Overcharging?

Discussion in 'Smartphone Battery Discussion' started by altjx, May 23, 2012.

  1. altjx
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    altjx New Member

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    I sort of asked this question in someone else's thread...

    Is there any thing such as "overcharging"? For example, I've developed a habit years ago of always keeping my phone on the charger when I'm not using it. I keep it on the charger when I'm at work and when I'm at home. The only time I take it off the charger is if I'm driving, calling someone on the phone, or just not near a charger and out and about.

    Being that I left my previous phones on the charger for the most part, is there any harm in this? I've always done this because ever since a year ago, I've experienced a situation to where the lights went out at home, and I had to depend on my phone's flash light app to get me around, but I didn't have enough battery life. Or when the Internet went out at home and I had to depend on my phone for the Internet. Ever since these two situations, I've always made sure my phone's battery was as full as possible.
  2. blackhawk1134
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    blackhawk1134 New Member

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    I wonder the same thing.
    I do that too. I heard it doesn't hurt these newer types of batteries
  3. jkaod
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    jkaod Active Member

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    I don't think it will hurt anything. As far as I know, the phone will turn off the charge mode and go into trickle maintenance mode when the charge is full.

    Foxkat is the resident expert on all things battery (and most other stuff as well). I'd like to hear his opinion as well on this.
  4. altjx
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    altjx New Member

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    Interesting. Can anyone verify this?
  5. Xfactorx316
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    Xfactorx316 Member

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    I think it could cause some bad battery meter readings on days where it is off the charger (but I dont' think it will actually hurt the battery), but I'm not sure. As Jkaod said, I'd be really interested to hear FoxKat's take on it.
  6. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    This is not a problem for these phones and for this type of battery, as long as the charging system on the phone is working properly and you are using the stock charger (the one that came with the phone). If you are using any other charging appliances, all bets are off.





    jkaod is nearly 100% correct (no offense intended :biggrin:). The type of battery you have in this phone is called a Lithium Ion Polymer Pouch Cell, and unlike other batteries that can take a continuous charge (like Nickel Cadmium and Nickel Metal Hydride), or in some cases actually prefer to be on charge constantly (like Lead Acid batteries), these batteries can not sustain a continuous charge - whether at full current or even reduced "trickle" rate. If this battery were to remain on constant charge, the battery would eventually self-destruct in a pretty violent way (noxious gasses, small explosion, torch-like extremely high temperature flames...).

    Now, don't panic since as jkaod explained, the phone knows this and once the battery reaches about 90% of full, the charging system reduces the charge rate to a "trickle" and will continue to gently "top off" the battery to 100% - the maximum recommended charge. Once it reaches 100%, the phone's charging system actually shuts down charging altogether. You can tell when that's happened by looking at the battery indicator. If it's charging, it will have a tiny black lightning bolt on it and the level will appear to be going from a low to full level and back again. If fully charged and the charger has shut off properly, the battery will be a solid green and there will be no animation or lightning bolt. The phone will also report on the display when you hit the power button that the phone is fully charged, and to unplug the charger to conserve energy.




    You bring up a great point. We are creatures of habit - yes, but also every one of us operates differently (different habits) than any other, so I may use my phone for long periods of time off the charger, and may charge 1-3 times during the day (night, in the car going to work, again when coming home), where you may plug in at every opportunity (as altix does), and only depend on the battery when absolutely necessary, and someone else may only charge once every night. Since we're not all created equal, but the battery in our phones are, different usage and charging patterns have different effects on our individual phones.

    A phenomenon known as a "parasitic load" is created when charging the phone while the power is on. This causes the metering system to become confused as to what the actual power in the battery is and how much current the battery is drawing during charge versus how much is the phone actually using at the same time. Over time, this causes the meter to become out of sync with the battery and can result in either indication of levels that are less or more than actual, and can even result in phones that will not respond to a charger at some point. Fortunately if the phone is powered off when charging, the parasitic load isn't there, AND it also corrects the error in charge level reporting by the meter...if you practice "safe charging" as I indicate below.

    To minimize meter error by "training" the meter to the true capacity of your individual battery you should practice "safe charging" about every 2-3 months. Follow these steps and you'll be fine;


    1. [*=1]Next opportunity when you won't need the phone for several hours, power the phone off (press power and hold until the menu, then choose "Power off".)[*=1]Now, plug the phone into the stock Motorola wall adapter that came with the phone and using the stock Motorola cable.[*=1]The phone will self-boot into "Charge Only" mode (and a large animated battery will appear on the screen).[*=1]Allow the phone to charge uninterrupted for at least 3 hours, or until it indicates 100% (to check, press either VOLUME button briefly and the display will awaken).[*=1]Once the phone has reached 100%, you can remove it from the charger, power it up and use normally, but do not charge again until the phone reaches the "Low battery" warning at 15%.[*=1]Once the phone has reported "Low battery", repeat steps 1 thru 4.[*=1]After the 2nd full charge, you can use and charge the phone as you normally would until the next 2-3 month "safe charge"

    So in short, every 2-3 months, charge with power off to 100%, use to 15%, charge to 100% with power off, and then you are practicing "safe charging".

    Also, avoid allowing the phone to discharge to 0% (self-power down), under any circumstances, and if it should power down on its own due to a depleted battery, get it onto a charger as soon as humanly possible to prevent deep-discharging the battery and suffering "white light of death", "bootlooping", or other depleted battery problems.

    Good luck! :biggrin:
  7. Xfactorx316
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    Xfactorx316 Member

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    Thanks FoxKat!
  8. jkaod
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    jkaod Active Member

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    Thanks oh great guru (Foxkat). No offense taken at all. I've learned everything I know about batteries from you. I bow to the vastness of your knowledge:hail:. Whenever there is a battery question, which is frequent, I think we all wait for the master to speak.
    Someone else recommended a battery sticky. That would be a great idea and have Foxkat be the first post with all of the above advice. It would save you lots of time not having to repeat the same thing over and over. It should be a sticky or a separate sub-forum for every phone as it applies to all cellphone batteries.
  9. YellowJacket
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    YellowJacket Active Member

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    There should be a "stickie" thread compiling all of foxkats battery advice and tips.

    Awesome job. :hail:

    David
  10. jkaod
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    jkaod Active Member

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    By the way Foxkat, don't tell the Boy Scouts I work with about that "torch like, extremely high temperature flame" thing. It might give them ideas.
  11. altjx
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    altjx New Member

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    Good stuff man. Thanks!
  12. Rogus
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    Rogus Member

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    What about this:

    Consider, for a second, your evening routine. After washing up and slipping into pajamas, the last thing you do before hitting the pillow is drop your phone into a charger. Cell phone users around the world have all adopted this habit. But could it be bad for your phone's long-term battery life?

    Leaving your phone to re-charge overnight is convenient—you're able to wake up in the morning to a full phone battery that will last through the workday and into the evening. But leaving your phone plugged in after reaching 100 percent is not best for your phone's battery long-term.

    Tech tips blog Lifehacker shares some strategies for prolonging a device's battery life, including this advice about leaving a phone to charge overnight:

    Similarly, lithium-ion batteries don't need to be charged all the way to 100%. ... If you do charge it to 100%, don't leave it plugged in. This is something most of us do, but it's another thing that will degrade your battery's health.
  13. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    This is good information and good food for thought. Here's how I would address your comments. In the case of leaving the phone on the charger all night, there is no doubt that is the routine the overwhelming percentage of users have adopted, and since we are creatures of habit, it's one that we'll be hard-pressed to break. Still, in the case of these smart phones, and also specifically with respect to Lithium Ion Polymer batteries, since it is proven that the longer these batteries remain at or near full charge, the shorter their overall lifespan will be, the one good thing we have to thank Motorola and other quality manufacturers for is understanding these multiple dynamics and taking them into consideration when designing these devices.

    In the case of our phones, the charger is not charging all night long, instead it is charging until the battery reaches what it identifies as 100% of rated (or current) capacity (about 4.2 Volts), then turns off the charger completely. It then sits and watches the voltage levels of the battery as they slowly decline. If and when the voltage reaches about 4.00V-4.05V, it resumes a "topping off" charge cycle, boosting the charge level back to 100% (4.2V), at which time it shuts down again and resumes the same wait and see posture. This cycle may repeat itself one or two times overnight, or it may repeat more depending on whether the phone is powered on or not.

    If the phone is off while charging, the decreasing voltage may not even reach the level to signal a topping off charge before pulling it off the charger in the morning. If the phone is on, depending on how active it is will determine how quickly the battery's voltage drops and how often it receives a topping off charge while you sleep. This is one reason why the manufacturer recommends you charge the phone with it powered off. However, that doesn't work well for those of us who use it as an alarm clock, or for those of us who need it to be able to receive calls even before we've woken up.

    So the convenience we've all grown accustomed to is taken into consideration and a charging system was engineered to deal with the particulars of these batteries and bridge the gap between what the battery wants and our wants, needs, and long-formed habits. So the advice given by Lifehacker is right in theory (and was VERY appropriate advice for Nickel Cadmium and Nickel-Metal Hydride battery systems), but in application with our phones and Lithium Ion Polymer batteries is less of an issue or a non-issue. These phones are designed with a battery system that was meant not to be user-serviceable, so when designing the charging system and battery size, the manufacturers (phone & battery) picked a larger battery, set lower maximum voltage thresholds, limited current while charging, and designed charging algorithms to meet all individual best case scenarios at the most efficient common ground of compromise between length of charge, length of use per charge, and our lifestyles of awake versus asleep times, against overall battery life and expected "life of product" (how long they expect you will have the phone before replacing it with a newer model) to assure the battery will last the life of the phone.

    In other words, enjoy the phone and don't stress out about the battery. The phone will take care of it fine for the most part. :biggrin:
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  14. altjx
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    altjx New Member

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    Thank you. I've always heard so many mixed opinions about batteries, but I think I'd rather take your advice and let the phone take care of itself ^_^. it's too much of a worry trying to develop a habit of taking care of battery.

    Again, thank you.
  15. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    No problem. There is only one thing I still suggest you add to your repertoire. Doing a "training" of the meter every 2-3 months. At the end of a day, power the phone off (press and hold the power button, then select "Power off"). Next, plug in the stock charger and cable. Allow the phone to boot to "charge only" mode. Let it charge for about 3 hours (until the animated battery says 100%). Now, power the phone on normally and user until you get the low battery warning at 15%. Finally perform the power off charge again. Once completed you'll be good for another 3 months.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR MAXX using Xparent ICS Tapatalk 2 using Google voice to text translation. Please excuse any minor spelling, punctuation, capitalization or grammatical errors.
  16. altjx
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    altjx New Member

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    Sounds good :)
  17. Rogus
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    Rogus Member

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    I apologize if I've missed the answer to this question in the many posts I've read about battery charging, but why is 15% the magic number? For example why not 10%?
  18. jackiescivic
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    jackiescivic Well-Known Member

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    If I remember reading his post correctly, Fox said that the lower it goes below 15%, the more chance you have of it not accepting the charge. I very well could be incorrect though
  19. FoxKat
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    Rogus, the phone's charging system is set up to recognize 15% as the reserve tank, so to speak. It's related to the way a Lithium Ion Polymer battery's voltage decreases during use. All batteries have what's known as a discharge curve, essentially a plotting of the voltage of the battery at given time intervals while being used, a load as it is called (think of you carrying a 20 lb bag of potatoes as a load and the extra energy you would expend carrying it), in this case the load is the phone's cellular radios (1X, 3G, 4G)
    , WIFI, Bluetooth, GPS, apps, etc.

    A fully charged LIPO battery will have a voltage of somewhere between about 3.9 and 4.2 Volts, depending on how recent charging was completed (voltage will drop slowly after completion of charge as the battery balances itself out). While being used the voltage will also drop but LIPO batteries don't decrease in voltage at an even rate through it's discharge cycle. It's the three unique curves (rates of decrease) that indicate the battery is in the top 20%, middle 60%, our bottom 20% of usable capacity. The top and bottom portions see increased voltage level change during discharge whereas the middle 60% displays a slower, more gradual voltage decrease with the same load.

    It's the middle section that causes the meter to become confused about the charge levels since even though current is being used up, the voltages aren't dropping as quickly as they do in the top and bottom ranges. So the meter uses the sudden increase in voltage drops that happen within the last 20% of usable charge to determine when the battery is approaching complete discharge, and at 15% of usable capacity is when the meter sets the low battery flag.

    And yes, jackiescivic, there is risk of the battery becoming unresponsive at levels approaching 0% of usable capacity, but those risks are minimal if the meter is calibrated properly. However, those whose phones have become unresponsive after a discharge to 0% of usable capacity were victims of the meter errors I've tried so hard to help everyone understand how to avoid.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR MAXX using Xparent ICS Tapatalk 2 using Google voice to text translation. Please excuse any minor spelling, punctuation, capitalization or grammatical errors.
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  20. cereal killer
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