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Mobile technology is infinitely changing and mobiles devices continue to shape our work place. Read about the technology and devices that shape PC Locs solutions, and potentially your working and learning environment.

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Device Charging 101: The Importance of Amps

17.11.20 by velsen in Blog, Industry News, Product News

When your phone battery runs low, and you’ve left your cable and power supply at home, it’s hard to avoid the temptation of grabbing the closest charger for a quick charge. From smartphones to laptops, USB charging is everywhere these days. There are even rechargeable dog collars! But just because there’s an abundance of USB chargers and power supplies, that doesn’t mean they’re one size fits all. You would never grab an iPad power supply to charge a Chromebook. We’re here to explain the importance of matching the amps and voltage of a power supply to the product you’re charging, and why you should take notice of them on the tech specs of your charging solution.

Amps Go with the Current

First, let’s start with what an amp actually is. We’re talking electricity and electrons here, not guitars and concerts. When creating an electric current, it’s useful to be able to measure it. Electrical current is measured in ampere or “amps.” The quantity of amps tells you how much electricity is being drawn through the power cable.

Working with Voltage

For most mobile devices, the voltage to recharge the battery is typically five volts of direct current, shown as 5V DC. It’s critical to match the voltage of a power supply or charger to the device you’re charging. If the device specifications read “5V DC,” then 5V DC must be applied to the product. Apply more volts such as 12V, and you run the risk of destroying the device.

If you apply too little, the device won’t work. Think of your device as a flashlight with brand new batteries. When you turn it on, the flashlight is nice and bright because the batteries are at the correct voltage. As time goes by, the batteries start to drain and the voltage drops. The flashlight dims as it’s operating at a lower voltage and eventually, it will stop working. The volts must be correct for a product to function.

Power Supply Considerations

A power supply or charger supplies current. Devices like mobile phones, tablets and laptops consume current and will take as much as they need. If a product requires 2.1 amps, then the power supply should supply 2.1 amps or more. If the power supply provides more than 2.1 amps, the product will still only take 2.1 amps. If the power supply only supplies 1 amp, the device may fail to charge, or it will charge very slowly.

While it’s essential to match the voltage between the charger and the device, it doesn’t matter if the power supply or charger can provide more current then the device requires. However, providing less current will prevent charging or slow it down. A poorly designed charger can also prevent charging or increase the time it takes to charge. That’s why you should only use reputable manufacturers.

REAL-WORLD EXAMPLE

An iPad requires a charger capable of supplying 2.1 amps at a voltage of no less than 4.97V at the charger connector on the cart. Failure to provide this amount of current at the right voltage will extend the amount of time required to charge the iPad battery. This detrimental effect can be easily demonstrated by charging an iPad with iPhone charger. An iPhone charger can only supply the iPad with 1 Amp, which means charging will be dramatically slower (6-7 hours compared to 3-4 hours using a proper charger). In the real world, imagine a student, teacher, nurse or maintenance engineer checking out an iPad in the afternoon that was placed on charge in the morning. The iPad will still not be fully charged. If iPads and tablets are uncharged, students can’t learn, nurses can’t communicate, and employees can’t perform their jobs.

How to Safely Charge Multiple Devices

When you’re tasked with simultaneously charging multiple devices at once, the challenge is finding enough power outlets to get the job done. That’s why PC Locs offers the remote control ECO Safe Charge™ Power Management System. All you need to get started is your device, cable and power adapter (which plugs into the ECO Safe Charge unit). This intelligent power management unit can be programmed in the following ways:

  • Sequentially stage power to a group of connected devices, reducing the possibility of a momentary electrical overload.
  • Sequentially stage power to each group of outlets but automatically turns the power off after a selected time has elapsed.
  • Individually powers each group of outlets at a time for the duration selected then automatically turns the power off before applying power to the next group of outlets until it has cycled through all groups of outlets.

The great benefits of ECO Safe Charge include:

  • Reduces the possibility of blowing a circuit when a Cart or Station filled with devices and is plugged into a single outlet.
  • The ECO-TIMER™ functions can reduce your energy consumption, reduce carbon emissions, extend the life of device batteries and reduce your power bills.

Don’t neglect the importance of reading the product specs when purchasing charging solutions to ensure that you’re charging at the correct rate for the devices you’re using. If the spec sheet doesn’t show the charging current, be sure to ask the manufacturer.

If secure and efficient charging is important to you, check out our FUYL Tower smart lockers. All compartments contain a power outlet and a 2.4 amp USB port so you can securely charge almost any device, including iPads, tablets, laptops, mobile phones, Chromebooks and more!

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