We have all heard of fast charging and the need to have a fast charger because of how fast-paced our lives are, but how much do we really know about fast charging, and is there any harm to our devices for getting it charged that fast that quickly?
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Understanding Fast Charging
To perfectly understand what this means, we will go into the physics class to break the information down.
A charger’s output is measured in amperage and voltage. The quantity of power flowing from the battery to the connected device is referred to as amperage (or current).
Voltage is the intensity of the electric current. Wattage, or total power, is calculated by multiplying volts by amps.
Most manufacturers either raise the amperage or alter the voltage to increase the quantity of potential energy in order to make a gadget charge faster.
The majority of fast charging standards typically vary the voltage rather than boost the amperage.
To use fast charging, you must have a phone or other device with a charging circuit capable of using one of the fast charging standards, as well as an adapter and cable that supports that standard.
Understanding Battery charging
Before diving into the depths of fast charging standards, let’s cover some basics on charging up batteries.
Batteries, like other electronic equipment, operate at a set voltage and may input and output a specific amount of current. More of either equals more power and, as a result, faster charging.
However, batteries have extremely specific operating limits, particularly when it comes to voltage, that must be adhered to in order to charge them safely.
Battery Charging Phases
Fast charging a battery is more than just dumping as much voltage and current as possible at it. Instead, battery charging is divided into two stages: constant current and constant voltage.
Constant current and constant voltage phases
Fast charging technologies exploit the constant current phase by pumping as much current as possible into the battery before it reaches its peak voltage.
Therefore, fast charging technologies are most effective when your battery is less than 50% full but has a diminishing impact on charge time once the battery passes 80%.
During the first phase of charging, batteries can absorb a charge quickly without major negative effects on their long-term health.
For example, Samsung claims that their 45-watt charger can charge from zero to 70% in half an hour. Apple claims that the fast charger included with the iPhone 11 Pro can charge it to 50% in 30 minutes. These are perfect examples of the constant current phase.
Incidentally, constant current charging is the least detrimental period to the battery’s long-term health. Higher constant voltage, along with heat, is more detrimental to battery life.
The constant voltage phase comes right after the constant current to top everything off to 100%. The charger will decrease voltage to prevent overheating or overcharging, ensuring your smartphone and charger are both safe.
Optimizing battery capacity
Manufacturers may utilize a variety of strategies to enhance charging times by increasing the current handling capabilities of their batteries.
More costly batteries, for example, may have a greater C-rate and new materials to handle higher currents and temperatures.
Batteries with multiple anode and cathode tabs can reduce internal resistance while increasing current. Dual-cell batteries distribute current over two batteries in parallel, giving the impression of rapid charging.
Optimizing battery charge times now includes voltage and current monitoring, as well as algorithm optimization. This data, together with temperature, may be given back to smart chargers in order to optimize the power supply to a device, such as your smartphone.
A conventional charger has an output of 5 to 10 watts. A faster charger can improve that by up to eight times.
The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, for example, come with an 18-watt fast charger, but the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus come with 25-watt chargers. Samsung will sell you a 45-watt charger that is really fast.
You’ll need the proper equipment before embarking on a high-speed charging adventure. The same fast-charging standard must be used by your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other devices.
In certain circumstances, even your cable must be compliant with the fast charging protocol employed by your smartphone and charger.
Safety Measures and Precautions
Fast charging is not wrong or bad in itself, however, some precautions need to be taken before jumping into charging the phone that quickly.
First, make sure all your devices are in tune with one another when it comes to capacity. The adapter, the cable and the phone should all be able to allow the current that will flow or else, you may damage the circuit.
Once you’ve found a charger and cable that support the fast charging standard for your phone or other devices, make a note of the maximum charging speed for each.
For example, if you use a 27W charger with a smartphone with a maximum charging speed of 18W, the phone will charge at that rate.
Secondly, overcharging used to be a source of concern for phone owners. The concern was that repeatedly charging a phone would overcharge the battery, making it unstable and reducing overall battery life, or that it would generate too much internal heat, causing the battery to rupture or catch fire.
However, experts say unless there is a hardware problem with your battery or charger circuits, using a fast charger will not cause long-term harm to your phone’s battery.
This is because a battery’s management system is designed to shut off the electrical charge once a battery reaches 100% before it can overcharge.
Lastly, while powering gadgets, your charger may become warm, but if it’s made by a trustworthy manufacturer and is certified suitable, you shouldn’t be concerned.
These certificates indicate that a number of safety precautions have been followed. A controller chip regulates the flow of power to your battery, preventing harmful current spikes, while temperature and voltage controls keep your charger operating within safe ranges.
Before you buy a fast charger
Before purchasing or utilizing a fast charging attachment with your smartphone, you should first ensure that the product is:
- Qualcomm Quick Charge or USB Power Delivery approved by a reputable manufacturer.
- Technical specs and warranty information are included to safeguard your device from harm caused by the charger.
We hope all this has given you a basic overview of what fast charging entails and the role you need to play to protect yourself and your devices.
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