I have a Canon sx700 hs camera. Its charger's output is 4.2V & 0.7A.

Can I charge its NB-6LH battery (3.7V & 1060mAh) using a 5V/1A 10400mAh mobile powerbank?

I thought to buy two such powerbanks to charge my battery for around 10 times.

Note: I'm afraid that solar chargers may damage the camera circuit so only asking about mobile powerbanks.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you specify the manufacturer and model of your power bank? \$\endgroup\$
    – Aaron
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 1:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why not buy spare batteries? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28, 2015 at 5:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @A K : Xiaomi - Mi Power Bank 10400mAh \$\endgroup\$
    – Ragul
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


You can use a 5V output powerbank to charge your battery by using a relatively low cost after-market charger which is designed for this specific purpose. Thomas's answer is essentially correct if the original charger is used but the devices described below provide the 'missing link' to make it possible.

Other single cell Lithium Ion batteries can be charged by similar means.
In addition, in emergencies, it is possible "with a little care and sensible treatment, to make emergency chargers that allow any single cell Lithium ion battery to be charged from any 5V "USB" power source.

As an example of a 5V input charger that will meet your need, this charger accepts 5V input via a micro USB connector and charges your model of batteries. Also, if you have a solar panel that provides 5V USB output (as many are designed to do) then they too could be used with this charger.

enter image description here

A number of other chargers which may suit can be found here

This solution is workable because:

A single cell Lithium Ion battery has a voltage range from 3V fully discharged to 4.2V fully charged and an average working voltag of about 3.6V. This explain why such batteries are usually labelled as being "3.6V" batteries (sometimes 3.7 V) and the charger is said to be a 4.2V charger. Usually the batteries are charged at a designed constant current Imax (= Constant Current or CC mode) until the voltage reaches Vmax (usually 4.2V) and then held at a constant 4.2V (= constant voltage or CV mode) until the current falls as a result of battery chemistry to some predefined fraction of Imax. To allow the voltage to reach 4.2V slightly more than 4.2V is required, to allow for voltage drop in the charger circuitry. The ~= 5V from a USB charger is enough.

Larger cameras (eg DSLRs) often use 2 x LiIon cells in series to give a nominal 2 x 3.6 = 7.2V battery with Vmax = 8.4V. The voltage required to charge these is > the 5 = 7.2V battery with Vmax = 8.4V. from a charger or USB port so a USB supply cannot be used directly. One solution is to make a boost converter to provide the > 7.2V voltage required.

Emergency 1 cell charger: Later ...

  • \$\begingroup\$ WARNING! using directly 5V to charge a li-ion 3.6 battery will blow it up! \$\endgroup\$
    – jumpjack
    Commented Apr 28, 2018 at 20:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jumpjack Your comment repeats what has already been said by Thomas and me. ie The danger of "raw 5V" has been explicitly covered by the answers given and a "work around" suggested. | . Thomasrutter's answer from 28 May 2015 notes that you CANNOT use 5V directly. And my answer of 28 May 2015 notes that the addition of a readily available aftermarket charging module allows you to use 5V in -> LiIon charging. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 10:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I meant: remove this answer before it's too late and somebody gets hurt! \$\endgroup\$
    – jumpjack
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 12:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jUMPJACK I suggest that you READ my answer. It tells you how to safely address the requirement. viz | " ... You can use a 5V output powerbank to charge your battery by using a relatively low cost after-market charger which is designed for this specific purpose. ..." The image shows what is required and text explains it. | Your claimed concern is very hard to understand. He has a powerbank as an energy source. To use it he needs a charging adapter. You might equally say that a 230VAC mains powered charger was unsafe for the same reasons. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 13:48

No, you can't.

(clarification: not without purchasing a separate charger)

Your battery needs to be charged by a charger. Charging a battery is not just as simple as applying a certain voltage direct to the battery, it needs its charger, and the charger that your camera battery is supplied with requires mains power and can't be powered by 5V.

The mobile powerbank is a power supply, but does not include a charger. With smartphones, tablets etc, the charging circuitry is in the device itself, and the thing on the wall plug is just a power supply that supplies power to the device, so the charging circuitry in the device can take that power and convert it into the currents and voltages that Lithium batteries need in order to charge. The charging circuitry is not simple, and needs to vary the voltage and current throughout the charge cycle, reacting to the specific battery.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thomas - your answer is correct with the camera and equipment provided. I have outlined a solution which allows him to do what he wants by adding an aftermarket charger specifically designed to do what he wants. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28, 2015 at 16:21

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