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Does fast charging ruin your battery?    

Does fast charging ruin your battery?    

Fast charging is a feature that different smartphone companies introduced to the market as a convenient and faster way of replenishing your phone’s battery. It is now becoming a standard feature not just on smartphones. But also with electric vehicles, laptops, and other gadgets.

Different companies love to boast about how fast their smartphones can charge. It almost seems like every month, brands were able to come up with a new “fastest ever charging” smartphone.

Looking back over the years, one of the first brands to come up with this feature is when OnePlus introduced its 30Watts fast charging. They were able to beat out every brand for like 2 years. But right now, brands were able to catch up and bumped their charging capabilities as well. Right now, we’re seeing smartphones that have 45Watts up to 120Watts fast charging.

Fast charging is getting crazy fast right now. Recently, the brand OPPO demonstrated a theoretical fast-charging feature where it would charge your phone from 0% to 100% in nine minutes. Though it seems crazy, people were iffy about this. A lot of them said that they don’t want that on their phone as it would damage their battery.

That begs the question, is fast-charging ruining your battery?

Batteries have improved their chemistry over the years. But the way it works remains pretty standard. Batteries come with two poles. The negative and the positive. At the negative end, you have the lithium ions. The lithium ions from the negative side flow to the positive side through a liquid electrolyte solution.

When that flow is already over, that’s where you’ll see your phone reaches 0% battery life. By charging the battery, the ions will move back to the negative side.

The thing with the batteries though is that they tend to absorb the most energy when they have the least in them. As they get closer to full, they won’t be able to absorb quite as efficiently which tends to have some excess energy. That excess energy becomes excess heat for your smartphones.

What we’re seeing with different smartphones, the 80W 120W fast-charging is not the constant rate of charging. That is just the maximum amount of energy that the charger can pass to your battery.

How do batteries degrade over time?

The batteries’ health does degrade over time. Just like with iPhone, after several years, your battery life will eventually decrease. But why do batteries degrade over time? Is it because of the crazy fast-charging feature that we’re currently seeing?

The reason is due to several things.

Batteries naturally degrade over time as they go through charge cycles. Meaning, that every cycle where you charge your phone from 0 – 100%, the battery life decreases. Based on studies, the projected health of your battery should be at 80% after 800 charge cycles.

But the number one factor that degrades and lessens your battery life is heat.

Ions passing through the electrolyte solution over time will start to crystalize and clog up their flow path. The clogged-up path will prevent them from storing the lithium ions as efficiently as they used to. Since the ions flow from the negative to the positive side at an inefficient rate due to the clogged path, they manifest extra energy and heat.

Excess heat in your smartphone or any other device is not good. The goal is to minimize the production of heat as it would damage the battery faster than normal.

Generally, the more wattage that you have, the more power you’re pumping into your battery, and the more heat that it’s going to generate. From the sound of it, the crazy fast-charging feature seems bad for your phone. But there’s more to it than that.

Aside from coming up with ways on charging your phone in just a fraction of the time, companies also spend on technologies that charge the phone faster without generating any excess heat.

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Some companies resorted to warp charging where power management is handled at the brick or charger itself. So, the excess heat is generated in the charger instead of thru the phone. The downside of that is we’re going to get a much bigger charger.

Another thing that companies jump on lately is parallel charging. Parallel charging works by splitting up the battery into two cells. Instead of putting all the power into one single battery, parallel charging splits the power or the energy that is being pumped into the two different cells. This advancement is very simple yet a very brilliant way to charge the phone faster without generating heat.

The most common thing that companies do to be able to have fast charging without generating any extra heat is by just adding more colling hardware onto the phone itself.

So, with all that being said, does the fast-charging feature ruin your battery’s life? To answer that, fast-charging DOES NOT have to ruin your battery.

Smartphones are called smartphones for a reason. Meaning that the batteries that are being put are getting smarter as well. Smartphones have tons of hardware and sensors inside the phone that helps in measuring and regulating the temperature. On top of that, companies also added a lot of features to the phone itself to help you actively maintain your battery’s health at a top-level.

Also, most companies passed through a series of quality control tests to make sure that even if they have a crazy fast-charging feature, the battery will not generate tons of extra heat and eventually, overheat.

What we just need to do is to just use our phones like normal. Because no matter what we do, the battery’s life will still degrade naturally. But we can also help by taking care of our phones and not doing anything for them to generate extra heat. If you can avoid your phone from getting super hot, you’re already doing the best for your battery.

Inevitably, the fast-charging feature is just going to be better in a couple of years. Smartphone companies know that any problem with the battery is bad news. So, if they are all doing their jobs, there will be no problem and we should all be good.

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