Wireless charging… is it safe to use overnight?

How to Buy the Best Wireless Charger for Your Needs

Buying a wireless charger sounds like an easy process but choosing the wrong one can affect the device’s charging capabilities. To help, we wanted to look at some things to consider before purchasing so that you have all of the information you need going in.

Watts the big deal?

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The first item on our list is also the one that can make things a bit tricky, This is because the type of phone you have and its power compatibility can have a major effect on how efficient and fast a wireless charger powers up your phone. The fastest-charging wireless phones can handle 10 watts, which will allow your phone to recharge in about three hours, although it can vary.

To get the fastest wireless charger for your phone, 10 watts is generally all you need. This is especially true for phones like the Pixel 3 and the Samsung Galaxy line of phones. iPhones are currently capped at 7.5-watt wireless charging so buying a future-proof charger is a great idea.

Choose a design

Wireless chargers are available in two different designs. The first is a pad that lays flat on a table or your desk. The second option is a stand design that holds your phone at a semi-upright angle which still lets you see the screen. While everyone will have their preference between the two, both can be good options even if you have one at home and one at the office. For many people, being able to see the screen without picking up the phone while its charging can be what helps them decide.

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Choose a brand

While it’s become increasingly common for phone manufacturers to make their own wireless chargers, the brand you choose isn’t as important as the company’s reputation. Some of the bigger names include Mophie, Belkin, and Anker. There are times when buying a first-party charger can be beneficial. For example, the Pixel Stand will turn your phone into a digital photo frame and makeshift alarm clock.

Pick a charger-compatible case

Like first-party chargers, phone manufacturers have started making phone cases for them to work properly with wireless charging pads. Some companies, like Belkin, put out guidelines on their product pages that indicate the qualities that could prevent a wireless charger case from charging your phone correctly.

What about portable chargers?

When you’re carrying your gadgets around, having a portable battery pack is essential. There are some great wireless options out there and being able to charge your device wirelessly when you either forget or lose your charging cable but charging this way is slow and inefficient. This means that using a wireless battery pack isn’t always the best option if you need to give your device a quick charge.

Conclusion

In view of the many different wireless chargers you can buy, make sure you get a unit that’s not only functional but also best suites your taste. Most importantly, go through online reviews to see what previous users of a particular wireless charger have to say about its capabilities and features before making a purchase.

Like this article? Then you would definitely love our other article about Microwave interference with WiFi signal 

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What are the key advantages of wireless charging?

Less clutter

The main benefit of wireless charging is right there in the name—wireless. Wireless charging cuts down on clutter from charging cables. The only cable you’ll need is the charging pad’s power cable.

Easier charging

Easier charging

Wireless charging also eliminates the need to plug a cable into your phone. Ever plugged your phone in and discovered hours later that the cable connection wasn’t secure—and your phone is still dead? Wireless charging eliminates that problem. Just place your phone on your charging pad, and it’ll start charging right away.

Longer device life

No repeated cable plugging and pulling means less wear and tear on your phone’s charging port. Since the charging port is a common point of failure for mobile devices, your phone may even last longer.

No cable compatibility issues

No charging cables also means you can say goodbye to that timeless problem among tech enthusiasts—mismatched connectors. No need to worry about not having a Lightning, USB-C, or Micro USB cable on hand anymore. All Qi devices work on all Qi charging pads. 

Less e-waste

The benefits of reducing e-clutter go far beyond your personal tidiness. The current lack of a common wired charging standard leads to an enormous amount of unnecessary e-waste. The widespread adoption of wireless charging could help solve this problem.

Currently, most Android devices use USB-C ports, while Apple devices use the Lightning connector exclusively. That means that to switch from Android to Apple or vice versa, you need to get new charging cables (and maybe new adapters). Unfortunately, your old cables and adapters are very likely to end up in a landfill.

Charging cables may be small, but the e-waste problem isn’t.

In January 2020, the European Parliament voted for

In January 2020, the European Parliament voted for new regulations to establish a universal charging standard for phone manufacturers in the European Union. The EU claims that agreeing on a shared charger standard will put an end to charger clutter and 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste annually (16.6 kg per inhabitant).

Wireless charging is ahead of the game when it comes to reducing e-waste. Qi wireless charging has already achieved a universal charging standard. Apple, Android, and Google all support the Qi standard, making it the most reliable charging standard today.

Safer charging products

As more users adopt wireless charging, additional benefits of standardized chargers will become clear. The quality of charging products on the market should go up, with fewer counterfeit chargers being sold. That will guarantee a higher level of safety for users worldwide.

Does it Mean Charging Your Phone Overnight Is Fine?

From the discussion above, we can see that smartphones and wireless chargers have the technology and built-in system to protect your device from overcharging. But this doesn’t make it totally fine to charge your phone overnight. There are a few notable problems that you may face when you charge your wireless phone for unreasonably extended periods.

For those with wireless phones, you’ve probably noticed your phone heating up when it’s charging. That’s because wireless charging pads produce heat during charging, meaning overnight charging might result in overheating. This issue is not just specific to wireless charging as heating is a side-effect of any kind of charging.

These safety issues can be avoided, or at least minimized by using high-quality wireless chargers to charge your phone. We recommend buying Qi-certified chargers as they have been tested for safety and effectiveness. They have overvoltage, overcharge, and temperature control protection, and also meet FOD standards. This ensures their safety, as well as the safety of your phone and nearby objects.

That being said, the discussions above only focus on safety issues. When it comes to the battery’s lifespan, it’s a whole other story.

The evolution of Qi

The Qi standard (pronounced “chee”) is named after the Chinese concept of the flow of vital energy through every living thing.

Set by the WPC, the Qi standard defines various power specifications that correspond to how much energy flows between charger and device. Qi also includes a data transfer spec which lets the device request the optimal amount of power from the wireless charger.

The Baseline Power Profile (BPP) specification supports up to 5 W of power output. The Extended Power Profile (EPP) specification supports up to 15 W. Both BPP and EPP are used to charge mobile devices, but EPP is more advanced thanks to its fast-charging support. For a more in-depth explainer, check out our blog article.

The Qi standard also includes a Medium power spec that currently delivers 30-65 W (it’s expected to eventually support up to 200 W). This spec is used for larger devices like kitchen appliances, robotic vacuum cleaners, power tools, and drones.

Voltage

Chargers with intelligent microchips, also known as smartchips, will only deliver the precise amount of power that your smartphone requires. While they may be capable of delivering more power, this will only be activated for phones or tablets with higher charging capability.

Here’s why

Most phones make use of a technology that allows their batteries to accept more current faster. Hatem Zeine, the founder, chief scientist and chief technical officer of the wireless charging company Ossia, says the technology enables phones to adjust to the amount of charge that a charger is capable of supplying.

The technology allows power to pulse into the battery in specific modulations, increasing the speed at which the lithium ions in the battery travel from one side to the other and causing the battery to charge more quickly.

Charging when really hot or really cold

Most devices are designed to work in a wide range of temperatures, say between 16 to 22 Celsius, but exposing your device to high temperatures regular above 35 degrees could damage it.

Apple for example will temporarily shut down your device if it gets too hot. The company suggests that “Charging the device in high ambient temperatures can damage it further.”

Thankfully it’s not the same for cold temperatures and batteries are far more suited to dealing with the cold. You will probably notice your battery performance go down – cameras are especially prone to this on skiing trips, however the poor performance is normally only temporary and you should see usual battery life return once you get back to warmer conditions. 

Use quality accessories

There’s one other factor to consider when charging your smartphone and it concerns the quality of the accessories you use. It’s always best to use the charger and cable that shipped with your smartphone. Failing that, you can buy another official charger and cable.

Sometimes the official chargers and cables are expensive. But you can find reputable alternatives, just be sure to look for safe accessories that are fully tested and certified by the likes of Apple and Samsung, and compliant with legislation. If you are going to buy a charger from a third-party, it’s best to stick to big brand names.

It’s also important to ensure that the charger and cable you buy has the correct rating. Cross-check the amp or watt rating with your phone’s specifications. The real risks are found at the cheap end of the market. Cheap counterfeits are not built with safety in mind and can be very dangerous. They often don’t meet safety standards.

My Battery Develops a ‘Memory’: FALSE

Developing a “memory” was a problem with older nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries. That’s where the whole “discharge the battery entirely” thing came from. Like we said, it’s not necessary on lithium-ion batteries.

So why do lithium-ion batteries not seem to last as long as they age? It’s not about “memory,” it’s about capacity. Your smartphone battery over its lifetime degrades enough that in the same amount of time charging, a new phone could hit a full charge, while an older phone might only get to around 82%. BatteryUniversity calls it “old man syndrome.”

  Jirsak/shutterstock ((Jirsak via Shutterstock)) Jirsak/shutterstock ((Jirsak via Shutterstock))

Another way to look at it is that newer batteries are just hungrier to suck up all that power.

Apple claims that “Apple lithium-ion batteries are designed to hold at least 80% of their original capacity for a high number of charge cycles” but also admits that the amount differs from product to product.

Apple iPhone batteries also support “fast charging,” so they’ll get to 80% pretty quickly. After 80, you’ll see the capacity increase slowly, some of which is to prevent heat buildup—that extends battery life. But guess what? Fast charging isn’t great for lithium-ion battery either. It makes the corrosion happen even faster.

Older iPhones came with a 5-watt (that’s 5 volts at 1.1 amps) charger block, which works, but of course, you can charge faster with a 10W charger, which has an output of 5 volts at 2.1amps—that’s the kind of charger that comes with an iPad. If you stick to the Qi-based wireless charging, keep in mind that most support 7.5W, with wireless fast charging now available.\

The Best Thing to Do:

Stop worrying about “memory.” If you are going to charge overnight, don’t fast charge. Use a slow charge. That means your charger should be lower voltage.

What impacts a batterys lifespan?

“The lifetime is very much dependent on the resistance or impedance growth inside the battery,” Yang Shao-Horn, W. M. Keck Professor of Energy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Digital Trends. “Keeping the battery fully charged essentially increases the rate of some of the parasitic reactions, which translates to potentially high impedance and greater impedance growth over time.”

The same is true of fully discharging your battery. Essentially, it speeds up the reactions inside, which makes it degrade faster. But fully charging or discharging your battery is far from the only thing to consider.

“There are so many other factors influencing the cycle life,” Shao-Horn said. “If you increase the temperature, for example, you also increase the parasitic reaction rates.”

Too much heat is a major problem because overheating can cause the liquid electrolyte to break down and speed up degradation. Another factor that could potentially have a negative impact on battery lifespan is the speed of charging. There are a lot of different fast-charging standards now, but there may be a cost for the convenience of fast charging.

“Generally speaking, if we increase charging speed and go faster and faster with charging it will reduce the lifetime of batteries,” Shao-Horn said.

Though, she said this is likely more of an issue for electric vehicles and hybrids, which require far more power than phones.

Leave it half charged when storing

Many companies, including Apple, believe that you should store your gadgets with around 50 per cent charge rather than full charge or no charge:

“Do not fully charge or fully discharge your device’s battery,” explains Apple. “charge it to around 50 per cent. If you store a device when its battery is fully discharged, the battery could fall into a deep discharge state, which renders it incapable of holding a charge. Conversely, if you store it fully charged for an extended period of time, the battery may lose some capacity, leading to shorter battery life.”

It’s also advisable to turn it off if you know that you aren’t going to be using it for a while rather than letting it slowly run out of battery while it’s on the shelf not being used. 

5 Reasons why the REDMAGIC 7 is a sublime gaming phone By Pocket-lint Promotion · 3 March 2022 This is a gaming phone that’s been designed from the ground up for the absolute best performance possible.

Why not check out our Future batteries, coming soon: charge in seconds, last months and power over the air feature to see how we’ll power our devices in the future. 

Writing by Stuart Miles. Editing by Alex Allegro.

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