Why are chargers so lame?

mubs

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#1
I don't know where the problem is - charger or phone. Between my wife and I, we have two Samsung phones, same type but hers is one gen older. Hers is a 2100 mAh battery; my next gen has a 2600 mAh battery. She's out of town now, and she's run off with my charger. I'm using her charger to charge my phone.

Both chargers are rated at 5V 1A. I suspect my charger is an improved version.

I bought one of those gizmos that go between the charger and phone and display voltage and amperage in alternating fashion.



With my charger it showed a charge rate of anywhere from .7A to .5A depending on how full the battery was. With the wife's charger, it's pathetic; doesn't go above .4A, and if the battery is 75% full, drops to .2A, and as it gets fuller, keeps dropping to .1A etc. It took 2.5 hours to go from 75% to 90% full with this charger. Sheesh.

I bought a third-party Sony 2.1A charger some time back that charges at about 1.7A max and doesn't drop like this. But nowhere near 2.1A.

So what gives? I realize as the battery gets full it gets tougher to cram electrons in there, but still. I probably need to buy a couple more of the better 2.1A chargers. The ones Samsung provides suck.

Why does it have to be so? I'd think a fast charge would be a selling point. It's not like the battery / phone is getting hot when I use the 2.1A charger.
 

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#2
Most of the USB charging devices I have do support Quick Charge, so I have something like this at home and at work and one of these in my car.

OEM charger do seem to be wildly inconsistent. My LG G4 says that the quick charger for my FireHDX isn't a quick charger. My old Galaxy S4 doesn't like the charger for my G4. The multiport third-party chargers do seem to work pretty well though.
 

Howell

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#3
I use galaxy charging app to measure charging rates. I've found that the quality of the USB cable can affect charging rates.
 

LunarMist

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#5
I don't know where the problem is - charger or phone. Between my wife and I, we have two Samsung phones, same type but hers is one gen older. Hers is a 2100 mAh battery; my next gen has a 2600 mAh battery. She's out of town now, and she's run off with my charger. I'm using her charger to charge my phone.

Both chargers are rated at 5V 1A. I suspect my charger is an improved version.

I bought one of those gizmos that go between the charger and phone and display voltage and amperage in alternating fashion.



With my charger it showed a charge rate of anywhere from .7A to .5A depending on how full the battery was. With the wife's charger, it's pathetic; doesn't go above .4A, and if the battery is 75% full, drops to .2A, and as it gets fuller, keeps dropping to .1A etc. It took 2.5 hours to go from 75% to 90% full with this charger. Sheesh.

I bought a third-party Sony 2.1A charger some time back that charges at about 1.7A max and doesn't drop like this. But nowhere near 2.1A.
2.1A is the maximum current rating of the charger. If the charging circuit in the phone draws less then that's what it needs. As the charge nears completion the current will decrease as the charger is in constant voltage mode (battery is at max voltage of about 4.2V). If the charger has only a 1A rating and the phone wants 1.7A, then the charger will be slower than desired.

FWIW, my true OEM Samsung 2.1A chargers will fast charge my LG G4 and three different tablets up to 1.8A, which is probably all that one can expect.
 

mubs

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#6
Merc, my next purchase will be one of those high-amp multi-chargers. Thanks for the link, it's already on my shortlist.

DB's right, the entire chain needs to be good: the charger, the wire and the circuits in the phone. My beef is that I'm having problems using the charger & USB cable supplied by Samsung with their phone.

Monoprice are goofballs; I cannot order internationally and have it shipped to my bro's address in the US so he can bring it for me. It's too much hassle to tell the busy guy to do all the work. Had the same problem with Thomas Distributing a couple of years ago; I have ought from them multiple times without issue, but the last time they cancelled my order because I was using a non-US credit card and shipping to a US address. The Target hack has made things difficult for us non-US folks. Amz US still works for me since I've been a customer for years ans they have my CC on file, and ship to one of the 3 address on file.
 

Howell

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#7
My beef is that I'm having problems using the charger & USB cable supplied by Samsung with their phone.
Is it possible that the charger is not getting the power from the wall that it expects, or that the OEM charger is fake? FWIW, My S4 on the 2.1 mA OEM charger routinely charges at 1.4 mA, but sometimes at 1.6 or 1.85 at the beginning.


This. You want to use a 28/24 AWG cable. A charge only cable with the data pins shorted can also help to get the max charging rate.
According to some reviews, the Amazon branded cable I bought 2 years ago was 28/28. There is no indication on the packaging or in the marketing copy attesting to this, only on the physical cable (if you know what to look for). The new cables I bought,Micro USB Cable Rankie 3-pack also does not indicate what the internal wire guage is but i bought based on the reviews. The outer cable size is thinner than the Amazon branded or the OEM but it does the job. Later in the article you posted it says not to go on wire guage alone.
 

mubs

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#9
Is it possible that the charger is not getting the power from the wall that it expects, or that the OEM charger is fake? FWIW, My S4 on the 2.1 mA OEM charger routinely charges at 1.4 mA, but sometimes at 1.6 or 1.85 at the beginning.
a) The Charger Doctor thingy shows the voltage output by the charger to be 4.95 - 4.98 v, so I presume input voltage to the charger is not a problem. I have never needed to check input voltage for any of my devices; no low voltage problem here. Going OT now, but on the contrary, in the wee hours of the morning, the voltage seems to shoot up considerably since the ceiling fan goes crazy fast.

b) The charger came in a sealed box with the new phone. Unless it was substituted in the factory, I don't see how it can be fake. Methinks the charger is poorly designed.

FWIW, My S4 on the 2.1 mA OEM charger routinely charges at 1.4 mA, but sometimes at 1.6 or 1.85 at the beginning.
This is exactly what I'm talking about! Why is your charger charging at 1.4 when it is rated at 2.1? Hunh? Why? I demand to know!

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Yoohoo, jtr, where are you? Your expertise needed here!
 

LunarMist

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#10
This is exactly what I'm talking about! Why is your charger charging at 1.4 when it is rated at 2.1? Hunh? Why? I demand to know!
I explained above, but the 2.1A is about the maximum load that the charger is designed to handle continuously before some protection (current/voltage limiting) is applied. If the phone draws 1.4A, then that is what it needs at that time, assuming there is not a voltage drop due to excessive wire resistance. It doesn't necessarily mean that anything is wrong! When the phone is off and charge nears completion you will likely see under 100mA.

To think of it another way, your 1000W computer power supply doesn't output 1000W all the time. It only provides what is appropriate for the load, which may be far lower. There is always a minimum load, but that is taken care of internally in the case of the USB power supplies. Also, your fluctuations in house voltage probably make little difference in the 5V output, unless there are sags below 100V. Many USB supplies are designed to output around 5.2V to compensate for line loading.
 

mubs

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#11
Lunar, I hear you. But:

1) Smartphone batteries typically don't last the whole day. This has been known for years.

2) Frequent charging is necessary. This also has been known for years.

3) Does it not make sense to charge the battery as quickly as possible? Since the manufacturer is providing the entire chain - the charger, the cable, the charging circuitry inside the phone - isn't it sensible for them to provide a solution where the battery in their phone gets charged as quickly as is possible? Would that not be a plus point?

4) If Tesla can provide quick charging solutions for their gigantic batteries (granted, they don't charge to 100%, but the charge is enough to be useful) why can't phone manufacturers, especially gigantic ones like Samsung? We're not talking about piddly little niche players here who cannot afford the R&D. For the # of models they release, and the worldwide shipments, Samsung can easily do this if they wish. They're just not motivated / committed enough. They're just skimming profits.

5) I'm not an iThing guy, but I've read so many times that they charge at 2.4 mAh. If they can, why can't non-iThings?
 

LunarMist

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#13
Lunar, I hear you. But:

1) Smartphone batteries typically don't last the whole day. This has been known for years.

2) Frequent charging is necessary. This also has been known for years.

3) Does it not make sense to charge the battery as quickly as possible? Since the manufacturer is providing the entire chain - the charger, the cable, the charging circuitry inside the phone - isn't it sensible for them to provide a solution where the battery in their phone gets charged as quickly as is possible? Would that not be a plus point?

4) If Tesla can provide quick charging solutions for their gigantic batteries (granted, they don't charge to 100%, but the charge is enough to be useful) why can't phone manufacturers, especially gigantic ones like Samsung? We're not talking about piddly little niche players here who cannot afford the R&D. For the # of models they release, and the worldwide shipments, Samsung can easily do this if they wish. They're just not motivated / committed enough. They're just skimming profits.

5) I'm not an iThing guy, but I've read so many times that they charge at 2.4 mAh. If they can, why can't non-iThings?
The manufacturers have to balance speed and safety with cost as well. Exploding batteries are bad press.
 

Stereodude

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#14
Is it possible that the charger is not getting the power from the wall that it expects, or that the OEM charger is fake? FWIW, My S4 on the 2.1 mA OEM charger routinely charges at 1.4 mA, but sometimes at 1.6 or 1.85 at the beginning.
mA?!?!? That must be the world's slowest charger ever!!!
 

Howell

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#16
This is exactly what I'm talking about! Why is your charger charging at 1.4 when it is rated at 2.1? Hunh? Why? I demand to know!
All power supplies work this way. The supply is rated for a maximum amperage but it it's up to the load to demand what it needs. Your household appliances are operating on the same principle. If it worked the way you think it works anything you plugged into the mains would take all the amperage it could give. ;) Power factor design in power supplies has to take similar things into account. You need to know your approximated average load to make sure it falls within the best range of a particular supply.

Btw, I saw my phone go to 1.9mA last night.

Can you try charging from a UPS to test?
 

Howell

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#18
The manufacturers have to balance speed and safety with cost as well. Exploding batteries are bad press.
This. Different battery chemistries have different internal resistances which affect how much it physically heats up both during charge and drain cycles. This is part of the innovation with the newest batteries. Though there is a lot of innovation in internal packaging too.
 

mubs

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#19
All power supplies work this way. The supply is rated for a maximum amperage but it it's up to the load to demand what it needs. Your household appliances are operating on the same principle. If it worked the way you think it works anything you plugged into the mains would take all the amperage it could give. ;) Power factor design in power supplies has to take similar things into account. You need to know your approximated average load to make sure it falls within the best range of a particular supply.

Btw, I saw my phone go to 1.9mA last night.

Can you try charging from a UPS to test?
Howell: bad analogy comparing mains with this. In the case of mains, you might plug in a 3-watt LED or a 1500 watt clothes iron. In this case, we are talking (and I repeat) a fully matched, designed and made by the same manufacturer charger, cable, battery and phone circuit (the fact that the mfr may have outsourced some of this stuff doesn't count; they certainly would have designed the specs). I'm not asking a 1 amp charger to charge at 1 amp. But to charge at a tenth of that is ridiculous.

I will certainly try UPS. I am waiting for wifey to be back (she took two chargers with her, thinking she hadn't packed the first one). I want to check with the other two cables first, then switch chargers, etc. I know for a fact my charger, though rated at the same 1 amp, charges better than her charger on my phone. So here you have a case of same phone and battery, two chargers rated the same but charging at different rates, all from the same mfr.
 

mubs

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#20
Ok, testing completed.

Charger 1: Samsung original, 5V 1A, came in box with Samsung Galaxy Grand phone. Battery capacity: 2100 mAh

Charger 2: Samsung original, 5V 1A, came in box with Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 phone. Battery capacity: 2600 mAh

C1 & C2 look identical, but have a different model # printed on them.

Charger 3: Highly rated (locally) Sony 5V 2.1A

All three have standard USB ports on them. All three come with detachable standard USB cables with standard USB plug on one end and Micro USB plug on the other.

All tests were conducted with Galaxy Grand 2 phone with 2600 mAh battery. Battery charge remaining at the time of testing was 40%.

C1: starts charging at .2A and declines from there. This was what triggered this thread.

C2: starts charging at .93A and declines very slowly.

C3: starts charging at .97A and declines very slowly.

C2 with C1's USB cable: starts charging at .45A

In all cases, the battery and phone charge control circuits are the same. It is clear that C1 sucks and C1's cable sucks as well.

The cable is resulting in a drop of 50% in charging rate, and the charger is contributing as well. C2's cable is barely thicker than C1's.

What I haven't tried is C2's cable with C1. But the point is moot, and I didn't want to waste more time.

So QED, C1 IS lame. Maybe an electronics engineer from WD that went to work for Samsung designed it.
 

mubs

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#22
Well, I'll be damned.

On the advice of some folks on another forum, I bought these cables. I used one of these new cables with my charger and put the Charger Doctor in-between. My phone battery was about 85% full. My charger, that was supposed to be lame, began charging at 0.9A! Why, oh why are manufacturers (Samsung in this case) so dumb?

I also bought a 3-port USB car charger and a 5-port wall charger. The seller is the manufacturer himself, Aukey, on AliExpress. The products appear to be of very good quality, were packed very well, and for the price, are a steal. I'm very impressed. I opted for the free shipping. It took > 1 month just to leave China. After that, it was surprisingly fast. I order was placed on Dec. 15; I got the package in my hands today. I suspect it will reach the US in a max of 10 days.
 

Howell

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#23
Well, I'll be damned.

On the advice of some folks on another forum, I bought these cables. I used one of these new cables with my charger and put the Charger Doctor in-between. My phone battery was about 85% full. My charger, that was supposed to be lame, began charging at 0.9A! Why, oh why are manufacturers (Samsung in this case) so dumb?
I've lost track of which part you now consider bad. Btw, what are the model numbers on the Samsung chargers?
 

mubs

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#24
Ok, here's the Cliff's Notes version:

I initially thought it was the chargers, but many here and elsewhere blamed the charging cable. So I bought cables known to be fast at charging. It is now proven that the chargers are good but the USB charging cables they come with are totally lousy. Using 3rd party charging cables known to be good makes a night & day difference.

My phone came with a single charger, called Travel Adapter, Model ETA0U80IWE, Made in Vietnam on 2013.03.04, Input 150-300VAC, 50-60 Hz, 0.15A, output 5.0V 1.0A.
 

Howell

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#25
Ah I see. That's too bad that you can't trust the cable from the manufacturer. My Samsung cable it's starting to fall apart from all of the abuse but it has always charged at the appropriate rate. Having a good way to test will pay off.
 
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#26
At this point my trusted brand for USB-based charging is Anker. They make cables, multi-port wall and car chargers, and battery banks. I've had great experiences with all of them.
 

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#27
At this point my trusted brand for USB-based charging is Anker. They make cables, multi-port wall and car chargers, and battery banks. I've had great experiences with all of them.
I've also had positive experiences with Anker chargers and batteries banks.
 

LunarMist

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#28
At this point my trusted brand for USB-based charging is Anker. They make cables, multi-port wall and car chargers, and battery banks. I've had great experiences with all of them.
Which of their USB batteries do you prefer? I am annoyed that many of them do not allow charging and pass through power to the USB output.
Some also have low output power or are rather large and heavy, so are not good for air travel.
 
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#29
At this point they have several generations of products all for sale at the same time. Their latest generation products have a pretty good size/weight per mAh. I haven't tried charging devices off the battery while the battery is charging, I just charge the battery and device off the same charger if I need to. Finding the latest generation of product can be a bit tricky, but their website is pretty good for that.

At this point their "Power Core+" line are the ones to have, the 10050+ is probably what you want. 236g for 10Ah is really good.
 

Handruin

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#30
Which of their USB batteries do you prefer? I am annoyed that many of them do not allow charging and pass through power to the USB output.
Some also have low output power or are rather large and heavy, so are not good for air travel.
At this point they have several generations of products all for sale at the same time. Their latest generation products have a pretty good size/weight per mAh. I haven't tried charging devices off the battery while the battery is charging, I just charge the battery and device off the same charger if I need to. Finding the latest generation of product can be a bit tricky, but their website is pretty good for that.

At this point their "Power Core+" line are the ones to have, the 10050+ is probably what you want. 236g for 10Ah is really good.
I have their Anker Astro E5 16000mAh unit which is probably too heavy for your needs at 10.9 ounces (309g) but I use it for when I'm at conventions and carry it in my backpack. I believe mine does support charge pass-through. I wouldn't do it though unless I know I have a capable charger to support the extra strain. I would rather just get a multi-port charger and charge my device directly vs. through the battery adding extra drain on it.
 

LunarMist

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#32
I could use a huge charger at home, but not for travel. Typically I use one of these or another similar product for charging USB and having an AC outlet for other devices.
 

LunarMist

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#33
At this point they have several generations of products all for sale at the same time. Their latest generation products have a pretty good size/weight per mAh. I haven't tried charging devices off the battery while the battery is charging, I just charge the battery and device off the same charger if I need to. Finding the latest generation of product can be a bit tricky, but their website is pretty good for that.

At this point their "Power Core+" line are the ones to have, the 10050+ is probably what you want. 236g for 10Ah is really good.
Thanks. It is very confusing because there are 3 similar ~10AH devices listed on the various sites. The 10050+ is not on the Anker site, but I'll give it a shot next week.
From what I understand there is no issue with such devices in the checked baggage during most international air travel.
 
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#34
Here is the page for the 10050+ on their site. I haven't tried checking a battery; my carry-on these days is a Pelican case holding laptops, camera bodies, and batteries. Important to board early to make sure there is space for it, but I also keep good (not TSA) locks handy if they insist it go under the plane.
 

LunarMist

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#35
Here is the page for the 10050+ on their site. I haven't tried checking a battery; my carry-on these days is a Pelican case holding laptops, camera bodies, and batteries. Important to board early to make sure there is space for it, but I also keep good (not TSA) locks handy if they insist it go under the plane.
There is no link.
Have you had any issues on Air France or TAM? I would check the USB batteries as they are not critical.
 
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#37
And for flights, I haven't even tried to check batteries, so I wouldn't be able to tell you. The craziest I've done is bring about 15lbs of LiIon batteries in carry-on for United; security didn't even look twice.
 

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#38
I've carried on 9600mah batteries for US domestic flights with no issue at all. I try not to check any luggage if at all possible when I fly so I haven't tried checking them but I don't see why it would be an issue either.
 

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#39
There are restrictions on both Lithium Ion batteries and Lithium Primary cells on airlines and whether you can have them in your checked luggage or not, how many you can have, etc. The rules aren't very hard to find.
 

LunarMist

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#40
The total amount of lithium would not be an issue. The way I interpret the regs is that the lithium ion cells of the USB Anker battery pack are contained within a device and therefore can be checked. Is that not your understanding?
 
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