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How Does Wireless Charging Work?

Getting to know Qi wireless charging technology used in cordless chargers.

June 17, 2019

​​​​​​​Every once in a while, when remembering those long ago days of dial-up Internet, the technology of now seems like magic. It's almost mystifying how much the world of personal electronics has changed in a few decades. But with the average number of PCs and mobile devices per household ever on the rise, the demand for better, faster, easier solutions is far from over. And that's why we're here to talk about wireless charging.
For many homes, having multiple smartphones — and maybe a tablet, plus a few laptops — isn't unrealistic. And while these devices mostly serve to add expediency, efficiency, even enjoyment, into our lives, just making space for, and keeping track of, the charging accessories that keep them going can be a challenge. Nobody wants to live in a web of wires. So the wireless charging capability in an increasing number of phones is a bit of a big deal. No longer do you have to track down a cord, and likely a bulky adapter, when your phone's battery needs a boost. Nor do you have to sacrifice a significant amount of counter or desk space to the effort. By adding a wireless charging stand or pad, you can create a conveniently set location for charging your phone simply by placing it on the base. 

But how does that work, you might ask? Well, it's a Qi (pronounced chee) thing.

Since 2008, the Wireless Power Consortium has been working to create standards of compatibility for a growing number of wireless products and related power sources. When it comes to small portable devices, ie smartphones, the WPC's Qi standard serves to guarantee safe charging and certified compatibility across a wide selection of products. By using Qi-certified devices, you can be certain that they have been tested for interoperability across brands and work using the latest wireless charging standard.

For these Qi-enabled phones and compliant wireless chargers, they operate through the give and take of inductive charging using electromagnetic fields. The two devices include receiving and transmitting coils respectively. As a phone is docked onto the base of a Qi charger, the latter's coil produces a magnetic field which transfers power via an alternating current. The charge is efficiently administered through mere proximity between the two devices — no connector cable required.

Adding more convenience to this method of charging is the fact that there are a multitude of certified options. From charging pads, to upright docks, to in-wall chargers for maximum space-savings, there are variations available to meet a home's specific needs.

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