Battery Charging MythsTips


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  1. computerpro3

    computerpro3 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I've seen a TON of people saying stuff like "It will hurt the battery if you use your phone before charging it" and "You need to do a full charge/drain cycle" to protect your battery.

    That's just not true. It won't have any effect at all, not even a minor one. Trust me; I've been a "battery hobbyist" for nearly a decade now. Lithium-Polymer and Lithium Ion batteries have no memory effect whatsoever; these warnings and advice that you're reading are a carryover from previous battery chemistries where it was good to be do several full drain/recharge cycles.

    With Lithium Ion, in fact, is actually very bad to do a full discharge and it will reduce the capacity of your battery. 4.2v is full charge for lithium ion/Lithium Polymer, and there is a protection circuit built into the battery somewhere around 2.4-2.7v. Once that threshold of discharge is reached, the battery will cut itself off to prevent even worse damage. This is why sometimes a phone will have trouble turning back on after the battery totally dies - the battery has to be recharged past the cutoff threshold before the phone will start up again. This is the point where you have "0%" battery life left on the phone. It's much better to charge your phone frequently than to do full charges and discharges - it will keep your battery in much better shape. Now, a full discharge once in a while won't totally kill your battery, but it will reduce the recharge cycle life of the battery. Not a ton, but it will nonetheless.

    Other than avoiding full drains, the other thing you should do is to only use high quality chargers. Now it won't matter much if you charge the battery in your phone as the charging algorithms are software controlled in the phone itself, but I would be very wary of using generic ebay wall chargers like the following for the loose or extra batteries.

    [​IMG]

    Lithium Ion gets damaged if charged past 4.2-4.25 volts, and becomes an explosion risk should the internal vents fail. The problem with many cheap chargers is that they continue to slowly trickle charge past 4.2v, so you'll be fine if you use a DMM to check the voltage of the batttery every ten or so minutes, but if you don't it will slowly rise to 4.21, 4.22, 4.23v. If you leave it overnight you very well may end up coming back to an overcharged battery that is not only holding reduced capacity from the damage, but is a safety risk as well. I even go so far as to have special hobby chargers with perfect algorithms to charge my loose lithium ion cells for my flashlights!

    If you are interested on some great reading about battery chemistry types I refer you to here:

    Flashlight Electronics - Batteries Included - Threads of Interest - CandlePowerForums
     

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  2. Vihzel

    Vihzel Destroying Balls Everyday VIP Member

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    Thank you so much for your very informative post! :D
     
  3. jwm2

    jwm2 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you its about time these myths in this section were squashed. Its common knowledge in other sections of the forum, but for some reason people in this section have it in their heads they need to do a full drain and charge, which will only make the battery life worse. Charge as often as you can and keep the battery topped off as much as possible, use it as you would any other cell phone. Just don't let it drain down completely as this puts unnessissary wear on the battery.
     
  4. AcePuppy

    AcePuppy Well-Known Member

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    I believe your whole post has been covered in the main thread and many threads on here already. Thanks though. By the way doing a full discharge once a month is recommended and not bad so it can calibrate the battery and is stated in many articles and smartphone blogs.
     
  5. Vihzel

    Vihzel Destroying Balls Everyday VIP Member

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    Now should I try to drain the battery as much as possible (before the threshold point) and then recharge it? Would that constitute 1 cycle as much as recharging it back to 100% from 50%?
     
  6. computerpro3

    computerpro3 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    While it has been covered in the main section, I feel like there are a lot of people new to both forums and smartphones that are posting in the incredible section so I figured I might as well help them out.
     
  7. CyberVike

    CyberVike Well-Known Member

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    I second this statement. I learned the hard way. Had a Motorola flip phone few years back. Bought a car charger off ebay within week phone died completely no new battery would save it. I bought my BB Curve after that. Needed another car charger...apparently did not learn my lesson and bought one off ebay with fancy blue led (it was the LED that sold me :)) and within a week my phone would not turn on again. I was lucky enough I guess Verizon replaced the battery for me and that fixed it. I concluded that those problems were from the cheap car chargers.

    No more ebay chargers for me.
     
  8. computerpro3

    computerpro3 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Well technically the less discharged (in terms of voltage) the battery is the better, but it's not such a huge difference that you have to be obsessive about it and keep it constantly charging.

    The main damage is when it gets down into the 2.x volt range. I can't be exact as I don't have my incredible yet to test out how the battery meter is calibrated, but I wouldn't even worry when I'm down to 25% battery life. Below that though, I'd probably find a charger. Again though, once or twice isn't going to kill your battery and this isn't exact as I can't test it yet. For all I know, 10% battery meter could still be 3.4 volts. IT's all software controlled so I don't know how they set it up.

    It's more of an awareness thing than anything. If someone does a full drain and recharge cycle everyday to the point of the cutoff, then you can expect the battery to have significantly reduced capacity (as in close to 50% or less) within a matter of a couple of months. A reduction of up to 1% per full cycle has been measured on charger analyzers.
     
  9. benson304

    benson304 Well-Known Member

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    I know I have never had any battery issues and I don't do these crazy things like only use the phone after a full charge when I get it or do full discharges to "reset" the memory. I just use my phones when I get them, charge them as needed and I've never had battery problems. Typically I just plug my phone in overnight and I'm good to go.

    People here, for some reason, have this huge fear over battery memory and usage. Just use the damn phone! That whole thread stickied at the top of the forum doesn't help either. Looooots of mis-information in there.
     
  10. computerpro3

    computerpro3 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    That is basically my point. The only rules you really have to worry about is to avoid full discharges whenever possible and don't use crap chargers. Other than that, just enjoy the phone!
     
  11. jamor

    jamor Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info - I had a hunch that the Sticky was wrong in that it is detrimental to charge right outside of box.
     
  12. Agerkvist

    Agerkvist Member

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    This actually cleared a few questions up for me - thanks alot! :)
     
  13. Bug Splat

    Bug Splat Well-Known Member

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    Discharging these batteries will kill them. If they go too far down they will never recover. It wrecks the battery. Trust me guys. I'm an RC hobbyist and have killed more batteries than I like to admit. Its important to always have the battery charged above the voltage needed by your device. If it can't turn on your phone get that thing on a charger ASAP. Leaving it dead will wreck it. These batteries must have a mid to full charge to live a long and happy life. Running them from 100% to 0% everyday is a very bad thing. Charge as often as you can to keep it above 10%.
     
  14. kriskmk

    kriskmk Well-Known Member

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    The battery charger pics that you show in your post.. have a note on their box that says that the charger WILL NOT charge batteries any more once they are fully charged.. have you investigated that? I have them from ebay (sent from Hong Kong).
     
  15. miketafc

    miketafc Member

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    What about the bump charge where you charge while on and then turn off the phone and allow it to charge another 30 to 45 minutes. At least on the Dinc. Will that harm or overcharge it?
     
  16. sabrewings

    sabrewings Well-Known Member

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    The Inc's calibrations don't let it get low enough to hurt Li-Ion/Polymer chemistry. No need to even worry about it. Just use your phone.

    No. That is just reclaiming battery power used by the phone since it reached full and went back to battery power (despite still being plugged in). It is not overcharging it.
     
  17. Tmart

    Tmart Well-Known Member

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    Just curious - if the initial 8 hour charge is a myth then why do most major electronic companies tell you to do it?

    the following was taken directly from HTC.com Droid incredible support:

    "When I first receive my phone do I need to charge the battery? close Your phone ships with a partially charged battery so it’s suggested you charge your battery fully before first use. The battery is fully charged when the notification LED turns green. It is recommended to charge the battery for 8 hours the first time to ensure that the battery has had time to recharge."
     
  18. sabrewings

    sabrewings Well-Known Member

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  19. bjanow

    bjanow Well-Known Member

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    Yes, very informative, thanks. However, I have a slight problem with the above statement. Although it might be true I have had quite the opposite experience with a cheepo charger from Ebay. It cost me around $3 and works great. If I do a bump charge with the phone off it takes about 15 minutes to go green again and if I remove the battery and put it in the external it takes the same amount of time. If I bump charge the battery with the phone off and put it in the external it immediately goes green, no further trickle charge as you purport.

    Point being, a blanket statement such as "be wary of using generic chargers.." might not always be valid.
     
  20. sabrewings

    sabrewings Well-Known Member

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    Just because the LED is green doesn't mean the generic charger isn't still providing current. You'd have to use an ammeter to know for sure.
     
  21. bjanow

    bjanow Well-Known Member

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    So then how does anyone know? Better yet, why should we care? I've not heard of one exploding DI or Eris battery due to any external charger. I've been using it for well over 6 months now with no ill effects.
     
  22. sabrewings

    sabrewings Well-Known Member

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    You would know by using an ammeter. Overcharging doesn't just mean that it will explode. It shortens the life of your battery by frying the chemistry inside.
     
  23. bjanow

    bjanow Well-Known Member

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    I guess I'll just have to take my chances then. The cost of batteries is negligible and the convenience of having two at all times with a bump charge outweighs the remote possibility of a trickle charge.
     
  24. computerpro3

    computerpro3 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    It's hardly a remote possibility. Head over to the candlepower forum battery section for plenty of pictures of exploded lithium ion batteries due to cheap chargers.

    That being said, not every generic charger is terrible. It's russian roulette. Personally, having seen the destructive power of lithium ion batteries (one quite literally shredded an aluminum flashlight and sent the tailcap through my metal french door when my friend shorted the battery by accident), I'll leave that chance for you to find out.

    BTW an easy way for you to tell if your generic charger is working well is to get a $20 digital multimeter from radioshack. Charge up the battery while keeping an eye on the LED. As soon as the LED turns green to indicate the charge, measure and record the voltage. IT should be in the 4.20v area.

    Use the battery for a while and then go to recharge it again. This time, leave it on the charger 6 hours after the LED turns green. IF your voltage is higher than the last time you recorded it, your charger is trickle charging longer than it is supposed to and it is dangerous to leave the battery in it for longer than it takes to charge.
     
  25. Sleeve

    Sleeve Member

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    Is it better to charge the phone while it is on or off? Is there a difference?
     

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