What they didn't tell me about fast charging: there is absolute chaos with no solution in sight

Neither 30, nor 50, nor 80, nor 100W. Mobile phones are already charged up to 240Wwith the 300W sticking out the paw We have spent years sacrificing the longevity of batteries in exchange for these spectacular figures. I will not be the one to judge who prefers to charge in 10 minutes to gain a few percent extra battery life after a few years. But there is a problem that is not usually addressed: the tremendous chaos that exists with the different charging standards.

Logic tells us that, if we have a mobile that charges at 120W and we have a combination of charger and cable prepared for this figure, the mobile should charge at maximum power with said charger. It is not like this. We might also think that, if we avoid the brand’s own protocols and use standards such as Power Delivery, a charger and cable prepared for X voltage should charge X mobile at that certain voltage. It’s not like that either.

All with USB-C. Each one with their protocol

I currently have two phones at home that charge at 120W. If you’ve never seen a charger of this caliber for a phone, you can imagine that its dimensions (and the thickness of the cable) are unusual. The approach was logical: having this 120W charger and cable, I will be able to charge this other 120W phone. Mistake.

By connecting the charger from a certain phone to the other and checking the figures with my voltage meter, I saw that did not charge more than 30W. I didn’t get the bills, even though each phone had its protocol. Let’s talk, first of them.

Each manufacturer uses its own protocol. It doesn’t matter if two phones can charge at X watts. If you don’t use the original charger and cable, you won’t get that charging speed

Although many manufacturers charge at exactly the same voltage, the protocols are different. OPPO has SuperVOOC, OnePlus has Dash Charge, Vivo has Flash Charge, Xiaomi its Turbo charge… In fact, there is some rather curious information about these protocols.

For example, the technical sheet of the Chinese Vivo X90 Pro tells us that the phone fully charges in 25 minutes. It has a 4,870mAh battery and a 120W fast charge. The Chinese Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+ has a 5,000mAh battery (more battery than the Vivo) and 120W charging (the same as the Vivo). Charge in 19 minutes. How is it possible?

Although they have the same 120W peak, each phone regulates the charging cycle in a way. Given the data, in this example, the charging of the Xiaomi will be more aggressive than that of the Vivo to be faster, so the chargers are no longer compatible with said maximum charge.

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Here we are faced with the first problem: without the original charger and cable we cannot charge at full power. It turns out, even more bloody, the matter of the cable. Without going any further, my colleague Javier Pastor has a Huawei P40 Pro, with a 40W fast charging system, nothing out of the ordinary. Without the original cable, even with the charging head, the phone does not charge at full power. It shows a message asking kindly to use the original cable. Solution? Go to the checkout and buy the brand’s cable. It is not a Huawei problem, it happens with each and every one of the Android brands with their own charging protocols.

Not even with the same protocol solves the problem

After verifying that a 120W charger and cable are not capable of charging a phone that supports 120W, I went to consult the Power Delivery documentation to try to understand what was going on. Even if the brand’s own protocol is not used, these types of chargers (with Power Delivery certification) should be able to charge at decent speeds.

Power Delivery supports up to 240W. But that does not mean that a 120W Power Delivery charger will charge your 120W mobile to the maximum. Standards Stuff

Power Delivery technically allows manufacturers to load 48V, which opens the door to 240W. One of the key points here? Today’s phones and chargers don’t just support PPD (Power Delivery). Many of them are compatible with PPS (Programmable Power Supply).

As its name suggests, PPS technology allows gradual changes between current and voltage. The objective is that the load is more efficient and generates less heat, allowing the manufacturer to vary between the load values ​​that it deems pertinent. It is something that also allows Power Delivery so that brands can achieve that, even if we have a fully compatible charger, only the maximum values ​​are reached with the proprietary charger.

How to know the health status of your Android battery and how it can lose capacity

In short, the picture is a bit bleak. We are in one of the sweetest moments in history when it comes to cargo. Phones that charge in less than ten minutes, mid-range with 67W, the GaN fever to reduce the size of chargers…

All this so that we can only get the most out of the fast charge of our phone if it has its original cable and charger. Good to unify everything with USB-C, but the protocol war has been lost by users.

Image | OPPO

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Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a freelance writer working on news website. He contributes to Our Blog and more. Wise also works in higher ed sustainability and previously in stream restoration. He loves running, trees and hanging out with her family.

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