How Does Wireless Charging Work?

Technology is advancing so fast that chances are you might be already using a wireless charger. Many high-end smartphones today are coming with a cool feature known as wireless charging. It lets you charge your device without fiddling around the tangled charging chords. You just have to put your wireless charging enabled smartphone/device on the charging pad, that’s it! No need of plugging in your device and no fiddling with a charger chord. Despite the name, here, one wire is involved which is connects your wireless charging pad to a wall power outlet. Think of putting your phone on a charging pad that rests at your bedside and the phone starts charging instantly. Isn’t it cool! So, how does this amazing wireless charging technology work?

How does Wireless Charging work?

The basic principle behind wireless charging is the phenomenon of mutual induction. Phenomenon of mutual induction states that ‘when two or more coils are magnetically linked together by a common magnetic flux, then the current flowing in one coil induces a voltage in the linked coils.’ Well, this is in quite more technical words, but that’s the principle! The same principle on which electrical transformers work.

wireless charging

In wireless charging, two coils are used – one in the charging pad (transmitting coil) and the other (receiving coil) in the device. The charging pad is connected to an AC power supply. A transmitting circuit inside the pad modifies the power to an appropriate frequency and voltage and sends an alternating current to flow in the transmitting coil. This creates a varying electromagnetic field near the charging pad. When you put your device on the charging pad, the receiving coil in your device gets magnetically linked with the transmitting coil. Due to mutual induction, an emf (voltage) gets induced across the receiving coil. In this way, the power is transferred wirelessly from the charging pad to your device.

Wireless charging standards

Despite the fact that wireless charging is not yet enabled on many of the phones/products yet, there are multiple wireless charging standards. That means, your device may not be compatible with your friend’s charging pad if it uses a different wireless standard. Following are the three big names in wireless charging standards: Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the most popular Wireless Power Consortium (Qi). Thanks to the recent merging of A4WP and PMA, forming AirFuel Alliance. Hence, reducing to only two standards to choose from: Qi and AirFuel. Yes! there may be other standards, but these two are popular today.

The Qi standard is most likely to be familiar to you as it has been adopted by most of the smartphone companies.

Pros and Cons of Wireless Charging

Pros (Advantages)

  • Obviously, wireless charging is more convenient – you don’t have to fiddle with charger cords every time you wants to charge your device, just put it on a pre-plugged charging pad.
  • Charger and charging socket of the device is less likely to damage or wear out due to not having to deal with charger every time.
  • You can charge any of your wireless enabled devices such as smartphone, smartwatch  and more with just one compatible charging pad or charging station.
  • Many charging pads support charging multiple devices at a time.
  • You don’t have to deal with remembering where you left your charger; an advantage especially for oblivious guys 😉

Cons (Disadvantages)

  • Wireless charging is not as efficient as USB charging or wired charging. Also, it is relatively slower.
  • There isn’t one wireless charging standard, that means your device may not be compatible with your friend’s charging pad. (But, as Qi standard has been very widely adopted this won’t be a big issue).
  • For those who have a habit of using their smartphone for playing games even while charging, wireless charging is not so good solution. The phone needs to be put on the charging station for charging.
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