Mobile devices are becoming the norm these days when it comes to personal technology, which means that most of the technology you use every day contains some kind of battery. This means you need to charge it when the juice runs out, but do you know how to do it right?
Many people have doubts when it comes to charging a battery. There are many myths and downright bad practices, so we decided to put together a comprehensive guide to battery charging so that you can worry less about your batteries and enjoy your gadgets more time.
Battery Charging Chemistry
One of the most important things you need to know about batteries is that there are completely different ways to make them. All batteries use chemicals to store electricity, but the specific chemistry of the battery determines the characteristics of that battery.
For example, nickel-cadmium batteries can be charged relatively quickly, but they suffer from a so-called “memory effect” in which capacity seems to decrease if the battery is not fully discharged before charging. Nickel-metal hydride batteries have a higher capacity than nickel-cadmium batteries, but are sensitive to overcharging and cannot withstand that many charging cycles.
Lithium-ion is the preferred battery chemistry for most modern electronic devices. In particular, lithium polymer batteries. These batteries have the highest power-to-weight ratio making them ideal for mobile phones, laptops and drones. This article is primarily about lithium ion batteries because they are very common these days.
If you have to deal with charging batteries that use a different chemistry, try to work on their quirks. A great place to start is Battery University
Lithium polymer batteries have almost none of the disadvantages of previous popular battery types. There is no memory effect, these days they charge quite quickly and are very affordable. However, they will wear out every time you complete a full charge / discharge cycle. Each battery is designed for a certain number of such cycles, after which its maximum capacity begins to decline. The battery will eventually run out and will need to be replaced.
These days, devices like phones, tablets, and even some laptops have no batteries to remove. Therefore, a costly visit to an authorized dealer is usually required to replace them.
The good news is that there are many ways you can extend your battery life. Check out our in-depth guide on how to save your battery and prevent it from swapping out sooner than necessary.
This is largely due to charging habits, such as allowing lithium batteries to discharge to 50% once or twice a month, or unplugging certain devices from AC power after being fully charged. There are a bit more nuances here, though, so be sure to check out the above article if you’re concerned about battery longevity.
Use the correct charger
Lithium batteries are actually quite volatile, so regulations require that they have sophisticated shielding to prevent flames, explosions, and other dangerous events.
You may remember that a few years ago, several people’s homes were burned down on imported electric scooters. This is because these devices lacked the safety features set by the European and American authorities. Thus, the internal lithium batteries received improper charging, causing an uncontrolled reaction.
This is why it is very important that you only use battery charging equipment that meets the safety standards of the EU, USA, or the area where you live. Do not buy or use chargers or batteries not certified in this way. While devices themselves, such as smartphones, have security features to prevent such catastrophic failures, they rely at least in part on a connected charger
While safety is an important reason for using the right charger, another reason for choosing the right charger for your device is charging speed. Different devices may have different fast charging standards. So if you are using a charger and phone with mismatched fast charging standards, they will revert to the standard lowest common denominator.
USB has a safe but very slow base charging speed. Qualcomm has Quick Charge, Samsung has Adaptive Fast Charging, and USB 3.1 over USB-C has Power Delivery.
Most modern chargers support multiple fast charging modes, so it is likely that at least one of them will work with your device. However, in almost all cases, you will get the best results with a charger from the same manufacturer as the device.
Some power supplies, such as this Romoss 30+ model, support almost all connection types as well as fast charging and USB-C power delivery. It can also charge quickly, which makes a huge difference for such a large bank.
By the way, if you want to know more about power supplies, check out our detailed article on these handy portable power supplies.
Program battery charge controls
Modern devices containing lithium batteries, such as smartphones or laptops, usually have sophisticated battery charging software to help monitor battery health. They track temperature and voltage, keep a detailed record of battery history, and monitor battery levels based on what the device is being used for.
For example, even if your phone shows that it is 100% charged, the truth is probably somewhere slightly below that. Since lithium batteries degrade faster if kept at 100% capacity at all times, the phone will run out slightly if left plugged in overnight to prevent stress on the battery.
Recent macOS devices have this feature as well. If you primarily use your MacBook while plugged into a wall outlet, the battery will drain to 90% and remain there, dramatically increasing battery life.
Long-term battery storage
This causes another problem with battery charging: device storage. Lithium batteries will slowly discharge if left on a shelf. If you leave them completely discharged, the battery could be damaged. However, charging them to 100% and then saving them is also not a good idea for the same reasons we just discussed above.
We can learn a lesson from smart batteries like those used in DJI drones. These batteries show how much time has passed since they were used. If left on the shelf for too long, they will self-discharge to about 60% capacity, then try to maintain that value.
If you’re going to put your phone or other lithium device on hold for an extended period, charge it to about 60% before putting it away. Then check once a month to ensure that the battery does not drop below 30%. If it gets close to that figure, charge it to 60%. This way, the battery will be fine when you need to use it again.
The revival of the lithium battery
Lithium batteries have a protection circuit that puts the battery into sleep mode if it is discharged too much. In some cases, it is possible to bring these batteries back to life using special chargers that have a “boost” mode.
This does not always work, and if the battery has been discharged for too long it can be dangerous. If you have a battery that cannot be easily replaced, we recommend contacting a professional to attempt a recovery.
Battery charging safety
As we noted earlier, lithium batteries are quite volatile. Although modern lithium batteries have many built-in safety features, they still fail. One of the most difficult times is charging, so you need to be extra vigilant when charging your lithium-powered device.
Never charge a device with a swollen or swollen battery. While it is normal to charge a lithium battery when charging a lithium battery, it is normal to have a very hot device, which may indicate an imminent malfunction.
Think carefully about where you charge your devices. Are they near other objects that could easily burn out? It is best to charge lithium devices in a designated area where battery failure can occur. If you are really concerned, consider purchasing Lipo Guard You can put chargers or batteries in it, and if they fail, the explosion and flames will be contained by the special materials from which the bag is made.
Replace the batteries
No matter how well you handle your batteries, they will eventually need to be replaced. Whether you do it yourself or have a professional installation, be very careful with the batteries you choose. There are many counterfeit batteries or unauthorized, low quality replaceable batteries on the market.
They can appear attractive with the same paper performance and capacity at a lower cost. However, using such a battery greatly increases the chances that something will go wrong. All of these stories about people being hit by phone bombs on their faces or in their pockets most often used fake batteries. It just isn’t worth saving a few dollars.