Addicted smartphone battery? no, that doesn’t happen

In 2019, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded a trio of researchers who have directly impacted the evolution of various electronic products. John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino were responsible for developing the batteries for lithium ionpresent in our smartphones, notebooks, tablets, power tools, electric cars and even satellites.

We’re talking about a battery standard that, commercially, has been spreading since the early 90’s. Even with the constant evolution around batteries and the devices that use them, a question continues to be asked by some people.

For some it’s not even a question, it’s a categorical statement: cell phone batteries are addictive! You can extend this statement to other products that also use the same type of battery, such as notebook computers.

This article seeks to clarify this subject once and for all, to provide you with arguments about why your cell phone battery and other electronics are not addictive!

In order for you to have a basis for understanding why a lithium-ion battery is not addictive, it is necessary to point out a few things. The first of them is in relation to the classification, according to their voltaic cells.

Batteries: primary and secondary cells

addicted battery

Primary cell batteries cannot be recharged. After they have provided their specified capacity, they need to be discarded.. With the discharge, the chemical elements are transformed into electrical energy definitively and until exhaustion.

Secondary cell batteriess are those that can be recharged, the chemical action is reversible. What chemical action is this? The conversion of chemical energy into electricity. Remembering that, by definition, the battery is a device capable of converting the chemical energy of its active materials into electrical energy. The battery is a constitution of energy cells, connected in series, parallel or both.

The general rule of thumb is that secondary batteries are those that can withstand 300 full charge and discharge cycles at 80% of their capacity.

Well, if we’re talking about smartphones, or any of your other rechargeable battery-powered gadgets, we’re dealing with devices that rely on a battery with secondary cells.

This knowledge between the terms “primary battery” and “secondary battery” it may be a little out of the way of the general public, however, when we talk about measuring secondary batteries it is a much more common topic. Chances are you’ve heard someone say, “ah, my smartphone has a 3,000 mAh battery (random value)”. The manufacturers themselves make a point of highlighting this information.

How do you explain this TCC?Batteries are measured by Ah (Ampere-hour) or Wh (Watt-hour): a Watt-hour indicates how much energy is stored or it can also be said as the energy used by the battery during a period of one hour: in the case of Ah is the unit of measurement of battery capacity, one Ah means how much energy is stored in the battery enough to supply a current of one ampere for one hour.

A battery containing 24 watt-hours, for example, it is possible to operate a power tool consuming 24 watts for an hour, if the machine happens to require a higher power, for example, 48 watts the machine will only be able to run in a period of thirty minutes. These calculations are for reference only, and in practice with a higher output power requirement, other battery characteristics will be affected reducing the machine’s operating time”.

The lithium-ion battery is not the first standard with secondary cells (those that can be recharged, due to their reversible chemical action). There is also the lead acid battery, known for its use in automobiles, nickel metal hydride battery and the nickel cadmium cell batteries.

The memory effect

It was precisely thanks to a particularity of the battery of nickel-cadmium (released in 1899) that to this day many people insist that the battery is “battery addicted”. The most commented feature of the nickel-cadmium battery is the famous “memory effect”this would be the effect that became popularly associated with the jargon “addicted battery”. According to electrical engineer Nihal Kularatna, the most correct term for what was popularly called the memory effect is “conditioning”.

nickel cadmium battery

The memory effect is related to a technical characteristic of this battery. If the battery was always discharged to the same level and then recharged, over time it acquires what became known as memory, the battery would adjust to its charge pattern, losing its full capacity.

The memory effect, or conditioning, caused by the mode of use, causes the formation of crystals, an active part of a nickel battery, to increase, hiding the active material of the electrolyte, responsible for allowing the conductivity of ions.

Even with lithium-ion batteries, present in most cell phones for many years, some people still believe that, as soon as a new device is purchased, it is necessary to apply a very long initial charge, from 6 to 8 hours (I’ve even heard who suggested a 24-hour charge), or even that the cell phone cannot be put on the battery before the charge is zero, a recommendation that would be a way to avoid addiction (or memory effect).

These recommendations are completely at odds with the advances offered by lithium-ion batteries. What’s more, some studies suggest that, even when we talk about nickel-cadmium cell batteries (NiCD), the memory effect would only happen in a process of charging and discharging at the same point after years. So even on the battery where this limitation is really technically possible, the chance of happening is remote.

So far, I believe it has become clear to you that this addiction to your device’s battery does not exist. However, it is quite likely that you continue to feel that your device is not as efficient compared to when you bought it, that the battery seems to last less. Wouldn’t that then be the effect of addiction? The answer is no!

battery wear

I don’t want to discourage you, but lithium-ion batteries start to wear out the moment they leave the factory. This is not the only disadvantage when we talk about this type of battery, under high temperatures the wear process ends up being accelerated. In more extreme situations, even explosions can happen.

For you to understand this part of the feeling of a battery lasting less, which has nothing to do with an addiction or memory effect, it is important to separate two concepts that are often treated as if they were the same thing: battery life and battery life.

  • Battery life: duration on a single charge. This is the time you can keep using the device until you have to put it back in the charger.
  • Battery life: relationship with the natural wear process. As careful as you can be with your device, the lifespan will be shortened, causing a drop in performance – the time you can use the device before you have to charge it again – compared to what it was when it was purchased, brand new. leaf

Your device’s battery actually gets “weaker” over its lifespan due to what is known as cell cycling. The complete loading and unloading process.

This charging and discharging process, which counts as a cycle, does not apply to the moments when you unplug and put the device back in the socket under certain circumstances. For example, your phone is charging, you then remove it from the charger and some time later put it back in, this doesn’t count as a cycle. The cycle is when the battery is 100% discharged.

At each complete cycle, there is a wear process, which contributes to the battery’s efficiency decrease, in terms of useful life. Manufacturers generally specify a lifespan of something between 300 and 500 charge and discharge cycles, but this can vary from higher to lower.

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Instead of worrying about battery addiction, which represents nothing, what you should do is maintain good practices so that your battery is preserved as much as possible. As I said above, high temperatures further accelerate the process of wearing out your smartphone’s battery life, which directly impacts its duration on a charge.

The ideal operating temperature is between 16 and 22 °C. Avoid exposing your phone to temperatures above 35ºC. In certain regions of Brazil, during most of the year, this becomes a difficult mission, but keep in mind that even in very hot places you can adopt certain safety measures, such as, for example, not leaving your cell phone exposed to the sun during a long time, especially if the battery is being charged. Very cold environments also contribute to accelerating the wear process.

Avoid unloading or fully charging is also an interesting tip, taking into account that cycling count, which corresponds to total absence of charge or full charge. Always try to recharge the battery when it is already between 15 and 20% charged.

Another valuable tip is regarding battery conservation when the device remains off for long periods. If your device is stored for a long time turned off, make sure that the battery charge is around 50%since, if it is kept completely unloaded, it can enter the process of intense discharge.

At the same time, if it is stored with a fully charged charge, it can also contribute to shortening its lifespan, explains Apple on its website. So balance is key!

addicted battery

Seriously, treat with extreme attention the issue of the temperature that your device is exposed to. In addition to grotesque design flaws, as in the case of the Galaxy Note 7, the trend of increasingly thin devices brings not only a responsibility on the part of the manufacturer, with the design of the product, but also demands attention from the user with the device usage.

Never recharge the battery with your smartphone wrapped in clothes or anything else that makes it heat up beyond normal, and always use quality chargers.

About Raju Singh

Raju has an exquisite taste. For him, video games are more than entertainment and he likes to discuss forms and art.

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