How Wireless Charging Technology Works
Wireless technology may be something newer from a consumer standpoint, but it has actually been around for quite a while. Nikola Tesla actually invented wireless power transfer back in the 1890s. One of the most popular and longest used methods of wireless charging has been for toothbrushes. Ever wonder why your electric toothbrush doesn't have metal prongs on the charging base? That is because of wireless charging. Now, in a world driven by gadgets and technology, wireless charging is in use for a variety of electronics. It has been pretty slow to take off though, and part of this is from human psychology. We tend to not trust what we don't understand. So lets try to understand how it works.
What is Wireless Charging?
In basic terms, wireless charging is a technology that allows you to charge a device without plugging a cable into the device. Conventional charging requires a cable, such as a USB cable, to act as a medium through which power transfers from a source to the device. With wireless charging, this medium is bypassed, instead using an electromagnetic current.
In more technical terms, the wireless charging works using magnetic resonance or magnetic induction. Magnetic, or electromagnetic induction is the generation of an electric force through an electrical conductor in a magnetic field. Magnetic resonance is the absorption of electromagnetic radiation in response to specific magnetic fields. While the physics of electromagnetic forces is happening, we don't see this. What we see is an update that our phone or other device has begun charging when placed on a charging pad.
The charging pad is still plugged into a cable that connects it to a power source. This source provides the power to create the electromagnetic field through the coil in the wireless charger. This field creates a current in the coil of the device that passes through the battery, thus charging it. The coil is what converts the magnetic energy back to electric energy, which provides the charge for the battery of the device. This only works in devices that have been engineered with the receiving coil in them.
So Why Use It?
If the charging pad needs to be plugged into a power source, then why wouldn't we just plug the device into a power source and skip the middle step? This is a good question, and there are several answers. For starters, the charging ports on devices are known to wear out. I have replaced them in almost every phone I have owned. Using wireless charging prevents this from happening. You also have no reason to unplug the charging pad, so you do not have to worry about wearing out the port there.
The next reason is because portable wireless charging is another popular way to use this technology. You know the portable power banks that you can plug your phone in? You guessed it, some of those have wireless charging capabilities as well. Also, many newer vehicles have wireless charging pads built into the center console, the dash, or other parts of the vehicle. The cords for these are not exposed, just the pad.
Types of Wireless Charging
The initial forms of wireless charging were available almost exclusively using the Qi standard. This form specifically used magnetic induction for charging. Now Qi, as well as others are implementing magnetic resonance compatibility as well. The main difference between these methods from a consumer standpoint is the charging distance. Using magnetic induction, your phone would lay flat on the charging pad, essentially hindering its use. With magnetic resonance, you get a little bit more distance to work with. This means that even though the charging pad is in a base, a stand can be implemented above to prop the phone up. This is also the technology that is installed under bars and tables, allowing the smooth surface to be used as a charging pad.
Stay tuned for more information and new product offerings.