Whether they are being used to power a smartphone or an electric car, lithium-ion batteries all have a few things in common. They don’t like being charged too quickly and they don’t like being charged to 100% capacity. Both contribute to shorter battery life, especially if they are fully charged for relatively long periods of time. Short life means they’re less sustainable and bad for the environment sooner than necessary.
Hot Batteries = Less Life, More Waste
Lithium-ion batteries get hot during charging. Electric cars use sophisticated management systems that monitor battery temperature and reduce the charging rate as necessary to keep them from overheating. Many of them recommend keeping the state of charge of the traction battery at between 20% and 80% of capacity. Both measures are designed to prolong the life of the batteries.
Batteries for smartphones and other digital devices often do not have such sophisticated battery management systems to protect their batteries, because they’re designed to only last for about a year or two, despite the fact that their hardware is capable of a four-year-plus lifespan.
Cost wise, that may not be much of an issue for a $50 set of headphones, but it can have serious consequences for smartphones that can cost up to $1000.
Bad Charging Habits
Typically, we plug in our smartphones at the end of the day so they can recharge their batteries overnight. As a result, the battery is at a 100% state of charge most of the time, which leads to less than optimal battery life.
Not only are replacement batteries expensive, they are a hassle to change. Most of us don’t carry a spare battery around with us or know how to change it if we need to. Smartphones are an indispensable part of our daily life. How can we manage how they are charged that will promote longer battery life?
Chargie To The Rescue
Meet Chargie – a small USB device that, connected to its app or working independently, prolongs battery lifespan big time by limiting and delaying full charging. It works with both Android and iOS devices.
Chargie plugs into any standard USB port. Download the Chargie app, plug your charging cord into the Chargie, set the maximum charging level, and that’s it. You can even use it in app-less autonomous mode, by setting a power threshold and letting it do its thing into the wild.
Thus you can protect not only smartphones, but all sorts of devices you may have: flashlights, older GPS devices, Bluetooth speakers, wireless headphones, smartwatches, and more. Most of them have no charging limits at all and can spend days or even weeks with batteries that are 100% charged, which leads to much lower battery life. Chargie can also be used with basic lithium-ion applications created by hobbyists and makers.
Introducing “Hysteretic Charging”
With Chargie installed, your smartphone will charge to precisely the level you set. If you plug in a device that is already charged to a higher level, Chargie will prevent any further charging from taking place until the state of charge drops below your preset limit using a proprietary hysteretic algorithm.
Use the app’s “Top Up Scheduler” to allow your smartphone to reach a preset charge level overnight until the time you set arrives (say, 50%). It will then wait until morning, when it will begin charging to the maximum level you have set so when you wake up, your phone is ready to work on your schedule. If you leave your phone in your car where it gets too hot to charge safely, Chargie will prevent charging until the temperature drops to a safe level. You can even program the device to stop charging at a lower temperature of your choosing.
The latest Chargie hardware has gold-plated connectors that resist corrosion for reliable operation in humid conditions. The device operates between five and 16 volts, and can handle currents up to 19A.
The device is also not an expensive one. You can order it for $29.99 (bulk discounts available) and you also get the app for free. Get an extra 5% discount by using the “cleancharge21” coupon at checkout.
Meet The Maker
The Chargie system is being designed, maintained, and manufactured by Ovidiu Sandru, a serial innovator who’s had his share of bad experiences with failed batteries, and decided to do something about it. Ovidiu hopes that he’ll be able to one day properly pitch Chargie to Elon Musk and get the chance to make the app work directly with Tesla’s new phone charging system, so people can protect their phone batteries while driving on long journeys.
Chargie has been exhibited in front of thousands of visitors at Maker Faire Rome, Vienna, Berlin, and at the New Scientist Live in London. Since its inception in 2019, the Chargie system has been radically redesigned and improved in functionality and looks. Ovidiu’s company, Lighty Electronics, has sold over 12,000 units so far over the past few months, which makes a statement about the emerging sustainability trend Chargie that started two years ago.
This article is supported by Chargie.
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