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2016 MacBook Pro: USB-C Might Offer Massive Runtime via External Batteries

Mac wish list all 2016 MacBook pro models at B&H Photoall 15" Apple MacBook Pro 2016 models • all 13" Apple MacBook Pro 2016 models. MPG gets credit if you buy through those links.

Battery Menu 2016 MacBook Pro w/
Anker PowerCore+ 20100 battery

Update 21 November: Anker has responded to my email inquiry, stating:

I am sorry that the PowerCore+ 20100 is unable to charge 2016 MacBook Pro (15" model) as it is not powerful enough to activate this laptop. We have another external battery which can charge the new Macbook [sic]. Below is the link of this battery:

I’m not clear given the response which says “can charge the MacBook” that this battery will charge the MacBook Pro, but it looks like it ought to, delivering 30 watts.

Anker won’t exchange the batteries but did offer a 10% credit. The thing is, I bought these Aug 1 thinking they would charge a MacBook Pro, which I knew was coming (I used them for solar testing also). Now I have two PowerCore+ 21000 batteries that won’t do the job. I requested an exchange, but I got the “past 30 days” response.

Update 25 November: after much back and forth, Anker has agreed to send me one Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD 20000 mAH battery, which is claimed to provide 30 watts of charging power. However, it is out of stock and might not arrive for weeks, and by then I may have sent the 2016 MacBook Pro back.

...

A few weeks ago, I discussed the appeal of external battery power for the 2016 MacBook Pro via USB-C, in particular the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C battery.

External batteries with USB-C still hold promise for providing a total of up to 30 hours of runtime with just two of the Anker batteries I discuss, in theory being able to provide 12 watts (2.4A X 5V), which is enough for steady state usage, albeit not enough for demanding usage—but 12 watts should still defer internal battery drain.

However, I am disappointed to report that the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C battery fails to supply charging power to the 2016 MacBook Pro 15" model, even though the MBP shows a lightning icon (as if charging), chimes when the power is connected (as if a power adapter were working), and indicates that Power Source: Power Adapter in the charging menu.

Or, perhaps it is the MacBook Pro disliking not being able to pull more than 12 watts. Or, outside chance, the Apple USB-C cable is involved.

  1. Press the button on the Anker PowerCore to put it into the mode of supplying power (so it won’t try to charge itself instead).
  2. Connect the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C battery to the MacBook Pro via the Apple USB-C cable (unplug one end from the Apple wall wart and plug into the Anker battery).
  3. Observe that the MacBook Pro is happy as a clam, showing “Power Source: Power Adapter”.

I have sent an email inquiry to Anker tech support.

Shown below with some green Gaffer’s tape on it, the about $60 Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C is a compact 74 watt-hour battery that weighs only 467 grams (517g with soft case and two USB cables)—about one pound. I have used it in the field when backpacking to recharge Sony A7R II batteries as well as a Fenix flashlight. It can also be solar charged.

Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C battery connected via USB-C to a 2016 MacBook Pro

 

 
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