PowerHouse 535 (A1751) periodic sound

I noticed my PowerHouse 535 made a clicking or ticking sound approximately every 2 seconds. The sound is quite faint but sounds a little like an old fashioned clock ticking.

Opened a case with Anker and they said it needed to return under warranty.

Cue a convoluted process here in the UK because no courier will take UN 3480 batteries from a residential account and Anker say they can’t arrange a courier to pick up!
You can send them without notifying the courier what it is, but I think that’s wrong morally (as Lithium Ion batteries can be dangerous) plus all the risk is down to me should something go wrong.

Eventually I got a replacement, and I’ve just charged it, but it also makes the same periodic sound. So, I now have two with the same problem and no way to return either of them.

My question therefore is, does anyone else have the same periodic sound? It happens when you turn on the sockets either with or without anything plugged into them.

Turn the volume up to hear the sound - https://photos.app.goo.gl/dcGKzoCAqbkCve2r8

The 535 uses (LiFePO4) cells not lithium ion. LiFePO4 cells are some of the safest currently available and can take a massive amount of abuse unlike lithium ion that explodes when you look at it the wrong way.

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This is the box that Anker shipped the replacement 535 to me in. They seem to think it’s Lithium-Ion:

From the Wikipedia entry on LiFePO4 batteries:

The lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePO4 battery) or LFP battery (lithium ferrophosphate) is a type of lithium-ion battery using lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) as the cathode material, and a graphitic carbon electrode with a metallic backing as the anode.

If your point refers to the relative safety, it’s irrelevant to the issue of posting it because the IATA (which regulate the shipment of dangerous goods) state at the top of Page 10:

Part 1 – Questions Related to Definitions
A. What are the various types of lithium batteries?
Lithium batteries fall into two broad classifications; lithium metal batteries and lithium ion batteries. Lithium metal batteries are generally non-rechargeable and contain metallic lithium. Lithium ion batteries contain lithium which is only present in an ionic form in the electrolyte and are rechargeable.
Within these two broad classifications there are many different chemistries. For example within lithium ion batteries there are lithium polymer, lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4), lithium air to name a few.

Based on the above, I think describing them as Lithium Ion is correct.

Hi @matt.ryan – sorry about the shipping hassle. I don’t have a solution that, but I’ll ask internally how we can manage this more efficiently. (I have a colleague in the UK who might be helpful to us here.)

I do want to confirm for you that the 535 is LiFePO4 not lithium ion. I realize that’s not reflected on your packaging,

Coincidentally, I just got the 535, and its shipping carton is similarly labeled as yours.

It’s possible that the UN3480 label is a reference to lithium (an alkali metal) generally, and as a matter of precaution or lack of alternative, that’s the label we use.

There isn’t a generic Li-Ion battery. The chances are that any power station that isn’t using LiFePO4 is either NMC (Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide) or, less likely, LCO (Lithium Cobalt Oxide).

Anker Support has come back and changed their minds. There is apparently nothing wrong with my 535 despite the ticking/clicking sound. They say that “the noise issue has been optimized” whatever that might mean.

You’ve got a step DC-DC circuit which would make a noise. Normally you can’t hear it.

They’re altering the voltage to the cells up a little and measured it that turns the current up. If it doesn’t then cell is approaching fully charged.

All charging circuits do this. As there’s an induction coil, it woul give a little physical wobble as the voltage went up then down.

I think they needed to have put a bit more thicker glue around the induction coil.

Expensive to change in a released product. Easy to fix in next batch at factory.

Would this happen when it’s not charging? I get the tick/click when it’s just providing inverter power.

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You generate noise also with an inverter.

DC to AC if it’s clicking implies they used a Pulse Width Modulation circuit.

I thought it was a Pure Sine AC?

The surprise is you can hear it. Inherent in all DC-DC and DC-AC is a switching through a coil which gives a tiny wobble. I think they just need to dampen the electronics a bit better so you can’t hear it.

No reason to think product faulty.

If you find it annoying then either keep it for months then swap under warranty as they may tweek the manufacture to dampen the noise, or return and buy again later.

I bought a Powerhouse, I didn’t like it, had a design flaw, asked if a fix was soon, they said no so returned for refund and give them time to improve design.

Technically they are all Lithium based and use ions. Even LiFePO4 is a type of Lithium Ion.

The challenge the Powerhouse has is the quantity and impact on insurance for any kind of shopping services as it increases the risk of loss of goods for anything else carried by the courier.

If you lied to courier and then the unit happened to catch fire you’re open to a civil court case and/or a criminal action depending on country.

So I suggest the label is accurate, and everyone should be honest and place burden on Anker to pay a courier with the matching insurance :wink:

As you say, there’s no way to return these things in the UK - how did you manage to get the replacement from Anker without returning the first one?

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Anker shipping a replacement to me without me (initially) returning the first one. I then had two, both of which exhibited the same problem.

They wanted the replacement back so I told them that I wouldn’t ship it via domestic courier without them indemnifying me (in writing) against any claims for damage. They tried repeatedly to cajole me into shipping it - it’s safe honest was the thrust of numerous email exchanges with them.

In the end, I told them they had 10 working days to arrange collection and if they didn’t collect it, I would dispose of it safely. At that point they sent me a pre-paid courier label despite claiming that they couldn’t do so. So I affixed all the warning stickers and sent it via the courier as they would now be liable for anything going wrong.

Problems here are manyfold:

  1. They lie about not being able to arrange for courier shipping.
  2. They lie about the regulations around shipping of Li-On batteries.
  3. They don’t conform to UK regulation/legislation around consumer rights.
  4. This only worked because they wanted their replacement back.

I don’t hold out much hope that you’ll get any satisfaction from them.

You might try a recorded delivery letter threatening small claims legal actions to the returns address that they provided:

Anker Innovations Returns Centre
Unit 7
Seawall Court
Seawall Road
CF24 5PQ

Now I’ve gone back through the email threads about this, it seems I only got the replacement shipped because I argued with them about the legality of shipping the first (faulty) one via courier. That’s how I ended up with two.