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3 Myths About Smartphone Batteries That Need to Die | HowStuffWorks



Good to know: Your smartphone is aware of when its battery is totally charged. David Madison/Getty Photos

There’s nothing like taking a brand new smartphone out of the field and reveling in how lengthy you should use it between fees. However after a 12 months or so, that battery life begins to dwindle. What’s inflicting it? We debunk some widespread myths about prolonging battery life.

Fantasy 1: Plugging In a single day Is Unhealthy for the Battery

You have most likely had a buddy — and even the smartphone salesperson — inform you it is unhealthy for the battery to depart the system plugged in in a single day. However however, who desires to get up at 3 a.m. to unplug their telephone?

Loosen up, my buddy. Your telephone’s battery is smarter than you assume. While you plug in your smartphone at evening, the lithium-ion battery begins to slowly recharge till it’s full or “saturated” at 4.1 volts.

“Then it turns off,” says Isidor Buchmann, founder and CEO of Cadex Electronics and the creator of the academic web site Battery College. “It’s as if it were on the shelf and not connected at all.”

So, if the charger is functioning appropriately, it is not possible to “overcharge” your telephone’s battery past its restrict of 4.1 volts. However is it unhealthy for the battery to be totally charged for lengthy durations? That is determined by what you anticipate out of a telephone battery.

“If somebody wants to keep a battery forever, then you could call it ‘overcharging,'” says Bachmann. “But with a consumer product like a smartphone, people don’t care about battery life. In two to three years the glass breaks and you buy a new one and the old battery still has some life in it.”

Applied sciences with longer lifespans, like satellites and electrical vehicles, are a distinct story. In that case, engineers should take particular precautions to lengthen the lifetime of lithium-ion batteries. The rechargeable batteries in electrical vehicles, for instance, do not cost to 100 % full capability or drain all the best way to zero.

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“They work in the middle where the battery would have the least amount of stress over time,” says Bachmann.

So you do not want to get up at evening and unplug your totally charged telephone. The entire level of charging a smartphone is to maximize the period of time you should use it earlier than plugging it again in. You need it at a 100 % within the morning in order that it lasts all (or most of) the day.

Fantasy 2: Let the Battery Run Down Between Fees

Nope, it is higher to plug your telephone in at intervals all through the day than to let the battery run utterly down earlier than recharging. Forty to 80 % capability is the candy spot. Because it says on the Battery College web site, “Similar to a mechanical device that wears out faster with heavy use, the depth of discharge (DoD) determines the cycle count of the battery. The smaller the discharge (low DoD), the longer the battery will last. If at all possible, avoid full discharges and charge the battery more often between uses.” (The DoD refers to how a lot vitality a battery has delivered. In a totally charged battery, DoD is zero %; in a 70 % charged battery, it is 30 %). 

Nonetheless, as soon as each three months, a battery must be calibrated by letting it run down till the “low battery” mild seems and recharging totally.

Fantasy 3: Do not Fear About Warmth

Truly, warmth is a a lot larger menace to battery longevity than your charging practices. Leaving your telephone on a sunny windowsill or the dashboard of your automobile is a assured method to drain its capability.

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“It’s like a carton of milk,” says Bachmann, who actually wrote the e-book on rechargeable batteries. “If it’s kept out of the fridge it doesn’t last as long. With a lithium-ion battery, it’s corrosion that sets in and deteriorates the battery.”

Curiously, the mixture of extreme warmth and a full cost might be problematic if you happen to’re storing a lithium-ion battery for a very long time between makes use of. Battery College ran assessments on lithium-ion batteries saved for a full 12 months at completely different temperatures.  A battery saved at 100 % cost at 40 levels C (104 levels F) will lose 35 % of its whole capability over a 12 months. Below the identical circumstances, a battery saved with solely a 40 % preliminary cost will lose simply 15 % of its capability after three months.

That’s why of us within the battery trade retailer and ship batteries underneath managed temperatures and by no means at full cost. Once more, does that imply you must hold your smartphone within the fridge in a single day? No, that might be loopy, except you do not plan to use it for a 12 months otherwise you similar to the texture of a cool iPhone within the morning.

And Keep in mind …

A sure diploma of capability loss is inevitable with all lithium-ion batteries, Bachmann explains, and no single issue — totally charging, totally depleting, too many cycles, an excessive amount of warmth — will run your battery into the bottom. However all of those collectively will certainly take their toll. The excellent news is that your child will drop the telephone in the bathroom lengthy earlier than the battery burns out. 

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