As more devices use wireless charging, how much will the technology improve? This is how wireless fast charging works and how it is likely to be even faster in the future.
How wireless charging works
Many of the most popular electronic gadgets today ̵1; from high-end mobile phones to wireless earphones – have wireless charging. Apple, Samsung and LG have implemented this feature in a wide range of their devices.
Wireless charging allows people to place their device on a pad that is connected to the wall and then it just starts charging – no cables needed.
Most modern wireless chargers use a process called magnetic induction. This means that you convert magnetic energy from the charging plate into electrical power via a coil inside the unit. This energy is then used to charge the battery. This is also why more appliances are made of glass instead of metal – glass is much more advantageous for induction.
Wireless is one of the most standardized forms of charging. Unlike wired chargers, which require a variety of standards and connectors, most wireless chargers use the Qi standard established by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). This means that a single standard charging tablet works with both an Apple Airpods case and a Galaxy Note.
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Accelerates delivery of wireless charging
Fast charging works by increasing the number of watts delivered to the phone’s battery. However, this must work in both directions. Manufacturers must also design their receiving devices to handle fast charging. In addition, accessory manufacturers need to increase the potential power of their chargers or transmitters.
Previously, wireless charging was slow, clumsy, and provided little flexibility in positioning. The earliest iterations could only charge 5 watts or less, which was significantly less than wired charging.
Now, standard wireless chargers that use the Qi standard can charge up to 15 watts on compatible devices. This faster charging speed is called EPP (Extended Power Profile).
Wireless charging uses a method similar to wired for power supply. It is about operating a unit at full speed and then scaling back towards the end of the charging cycle.
It follows this process:
- Discovered: The transmitter detects if a Qi-compatible device is on top of it.
- Full strength: If the receiver is on the latest version of Qi, it receives up to 15 watts of power from the compatible transmitter.
- Heat detection: The transmitters have a thermal test that allows them to detect if a device is getting hot. If so, the transmitter will slow down its power.
- Completion: When the battery in the receiver is full, the Qi device stops charging the device.
This process guarantees the safety of your devices and prevents them from getting too hot or damaging the batteries. It also ensures that a device is not overcharged from the transmitter, so you can safely leave your phone on a charging pad overnight.
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Custom wireless standards
The basic Qi standard was last updated in 2015, which gave EPP and improved heat sensitivity. Since then, EPP Power Class 0 has been released, enabling transmitters to provide power up to 30 watts, depending on the receiver unit.
Although this charging speed has not been standardized across the board, many manufacturers have implemented modified versions of the Qi EPP standard that can deliver higher speeds. One such company is OnePlus, which released a 30 watt Wireless Warp Charger with its flagship 8 Pro. The company claims that it can support charging a device to 50% in just 29 minutes.
The charging plate also has a built-in fan that allows it to achieve higher charging speeds as well as protection against overvoltage and overcurrent. However, it is only compatible with specific OnePlus devices. Other companies, such as Xiaomi, have also released 30 watt Qi wireless chargers.
The future of wireless charging
Wireless charging just keeps getting faster. WPC has already teased its next step will be a 60-watt wireless charging standard. This speed would be comparable to or even higher than many manufacturers’ wired charging speeds today.
As the transmitters continue to increase their power, they will also be able to charge a wider range of devices. In addition to the rising speeds of charging mobile phones, this means that electronics with significantly larger batteries, such as laptops, will also be Qi-compatible in the future.