We all have different smartphone charging habits – some like to top up the battery with an occasional boost on the fly, while others like to leave the device plugged in overnight so it’s ready for the day ahead.
However, if you’re among those who love grabbing their handset from its charging station first thing in the morning and seeing its battery level at 100 per cent – you could inadvertently be doing it some harm.
Vancouver-based Cadex Electronics has claimed that this is the worst way of ensuring the battery will last a long time, while the next worse thing is to leave it plugged in after it has already reached a full charge.
The company, which has been designing battery testing systems chargers and adapters for over three decades, explained that lithium ion batteries do not need to be fully charged, as is the case with lead acid.
In addition to that, it was noted that it is not desirable to do so, because high voltage can stress the battery.
Despite the fact that a lower voltage threshold – or avoiding fully charging altogether – could prolong the battery life, it will reduce the runtime of the device.
Nonetheless, Cadex emphasised the fact that lithium ion batteries remain safer at a lower charge – and this is why they are shipped with a 30 per cent charge from the factory, rather than a complete one.
Battery life might be one of the most common complaints about current smartphones. This is particularly true for those who remember the legendary old Nokia 3310, which could last up to a week on a single charge.
But changing times and new functionalities put greater demands on a mobile’s battery life. The convenience of always-on broadband at your fingertips, a high-quality camera – and, of course, Pokemon Go – mean there are very few people who would willingly trade all that back for a handset that can only make voice calls and send text messages.
Indeed, consumer electronics commentator Noam Kedem noted that despite the fact that lithium ion batteries are much better than they were when they were first introduced in 1991, the processing demands posed by the likes of Wi-Fi and new apps pose a constant challenge that triggers an inherent design flaw.
In an article for CNET, he explained: “Li-ion pouch cells don’t like it hot – a common condition for smartphones, as anyone who’s ever had to wait out the ‘cool down’ message knows,” he remarked.
“The standard Li-ion chemistry depends on an electrolyte that reacts with residual moisture to create hydrofluoric acid, the most corrosive of all chemical compounds. Like all chemical reactions, this process doubles in speed with every increase in temperature of ten degrees Celsius.”
Cadex suggests that the optimum method of charging a battery is for it to be turned off the entire time it is charging and to unplug it before it reaches 100 per cent.