Is it a bad habit to charge overnight?

Discussion in 'Smartphone Battery Discussion' started by GSdub510, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. GSdub510
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    GSdub510 New Member

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    A lot of you seem to have a vast knowledge about the Maxx's battery and how to train it, etc. Me...I'm clueless!

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Droid Forums
  2. mbell75
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    mbell75 New Member

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    It shouldn't hurt the battery at all
  3. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Moving thread to the Smartphone Battery Discussion Forum, permanent link will remain here.
  4. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Charging overnight isn't necessarily a bad habit, and is really no different than charging any other time, if you are charging for a similar length of time or charging to 100% of capacity. What makes charging overnight a potentially less than appealing practice is complicated but I'll try to explain in a concise manner, though there are enough threads from me and others here to give you the long and short of it if you wish.

    Charging ANY TIME with the power ON can create a confusion for the charger's metering system which is trying to determine when the battery has reached "100% of capacity", signaling an automated shut down of the charging to prevent overcharging. Due to what is known as a "parasitic load" (the phone using power while the battery is vying for it as well), it can "perceive" that it's reached full capacity - due to a miss-read of battery voltage (the measure that identifies the level of charge), when it's much less than 100% of capacity, and so interrupt the charging process too soon.

    I say 100% of capacity rather than "full" because full can be mistaken to imply the same amount each time, like "filling a glass of water", where the glass will always hold the same amount and so full is full. Batteries are a different animal. A battery has a maximum "safe" charge capacity, which starts out high from the factory, but over time and multiple hundreds of charge cycles gets smaller and smaller, until eventually the battery will only hold a much smaller portion of what it used to hold (end of life for these batteries is between 80% and 90% of what the specified capacity was when new).

    The reasons why are many, but what's important to understand is that 100% of capacity for a new battery, versus 100% capacity for a battery that's 1 year old, versus 2 versus old, or one that's been charged 10 times versus 100 times versus one that's been charged 400 times, will all yield different "capacities".

    It's sort of like a glass that shrinks both each day even without use, and also shrinks each time you use it. Even though the glass is smaller each new fill, if you fill it to the top each time, you are still filling it to 100% of capacity each, but its capacity is less later in its usable life. If the glass has shrunken by 20% (like a battery that's perhaps 1.5 to 2 years old or has been full cycle charged 500 times), and you fill it to the rim, it's once again 100% full, but its capacity is only 80% of what it was originally.

    Imagine you and a friend decide in a pact to go shopping, and you both agree that you are each going to spend 100% of what's in your pockets at the store. Now imagine that your friend comes to the shopping spree with $100, and you bring only $80 (not much of a shopping spree, I know, but humor me for a moment). Once your shopping spree is over and you are both flat broke, your friend will have spent 100% of his or her $100, while you will have spent 100% of your $80. You both spent 100% of what you brought in your pockets, even though you had 20% less money to start. You see, 100% of anything, even zero, is still 100%.

    Now, charging these specific types of batteries to 100% capacity (no matter whether it's new, 1 year old or 3 years old) actually reduces the lifespan (aging) of the battery by accelerating the "shrinking" of capacity. It's because the most stressful portion of a charge for these batteries happens at the top of the charging cycle (the last 90% to 100%). Also, the longer the battery remains at 100% of capacity, the faster it ages.

    Charging fast (with higher current, or higher maximum voltage such as other third party chargers) generates excess heat which is also detrimental to a battery's lifespan. In contrast, charging in shorter charge cycles, for instance from 25% to 75% versus 15% to 100%, and also charging in the lower portion of the range (15% to 90%), will result in a battery that will take many more charges over its lifespan and will result in a greater total amount of stored power supplied by the battery over the same timeframe.

    Now, the real question is, how long does the battery have to last YOU! If you are going to replace your phone with an upgrade in a year or so, then any minor shortening of lifespan caused by charging every night and leaving it on charge while you sleep over the next year or so should be of little concern for you. On the other hand, if you're the kind who will have this phone for the next 3 or 4 years, then charging overnight to 100% every time would be something you should try to avoid. There have been a couple heated discussions about this and my recommendations, yet scientific testing by expert battery companies proves this irrefutably.

    The bottom line is, if you only use 40% - 60% of the power each day (like from 80% down to 40% or 20% such as with the RAZR MAXX), and you charge every night, your battery will last longer than someone who uses from 70% to upwards of 85% - or worse 100% of the power each day (like from 100% down 30% or lower) and charges every night. How much of a full charge you use each time is known as "Depth of Discharge" (DoD).

    Further still, if you use only 40% - 60% each day, but charge in those shorter burst charges I mentioned throughout the day such as while in the car, or at the office PC (meaning your battery never really gets charged to 100%), rather than plugging in when you go to bed and letting it sit on the charger for 8-10 hours overnight, your battery will last longer as well. These batteries actually prefer to be charged with multiple partial charges rather than to be charged once in a full charge to 100%, and they can last up to 2-3 times longer if charged in that manner.

    Whether it's practical for your lifestyle or routine to charge in such shorter bursts in the middle of the day or evening, rather than simply making it part of your nighttime routine is a question only you can answer. Whether you need it to last you 1-2 years or 3-4 years is also something only you can determine.

    Also a side-note, try to avoid allowing the battery to ever discharge to 0% and automatically power down. Instead, power it down well before it reaches 0% (like at 15%), and charge as soon as possible afterwards. Just like charging to 100% is stressful to the battery, discharging to below 15% also has a diminishing effect on battery life. Also pushing the battery into a deep discharge (near or to 0%), can result in a situation where it then may not respond to the charger to accept a charge again and cause bootlooping and other failed boot consequences.

    There is one thing you should practice no matter what your charging routine, except if you are using it from 100% to 15% on a frequent basis, and you charge with power off to 100%, and that's to do a 3-step "meter training" charge about every 2-3 months. It goes like this;

    The next time you will not be using the phone for at least 3-5 hours (3 for the RAZR, 5 for the MAXX)...

    Step 1) Power it off by pressing and holding the Power button, then selecting "Power off" from the menu.
    Step 2) Plug in the Motorola Stock charger and Stock Power Cable, and allow it to self-start into "Charge Only" mode.
    (you'll first see the familiar red M logo, then followed by a large animated battery icon with a "liquid" level and percentage of charge in numbers). Allow it to charge in that mode for the next 3-5 hours (longer is OK, but you MUST let it reach 100%). To see what level of charge it is at any time along the way, press and release one of the volume buttons. In a few seconds you'll see the animated battery again. Let it timeout after about 10 seconds and it will resume charging.​
    Step 3) Once it has reached 100% charge, you may remove it from the charger and power it up normally.
    Now feel free to use it as you would over the next day or so, but don't place it back on charge until it has reached 15% and the phone signals "Low battery" with a screen warning and "Bong" sound.​
    Step 4) Once it reaches 15%, repeat steps 1 and 2 just one more time. Afterwards, you can power and charge in your normal routine until the next "training" charge in a couple months.

    This "training" is done to keep the Meter and Charging system calibrated to the battery's actual and decreasing capacity over time, so when it displays 100%, it will be representing the maximum charge that the battery can safely handle at that time. Out of calibration metering can result either a lesser charge level (which would result in an apparent shorter power cycle - thinking "the battery is dying quickly"), or a higher and potentially damaging charge level. Under nearly all normal circumstances charging beyond what the battery can safely handle is not a concern since the charger is designed to prevent overcharging. However, there are some who suggest a bad practice called "bump charging" which can do considerable damage to the battery, shortening its lifespan and potentially putting it at a voltage level that could result in it self-destructing in a potentially violent end of life suicide.

    Finally, charging with the power on, versus charging with power off will potentially result in considerably different charge levels. Charging with power off is the only SURE way to charge to 100% of the battery's capacity at any time. Charging with power on (as most do), can result in the phone displaying 100% charge when it's actually only charged to as much as 90%, or even considerably less.

    So if you feel your phone is "dying too soon during the day", try a full "saturation" charge to 100% with the power off and see if it doesn't last considerably longer the next day. Also, feel free to use the battery to a 15% discharge level. If this results in a longer days' use, it's time to do a "training" charge cycle again.

    I recommend the only times you charge to 100% with power off are when you are doing the training, or when you absolutely need the most run-time that the battery can provide for you during a day, because you are going to be away from any external power sources.

    I've seen some mention taking these phones camping and questioning how to make it last through the multiple day excursions. Well, I gotta say it's not going to last if you leave it powered on constantly, and if you do ANYTHING other than make an infrequent phone call while powered on. It's not your old flip phone that could have done that while remaining powered on for the several days straight.

    If you plan on being away from any typical power source, such as a wall outlet, car adapter or computer for more than a day, I recommend you invest in a portable power booster. There are plenty that can give you multiple charges and aren't all that much bigger than a wallet or pack of cigarettes.

    Good luck! :biggrin:
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  5. cobravnm13
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    cobravnm13 Well-Known Member

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    Wow, Fox. That is great info. Took me 2 hours to read (jk) but great nonetheless. :) I'll have to remember this.

    Sent from my 3rd reincarnation of the ever-so-lovable Droid
  6. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Only TWO hours? :blink: JK...:p If you think THAT was long...I could show you some posts that post could fit inside a few times over!

    There was a long and drawn out "discussion/debate/(rest is left to your interpretation), between myself and another unnamed party in two threads, http://www.droidforums.net/forum/sm...ry-duration-so-far.html?highlight=white light and another one called http://www.droidforums.net/forum/sm...ion/198191-white-light-death.html#post2117585, as well as others past. In those two (and the others), the content was deep and the exchange was deeper, but the gist of it was that properly maintaining a happy relationship between the battery and the charging system will result in a battery that performs as expected, and lasts as long as you need it to depending on your particular purposes.

    The bottom line is the three step "training" charge process, and whether or not you charge to 100% every time or partially charge multiple times, and whether you charge frequently with power off or always charge with power on are the biggest determining factors on how well the battery will perform over both the short and long terms.

    As always YRMV!

    :biggrin:
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012
  7. cobravnm13
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    cobravnm13 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I'd rather you not. :) I normally keep my phone on charge at night while I'm asleep. When I do sleep. But I'm getting to where I'll turn my screen off. Not the phone, just the screen. I haven't done a "battery training sequence" yet, but I might in a couple of days.

    Sent from my 3rd reincarnation of the ever-so-lovable Droid
  8. ultra09hd
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    ultra09hd New Member

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    Who's got real world data vs seat of pants data?

    sent from a RAZR on a Harley!
  9. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    It would take about 2 years to collect that data, since the battery's lifespan decreases both naturally and by overcharging, charging to 100%, keeping levels at 100%, and charging too quickly. There's been enough "real world data" posted on any of a myriad of my posts that came right from BatteryUniversity and other reliable industry leaders to give sufficient credibility.
  10. eddiekeyton
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    eddiekeyton Member

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    There is no need to train smartphone batteries. They are not like the old batteries. The exception is to charge it the first time for like 15 hours. Search it on google and you will find more information on it.
  11. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    I believe you misunderstood...I never suggested training the "Batteries", I detailed training the "Metering and Charging" system.

    I am well aware of the fact that Lithium Ion based batteries have no "memory", and that they are able to take a charge to their maximum rated capacity straight out of the manufacturing facility, therefore there is no reason nor benefit to "condition" the battery as it were.

    As for how long they can be charged for, unless you are limiting the charge rate to something ridiculously low, like C.07 (3300mAh/15 hours/3300mAh=C.066E2), 15 hours will potentially cook the battery into a thermal runaway and cause it to fail catastrophically. The charge rate of a typical consumer Li-ion battery is between 0.5 and 1C in Stage 1, and the charge time is about three hours. If you were to extend that to 15 hours, you would essentially have "trickle charged" the battery for upwards of 12 hours, and LI batteries can not stand trickle charging once their rated capacity has been reached.

    Charging Lithium-Ion Batteries

    As it is, these phones won't allow the battery to be charged beyond the point they reach 100% anyway (3 hours for the RAZR, 5.5 hours for the MAXX), so leaving it on charge for beyond the 100% mark is for the most part waste of energy. The charging system shuts down once the battery reaches 100%, and then stands by waiting for it to deplete to 90%, at which time it resumes charging to 100% and then shuts down and the whole process repeats itself.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  12. ultra09hd
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    ultra09hd New Member

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    I've always run mine down to 30% and even till it shuts down. Plug it up overnight. Even sometimes doing the same during the day due to my usage, even charging constantly while running several apps when I'm riding all day. I'm not seeing any issues with performance, capacity, heat, charge times, running times, etc. This is only my real world testing. Where's you're results from following what you say and how do those compare to the opposite? Spec sheets and data charts ( of anykind) are put together under the most perfect of conditions and rarely show real world usage stats.

    sent from a RAZR on a Harley!
  13. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Bring plugged into a charger all day, and "charging" all day are two entirely different things when talking about LI batteries, since the chargers monitor the charge state and interrupt charging once the battery is completely charged. You will know this if you look at the battery icon. If it has a lightning bolt, its charging, if it doesn't, it isn't.

    The link I provided above is to quite possibly the world most knowledgeable battery expert corporation, and there are all the charts and specs you could need.

    And again I will say that in order to get the "real world" stats you desire we would have to wait for the duration of the expected lifespan of these batteries to have passed before we could compile that data. So if you wish to wait around for another year and a half to two years to find out, great. Let me know how it works for you and I'll do the same for me.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012
  14. ultra09hd
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    ultra09hd New Member

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    Right. But overcharging is protected by the both the charger and phones. Since lipos have no memory...why do you keep posting your so called training method?

    sent from a RAZR on a Harley!
  15. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Again and for the last time, it has nothing to do with "training" the battery since the battery will only hold what it can hold safely, but instead has everything to do with training the meter.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
  16. ultra09hd
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    ultra09hd New Member

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    Right. But the meter being off as you've said has nothing really to do with the batteries actual level or capacity. Only the the meter is wrong. But what meter are u using? An app? A built in app meter like fancy Widgets? If there's one on stock phone I've not seen it. Only info I seen is what's in settings for battery.

    sent from a RAZR on a Harley!
  17. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    And the "charger" (if we're talking about the charging block plugged into the wall) plays NO role in protecting the battery from overcharge. The PHONE has a charging and monitoring system in it that both monitors and regulates the charging rate, and also determines the condition of the battery and at what point it is fully charged, where in the charge and discharge curve it is at any one time, when the battery has reached the minimum levels where the manufacturer suggests you implement charging, and at what level the battery can no longer continue to support the phone without risking deep discharging.

    Also the battery itself (if a smart battery) will have its own protection circuitry built into the battery package, which monitors the battery for conditions which could create risk and damage to the battery, and this circuitry has the ability to interrupt the electrical connection between the battery and the world around it so that the battery is protected from undue risk and potential self-destruction.

    So it is more accurate to say the phone's charging and monitoring (metering) system and the battery itself protect it from overcharge. I was simply stating the extreme regarding the comment about charging for 15 hours to prove a point. You can actually leave this phone on the charger for 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, constantly connected to mains and do no major harm to the battery. It will over time accelerate the aging process due to keeping the battery's voltages near or at their recommended maximum (4.2V typically), but as long as the protection circuits are functioning normally, the battery will not "overcharge". What I WAS saying is that there is no BENEFIT to charging for 15 hours, and in fact the battery is fully charged (stage 2 saturation charge) in about 3-5 hours (3 for the RAZR, 5.5 for the MAXX). Anything beyond will simply cause the charging system to be sitting in a wait state until if and when it determines the battery needs a slight replenishing to put it back to 100% of capacity again.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  18. ultra09hd
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    ultra09hd New Member

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    Sooo. Instead of posting ridiculous long paragraphs of info that doesn't really pertain to the simple answer...which is doing nothing more than confusing the hell out of most...just say ' nope. It won't harm your battery at all' and be done?

    sent from a RAZR on a Harley!
  19. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    We are in agreement on all points so far, any apparent disagreement is simply a slight communication gap between you and I, and it's probably my fault. The meter has nothing to do with the battery's capacity, however it certainly has something - everything to do with its charge level since it's the charger that dictates when the battery gets a charge and when it no longer needs charging.

    As for the "meter", we're not talking about a meter in the truest sense of the word for the end user, but more of a "battery health" system that is monitoring not only the battery's voltages, but also its current draw, its temperature, and its charge and discharge "curves" (or signature) do determine when it is either nearing or has reached minimum or maximum thresholds. Where the error in the meter begins to affect the battery's charge levels and performance - both short and long term is when it becomes diverged from the actual levels and instead represents the battery's charge level or capacity to be different than it actually is. It's during those times that damage can be caused to the battery - not due to user error but due to meter error, and it's those times that a METER "training" will put things back into alignment and allow the meter to more accurately determine those thresholds and alert the user or the charging system as to when it's time to either start charging or stop, or to end the discharge cycle.

    If it's working properly, you will see no ill effects, but if it's out of calibration to the battery, you can see lots of problems and many have been "real world" demonstrated by users, such as the one whose battery meter on the phone was telling her the battery had 5% left...for 8 hours while it was playing music constantly. We all know this battery couldn't put out power to carry the phone, memory, speaker output, etc., for 8 hours with only 5% remaining...maybe 8 minutes, but not 8 hours. Others have described where the meter said the phone had 50% or 60% remaining, only to have it shut down and become unresponsive to the power button or the charger in just a short time later. In those cases, the meter believed the battery had far MORE power left than it did, but suddenly reached the end of the remaining power and when it shut down it had actually used more power than it should have, causing it to deep discharge.
  20. FunN4Lo
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    I have had a smart phone since their invention. (windows before iPhone) and then the OG Droid at inception and now a Bionic. I have always charged over night. Some days I run until it nearly shuts down from bat drain. Some days I go down to 60-70% and charge back up multiple times a day. It just depends on access to a charger. I have never had a battery failure. I have never had a time when a bat only last a few hours. I have always done the new every 2 years on VZW, but I still have my OG Driod beyond 2 years. My daughter used it for a while and now it is a iproid (ha! A Driod iPod)
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