Powermonkey: Case Cracking

Quite some time ago I got a Powermonkey Explorer set (the one with a solar panel charger) at a substantial closeout discount. After the marketspeak dissipates, it’s a single lithium-ion cell with a boost regulator and USB charger inside a screaming yellow case (the new ones seem more subdued) that’s somewhat water resistant, along with a kit of adapters for various widgets & phones. It stopped charging from the solar panel or a USB port, which suggested that I had little to lose by cracking it open.

It’s an odd shape, but grabbing it across the equator and applying gentle pressure cracked one side:

Cracking Powermonkey case
Cracking Powermonkey case

Wedging a screwdriver in the opening and twisting a bit freed the other side:

Enlarging Powermonkey case crack
Enlarging Powermonkey case crack

Then it was just a matter of pulling gently to expose the cell & circuitry within:

Powermonkey interior
Powermonkey interior

That seems to be a standard 18650, presumably similar to that 2.2 A·h cell.

I didn’t find anything obviously wrong, so I buttoned it up with screaming yellow silicone tape, put it on its wall-wart charger for a bit, and now it’s all good again: a shining example of a laying-on-of-hands repair.

The single button has much more travel than it should, so I think the internal foam supports have lost their springiness.

7 thoughts on “Powermonkey: Case Cracking

  1. “powergorilla
    ROAM WILD with the ultimate portable charger… It came from an unknown land far, far away.”

    They call it “China” nowadays.

  2. If you have occasion to open it again I’d be interested in seeing the boost switcher IC.

    1. Alas, the active ingredients lie underneath a layer of foam sticky tape between the PCB and the cell… only the inductor and catch diode are on the top surface.

      I think they’re doing PWM from the same IC that runs the display, so there may be less there than meets the eye.

  3. MPPT not PWM.
    “The powermonkey explorer features state-of-the-art MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) technology which enables more efficient charging of the powermonkey battery unit in low light conditions.”

    1. MPPT applies to the charger; it’s about the only way they can extract any charge from most ambient light.

      We were talking about the boost converter on the other end that produces +5 V from that single Li-ion cell.

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