USB meter: PortaPow Premium USB + DC Power Monitor

DSC_7559

Official specifications:



How does it look

DSC_7557

I got it in a cardboard box without any markings on it.

DSC_7558

There was a lot of stuff in the box: The meter, usb connection, DC connection (5.5/2.1mm), screw terminals connection, probes for DC voltage measurement, usb charge cable and a instruction sheet.

DSC_7563 DSC_7566 DSC_7805

The meter has connection for a special 3 pole connector that is used for current/voltage measurement. There are also two standard 4 mm connections that can be used for voltage measurement with the supplied probes or for anything with banana plugs.
The supplied probes use partial shrouded connectors, because the box is designed for unshrouded ones.

DSC_7569 DSC_7570 DSC_7571

Here is the 3 connections: USB, DC and screw terminals.

DSC_7565

The meter has a small DC connector for charging. It needs a 5 volt supply for charging and a usb cable is supplied for it. I would have preferred that it had been an usb connector directly on the box.

DSC_7564

The meter has 3 buttons and one switch.
DSC_7562 DSC_7567 DSC_7568

The display shows four values at a time, the values are changed with the 3. button.
There is also a battery status symbol.
I am missing an indication of pause mode.

DSC_7811

The display has a nice blue background light, it turns off 10 seconds after the last button press.

DSC_7795 DSC_7796

The bottom could just be removed, but to get the circuit board out I had to unsolder the 4 mm terminals from it.

DSC_7797 DSC_7798

The meter is more complex than the usb dongle meters, but not very complex.

DSC_7799

The measurement resistor is two pieces of thick wire. With the very good precision of the meter it must be software calibrated, I doubt that these shunts has a very good tolerance.

DSC_7800

DSC_7802

DSC_7803





Measurements as USB meter

Test

I have not added any values from the Watt, Wh, Ah and time displays. The Watt, Wh and Ah is just mathematic on the current, voltage and time and will be as precise as them.


DSC_7809

It is very easy to test the capacity of a power bank with this meter. The load resistor is from Ebay, but be careful with them, they get very hot.



Measurements as DC power meter

Using the screw terminals I did some measurements over the full range.

TestV TestA

Due to all the digits on this meter I decided to do some test with high precision. The meter is easily within the specified 1% at all normal values (It has a problem at very low values).
The error will change with temperature and age.

DSC_7806

To get very stable DC voltages I uses the above reference, the voltage on the reference was included on a note when I got it. They do match my Fluke meter fairly well. For current I just used a DC electronic load.

TestFull

Temp1323

M1: 36,3C, M2: 32,1C, M3: 38,1C, HS1: 42,2C
The meter is fairly cool, but the cable and connections get warm.

Temp1324

M1: 33,8C, M2: 29,4C, HS1: 38,1C
It is easy to see where the shunt is placed.



Conclusion

This is the most precise usb meter I have tested and having an internal battery means that it will work at any usb voltage with full precision. As usual the internal resistance will affect the result when running a couple of ampere and this meter is fairly good in that regards.
Another nice feature with the build in battery is that the meter can easily be used to test the full capacity of a power bank, because the display will not reset when the power bank is empty.
Using it for usb is only half of what it can be used for, with the DC connectors it can be used to test a lot of different equipment and here the internal resistance is considerable less. The supplied DC connector is the most used size in my experience, but I would have liked a few other sizes included.
I would have preferred that the reset and pause function was a bit slower to activate, to reduce the risk of accidental activation.

I like the meter, it is very useful for checking a lot of stuff and the precision is more than enough for nearly all purposes. I will call it a very good meter, based on its general usefulness, precision and range, but I would have like a lower internal resistance in usb mode.



Notes

How do I make the test