2017 Laptops USB-C Power Delivery Compatibility with External Power Banks

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Junaid_10

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My aim with this answer is to promote a sticky thread to be created so I have recreated this elsewhere on this forum, hope you dont mind the duplicates.

I have been researching this a fair bit as I want to purchase a new laptop in 2017 and my main requirement is that there be some possibility of charging via USB-C. Ideally, via a battery bank. There was some decent research and knowledgeable articles on this back with the last generation of laptops.

The first issue is that USB-C is essentially just a port but lots of different connections and capabilities can be baked into it that may or may not include charging. This can include USB data transfer at 5 or 10 GB (so called superspeed (SS) or superspeed+ (SS+)); it can also include thunderbolt 3 (which is an intel thing and this has display port/ daisy chain capabilities etc); finally it can also include POWER DELIVERY. The problem is that just because there is a USB-C port does not mean it has to include any of these things - however, it seems if it is a thunderbolt 3 port then it probably does include all of them and immportantly POWER DELIVERY.

POWER DELIVERY is the bit that allows charging of the laptop and supports specific power profiles in the power delivery 2.0 specification as it stands now. The USB IF (forum) are trying to reduce confusion and also standardise the usb power delivery 3.0 standard in 2017.

The power delivery profiles currently supported are 5v, 9v, 15v, 20v (something like this) - and depending on the amps deliverable you get a number of Watts that can be delivered to a device. The lower volts are fine for phones etc but laptops need more than this. Ideally, carrying one power bank to charge phones and laptops and leaving the laptop wall adapter at home would improve portability and battery life considerably. It should be noted, of course, that the new lineup of laptops in 2017 are claiming 15+ hours of usage but real life scenarios will mean that a full day use may not be possible without plugging in at some stage so having the ability to carry usb power in a battery bank would be a welcome addition in my opinion, whatever the manufacturers claims. We all still run out of phone battery at times.

The MACBOOK uses 29W of power and can be charged at something like 12v 2.5amp or some similar multiplier that can be provided by higher voltage usb-c male to male power banks - for example: anker powercore or ravpower larger newer usb-c PD power banks and the charging ports eg anker 5-port 60W with USB-C power delivery voltage specifications or iVolver 75W.

Other laptops - ie windows ones - generally seem to require higher Watt power delivery that cannot be supplied by these power banks as they generally max out at 12 or 14.5v (which isnt even one of the standards if i'm right). Anyway, I have not come across a power bank that can supply near enough 20v at 2.5 amps to give 45-60 watts of power. The Watts is = Volts x Amps. 20v 5amps = 100W is possible but the cable needs to be higher rated so mainly 20V 3amps is max with most cables ie 60W.

There are stand alone power bricks that can supply 60W power such as the Google universal usb-c charger - but these obviously still need a power outlet - the google one seems to be good value and complies with the usb standard and obviously has less risk of damaging your laptop.

There are a number of issues with USB-C chargers and cables as there needs to be a lot of negotiation between charger and device to deliver the correct power, not an issue in the low power simple connections of the usb 2.0 era. There have been various issues leading to damaged devices by inappropriate voltages for the device being delivered by poorly compliant chargers and cables thus the various posts online about bad cables and amazon having their crackdown. Links to good cables can also be found online, and obviously go for reputable manufacturers.

The final issue is with the manufacturers LOCKING out the charging part of the USB-C port to prevent inappropriate chargers being connected. Ostensibly this is to prevent damage from unauthorised chargers but if looked at cynically could just be a way of ensuring accesory sales but given the complexity of voltages that could be delivered to the battery the manufacturers may have a point. HP spectre 360 for example, has similar ports to other laptops but has specifically been locked out of other chargers. DELL XPS once had a BIOS option but this was lost in an update. HP say that they are waiting for PD 3.0 before they consider allowing it.

Other issues may relate to specific fast charging tech in the batteries that may make it safer to avoid USB-C PD as well.

It should be noted though that APPLE - MACBOOK - the most locked down company with their certification requirements etc - have not prevented their 2015 models from being charged from the USB-C port (the only port it has to be fair) by alternative devices. Youtube videos of working and properly charging apple macbook 29W with anker core usb-C power banks are available. However, I imagine the charging profile of the battery is happy to accept trickle charge and does not have any hi speed modes. But if apple can allow this with their battery, I see no reason why laptop makers cannot permit slow charging via the USB-C port, even if it is slower than the wall charger. I believe that chromebook pixel 2015, a higher power device, can also charge with most usb-c chargers, including phone ones (if slower). So it seems its only the OEM manufacturers that are being precious about their devices. The article cited above compares charging lots of usb c devices with each others chargers and provides a handy dandy table.

For 2017 - I have been watching CES with interest as most new intel laptops will have USB-C and the higher end ones will be USB-C SS+ and likley to have PD. Whether the PD is 2.0 or 3.0 standard is not certain. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the manufacturers will permit or lock out certain charging methods, an important consideration never mentioned in any early reviews anyway. The laptops that I have seen that look promising are:

HP Elitebook 360x (not spectre) - this was not locked like the spectre in a previous generation thought to be related to some intel thunderbolt requirement.

LG gram 2017 - I believe the 15inch certainly has a full thunderbolt port and a 60KWh battery, 14 inch not so sure.

Lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon and yoga 2017 - appear to be making a thing of the USB-C charging capability in their releases so compatability may be good but no specifics as yet.

I still really like the XPS 13 but alas its pretty improbable that a 20v power bank will come out soon or that dell will allow PD but it is more compatable than the HP spectre so 14.5v and 3amp might work but this isnt technically standard so im not hopeful.

Razer blade stealth seems pretty compatible with most things and is a good laptop but again needs a higher wattage so power banks probably wont work.It wants 20v and 2.25 amps and the third party Innergie 45W wall charger can provide this so it seem to be more open but the HP spectre does not accept this third party charger as it locks it out (it wants 15V 3amp that the innergie can provide but it still locks it out).

ANYWAY - that is my summary of pointless research. My wish from CES 2017 is that someone goes around all the new laptops and takes an ANKER POWER CORE USB C PD male to male battery bank and plugs it into the laptop to see if it charges - all of them are just sitting there on usb-c power anyway - pull out/ plug in/ take a look.... then run away! and post on youtube first obviously. If you have any laptops you can find (windows 10 mainly) that do accept USB-C PD/ thunderbolt 3 then please post - especially if you can find out specifics of what the battery charging requirement is in terms of volts and amps and if there is any known BIOS or other lockout in place and why? and of course, if any known battery banks can charge them.
 

Eugene_27

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Jan 11, 2017
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I can confirm that apple usb c 61W wall charger works fine with the latest HP spectre x360. I'm hoping that ravpower 26800 usb c powerbank will work with it too, waiting for its delivery.
 

Junaid_10

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Jan 8, 2017
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It would be awesome if a decent power bank such as ravpower could charge a laptop - please post if it works. I believe HP spectre bios was unlocked in previous gen by the company itself to allow this - I wonder if the new gen HP spectre will also allow usb pd lower voltage profiles? Desperate to find out - this has become my main obsession in deciding which laptop to get!!
 

Eugene_27

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Jan 11, 2017
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lol, yeah, it turns out to be some kind of obsession for me too. I guess, if apple charger works with hp, then yes, hp unlocked 3rd party chargers - anything that has a usb-pd and 20V output.

actually I also bought a dell power companion usb-c 12000 mah battery, it should arrive in couple of days. maybe it is not so portable (you have to buy a dell charger too), but my guess it should work 100%. ravpower will arrive in a month or so and it would be a good bonus if it works.
 

Eugene_27

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Jan 11, 2017
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so,dell battery works fine! the bad news is that it has 12000 mah and it charged my spectre only by half. waiting for 26800 ravpower, it should work fine and charge my laptop more than once.
 

Joenevs

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Feb 11, 2017
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Do you have news on compatibility of the HP Spectre x360 with ravpower 26800 usb c powerbank ? Desperstely looking for a non-hp powerbank that's compatible... thanks!!!

 

Eugene_27

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Jan 11, 2017
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now I do! it works perfectly with ravpower usb c 26800 and it charges HP about 1.5 times. which makes ravpower the best and the only working solution so far for HP and other usb c laptops ;)
 

TerryOMG

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Mar 7, 2017
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Is that true?Wonderfull
I have a big problem with my HP Spectre 13,try with my Asus Zenpower Max(same 26800) doesn't work
 

Eugene_27

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Jan 11, 2017
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Asus zenpower doesn't support usb-pd (power delivery) standard,so of course it won't work with any laptops,only with usb-c smartphone,at best. Usb-pd is the whole other story,that's why I posted the compatible powerbank here,since it is basically one of the few on the planet which works :)
 

TerryOMG

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Mar 7, 2017
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Which cable usb c are you used ? ravpower 26800 just have a normal usb port doesn't have the usb c ,thank's for your patient answer

p.s.my laptop is HP Spectre 13(charger 45w) not the HP Spectre13 x360(charger 65w)
I guess it has the same way to used ravpower 26800?

BTW Asus Zenpower max has support USB-PD for many90% laptop but doesn't support HP Spectre 13,I guess the amp doesn't enough to provide the laptop or Valts and Amp is wrong to the laptop
 

Eugene_27

Commendable
Jan 11, 2017
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There are 2 types of ravpower - the old one and the new one,the new one has a usb-c output and stuff. I don't remember which usb c cable I used, but yes, the one before that simply didn't work at all, so I bought at the apple store their 61W usb-c wall charged and a cable (which I tested right there), which I use with ravpower too.

And yes, I tried Asus zenpower max with my HP - it's simply not charging at all, why - not sure, most likely you are right-not enough amps.
 

gio2506

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Mar 22, 2017
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I am researching this topic as well, but I think my Asus laptop does not support charging thru USB -C even if it has a USB-C port. As far as power bricks or powerbanks, try looking into Romoss. They have the eUSB series. Romoss says its eUSB sofun 9 model has a port that has an output of 12-20 volts at 3.5 A max. I am actually looking into buying this model because my Asus laptop is just a POS. At times it'll boot up without being connected to the wall outlet, and at times it won't.
 

iPeeks

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May 4, 2017
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Eugene, can you provide a link for me? I have tried 2 ravpower and an aukey with no luck at all. Also did you say the cable matters or does it work with the cables that come with ravpower?
 

brian.pan

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Jan 24, 2018
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My company makes two 45W USB PD chargers: a power brick and an external battery pack. The power brick can provide 45W at 20V/2.25A, so with all likelihood, it will work with Razer Blade Stealth. However, I do have doubts about the external battery pack which pumps 45W at 15V/3A. Will the battery pack work with Razer Blade Stealth? I can provide a free sample if you or anyone else would volunteer to test it. :) [Edited 2/24/2018: volunteers no longer needed. Thx.]
 
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