Guest Post By Eugene Rudenko
Do you remember those times when your old reliable Nokia could work almost for a week without recharging? In case you own one of the modern smartphones you may only dream about it. Even if you try to save your battery life Lithium batteries degrade little by little and lose the ability to keep charge. Why does it happen and how to prevent your battery from “slow death”? These are the question I’ll try to answer in this article.
What is Lithium battery?
All modern smartphones are provided with Lithium batteries, either Lithium-ion or Li-polymer. Such batteries have some advantages over the old Nickel-cadmium batteries: they have more capacity, work longer and are not very demanding in use.
Standard Lithium battery consists of a cathode (negative electrode) made from lithium oxide, of an anode (positive electrode) which is usually made from graphite and of an electrolyte which allows lithium ions to move in a cell. From the point of view of physics, discharging is a process of lithium ions’ moving from anode to cathode. Charging is a reverse process when lithium ions back to anode under the influence of electric current.
The first thing you should know about Lithium batteries is that their lifetime depends on the number of charging-discharging cycles (or simply how long you have been using the battery). After 250 cycles the ability to keep charge reduces by 25%. But they degrade even if not used. That’s why it is useless to try to “spare” your device and to limit the number of chargings. So now you know why your device discharges faster and faster as time goes by.
Lithium batteries don’t have “memory effect” so you don’t need to train your battery by discharging it completely. What is more, it’s even harmful. Try not to wait until your battery is almost empty or, what is worse, until your device switches off. It may influence the lifetime of your battery. Don’t be afraid of frequent charging – it doesn’t do harm to the battery. Optimal level of charging that provides maximum performance of a device is 45%.
Sensitivity to temperature changes
Lithium batteries are very sensitive to overheating and to super cooling. These factors negatively influence their time of service. Ideal temperature for using such batteries is 15oC. That’s why if you want to be on the safe side you’ better not to leave your gadget connected to a charger for a long time without some special necessity. To forget your device on a dashboard of your car when it’s hot is even worse. In winter it’s not recommended to put your gadget into an external pocket or into a bag and to use it frequently in cold air.
There’s a theory that USB charging may do harm to your battery, but it’s not true. You may charge your smartphone from USB but remember that sometimes USB controller simply can’t provide 500 mA current or there may be some other peripheral devices connected to USB that consume power. In such cases there won’t be enough current for charging especially if your device is completely discharged.
If you follow these simple pieces of advice the battery of your gadget will serve its time. Apart from that, don’t forget to take a look at battery capacity when buying a new device – this will give you some hints at what to expect from the battery.
Author’s bio: Eugene Rudenko is a technical writer for IT company Intellectsoft (http://www.intellectsoft.co.uk/).
His main interests and topics for his writing are software and applications for BlackBerry mobile phones and tablets.