Smartphone chargers

Have you ever misplaced or lost your charger before? To make this even worse, have you ever lost your charger while your phone’s battery is dying and no else has a spare charger? Good gripes! That must be a nasty situation to be in. A lot of us cannot imagine life without our chargers and for good reason too. So what are smartphone chargers?

A (smartphone) charger is a device used to put energy into a secondary cell (rechargeable battery) by forcing an electric current through it.

How do smartphone chargers work?

In the truest sense of the word, mobile smartphone chargers are not pure rechargers. They are more like AC/DC converters/adapters that supply a device with power (voltage times current). This power helps to reverse the polarity of a battery and push electrons out of the cathode and into the anode.

Read: How Smartphones charge

Types of chargers

There are many types of chargers in the market today. They include:

Simple chargers:

These chargers supply constant current to a battery continuously. It does not alter its current output at all. It just supplies a steady flow of current regardless of the state of charge of the battery. Simple chargers charge for longer and are slower. This is because they are set to output low voltages so as to ensure safe charging.

Simple chargers are also known as dumb chargers. They are inexpensive to produce and are sold for very cheap prices. These are usually the cheap generic chargers found sold by roadside vendors. If a simple charger is used without supervision, it will destroy a battery as it does not know when to stop charging. It will keep pumping current into a full battery leading to battery degradation, capacity loss and a shorter lifespan.

Intelligent charger:

An intelligent (or smart) charger comes with a built in CPU or microprocessor chip which helps it to monitor the battery intelligently. It can modify (increase/decrease) depending on the battery state and cut off power supply completely if need be.

Fast chargers:

These are intelligent chargers that can supply a high volume of current to a battery during rapid charging phase in order to charge it quickly. It does this intelligently without damaging the battery’s cells. As soon as the battery gets to 80%, the charger stops fast charging and returns to minimum voltage.

Read: Fast charging technology explained

Three stage charger:

These are intelligent chargers that can detect the state of charge of a battery and intelligently control the supply of current to match each stage. As stated in the previous articles, batteries charge in three phases. A three stage charger will give constant current to a battery for rapid phase charging, reduced current for slow phase charging and very minute quantities for trickle charging. Three stage chargers can either be fast or slow chargers.

GaN Chargers

A GaN charger is an intelligent charger that uses Gallium Nitride instead of silicon. A GaN charger is a massive upgrade over regular silicon chargers because it charges faster, stay cooler and saves electricity. It also supports crazy fast charge speeds (up to 240W) that can be used to charge PCs (Laptops, MacBooks etc.).

USB chargers:

A USB charger conforms to the USB standard, has a USB A or USB C port and only outputs current in 5V. Nearly all mobile smartphone chargers and power banks in use today, conform to this standard. This has made it easy for consumers to procure and use chargers today, especially when compared to 12 or 15 years ago.

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