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This Is Why Your Cell Phone Battery Never Lasts

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Pretty much everyone has experienced the helplessness of watching the battery life drain from your cell phone right before your eyes. Technology has the entire world living based on how much battery life is left on their mobile device. If it seems like the older your phone gets, the more trouble it has holding its charge, it’s not your imagination playing tricks on you.

Most of today's cell phones contain lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion is similar to acid battery systems, but has higher voltage per cell, tighter voltage tolerance, and the absence of trickle or float charge at full charge. The benefits of an acid system is that it offers flexibility in voltage cutoff, while lithium-ion cells are strict about voltage cutoff setting because they cannot accept overcharge.

The charging and discharging of a battery happens due to a chemical reaction. In order for your mobile device to fully charge, the voltage threshold has been reached and the current comes within three percent of the rated current. All battery systems experience degenerative effects and internal corrosion, but battery scientists believe the fading capacity is linked to ions getting trapped. 

The main cause of batteries losing their ability to charge is that most people charge their mobile devices with the power on or still in use, which is detrimental to the life of your battery. With a device powered on, the current drawn through the device, known as the parasitic load, can disrupt the charging cycle eventually causing the battery to lose the ability to hold a charge. The first hint that you shouldn't be doing this is that battery manufacturers strongly advise against it.

The battery can properly reach the set voltage threshold for a complete charge when devices are powered down. Along with the amount of time spent at peak cut-off being as short as possible, these precautions significantly reduce the amount of stress on the battery. 

Overcharging your phone is real, so you may want to think twice about leaving it plugged in overnight as you sleep. When the battery is fully charged the current must be disconnnected. Continuing to charge can cause plating of metallic lithium and compromise battery safety.

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