Xiaomi recently unveiled its Xiaomi HyperCharge, a device that promises some pretty incredible charging speeds. Thanks to the 200W charge it uses for wired charging, the HyperCharge could – according to Xiaomi – power a Mi 11 Pro Custom Build with a 4000mAh battery from 0% to 100% in just under eight minutes. .
However, before we got too excited, some issues arose thanks to a Q&A Xiaomi later posted on Weibo. According to reports from Android Authority, after 800 charge cycles, a phone’s battery life would drop to 80% of the original thanks to HyperCharge. The 4000mAh phone used in the demo is said to have an equivalent size of only 3200mAh.
Assuming you charge your phone from empty to full every day, 800 cycles will occur after just over 2 years. These are worrying numbers, especially if you’re someone who updates their smartphone less often than that, or buys used devices.
Xiaomi has since pointed out that this degradation is within industry limits (with Chinese regulations allowing up to 60% degradation in battery life in 400 cycles), although the damage that HyperCharge could cause could cause concern.
Is this the future of fast charging for phones? Here we explain why charging speeds of 200W can cause so much damage to smartphone batteries and give some hope on ways to alleviate these issues. We’ll also give you tips on what you can do right now to keep your phone battery healthy.
Why is fast charging causing problems?
The reason why fast charging can cause problems is due to the design of the lithium ion batteries that are found inside most smartphones. In short, these batteries operate by the movement of lithium ions in a “reversible reaction”; When the device charges, a chemical reaction occurs and then the exact reverse reaction occurs when the phone is discharging (read: is in use).
However, this process is not always 100% perfect, especially at high temperatures, and unintended reactions that are not reversible may occur. Any lithium ions caught in these reactions are effectively lost, which is why your phone’s battery life may start to decrease over time.
In extreme cases, where very high currents are used, lithium ions can form lithium metal. If too much of this builds up in your phone’s battery, it can cause a short circuit – and in the worst case, the battery can catch fire.
Fortunately, most modern devices include safety measures to prevent fires from occurring, but these measures do not do as much to prevent battery degradation caused by similar effects.
But what can we do?
Could these effects be mitigated?
If phone chargers want to achieve speeds of 200W or more, they will have to find ways to reduce the effects of battery degradation. While some effects are inevitable, others could be mitigated.
To take the excess heat into account, one solution would be to equip phones (or charging stations) with more sophisticated cooling systems. This way, when the phone heats up, the cooling kicks in to keep its temperature within the range that the battery is comfortable with.
Another option would be to develop a way to prevent devices from charging to the maximum battery capacity and keep them from running completely dead. Phone batteries stay healthiest when kept between 20-80% of the charge range, and also charge the fastest in that range.
With that in mind, when looking to charge your phone, make sure you do so before it’s completely discharged, and try not to leave it charging overnight. You’ll also want to let your smartphone rest while it is charging, don’t use your phone while it is recovering its power as this could cause it to heat up even more. You’ll also want to leave it charging in a well-ventilated area, and not in direct sunlight or on anything hot.
Hope we gave you some idea as to why reliable 200W load might be a little further away. If anyone can decipher the 200W load, we’ll make sure to keep you up to date with the latest technology.