I recently purchased two Anker PowerCore 20100 (Nintendo Switch edition) battery banks that use the USB-C Power Delivery (PD) standard. I am using these with an Apple Macbook Pro, and they work well to provide up to 24 W of extra power, greatly extending the life of the onboard battery.
However, I was hoping it would also be possible to charge the PowerCore batteries from the computer when it is on an AC adapter. But this doesn’t happen. This means that if I deplete both Anker batteries and my onboard battery during the day, I need to plug each of them into my single recharger in succession to recharge for the next day, which requires a lot of attention at the right times (possibly in the middle of the night). Or I need to buy two more USB-C chargers for the extra batteries in order to plug everything in once overnight. I would much rather plug the two PowerCore batteries into the laptop, plug the laptop into the wall, and leave all of them to charge overnight.
As I understand it, when the PowerCore is plugged into the laptop, the laptop negotiates to find the highest output the PowerCore can produce. If there is no other power supply plugged into the computer, it will tell the PowerCore to switch to that mode, and then draw power from it as needed. However, if the laptop is already on its own power adapter ( > 24 W), then it will continue to use that, and tell the PowerCore not to deliver power. And that’s the end of it – nothing more happens (i.e., the PowerCore does not start charging from the laptop).
Would it be possible to update the PowerCore firmware so that if the PowerCore is plugged in but the laptop doesn’t draw power from it, the PowerCore switches over to charging itself from the laptop instead? I’m not sure if this is allowed by the Power Delivery standard, but it would be really handy! Or maybe you could add a Mac driver that achieves this, if it can’t be done from the PowerCore side? Alternatively, if there were some button sequence to force the battery into recharge mode (press and hold the side button until it starts charging?), that would work well too.
You should be able to charge the power comes via your laptop but it will take a long time. In order to do so you must not press the button on the power core at all, all you have to do is plug it in and it should start to charge… But if you press the button your telling the power core to reverse the charge and it will provide lower to your laptop instead if taking the charge.
The power bank work with a 2 way USB c port, without any button presses it will accept a charge, but once you press the button it will output the charge
I appreciate this response, but it doesn’t reflect my experience. If I turn off the PowerCore while it is disconnected (wait for lights to go off or press button twice), and then connect it to the laptop (already on its own charger), nothing useful happens. The lights on the charger come on for about 10 seconds (none blinking), then turn off. And the battery does not charge if left in this state. I haven’t found any sequence of turning the battery on or off and connecting to the laptop that actually gets the battery to charge.
So I was researching this and came across something Apple had posted
They state that:
Your MacBook Pro draws power from only one power supply, even if more than one is attached—so using multiple power supplies will not speed up charging.
If you connect multiple power supplies to your MacBook Pro, the one that provides the most power will be used, regardless of the order in which you connected them.
You should not connect any power supply that exceeds 100W, as it might damage your Mac…it could be seeing the battery pack as a source and not switching to charge it
Also they stated to that your SMC chip needs to be reset. Shut your computer down, After your Mac shuts down, press Shift-Control-Option on the left side of the built-in keyboard, then press the power button at the same time. Hold these keys and the power button for 10 seconds. If you have a MacBook Pro with Touch ID, the Touch ID button is also the power button.
Release all keys.
Press the power button again to turn on your Mac.
Thanks for this followup. The first part of this message is what I’ve observed and what I described in my original post. I have tried resetting the SMC chip, as you described and as described elsewhere, but that didn’t make a difference – same behavior as my original post. This seems to be by design, and I’m hoping the “normal” behavior can be changed somehow. Have you ever gotten one of these batteries to charge (even slowly) from a Mac laptop with USB-C?
My MacBook doesn’t have usbc as it’s older so I’m not sure how to get it to. Everything I have read says you should be able to charge it but nothing says how to get it to. All I have seen also is people charging their iPhones but nothing else is mentioned