The battery inside your smartphone is the clearest evidence that the lithium-ion battery has truly made it into each and every one of our lives. They are also found inside your laptop and, if you drive an electric vehicle, the massive mattress-sized battery underneath the chassis is a mass of lithium-ion cells. Truly, the li-ion battery has revolutionized nearly every industry sector.
And li-ion technology is also a feature of the most cutting edge of electronic products. For example, there are the USB rechargeable AA batteries produced by Park City, Utah-based environmentally conscious start-up Pale Blue Earth. These batteries are seeking to answer the problem of environmentally harmful battery disposal by replacing traditional household batteries with ones that last significantly longer and can be reused repeatedly.
But with li-ion batteries being a feature of nearly everybody’s daily life, it’s odd how many myths persist regarding this remarkable technology. Many people still believe, for example, that li-ion batteries are more expensive than alternatives such as lead acid. But when the longevity is factored in, this is not even close to being true. People even think that the batteries are dangerous and can easily catch fire, but this has only ever been the case in a handful of circumstances and involving li-ion batteries of a very specific – and faulty – chemical composition. Truly, there is a lot of ignorance out there. Would li-ion batteries be so widespread if any of these were true?
And because the battery inside your smartphone is also a lithium-ion battery, ignorance about the charging patterns and the longevity of smartphone batteries is likewise muddied by a range of li-ion myths, specific to a technology that has perhaps facilitated their most widespread use. For sure, every driver on the road will soon be driving an li-ion-powered car, but this still won’t see them become as common as the smartphone.
So, what are these common myths specifically about the li-ion battery found inside your smartphone? Many of them have basis in some sort of fact, but that doesn’t make them any less misleading. Here are some of the most prevalent:
Myth: A Device’s Battery Must Be Fully Charged Before First Use
This is not true in any sense. The idea that you have to charge to 100% before using a device for the first time is derived from the old days, when doing would help a battery to calibrate. The li-ion batteries inside smartphones calibrate themselves.
Myth: You Can Overcharge Your Battery
Lithium-ion batteries can actually recognize when they are fully charged, and so this is not true at all. This is one of the great advantages of so-called “smart batteries”, which all modern li-ion batteries are. This particular myth might be a hangover from the time before smart battery technology was widespread.
Myth: You Should Drain the Battery Completely Before Charging
Not at all. In fact, doing this can have two distinct negative effects. Firstly, you will run the risk of your device dying when you are potentially using it for something important. And secondly, running the battery right down and then charging it back up will use up a full charge cycle – and every battery has a finite amount of those. Half-cycles are the way to go.
As mentioned, many of these myths have their basis in something that was true of older battery technology. But one of the great benefits of the lithium-ion battery is that it has overcome many of these problems. If you find yourself adhering to any of these myths, it is time to learn a bit about your phone and relax.
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