactly well utilized with many rubber foam inserts taking up space.

Definitely one of the better ones that I have tested to date, thanks to an anonymous donor.

About lui_gough

I’m a bit of a nut for electronics, computing, photography, radio, satellite and other technical hobbies. Click for more about me!

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2 Responses to Teardown & Test: Hillo Power Jin Gangxia Series Power Bank

  1. Bob Hampton says:

    Just purchased a 12000mah unit from Hillo Power. If you look carefully on the brushed metal case, if reflection is just right, you can read the power capacity and the labels for each USB port.

    • lui_gough says:

      I’ve just given it a check, even with a torch at various angles. That’s not the case for my unit. My unit is bare, not even with any printed branding or specs on the unit, nor ratings. They may have improved the design since I’ve tested it.

      – Gough

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