How to charge the PowerCore+ 26800 PD with a solar panel in under 5 hours

I found out a way how to charge the PowerCore+ 26800 PD with a Solar panel providing 18.9 V. As most of you know, charging a power bank at normal 5V is possible, but Anker’s Power Port Solar only provides around 7 W of power, which means you need at least 2 sunny days to charge the power bank.

Now this does require a bit of equipment. First off, you need a solar panel capable of providing at least 30 W. The BigBlue 63 W panel does provide a peak of 41 W. I successfully used this in my experiment. Light clouds and overcast won’t cause the charging process to fail, instead the current will drop considerably, but never to zero.

Next, you need a DC converter, capable of outputting voltage using the USB-C PD standard, preferably with PPS support. I did some research and found the SW3518S (https://datasheet.lcsc.com/lcsc/1912111437_ISMARTWARE-SW3518S_C406811.pdf) IC is such a chip that can take a variable input voltage and output the full range of PD voltages at 3.3 A which is plenty.
A product known as ZC828 is such a board which provides this chip and even a standard USB-C PD input, which means, you can turn the PowerCore+ into a power bank with PPS support (which I used to put my Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra into super charging mode (more on that in a bit)). You can feed it with any DC voltage between 9 and 24 V.

To hook up the devices, you first connect the 18.9 V DC output of the panel to the input of the ZC828. Now the thing is, if you connect the PowerCore+ to the USB-C output of the ZC828, it will appear to charge, but in fact it’s draing only 65 mA (nothing happens). I presume this is due to the PowerCore+ not being a true PPS device and unable to configure itself properly.

What I did, was connect my phone to the output of the ZC828, wait until it draws current. After a couple of seconds, current draw will drop to zero, but it will restart. Now the ZC828 is in a sort of configured state. If I connect the PowerCore+ to the ZC828, it will begin to draw around 2.07 A, at what I believe is 15 V, as the ZC828 is a buck converter (feed it with 18 V and it shall provide 15V, which is the next step down in PD voltages. (I will need to verify this with a USB-C tester).

Still, I hope people (or even the R&D team at Anker) will find this information useful. If you have questions or anything is unclear, feel free to ask.

Still, I hope people (or even the R&D team at Anker) will find this information useful. If you have questions or anything is unclear, feel free to ask.

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Cool so basically you converted 19V DC into USB PD , to then recharge 26800 PD.

Clever!

I’d be curious in variable conditions if the hack of connect to phone then 26800 is required, how reliable long term.

I believe the mobile phone is nothing but a hack and it might actually be down to chance that it works. Drawing high current from the solar panel, which the PowerCore+ does, causes a considerable voltage drop which might actually be too little to allow normal operation of the PD module. So i used a boost converter to bring the voltage as close as possible to 19.1V.

It does switch on and I am able to charge the PowerCore+ at around 25 W, however the boost converter does get rather hot and I believe the heat dissapation brings the solar panel to its limits. Does anybody know of a more efficient boost converter?

I wish there was a way to let the PowerCore+ properly request 15 V which the solar panel in conjunction with the PD module could easily provide…

Nice job! Really cool and clever hack, thanks for sharing it with us!
Makes sense that it works I just never think I would have attempted it myself.

Voltage drop when drawing current is normal electronics because the internal resistance of the draw is higher.

I think I’ve hacked it. The key is to reduce the voltage output than to actually increase it.

The PowerCore+ 26800 PD seems to respond quite well to 15 V. I achieved this by using the LM2596 switching voltage regulator and set its output voltage to around 16 V, then feed the ZC828. It will output 15 V PD voltage to the PowerCore. According to a USB voltmeter, I am getting 14.1 V at around 2 A, which amounts to about 30 W charging power. In theory the voltage regulator will max out at 3 A, so 40 W should be possible. Even in cloudy weather it will maintain this voltage at around 3-5 W. The general rule of thumb being that lower voltages allow higher currents.

I also tested this with a lead acid battery at 12.6 V. This will set the PD voltage to 12 V, but maximum current draw will be 2.86 A. Either maxed out by the voltage regulator or the PowerCore itself. So if your solar panel is smaller, this will be helpful.

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Great hack! :+1: