One of the things I fear most is having my phone’s battery dying, and because of this fear, I had to purchase a Smartphone power bank. While device manufacturers claim to have improved our phone’s battery life, and we try to charge our smartphone often, it still feels like our handset is on the brink of death.
According to Professor Steve Martin, the result of this problem is “Capacity Fade.” This means that every time you charge your phone, a certain amount of energy is wasted making the battery life a tiny bit worse hence you will keep running out of juice.
Writing for The Conversation, the Professor explains that although batteries are being made to charge faster and last longer, no matter hard engineers research and work, no battery will last forever.
Why do batteries die? And, why can they only be recharged so many times before they won’t hold a useful amount of charge? My young son asked me about that years ago when his battery-powered toy car stopped moving, wondering about what he called an “everlasting battery.” And this same question has probably crossed the mind of every cell phone user trying to send one last text before the screen blinks off.
Research, like mine, continues around the world to make batteries that charge faster, last longer, and can be recharged and discharged many more times than today. But as much as you and I would like, it’s impossible to make a truly everlasting battery. I have taught thermodynamics for more than 30 years. So far, there is nothing that suggests we can break the fundamental laws of science to get that elusive battery.
Battery scientists and engineers call the main problem “capacity fade.” Regular people wonder about it with questions like “Why won’t my battery hold a charge?” and complaints like “I just recharged this thing and it’s already out again!”
It’s a result of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that whenever some real process happens, it creates a certain amount of wasted energy along the way that can never be recovered. Any time a battery is charged or discharged, there’s a little bit of wasted energy – a little bit of wasted capacity in the battery that cannot be recovered.
To envision how this works, think about battery use like transferring water between two cups. Using a battery is like emptying the water from one cup into the other, and charging the battery involves pouring the water back into the first cup. Even if you do it one or two times without spilling a drop, there’s always just a little tiny bit left in each cup that you can’t pour out.
Now imagine pouring back and forth hundreds or even thousands of times over a period of two or three years (for a cellphone battery) or 10 to 20 years (for an electric car). Over time, all the thousands of little and big things that go wrong add up to quite a bit of water going missing. Even spilling a barely visible drop – say one-tenth of a milliliter – adds up to an entire liter if it happens 10,000 times. That doesn’t even include the possibility of one cup failing in some way that loses even more water – like springing a leak or heating up and causing evaporation.
Just as water inevitably goes missing when pouring from one cup to another, more energy is required to charge the battery than it actually stores, and less energy comes out than is stored in it. The proportion of wasted energy to stored energy grows over time.
In fact, the more you use a battery, the more energy gets wasted, and the sooner the battery will reach a point where it’s dead and can’t usefully be recharged. I and others are studying ways to have those discharging-recharging cycles run more smoothly to reduce the amount of waste, but the second law of thermodynamics will always make sure that there’s no way to get rid of it entirely.
How To Extend Your Phone’s Battery Life
Now that we know our phone’s battery dies with each charge, it is up to us to try and preserve our battery life. If your phone is draining too fast or you want a way to extend your battery life try the following tips;
1. Do not drain your phone’s battery to 0 % before you charge. Using battery management settings and apps, you can control how your battery drains by preventing the phone from dying.
2. Use auto brightness/dim screen brightness
Your phone use more power to display colours and display consumes more battery life. Use the auto-brightness feature to adjust brightness and save battery life automatically. You can also turn down the brightness to the lowest to save even more battery.
3. Keep Screen timeout short.
Screen timeout is the feature that turns off your screen when your device is not in use. To prevent the display from using the battery when you are not operating your phone, go to Android Settings > Display Settings > Screen Timeout
4. Turn of Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G
When not needed, turn off Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G to preserve battery life. Switching to 2G is preferable
5. Turn off vibration
Your phone uses more power to vibrate than to ring out. Vibration motor rotates a small weight to make your phone shake, and that consumes more power that ringing which uses only a small membrane of your speaker vibrate to produce enough sound.
6. Update Your Phone’s OS
New Android OS usually have optimised battery features so updating your phone’s OS will also help limit how fast your battery drain.