Fast charging is not very understood by a lot us, but it is a blessing. This is especially true for those of us who are always busy, on the move or in the third world. Yes, the power supply that “First-Wolders” take for granted is a mirage to many. So up steps Fast Charge to save the day. But hold on a minute, is fast charge the gift that keeps on giving or is there a dark side to it? What are the advantages and disadvantages of fast charge?
Advantages and Disadvantages of fast charge
Speed. The ability to charge your phone in say less than an hour, when it would have taken several hours is a dream come true for a lot of people. This especially true when your power supply is rationed and/or you can only afford to keep a power generator on for a few hours. This way, it also saves money and time. If you are always on the move and do not have a power bank, those couple minutes of fast charge time will give you considerable juice to keep going till you get home. Simply put, fast charge is a life saver.
Fast charge technologies have also caused an arms race between manufacturers. These guys are basically working their asses off to give us the fastest charging at the best affordable prices. This arms race also improves battery technology, giving us bigger and better batteries with higher capacities that last longer.
Unfortunately, it is not entirely smooth sailing when it comes to using fast charging. There are certain drawbacks to it.
The most obvious one is that you use up your battery’s charge cycles faster and as a result speed up the age of your battery. The faster you charge and discharge, the faster you run out of charge cycles.
Read: Battery life explained
Fast charging usually means that the fast charger is pumping your battery full of current and causing electrons to travel to the anode at great speeds. These speeds sometimes can mess up the battery chemistry at the anode. The battery (anode) may be too slow to cope with speed of the incoming electrons and as such may not store them properly. This leads to loss of battery capacity due to wasted or lost electrons. The faster the charging, the faster the loss of battery capacity. If a 4,000 mAh battery is consistently fast charged, after one year, it loses about 1,000mAh (25% of its full capacity). Its new capacity is now 3,000mAh.
Fast charging also makes a battery susceptible to overheating. This is even worsened when the phone is charged wearing a case in a hot environment or being used while charging. Heat destroys battery chemistry very quickly.
Fast charge also makes a battery prone to overcharging as the charging chip on the charger or phone, sometimes may not respond in time to cut off the current.
Putting all of the above factors leads to faster battery degradation and a shorter battery lifespan.
So is it all doom and gloom? Absolutely not, fast charging technology is still a lifesaver and a very effective tool for charging but it should be used sparingly and with caution. As much as possible try to stick to lower fast chargers like 15W or 18W. This should ensure that your battery lasts longer and works better.
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