instaCHARGE 5200mAh Portable Chargers

What’s the word on the street about these? Anyone used it yet?

And does it work with Apple, specifically iPhone 5s?

no information on the amp output, and for $30 plus shipping you can do much better.

Just an FYI…

5200 mAh = 5.2 amps for one hour

5200 mAh is a statement about the amount of charge it holds, not the current it can deliver. USB3.1 only supports up to 1.8 A (, sec. Though nicer chargers push this to 2 or 2.1 A, cheaper ones will only put out a fraction of that (0.5-1 A).

Here is an explanation of charging capacity on a portable charger using mostly made up statistics and math and a very rudimentary concept of how this works based on reading postings in previous woots:

To find out how many charges it will give your device, check out the specs for your device to find out the mAH charge your battery holds, then check out reviews of the portable charger to see how efficient it charges. Depending on the quality of charger, it could lose anywhere from an extra 10-50% of its juice during the transfer process in internal electronics. (As a note, I make up most of my percentages rather than doing real research)

So if your device has a battery that holds 2000mAh but the uses an extra 25% power in the charging process, it uses 2500mAh to charge your device once. In this example, this charger would be able to charge your device twice on the go, which is helpful on long trips. I have a different brand charger that I use on plane trips(yes it goes through security checkpoints), but I have to say the recharge is much less efficient if you are running your device while charging. For best results, power down while using your portable charger. You will also want to check out the amp requirement for chargers if you want to charge a tablet. I have heard some tablets require special amp connections in order to recharge, and most portable chargers will not help.

As a second note, most phone batteries don’t get much bigger than 2000 mAh so unless there is some incredibly inefficient circuitry in there, it will fully charge most phones twice. Iphone batteries tend to be smaller, and as long as your charger cable plugs into USB, you should be set with this charger. If you want more charges than that, you need to start considering portability vs weight, as heavier batteries in the charger make them less pocket-portable.

Yes this should have enough to charge say an iPhone, or whatever, probably twice. The reason the amperage output is important is how fast it will charge and what it will charge. For example, an iPad needs 2.1 amps coming out to really charge efficiently. Otherwise the charge will be extremely slow and can reduce the usefulness of a charger like this. You don’t want to have to keep the battery connected the whole time you use it as that would be inconvenient. Most phone use 1 amp or less and almost every charger is set to output enough amperage to charge them quickly, but you definitely want something that can output at least 2 amps if you are using an iPad or another device that requires higher amperage to charge.

I’m glad you’re admitting to making up the efficiency numbers, because you’re way off. The majority of quality chargers these days (flyback, not ringing choke) run >95% efficiency, and the charging circuits inside phones run >98%. These devices would have a boost converter to go from the 3.7V-4.2V battery to a tad over 5V for the USB connection, and those now run 95-96% efficient.

If your phone regularly gets hot during charging, ditch the charger (probably a cheap chinese ringing choke) and get something different – your battery will thank you. If you paid less than $10, you probably have garbage.

There are a few reasons why these portable chargers are inefficient: First off, charging takes time. During this time, your phone or tablet still uses energy. Part of your charge powers the phone. If your phone lasts 12 hours and takes two hours to charge, then it uses 16% of its capacity during charging. Secondly, the manufacturers simply lie. I had an Anker “12,000 mAh” here briefly, and was surprised that it could barely charge my Droid Maxx (3500mAh battery) twice. I cracked open the case and found two balanced 4,000 mAh cells inside. That’s 8,000, not 12,000 (and instant return for false advertising).

Has anyone noticed a drain in the unit? I had it in my bag fully charged for 2 days and now it is on 25%.

If you recharge the unit and are unable to find a solution, please email into and let them know.

Your product should still have a 1 Year instaCHARGE Warranty and Support should be able to help find a resolve to the issue.

Run away from these! I ordered 2, and received one cracked and the other not functioning–right out of the envelope!

Here’s Woot’s response to my support query:

"We’re sorry your item isn’t working properly. However, this item is covered by a warranty through the manufacturer. Please contact instaCharge for information on repair/replacement options. Please let us know if you have any issues resolving this with them directly.

Woot Member Services,

I’ve had no response from Caltronics/instaCharge.

Bad product, compounded by the worst customer service I’ve had in years from Woot.

oh gosh. thanks

Well dont hold your breath for customer support…they do not help quickly at all. I purchased this for my daughter in early March and it came broken . I have made five phone calls to and still have no help. I just want to return it for a refund or a new working unit. Would never purchase from this company again!

I’m sorry for the problems. Please email for assistance. Include your Woot username and order number for faster service.

Explain everything you’ve tried and let’s see if they have some options.