Why Does My Charger Get Hot? Understanding Your Electrical Equipment

As we make more advancements in technology, humans are getting more mobile devices. This means that there is increased use of chargers and they are becoming more vital to us.

Without your laptop or phone charger, the device would become useless in a matter of hours.

With such vital roles, it is understandable that you would be worried when your charger gets hot, especially after prolonged use. Let us get into the inner workings of your charger to understand this;

Why Does My Charger Get Hot?

You need to understand that the electronics use direct current, but the mains produce alternating current. The charger, therefore, has to convert the electricity, and a lot of energy is wasted in this conversion.

The heat you feel on the charger is a form of lost energy due to the conversion of AC to DC, which is safe for your electronics.

How Does A Charger Work?

To understand why chargers get hot, we need to get a better view of exactly what they do. We know that the charger will change the AC to DC, but there is more to it.

First, the charger converts AC to DC then back to AC before it transmits it in DC form. Inside the charger, there are diodes, capacitors, transistors, and a resistor. In the middle of the charger is a transformer and an Opto-coupler.

The incoming AC goes through a fusible resistor which protects the device from overloading. The current then goes into a bridge rectifier that converts it to DC before moving into the charger.

The next step for the current is an oscillator circuit; it converts the DC back to high-frequency AC using transistors, diodes, and a capacitor. These components make up the converter for the Optocouplers phototransistor.

The current goes into the transformer from the oscillator, which has the primary, secondary and auxiliary windings.

All these are wrapped around one core, and it is used to step down the incoming voltage since it is too much for the devices, especially phones.

The auxiliary winding purpose is to run the oscillator circuit. After the step-down transformer, the current goes to another circuit that consists of a diode and a capacitor. These two will convert the reduced AC to DC, which goes into your phone.

The charger also has an Optocoupler, a device used to transmit current without contact. One side of it is an infrared LED and on the other is a phototransistor. When the LED gets turned on by the current, it turns on the phototransistor.

Looking at all these, you can get an idea of where all the heat comes from. As the current gets stepped down, most of the electrical energy is lost as heat energy which heats the charger.

In addition to this, there is resistance in the components, and that also produces some heat. The chargers are mostly sealed off, so they don’t effectively cool as they work. Extensive use will therefore cause heat buildup that could damage the charger.

How To Make Your Charger Last Longer

Your phone charger is an important asset, and you need it to work correctly at all times. This will allow you to charge your phone in good time, which means you will have better service. You, therefore, need to take good care of it to make sure it lasts.

  • Plug the charger out of the phone or the header correctly. Please don’t hold the cable and yank it out since this will mess with the internal wiring. Instead, hold it by the hard part at the plug and pull it out perpendicularly.
  • You can buy a cable protector along with the charger. These protectors are attached right next to the plugs, the most delicate part of the cable. The protector will prevent it from twisting too much; thus, it won’t break.
  • Don’t twist the cable up. When moving the cable, don’t twist it around other objects like pens or even the phone. This will put a lot of strain on the plugs, and they could get disconnected over time.
  • Don’t put heavy or sharp objects on the cable. These might cut through it or damage it internally. So you will end up with a cable that is not working yet you have no idea why and will have to buy another.
  • Don’t stick anything metal into the charger port. The charger plug has pins that could be damaged when they get pushed. In addition, you could get an electric shock or end up short-circuiting your phone.
  • Get the cables organized. Whether you are at home or moving, you need to keep all the cables organized, so they don’t get tangled up with each other. Loop the cable in circles, then put the heads inside the spiral without bending the plugs.
  • If your charger gets heated up quickly, don’t push it. Several components inside it are sensitive to heat so that they can get damaged. Give it a break after use and disconnect it from the mains if you are not using it.
  • Don’t expose the cable to too much cold. Low temperatures make the wires inside the charger less flexible; thus, a slight bend could cause it to snap and break off.
  • Please don’t pull the cables or drop them into the water, especially the header. The charger takes in 240 volts from the mains socket, and it might get fried if the circuitry is wet. Once the charger gets fried, it’s impossible to repair, and you have to buy a new one.

How Does A Fast Charger Work

There is a decent chance that you don’t give a lot of thought to charging your phone. You plug it in and leave it there; then, you will come back later to see if it is full. What if you forget to charge it overnight and you have to leave the house quickly?

In such a case, you would jump into fast charging. This is a feature in some chargers, and it allows you to charge your phone in a matter of minutes fully. So how come a fast charger can work this much faster than standard chargers?

Most devices take a long time to charge because of the limited amount of power the charger can pass at a time. Standard chargers pass 5 watts or less, making them take a long time to fill the battery.

This design feature serves two purposes; it keeps the manufacturing costs down and safeguards the battery. The small battery in your phone could get fried if a lot of electric currents went into it at once.

In real life, most devices can handle more than 5 watts thanks to internal circuitry that sets a maximum wattage level for them.

The circuitry will also prevent the battery or phone components from getting fried by the current.

A fast charger takes advantage of this internal circuitry. Depending on your device’s capability, they adjust the amperage and voltage to deliver up to 20 watts at a time or higher. This will only work if your device supports the technology.

You must be wondering what technology we are referring to since all that is happening is a charger is pumping power into a battery. There are several factors in play here, but one of the most important ones is heat.

With higher power comes more heat, and heat causes expansion. So if your device does not have enough space for the batter’s expansion, it might end up getting damaged. This is mostly when the power is supplied faster than the battery can handle.

To avoid this problem, most manufacturers for both devices have implemented a handshaking process before the charge.

This makes sure both devices are built to handle high amounts of charge before they start working.

Most devices that support fast charging come with compatible chargers, but you might have to pay a fee for extra ones.

The cable you use should also be better than average since the cheap cables can’t handle the additional current.

Another concern is the heat generated by fast charging. This heat is not suitable for your battery, and it might damage it over time.

This is especially a big deal now that most phones come with sealed-in batteries that are difficult to replace.

Conclusion

Your charger gets heated up as you use it because of energy loss. There is a change from AC to DC, and in the conversions, there is resistance and energy loss in the form of heat energy.

This heat can get too high and damage some of the components, which will ruin the charger.

To stay safe, use the charger appropriately, give it some breaks between uses to give it a chance to cool before using it again.

For the cord, ensure you use and store it well so that it doesn’t break and force you to buy another.

The cables might not be expensive, but replacing them can be tedious for you, so you should avoid them.

David Huner
David Huner is a tech lover. After completing his graduation from the University Of Phoenix, he started gather his knowledge mostly on latest technologies that keeps his life smart and cool. Now he wants to spread his knowledge with people who loves technologies.

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