In 1882, Nikola Tesla identified the concept of the rotating Magnetic Field. He took the first bold steps in 1891 to publish his work and thus became the first person to demonstrate the idea of Wireless Charging. He would have been proud if he were alive today to see his idea being put to good use.
Everything from smartphones and Tablets to even Electric Lamps can receive Power via the so-called “magnetic-inductive” method of Power Transfer which he developed.
So how does Wireless Charging Work? Shine Bright like a Magnetar in the sky, Rihanna’s Diamond in the Sky Style!
Wireless Charging – Tesla’s Idea of Wireless Charging is merely rotating Magnetic Fields
That method involves a rapidly rotating Magnetic Field that changes field strength and direction at a very high frequency. Any loop of wire close to the Magnetic Field will experience this increasing and decreasing field and will generate an e.m.f (Electromotive Force) and electrical current generated based on the direction of the Magnetic Field as indicated by Ampere’s Right hand Grip Rule.
This generated e.m.f. will also generate a Magnetic Field that will oppose the Magnetic Field generated by the rapidly fluctuating high frequency external Magnetic Field as per Lenz’s Law.
However, there’s a nice catch.
If the metal that the wire is made is ferrous, it will be attracted to the Magnetic Field, a property called ferromagnetism and is in opposition to Lenz’s Law which is creating a repulsive force. Wires made of Iron or its alloy steel allows can also be classified as paramagnetic and have a large hysteresis loop, meaning it can be easily magnetized.
Paramagnetic materials often are ferrous and can retain that induced Magnetic Field indefinitely until struck very hard with a hammer, heated or exposed to a rapidly fluctuating, high frequency Magnetic Field.
Depending on the composition of the Iron or its alloy steel in the wires, they can either stay magnetized, an indication of high coercively or lose their induced Magnetic Field once the Magnetic Field source is removed.
If, however, the wire is made of a non-ferrous metal i.e. Copper, then the metal is considered diamagnetic and will be repelled by the magnetic field as well generate a Magnetic Field that resist magnetization as per Lenz’s Law.
It’s materials that are diamagnetic that tends to have a very narrow hysteresis loop, meaning that they don’t retain their induced Magnetic Field. This property makes copper wires suitable for making electrical wires, as you wouldn’t want wires being attracted to magnets and potentially shorting out if the insulation is broken.
Additionally, the resulting diamagnetic copper wire, in resisting the Magnetic Field, will also generate an e.m.f, that opposes that field. As such, the partially induced Magnetic Field e.m.f causes a heating effect which is the basis of Induction heaters and Kettles.
That induced e.m.f. can be stepped down in frequency and smoothed by a Rectifier circuit inside of the receiving pad of an Inductive Charger, with the resultant DC Current being use to charge gadgets such as cellphones and yes, even Electric Lamps.
Wireless Charging – Consumer Benefits and Industry Solutions
The term, Wireless Charging is really a misnomer; then again Magnetic Inductive Charging isn’t sexy as the idea of no wires to tangle, which creates an even better imagery in the mind of the customer!
The idea of not having to carry multiple chargers to charge our ever growing list of power hungry gadgets is an alluring idea that Marketing people have been willing to pounce on.
Good to note that these Wireless chargers are useless in the boonies; for that we have the Portable Power Charger is an absolute must as noted in How to extend your smartphone’s battery Life with a Portable Battery Charger.
As it relates to Wireless Charging standard, Samsung has been working with the following Standardization organizations to create a common framework for the continued developement of this nascent technology:
- A4WP (Alliance for Wireless Power)
- PMA (Power Matters Alliance)
- WPC (Wireless Power Consortium and their Q Standard
Q Standard Wireless Chargers are already being used at select McDonalds Fast Food Restaurants in London while Starbucks in the US of A is already rockin’ PMA powered Charging stations along with your order of pipin’ hot Java.
Progress has been steady though in the developement of Wireless Charging Standards. In January 2015, around the same time as CES 2015, the PMA and A4WP announced an alliance that’ll mean everywhere, from integrated restaurants, airports, public spaces, vehicles to living spaces will have Wireless Chargers that use the PMA and A4WP Standard.
Samsung and Wireless Charging – Committed to a Wireless Future with no Strings Attached
In late 2000, Samsung created a special team that eventually developed the Wireless Charging pad for Droid Charge (SCH-i510) in the US in 2011. Wireless Charging covers and Pads are de rigeur for Samsung Galaxy smartphones such as the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 in 2013 and the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 in 2014.
As with any new guinea-pig, it has a lot of unnecessary parts, eighty (80) to be exact in the original Wireless Inductive Charging pads for the Galaxy S4. Samsung’s research team soon stepped up their game and got that number down to fifty (50), making life for Technicians like myself that regularly see these product a lot easier.
Wireless Charging components have also decreased in size…because, really, nobody want to lug around a very heavy Wireless Charging pad. It’s gotta be thin and flexible enough to actually be shaped into a case around your gadget or be wedged into you Battery, making any smartphone Wireless chargeable.
Shrinking the inductive Charging coil to 1/3 of its original size will do it. Efficiency has also improved with Samsung’s Wireless Chargers, with the initial Charging efficiency being at 23% in 2012. Fast forward to 2015 and Samsung’s team has done it again, with Wireless Charging efficiency levels being at some 46%.
Samsung, that’s mighty impressive progress; more to come in 2015!
Samsung’s Wireless Charging – 2015 the Watershed Year of Smartphone Wireless Charging
Initially, it was though that only the consumer market or peeps in IT (Information Technology) were into Wireless Charging. Now, interest in licensing the tech in other products and industries is popping up as well:
- Consumer Electronics
- Mobile Services
This year, Samsung plans to debut a Wireless Charger SoC (System on a Chip). With components getting smaller and smaller and a six to twelve (6 to 12) month lead time before products move from design to market, expect these significantly smaller SoC based Wireless Charger will be on the market by the end of 2015.
Samsung is predicting that the 2015 will not only mark a landmark year for Wireless Inductive Charging Technology, but it may also go mainstream, spreading to every corner of the Electronics World. In fact, the much rumoured Samsung Galaxy S6 will most likely feature built in Wireless Charging.
Look ma, no Wires as Samsung has earmarked 2015 as the Watershed Year of Smartphone Wireless Charging. Analog Chargers are dead; Resistance to the Wireless Charging Future is futile!
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