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Topic: What is trickle charging?

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Old 05-03-2011, 08:10 PM
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What is trickle charging?

What is it. I am not sure. And how do you do it? Thanks in advance!!!
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:39 PM
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It's just a term for when a device's battery is fully charged there is a voltage regulator in the device that only applies a very small current (a trickle if you will ) to the battery to keep it topped off but otherwise doesn't keep running the full current through it, which prolongs battery life and saves electricity.
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Code Monkey View Post
It's just a term for when a device's battery is fully charged there is a voltage regulator in the device that only applies a very small current (a trickle if you will ) to the battery to keep it topped off but otherwise doesn't keep running the full current through it, which prolongs battery life and saves electricity.
I could be mistaken but I think that is a float charger. A trickle charger is one that has no regulator at all. (Wikipedia - Trickle Charging)
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Old 05-03-2011, 11:35 PM
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I think code monkey is correct. Although I will review the wikipedia article.
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pr3tz View Post
I could be mistaken but I think that is a float charger. A trickle charger is one that has no regulator at all. (Wikipedia - Trickle Charging)
Technically you may be correct (too lazy after just 1 cup of coffee to do any research ) but my definition is the one people are referring to when they talk about trickle charging with an i-Device.
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:08 AM
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Regardless of the specifics, "trickle charging" is technically irrelevant to any of Apple's devices, or for that matter just about any modern electronic device that uses Lithium Ion batteries. Trickle charging is a holdover from the days of Nickel-based batteries (NiCad, NiMH, etc) which applied a continuous current of power to a battery once it had reached a full charge. In essence, chargers for Nickel-based batteries never actually turn off the charging current.

With Lithium Ion batteries you actually can't do this as it will damage the battery due to the risk of overcharging. With Lithium-based batteries, charging current is turned off completely once the battery reaches full capacity. In fact, the charging current is reduced as the battery approaches 100% to avoid potential for overcharging, until at the 100% point it is turned off entirely.

The word "trickle charging" is often incorrectly used to describe either this second-stage slower charging process or the very infrequent "top-up" charges that occur when the device has been running exclusively from external power -- since the charging circuit is shut off when your device is connected to a power source, the battery is not being used at all and will very slowly lose power in the same way it would if you left your device sitting on a shelf turned off; at the point where the battery drops below a certain level, a very small "top-up" charge is applied to bring it back to 100%.

The bottom line is that on an iPod, iPhone or iPad you don't need to worry about any of this. There are a lot of charging practices from the old days of Nickel-based batteries that do not apply at all to Lithium-based batteries, yet have kept their life as urban myths with many manufacturers even recommending practices that are in fact completely unnecessary. For more information, I'd recommend taking a look at our May 9, 2008 Ask iLounge Column.



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