Debunking an ignorant battery voltage conspiracy theory


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Feb 24, 2021
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So a while back I became aware of this weird battery conspiracy theory that's been popping up every now and then in the back alleys of social media and other places. Some people think that phones charging to 4.3+ volts is an intentional "feature" to make phone batteries last shorter and sell you more phones. It's really annoying when people spread this stuff without looking at how Li-ion/Li-Po batteries, especially the newer ones, work. Li-ion batteries use a constant current constant voltage (CC/CV) charge method. Basically, the charge chip charges them with a constant current, typically 1A to 5A (or in extreme cases even higher, which I personally kinda consider a little unsafe) depending on your phone until they reach 4.2v (or a different voltage as I will explain later). In some cases, particularly with modern fast charging phones, this part can vary from traditional CC/CV and the current will decrease a bit as it approaches the maximum voltage as Li-ion batteries tend to heat up a too much if charged too fast during that period. Once it hits the maximum voltage, the charger chip holds it to saturate the last bit of the battery with juice until the current it takes in drops below a few hundred milliamps and then cuts off. Now the one thing that the aforementioned conspiracy theorists can't be bothered to look up is the fact that most modern phone batteries are of the 3.8v or 3.85v "high voltage" type (referred to in more technical discussion boards as Li-HV). These usually have a higher capacity since they have special additives that allow them to charge to 4.3v, 4.35v, and in extreme cases even 4.4v without exploding. It's not a battery-killing conspiracy, it's just new n' fancy technology that gives you more battery life. If you charge a typical 4.2v battery above ~4.25v, it will at best get severely damaged, but can also very easily just epicly "vent with flame" (especially if charged to 4.3+ volts).

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