Modern cars include wireless charging in the central console or as a tray underneath the armrest. The car’s USB ports or cigarette lighter may also be used to charge your smartphone.
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Wireless charging has become a common feature on smartphones and even many new cars have built-in Qi chargers. It might seem like sci-fi technology, but the idea behind wireless charging dates back over 130 years to the electrical and magnetic ideas developed by Michael Faraday.
Wireless chargers work on a simple principle: they send a signal that detects the receiver coil inside your compatible smartphone. When it senses the coil, electromagnetic induction starts to occur and electricity flows into your smartphone battery.
You might see wireless charging stations popping up in cafes and incorporated into furniture or cars. They still need to be plugged into a power outlet, but your phone connects to the charger through a transmitter coil that is built into the pad or stand and the receiver coil that is built into your smartphone. The two coils must be within proximity but they don’t need to be touching. The transmitting coil and receiver coil in the charger and your phone are based on the same principles used in electric cooktops, for example.
Most modern phones come with a fast charger right out of the box. They support the Qualcomm Quick Charge standard that supports 18W of power. However, other brands have their own proprietary charging standards which also support higher power output.
The main concept behind fast charging is that it delivers more electricity than a basic USB port can, which means it charges the battery faster. However, it’s important to note that this process generates more heat that can shorten your battery lifespan.
Make sure your charger and cable support the same fast-charging standard. Also, avoid cheap knock-off cables as they’re unsafe for your phone and could possibly burn out or cause a short circuit. Look for a label in the packaging or an “SS” mark on the connector head to ensure they’re compatible. Also, check that the cable is designed for high current. Older cables will usually burn out if they’re used for high power applications like this.
Some of the latest Android smartphones come with reverse wireless charging functionality. This feature allows you to use your phone as a power bank, charging another smartphone or even a pair of true wireless headphones. Reverse wireless charging works using electromagnetic induction, which is the same technology that makes your phone compatible with other wireless chargers.
To activate the wireless reverse charging function, open your phone’s control center and select the “Wireless Reverse Charging” option. Next, place the device you want to charge on the back of your phone. Avoid placing metal objects between the devices, as this may damage them.
Once the Wireless Reverse Charging is activated, you can watch the progress on your screen. Once the charging is finished, the Wireless Reverse Charging will automatically deactivate. You can also disable the feature from your phone’s Settings menu if you prefer.
USB ports are commonly found in modern vehicles, allowing you to connect your smartphone for audio streaming, or use it as a sat nav. But you must be sure that your cables are compatible and not damaged or frayed.
Some older USB ports have a different shape than the newer, more popular USB-C port, but it usually doesn’t matter which way round you plug them in. USB ports are also now generally faster than previous data ports, and can power low-power devices too.
Look out for the classic black lightning bolt icon next to a USB port to indicate that it offers fast charging for smartphones. It’s also a good idea to always use the charger that came with your smartphone, which is optimised for its specific battery. Other tips include avoiding leaving your phone in the sun, or on top of a heater. This can cause your phone to become hot, draining the battery and shortening its life.