How to Do Wireless Charging?

Wireless Charging

These days more and more electronic devices are coming up with the wireless charging capabilities. But what exactly is a wireless charging?

Wireless charging also known as Inductive charging is a method of charging without using a wire. Wireless charging provides a safer, easier and reliable way to charge electrical devices. It eliminates the use of any kind of physical connectors between two objects. It also provides a number of advantages like better efficiency, reasonable cost and safety over use of traditional charging cable.

To charge a device without wire you just need two things: a device with wireless charging ability and a compatible wireless charger. Wireless chargers charge the device by emitting alternate magnetic field via transmitter coil which in turn prompts an alternating voltage in the receiver coil inside the device.

It uses an electromagnetic field instead of any kind of physical connectors like a wire to transfer energy between two objects. This basically is done using a charging station. . It is based on the principal of magnetic resonance or Inductive Power Transfer (IPT). IPT is the process of transferring an electrical current between two objects through use of coils, one coil in the charger and the other coil in device itself to generate a fluctuating electromagnetic field. When the coil in the device is placed inside this electromagnetic field, a current is induced in the coil which the charges the device’s battery. Energy from one object to other is sent through inductive coupling to an electrical device then this energy is used to charge the battery or run the device.

Nikola Tesla inventor of wireless charging technique was the first person to exhibit wireless power transmission in the year 1891, when he successfully lit an electric lamp without wire. But it took over a century’s time for this technology to find its way into the mainstream technology ecosystem. Finally over the past few years wireless charging has finally appeared into the customer electronic market.

Many smartphone and electronic devices have now introduced wireless charging built in capabilities and the technology is being integrated into all sorts of devices, appliances, public areas like hotels, restaurants, airports and even vehicles.

Wireless charging shares resemblances with radio transmission technique. It directs signal to a nearby field where the primary coil creates a magnetic field that is picked up by the secondary coil in the local proximity.

Set-Up for Wireless Charging:

Despite the term “wireless” involved, there is still one wire involved in these chargers. You must plug the charger in wall outlet with a cable. But there is no wire present between the charger and the device. All you have to do is just place your phone, tablet, camera or your smart watch on the charging pad and watch your device getting juiced up with charge. An indicator light keeps letting you know when the device is charging. Wireless charging comes in two separate varieties: first it comes built in with the actual device or second it can be added to an existing device with the help of a wireless charging case. The second option permits you to add wireless charging ability to the device that is not already incorporated with this technology, it also adds bulk and cost to do that.

Types of Wireless Charging: There are basically three types of wireless charging, namely Radio charging, Resonance charging and inductive charging. We will be seeing each of them in detail below-

Radio Charging:

Radio charging technique aids devices operating with low power within the radius of 10 metre or 30 foot from the transmitter. It is used to charge the batteries in hearing aids, watches, medical implants, entertainment devices and RFID (radio frequency identification) chips.  The transmitter transmits low wattage radio wave to the receiver and the receiver converts that signal into energy. It offers high elasticity but also has a lower tendency to capture power and exposes people near it to harmful electro- smog. Radio charging is yet not very common in use.

Resonance Charging:

Batteries used in vehicles that are larger in size use resonance charging.  Resonance charging is not only restricted to high wattage wireless chargers, but is used at varying power levels. Larger batteries use resonance charging by generating a ring. The wavering magnetic field that is created works within a radius of 1 metre i.e. 3 foot. Resonant wireless charging was built keeping in mind the benefits of inductive charging. The transmitter is capable to detect and charge devices located at larger distance too. Resonance charging is still at experimental level and is still not widely used.

Inductive Charging:

Most of today’s wireless chargers use inductive charging with transmitting and getting energy to coils in close proximity and are mostly separated only by the outer covering of the two devices i.e. less than 7mm. It is important that the coils are allied to make the connection between the devices, which makes inductive charging great for charging direct contact applications. Electric tooth brushes were the first consumer goods to adopt this method of charging.

Advantages of Wireless Charging:

  • You don’t have to mess around with charging cables.
  • The wireless charging coils are completely sealed with no external electrical contacts.
  • Not having to use cords reduces phone’s USB cable’s wear and tear time.
  • You don’t have to fumble in dark to find the micro port of your charger.
  • The most standard wireless charging standard Qi is available in all kinds of public places especially in US, so if you are a frequent traveller, you will often find charging pads in hotels and airports.
  • Since wireless charging is a universal standard, you can use one set of chargers for a whole bunch of device – phone, smart watch, tablet etc.

Disadvantages of Wireless Charging:

  • Wireless charging is much less energy efficient due to amount of heat generated in this process.
  • It takes longer to charge your pone than the traditional chargers. The Qi charger delivers a 1A current. This is pretty much sufficient, but the difference is seen with tablets, smart watches and other electronic devices.
  • Wireless charging pads are expensive as their cost of manufacturing is higher than traditional chargers.
  • They have lower efficiency and cause heat wastage.
  • Provides no mobility to the device as device has to be placed over the charging pad for it to get charged.

With the continued progressions in the technology wireless charging will soon become more omnipresent and convenient to use. The growth of resonant abilities will endure the demand of wireless charging among consumers. Wireless charging may one day completely replace the plugs and wires like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi restructured the personal communication world.

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