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How does wireless fast charging work?



A smartphone that charges on a wireless charging pad.
blackzheep / Shutterstock

How much will technology improve as more devices adopt wireless charging? Here̵

7;s how wireless fast charging works and how it’s likely to get even faster in the future.

This is how wireless charging works

Many of today’s most popular electronic devices – from high-end cell phones to wireless earbuds – have wireless charging. Apple, Samsung, and LG have implemented this feature on a variety of their devices.

Wireless charging allows users to place their device on a pad that is attached to the wall and then it starts charging – no cables are required.

A Samsung phone and watch on a charging pad.
Samsung

Most modern wireless chargers use a process called magnetic induction. Magnetic energy is converted from the charging pad into electrical current via a coil in the device. This energy is then used to charge the battery. This is also why more devices are made of glass instead of metal – glass is much more beneficial for induction.

Wireless is one of the most standardized forms of charging. Unlike wired chargers, which require a variety of standards and connections, most wireless chargers use the Qi standard established by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). This means that a single standard charging pad works with both an Apple Airpods case and a Galaxy Note.

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Accelerate wireless charge delivery

A graphic for the OnePlus Warp Wireless Pad.
OnePlus

Fast charging increases the number of watts that are delivered to a phone’s battery. However, this has to work both ways. Manufacturers must also design their receiving devices so that they can be charged quickly. Also, accessory manufacturers need to increase the potential performance of their chargers or transmitters.

In the past, wireless charging was slow, cumbersome, and offered little flexibility in positioning. The earliest iterations could only charge 5 watts or less, which was significantly less than wired charging.

Now normal wireless chargers that use the Qi standard can charge up to 15 watts on compatible devices. This faster charging speed is known as the Extended Power Profile (EPP).

Wireless charging uses a similar method to wired power supply. To do this, a device is supplied with power at full speed and is pulled back towards the end of the charging cycle.

It follows this process:

  • Recognition: The transmitter detects whether a Qi-compatible device is on it.
  • Full Power: If the receiver is in the latest version of Qi, it receives an output of up to 15 watts from the compatible transmitter.
  • Heat detector: Transmitters have a thermal test that allows them to tell if a device is getting hot. If this is the case, the transmitter will slow down its output power.
  • Completion: If the battery in the receiver is full, the Qi-Pad no longer charges the device.

This process ensures the safety of your devices and prevents them from becoming too hot or damaging the batteries. It also ensures that a device is not overcharged by the transmitter, so you can safely leave your phone on a charger overnight.

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Custom wireless standards

The basic Qi standard was last updated in 2015, which brought the EVP and improved heat sensitivity. Since then, EPP Power Class 0 has been published, with which transmitters can deliver a power of up to 30 watts, depending on the receiving device.

Although this charging speed has not been widely standardized, many manufacturers have implemented modified versions of the Qi EPP standard that can deliver higher speeds. One such company is OnePlus, which has released a 30 watt wireless warp charger with its flagship 8 Pro. The company claims it can support charging a device 50% in just 29 minutes.

The charging pad also has a built-in fan, with which higher charging speeds can be achieved, as well as protection against overvoltages and overcurrents. However, it is only compatible with certain OnePlus devices. Other companies like Xiaomi have also released 30 watt Qi wireless chargers.

The future of wireless charging

Wireless charging is getting faster and faster. The WPC has already teased, its next move will be a 60 watt wireless charging standard. This speed would be comparable or even higher than the wired charging speeds of many manufacturers today.

As the power of the transmitters continues to increase, they can also charge a wider range of devices. In addition to increasing charging speeds for cell phones, this means that electronics with significantly larger batteries such as laptops will continue to be Qi-compatible in the future.




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