Steve's Digicams

Maha POWERBank
External Battery Pack

Maha Powerbank NiMH Battery Pack

Maha's latest portable, digital camera power solution is the POWERBank, a self-contained 6V NiMH 1800mAh rechargeable battery pack about the size and weight of a large beeper.

Available immediately from our good friends at Thomas Distributing for just $52.95 and comes with everything shown below.

Maha Powerbank NiMH Battery Pack

The Maha Powerbank comes as a complete power system that includes:

  • 6V 1800mAH NiMH battery pack (silver in color)
  • Stylish, silver carrying case with belt clip
  • 4-hour AC rapid charger
  • 12V cigarette lighter power cord
  • Camera power cable with 3 modular coaxial plugs

Maha Powerbank Lithium Battery Pack

Users with the Nikon Coolpix 995, 880, 885, 775, Olympus E-10, E-100 and HP Photosmart C618, C912 cameras need the $59.90 7.2v 1400mAH Maha Powerbank MH-DPB140LI.   It comes with all the same accessories as the NiMH PowerBank but uses a 7.2V lithium battery. The PowerBank has more than twice the amount of power found in the Nikon EN-EL1 lithium battery (rated at 650mAH).

Maha Powerbank NiMH Battery Pack

The camera power cord has a modular tip on the end and you get three different coaxial plugs that fit just about all of the digital cameras out there.

You can use this battery pack to power a variety of devices that use 4 AA size batteries so those extra coaxial plugs will probably come in quite handy.

Maha Powerbank NiMH Battery Pack

The camera end of the power cord is angled so it is a perfect match with the new Nikon Coolpix 990 as shown here. The cord runs right down the grip and there's plenty of room left for your fingers to hold the camera securely.

Maha Powerbank NiMH Battery Pack

On the top of the Powerbank is three green and one red LED indicators that act as a "gas gauge" to let you know the condition of the battery pack during both the charge and discharge cycles.

Steve's Conclusion

This is a very nicely constructed battery pack that sells for just $53. I've tested out the Unity Digital ProPower Pack and the Mizco DPS-8000 and the Maha is easily their equal. This puzzled me because the Maha MH-DPB180M is a 6V NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) pack rated at 1800mAh whereas the other two are rated 2700mAh @ 6V.

My real world tests showed the Maha to be as powerful as the others so I asked Dennis Thomas about it and he replied:

    "Maha has always under rated their batteries and the Powerbank seems to be no exception. Although rated at 1800 maH @ 6V we find that its true capacity is closer to 2000 mAH @ 6.4 Volts. Yet other companies tend to overate their batteries and battery packs - which most people wouldn't notice as long as they do not have anything to compare them with.

    One thing I might note that not only is the milli-amp rating important but also the voltage output. Naturally a pack having 1800 mAh @ 6.4 volts will last longer than a pack with 1800 mAH @ 6 volts."

That being said, I charged up the Powerbank pack and then plugged it into a new Nikon Coolpix 990 and turned it on. I left the camera running in Manual mode with the color LCD screen enabled and pointed at objects that were moving. This caused the camera's autofocus to be working a good portion of the time and every four or five minutes I snapped a flash shot. The Nikon 990 kept running in this fashion for just over two and a half hours before it gave me a low battery alert and finally shut itself down.

I like the Powerbank's LED "gas gauge" display, you always know how much power you have left with a glance at those red and green lights. Physically the Powerbank is about the same size and weight of the original Motorola pocket pagers. Slip it into its carrying case and clip it on your belt, you're now ready for some serious digicam shooting. One of the side benefits to using an external battery pack is that you can take the batteries out of the camera. It may not sound like much but after several hours of holding it in your hand you'll appreciate the reduced weight.

A fully exhausted Powerbank can be brought back to full charge in about four hours using the supplied AC rapid charger. And not to worry if you're out in the car or the boat, you can charge the pack there too with the supplied 12v lighter adapter cord. Other battery packs require different power cords for different cameras but the Powerbank has a more logical solution to this problem. The camera cord is modular and comes with three different coaxial power plugs. You just put the right sized tip on the cord (paying attention to the polarity) and you're good to go. These "extra" tips will come in very handy when you use the Powerbank to run other electronic devices like a Walkman or MP3 player or DVD player or etc...

If you need to power a digital camera or camcorder that runs on 7.2V battery packs then ceck out the lithium version of the Powerbank. It is rated at 7.2V with a 1400mAh rechargeable lithium battery pack. All the other features are the same as the NiMH version. The Maha PowerBank MH-DPB140LI is priced at $59.90.

NiMH Batteries & Chargers
Thomas Distributing

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