What is Trickle Charge?

trickle charge

As much as charging your phone, tablet or laptop overnight seems convenient because the gadgets are charged fully by morning. However, this habit may be why your electronic devices can’t hold the charge longer. Trickle charge means your battery charges to total capacity, but it keeps charging at a rate equal to its self-discharge.

According to Battery University, having your battery connected to a charger all the time is not good for your battery’s health. Overcharging creates high tension and stress for your battery, wearing down its chemical component. To increase your battery longevity, unplug the charger when it’s fully charged. 

Trickle Charge Explained?

The idea behind trickle charging technology is to allow you to charge your devices slowly, at low voltage, and over a while. Trickle charging delivers a charge to your gadget’s battery at a rate equivalent to its self-discharge.

Trickle charging applies to batteries that require low current and don’t need close monitoring when charging. Trickle charging is not advisable on devices with lithium-ion batteries as they need to be controlled charging, and the process has to stop once the batteries are full.  

Standard chargers do get your devices charged. However, they tend to damage your battery. If you must constantly replace batteries or discard your gadgets due to battery damage, you should try purchasing trickle chargers. 

Trickle charging ensures your device charges fully by replacing the charge lost via self-discharge. Using a trickle charger prolongs your battery life span and keeps your battery healthy and fully charged.

battery phone charge

Tips to Preserve Battery Life-span When Trickle Charging

Trickle charging preserves your phone, laptop, or tablet life and enables it to remain at full charge. Here are some tips to ensure durability while trickle charging:

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

High temperatures whether extreme cold or heat, tend to damage batteries. Significant exposure to heat, especially during summer, or leaving it charging under direct sunlight will damage your battery. At least cover your phone with an absorbent to prevent it from overheating. 

A common myth is that having your phone in the freezer overnight will extend its battery life. Avoid doing that completely, as cold causes permanent damage to your battery. Ideal battery temperature ranges between 00 to 350 (320-950F).

Measures to ensure your battery stays cool while trickle charging:

  • Remove the phone casing 
  • Charge your phone in a cool and dry environment
  • Please avoid using your phone while it’s charging 
  • Turn on Airplane mode for your phone to charge faster and prevent overheating

Charge Phone To Below 95%

To activate trickle charging, don’t charge your phone to 100%. Instead, keep its charge under 95%. Some phones have built-in features to preserve the battery when overcharged. However, if you charge your battery to 100%, trickle charging keeps it at total capacity causing the battery stress and tension. 

Use Fast Charging USB cables

It is important to use fast charging cables as they emit less heat when charging the battery from 0%. Standard cables cause overheating, especially when the battery is completely drained of charge.

Anker Powercore

Low-quality cables risk short circuits, which lead to overheating and catching fire. Slow charging cables get the job done but still cause battery degradation with time. Battery life is dependent on phone usage and charging habits. With fast charging cable, your battery is safe from damage.  

Unplug Device After Charging

Charging your phone overnight is convenient, but at the same time, you subject the battery to high pressure and tension. After charging your battery to full capacity, the charge starts declining, and trickle charging helps get it back to 100%. 

If your phone stays connected all night, the charging and recharging process recurs until it’s unplugged. As a result, the battery is under stress and tension, generating heat which eventually damages the battery. The best solution is to unplug your phone when you make up during the night or alternatively ensure your phone is exposed to air to prevent overheating. 

You may also get a smart charger as it automatically turns off when your battery charges to a certain percentage. 

Charge Your Battery When In Storage

When storing a battery, it is important to charge it to half capacity. Additionally, take the device out of storage and charge it at least 50% to preserve battery life. Also, store your gadgets in a cool, dry place to prolong battery life.   

Regularly Charge Your Phone

Instead of having one long charging session when your phone is almost shutting down, try charging it occasionally. Smartphone batteries stay healthier when plugged in a couple of times a day. 

Letting lithium-ion batteries drain to 0% or until your phone is dead wears out the battery faster than usual. 

Battery University argues that you should plug in your charger when the battery loses at least 10%. That is, however, impractical as most people are busy. So instead, make a point of charging your phone multiple times a day whenever you can. 

Trickle Charger 

trickle charger delivers charge to your battery at a very low voltage. The delivered charge is equal to the rate of self-discharge. It is essential to unplug the charger when your phone is full to prevent overheating. 

Once your battery is at 100%, it stops to trickle charge but resumes when the battery capacity declines a little bit. A trickle charger pulses the current on and off to avoid battery stress and tension. 

With time the chemical compound in the battery decays, which is unavoidable. The battery then holds less and less charge than when it was new. Older phones tend to shut down at 10% and can only keep charge up to 80%. Battery University refers to it as “old man syndrome.”

Lithium polymers and lithium-ion batteries have a charging system that implements trickle charges. First, the batteries charge at a high current rate, up to 80%, then the remaining part is a slow current, and the charging process stops when the batteries are full.  

If you constantly swap phones, it doesn’t matter whether you use a trickle or regular charge. However, a trickle charger will keep your battery healthy longer if you stretch your phone out. You can also replace lithium-ion batteries, which is cheaper than purchasing a new phone. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some FAQs to help you quickly find answers to some of your questions.

1. Is trickle charging bad for my phone?

No, because it delivers current at a low rate, it only covers the battery self-discharge rate. Charge your phone to about 95%, then unplug it from the charger and let it trickle. 

2. Does trickle charge increase battery life?

Yes, trickle charging is an excellent way to extend battery life and keep it healthy. There isn’t much difference between regular charging and trickle charging. Use a trickle charger with smart technology as it is durable and prevents overcharging. 

3. Why do phones trickle charge?

Once you charge your phone to total capacity, you unplug it from the charger. If you fail to unplug, it starts trickle charging. Trickle charging keeps your phone at 100%, which causes the battery high tension and stress while wearing out the chemical component. 

4. What is the difference between a trickle charger and a regular charger?

The main difference between the two is that regular chargers charge your battery quicker, while trickle chargers are slower. Unfortunately, charging your battery very fast is not always a wise solution. This is because after charging, the chemical component in the battery needs to return to its original state if it doesn’t overheat, causing irreversible battery damage.  

Brett Jones
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