USB battery pack keep-alive load

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USB Electronic Load to prevent power-bank low-current shut-down

USB battery packs are a convenient way of powering low power USB devices such as WSPRlite. Unfortunately many USB battery packs switch off (go into a sleep mode) if the current being drawn is too low. This means that your device works for a few minutes and then stops. Often just a few extra milliamps current draw will keep the battery pack alive. There are various circuits on the web that give a pulsed load which works with some battery packs - but unfortunately our tests have shown that such circuits don't work reliably with all battery packs.

Our solution is a variable electronic load. We have designed it to be very simple to use. Just plug it into your battery pack and increase the current until battery pack stays on reliably (6 - 150 mA). Depending on the current that your powered device takes that may be a little as a few milliamps. An on-board LED indicates if the battery pack is live. The load supports a standard USB data connection. USB plug and socket for easy in-line connection. Clear heat-shrink sleeving is provided to protect the unit in the field.

Available as an easy-to-make kit suitable for a beginner or fully built and tested. Note that the built unit is supplied encapsulated in clear heat-shrink sleeving.

Easy to use

To use, just plug the Keep-alive load between your battery and item to be powered and adjust the blue potentiometer on the unit with a fine screwdriver. Set it fully clockwise at first (maximum current) and gradually decrease the current until the battery pack just cuts out. Then increase the current until the battery pack stays on reliably. That way you only draw just enough current for reliable operation - increasing the life of your battery. 

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13 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5

    Posted by TERRY SAYNER on 18th Oct 2018

    This is well worth buying if using a power pack.

  • 5
    Usb battery keep alive

    Posted by naaman meir on 12th Sep 2018

    Works great just as expected

  • 5
    •USB battery pack keep-alive load

    Posted by Chris smith on 5th Sep 2018

    This does exactly what it says on the box. It works perfectly I found it easy to build and I have very little soldering experience

  • 5
    USB Battery Pack Keep-Alive Load

    Posted by David G4ZAO on 18th Aug 2018

    Quality product, and works as intended.

  • 5
    USB Battrry pack keep alive load

    Posted by G4VNM on 18th Jul 2018

    An excellent product which totally did the job designed to do. Works well and easy to use.

  • 5
    Works a treat

    Posted by Mike on 25th Apr 2018

    Well designed circuit with quality PCB works a treat thanks

  • 4
    Used with GPS Tracker- Good

    Posted by MR on 22nd Apr 2018

    I bought the pre-asembled version to power a Rewire 102 Nano GPS tracker from a 20,000mAH USB power pack in the boot of my car. It does indeed keep the power pack active so the tracker stays charged and working.
    However, even with a 20,000mAh per pack the tracker only runs for about 72-96hrs, so I have to remember to swap the powerpack regularly and couldn't rely on it to monitor the car while on holiday for example. I don't know if the main current draw is from the tracker or the device, but I was hoping for a bit longer battery life.
    Second, when it is plugged into the power pack with a usb cable supplying the tracker the whole thing does feel little fragile and vulnerable to snapping - I've put it in a padded case and its ok so far, but I would be cautious about relying on it for something like trekking.
    Great device if you can live with these limitations.

  • 5
    Best Product and Culture

    Posted by Dan Huynh on 8th Feb 2018

    I bought two, work excellent. Packaging is solid. Shipping is quickly. I needed help, get response at once, even the clock show 16:30. The owner still at work after 4:00 pm. He has a nice and helpful attitude. Documentation can be found on Sotabeams website, well writing. I did not only get excellent products, I get the best business culture in the market included. Very satisfied customer.

  • 5
    Works perfectly

    Posted by Martin Salt on 9th Jan 2018

    This is the second unit I have bought, as I totally bodged the first being a totally incompetent with a soldering iron ! Took advice and bought a decent soldering station with variable temperature, and a Helping Hands unit with magnifier and LED's. Instructions easy to follow, and took my time building it. Instructions say about 20 mins, but I was in no rush, and checked each and every soldering joint. took me about an hour to build, BUT it worked perfectly first time. Heat shrink protects the unit to some degree. Now my USB battery pack switches off when I want it to. Excellent kit, and now can't wait to build my Low Pass Filter kit for 40/80/160m.