What is Fast Charging and How Do Fast Chargers Work?

    Huawei Fast Charging
    Huawei Fast Charging

    Fast charging is definitely amongst one of the groundbreaking technological innovations of the 21st century.

    Given a large amount of charging standards and speeds on the market, it begs the question -“What is the principle behind this mind-blowing technology? Why are there so many variants?”

    Grab a cup of coffee and get prepared to charge your intellect with the information you’re about to read.

    What Is Fast Charging?

    A good mobile device comes equipped with a battery size of not less than 3,000mah and a regular in-box charger that should take at least 2 hours 30 minutes to charge from 0-100% fully. Tablets, on the other hand, have larger batteries with some charging for a whooping 6 hrs. 6 hrs is a heck of a long time to wait for a device to charge. We all hate it!

    Thankfully, with the mind of the geniuses of the 21 century, a better alternative was developed. We call it “Fast Charging“.

    Fast Charging is definitely a feature that should be installed in all phones today. With the quick charge capability of modern devices, we can obtain fully charged devices within the “blink of an eye”.

    While Fast charge is a popular phenomenon in today’s tech-oriented world, it remains one of the most misunderstood tech innovations in society.

    What Happens When a Device Fast Charges?

    Fast Charger
    Fast Charger

    When it comes to charging, you’ve most likely heard of these terms; watts, amps, and voltage. Suppose you know how these properties work in the charging process, then good. You’re one step ahead of understanding how the tech works.

    So, how do the three terms mentioned above work in making a device charge fast? To understand how they work, let’s work with our imagination for a while.

    Imagine a tunnel with lots of miners transporting bricks in it. All miners are capable of carrying a certain amount of bricks into the tunnel.

    Each miner would represent Current. Now, let’s say at the moment there are a total of 5 miners working in the mine. Remember, 1 miner is equivalent to 1 amp.

    Next, Imagine that these miners have the strength to lift 1 block each. In this case, the strength is equivalent to the number of blocks each miner can lift.

    Note: all miners (amps) have equal strength and carry the same number of blocks (1 block).

    At this rate, the miners can transport only 5 blocks at a time. The total number of blocks taken by the miners is equivalent to the Power in Watts.

    The scenario above is exactly the case for all kinds of chargers.

    Now, back to the tunnel. To increase the quantity of work done by the miners, it’s either;

    1. We increase the carrying capacity of each miner. That is, the strength(the voltage), or:
    2. We increase the number of miners in the tunnel. Remember, this is the equivalent of the current or the amps.

    In technical terms, Non-fast charging devices can only produce 5V/1-2.4 amps. The result is the long wait time for a device to charge.

    However, with Fast charging chargers, either of these parameters is increased. Going back to our analogy, we increase the number of workers from 1 amp to 3 amps, or we increase the carrying capacity of each miner. Most fast chargers utilize this principle to obtain the quick charge feature we all enjoy today.

    Note: Using a Fast Charger on a device without the fast charge feature is futile. No matter how good your charger is, if your mobile device does not support fast charge, then it would still charge at its usual speed.

    Are All Fast chargers The Same

    All Fast chargers perform the same function, so, in a sense, they are all the same. However, If you connect a Samsung quick charger to an Apple mobile device, you might not get the quick charge feature.

    This is due to different mobile brands having different charging circuitry, which only detect specific fast chargers or chargers with circuitry that the device can recognize.

    Nonetheless, there are companies that provide fast chargers with universal circuitry which can charge any device as long as the circuitry matches that of the device. Although, this can be quite risky and may not function as effectively as the original in-box charger of the device.

    Types of Fast chargers by Brand

    Apple Fast Charging

    All Apple’s phones, starting with the iPhone 8, feature rapid charging. Unless you have an iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, you’re probably charging your phone with one of Apple’s sluggish 5W adapters.
    Apple promises that charging your iPhone using USB Power Delivery would give you a 50% boost in battery life in just 30 minutes. However, you’ll need at least an 18W converter and a USB-C-to-Lightning connection to get these speeds.
    Although a more powerful adapter will not hurt your phone, it is unlikely to assist you.

    MediaTek Pump Express

    Certain MediaTek-powered phones employ the company’s Pump Express standard, which comes in a variety of flavors depending on the device.

    Pump Express 2.0+ works with micro USB and USB-C charging connections and is designed for MediaTek’s low-end chipsets. Using a 5V to 20V variable voltage and 3A or 4.5A current, charging may reach a maximum of 15W.

    Pump Express 3.0 and Pump Express 4.0 have a lot of similarities. Both use USB Power Delivery 3.0 and need 5A of electricity. Pump Express 4.0 differs in that it also supports its own unique wireless charging method, as well as 5W Qi wireless charging.

    Pump Express 2.0+, according to MediaTek, can charge a drained battery to 70% in 30 minutes, while Pump Express 3.0 and 4.0 can cut that time in half.

    Motorola Rapid Charging and TurboPower

    Rapid Charging and TurboPower are two proprietary rapid charging technologies used by Motorola. The company’s less cost Moto E and Moto G series phones, for the most part, feature Rapid Charging, which provides 10W charging over micro USB or USB-C.

    It provides a minor speed improvement over standard 5W charging but doesn’t anticipate lightning-quick results.

    TurboPower is a new technology used by Motorola in its midrange and flagship phones. To be honest, TurboPower is a little complex, and you’ll definitely want to consult the company’s website to determine which charger is ideal for your phone, but there are two TurboPower standards: 15W and 18W.

    OnePlus Dash Charge and Warp Charge

    Dash Charge and Warp Charge are licensed by Oppo and function in the same way as Vooc, but with a higher amperage of 5V/4A and a 20W output. You can charge a phone like the OnePlus 5T up to 60% in 30 minutes.

    Thanks to Warp Charge, newer devices like the OnePlus 8 Pro offer 30W wired and wireless charging. A 5V/6A converter and a proprietary USB-C cable are used for wired charging. Delivering 30W wireless charging speeds is more difficult, as the typical 5V/6A formula would generate a significant quantity of heat. Instead, OnePlus offers 20V at 1.5A, which produces significantly less heat due to the lower voltage.

    OnePlus also use charge pumps in a novel approach to making charging safer and more efficient.

    Oppo Super Vooc Flash Charge

    Oppo’s own rapid charging protocol is known as Vooc. The business has long been a leader in rapid charging technology, and its 65W adaptor, which can completely charge the Reno Ace in only 31 minutes, now holds the record for quickest charging speed.

    Furthermore, Oppo is the only major phone maker to employ gallium nitride (GaN) batteries for improved performance and dependability. Oppo’s SuperVooc is available in a variety of flavors.

    The quickest is SuperVooc 2.0, which charges phones at 65W using 10V and 6.5A. By combining 10V of electrical force and 5A of power, SuperVooc achieves a maximum charge of 50W. With a maximum charging speed of 25W at 5V/5A, Vooc is the slowest of the lot.

    Qualcomm Quick Charge

    Qualcomm’s Quick Charge is the most widely used rapid charging standard due to the company’s chipsets’ broad adoption. One of the most popular fast-charging protocols in mid-range devices is Quick Charge 3.0, and Quick Charge 3+ delivers comparable speeds to midrange phones using Qualcomm Snapdragon 700-series chipsets.

    For flagships that don’t employ proprietary fast charging technology, Quick Charge 4+ is the current worldwide gold standard. Older cables and adapters will still operate because each standard is backward compatible with the preceding one.

    Although both standards have an 18W max power, Quick Charge 3.0 dynamically raises voltage from 3.2V to 20V. When the battery is exhausted, phones with a 3,500mAh to 4,500mAh capacity may theoretically acquire an 80% charge in just 35 minutes.

    Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging

    Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging boosts voltage and/or amperage in a similar way to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge.

    Samsung doesn’t reveal all of the details concerning its Adaptive Fast Charging protocol, nor does it make any claims about charging times, but the charts below show some speed and support data.

    The Galaxy S20 Ultra and Note 10+ may potentially charge at 45W with Samsung’s optional 10V/4.5W adaptor. With the included adaptor, most of Samsung’s current-generation flagships enable Adaptive Fast Charging up to 25W. While certain Samsung phones support previous versions of Qualcomm Quick Charge, using the adapter that came with the phone or a Samsung-certified adaptor will get you far quicker rates.

    Who Invented Quick Charge?

    Although many tech giants have developed different types of Fast Charging, one company was the first to license it for production by other mobile device manufacturers.

    Quick Charge (QC) is a Qualcomm-developed proprietary battery charging protocol that manages power transferred through USB by talking with the power supply and negotiating a voltage.

    Before we go into rapid charging, let’s take a look at where we’ve been with smartphone charging in the past. Until recently, most mobile devices depended on the 5 Watt charging standard, and so came with 5W only adapters. Samsung was one of the first providers to get through, but others took longer.

    How To Identify a Fast Charger

    • First things first, you should purchase your charger from a reliable merchant.
    • Secondly, you should opt for a charger manufactured for your device. This way, you minimize the risk of damaging your device.
    • The difference between Fast Chargers and normal chargers at first glance would be the amount of current, power, and/or voltage that the charger can deliver to the device.

    For Apple Devices

    • Check for original Apple charger products for specifications, which should deliver a power of 18W, 29W, 30W, 61W, or 87W USB-C Power Adapter.
    • Also, note that only iPhone products from iPhone 8 and above support fast charging.

    For Samsung Devices

    A wide range of Samsung mobile devices support quick charge. However, the quick charge speed would vary across devices depending on the device release date and version of the quick charge circuit of the device.

    Samsung’s most common charger is the 15w and the 25w charger. For larger devices like tablets, Samsung offers the 45w Super fast charger. Older devices like the Samsung S8 would only support the 15w adaptive charge, while new series like the Note 10, S20, and 21 series would support the larger 25w charger.

    For Huawei and other Brands products

    Huawei and other brands offer similar charging power, with the minimum fast charger offering a power of 15w. However, this group of mobile device manufacturers are known to produce mobile devices with humongous batteries.

    For Example, Huawei recently launched its super-fast charger with a power of 66 watts. Crazy right! Because there are so many brands under this category, it’d be easier to give you a range. The least should be the 15w(depending on the size of your battery’s device. A 15w charger may not supercharge a 4000mah battery as compared to a 2500mah battery).

    Even crazier is the Infinix 160w ultra-fast charger. This could be used to charge multiple phones at the same time.

    There are a lot of replicas out there in the market. I strongly advise that you purchase from a trusted vendor or from the company itself.

    One More Thing- The Cable Matters!

    Getting original chargers aside from those that come in-box can be quite difficult. Fortunately, there are a few trusted third-party manufacturers who also produce quality cable at a cheaper cost. The most popular of them are:

    • Anker: Anker is at the top of the charging game as one of the leaders. From power banks to wires, the firm does everything, and it does it well.
    • Belkin: If you’re looking for one of the quickest charging cords, Belkin’s Thunderbolt 3 cable is a popular choice. Because products like the Thunderbolt 3 offers 100W rapid charging and 4K display resolutions, you’d find them on the most wanted fast charging cable list.
    • AmazonBasics: With a variety of alternatives under the AmazonBasics banner, the retail behemoth has stepped into the quickest charging cable game in a big way. The highest data transmission rate is 10Gbps, and charging speeds are up to 60W with this double-braided USB-C to USB-C connection.
    • Apple-Only Cables: Apple is known for making things complicated, and its charging choices are no exception. The cables in this area are intended exclusively for Apple connections, such as Lightning and USB-C.

    Wrap UP!

    Fast Charging is a technology that humanity would continue to cherish, as the tech saves us a lot of time, and you know what they say “Time is Money”.