Chargers:

To Unplug or not to Unplug?

Monday, December 28, 2015 - 14:14

Based on recent studies, it is best if phones are charged once every 24 hours, and the easiest time to do that is overnight.

Researchers have been trying to answer the question of whether we are causing permanent damage to our handsets by keeping them charged for much longer than they need to be. The answer has been influenced greatly by the progress that has been made in the efficiency and performance of smartphone batteries and chargers.

In an interview with DigitalTrends, Shane Broesky, co-founder of Farbe Technik, a company that makes charging accessories, explained that it will not drastically harm our device if we leave our phone plugged in overnight. He also explained that when our phone is fully charged, it knows when to stop the current from coming in order to protect it from overcharging because it is smart.

David MacKay, Cambridge professor, pointed out that if people unplug their charger when it's not in use, they can save half a watt, equivalent to saving one hot bath's worth of energy every year. "Obsessively switching off the phone charger is like bailing the Titanic with a teaspoon. Do switch it off, but please be aware how tiny a gesture it is."

Using a device called the "Kill-a-Watt", which sits between devices and the power mains and measures the voltage, current, energy consumption, ITIran researchers have come up with interesting results. These show that the so-called "Vampire Power", which has for years come up in discussions of power wastage due to leaving devices plugged in or in stand-by mode, is negligible for cellphone chargers which are neither connected to, nor charging a mobile device.

How to give your battery more life

Now that the matter of wasting power with plugged-in chargers is out of the way, DigitalTrends' summary of what keeps the battery of a smart device healthy is good to keep in mind:

"You can leave your phone plugged into the charger overnight without too much risk, provided it’s not a counterfeit charger, and you don’t let your phone overheat. For best results with your smartphone charging, here’s what to remember:

  • Always use official chargers and cables, or certified alternatives from reputable brands and retailers.
  • Don’t let your phone get too hot. Remove the case when charging overnight.
  • For the longest battery life possible, try to keep your battery between 50 and 80 percent.
  • Avoid letting the phone battery completely discharge, and don’t charge it from 0 percent up to 100 percent too often."

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