How Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Work?


So you’re outside chasing around that rare
Squirtle, when BAM–your phone dies! We can’t help you catch Pokémon, but we
can give you three hacks for keeping your phone battery juiced. [Splash] Alright before we get into the hacks–here’s
how your phone battery works. Smartphones, laptops, and Teslas get their
power from rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. All batteries have the same three basic parts:
a positive electrode called a cathode, a negative electrode called an anode, and a chemical
layer called an electrolyte that lets electrical charge flow between the electrodes. In lithium-ion batteries, the electrode combo
is usually a lithium cobalt oxide cathode and a graphite anode. When you plug in your phone, electrons enter
your phone’s battery and cause lithium ions to meet up with them at the anode. Once at the anode, the lithium atoms nestle
in sites between the graphite’s carbon layers. When you unplug your phone, the process reverses:
lithium atoms at the anode start losing their electrons. The electrons zip through the circuit, providing
the current to run your phone. Meanwhile, lithium ions journey through the
electrolyte. They reunite with the electrons at the cathode. These processes keep going until all ions
reach the cathode, causing that dreaded flashing battery symbol. Every time you burn through 100% of the battery’s
charge, which is called its capacity, you take the battery through one charge cycle. Each cycle inches the battery closer to death
by shaving off some of its total capacity. So here’s how to keep your phone’s battery
charge and life lasting longer with science. Hack #1: Avoid heat! Heat does nasty things to lithium-ion batteries. And we’re not talking thermonuclear-level
heat: we’re talking about when you forgot your phone in a hot car or left it in the
sun at the beach. As your phone gets warm, the heat speeds up
the chemical reactions that cause a battery to go kaput. These reactions break down the electrolyte
and form products on the anode. This blocks lithium ions from nestling into
the graphite. Fewer site means less capacity and you’ll
have to charge your phone more often. Even worse, heat can start a “thermal runaway”. Once the cobalt oxide gets hot enough, it
starts a cycle of reactions that throw out more and more heat. All this heat starts to boil the liquids in
your phone’s battery building pressure until the battery EXPLODES!!! Hack #2: Don’t Let Your Phone Die. Lithium-ion batteries don’t need to be fully
discharged before recharging, unlike nickel batteries. Nickel batteries suffer from the “memory
effect”—meaning that unless they’re at 0%, they’ll “forget” part of their
capacity when recharged. But lithium-ions never forget, and they loathe
a full discharge. When you drained your phone to zero, your
phone lost more capacity so your charges won’t last as long. So make sure your phone doesn’t die. If it’s on the verge of death just turn
it off. You can tweet us thanks later. Hack #3: Store at 50% charge. We weren’t kidding about lithium-ions hating
it when you let your phone die. If you’re leaving a fully discharged battery
alone for a while, it could get unstable. Like, the thermal-runaway-and possibly-blow-up
kind of unstable. Fortunately for us, modern batteries trip
a self-destruct circuit before destabilizing. Unfortunately for us, self-destructed batteries
never work again. So if you’re going on vacation to a foreign
country where you won’t be using your phone, make sure the battery is around 50% before
turning it off. And if you’re letting it sit for a longer
period of time, turn it on about every six months to make sure it’s charged to 50%. This way you avoid both self-destruction and
capacity loss. With our simple hacks, you can keep your current
battery in top shape for the next time you go hunting Squirtle. What features do you want to see in your next
smartphone? Let us know in the comments and hey, thanks
for watching.

About the author

Comments

  1. Hey everyone thanks for watching. Just a little FYI that if you have a new Samsung that is on the recall list you need to do that ASAP. Nothing causing thermal runaway and an explosion of the battery faster than a design flaw.

  2. I might be horribly wrong, but in my experience it's bull s^%t about heat part. i would say keep it away from cold. it always discharges way way way faster in cold πŸ™‚

  3. I left an iPod nano 2G in a drawer for 8 years.
    Now it has no battery whatsoever, it needs to run off of a power bank or mains adapter.

    Only Apple certified mains adapters and batteries work properly.
    Damn you apple!

  4. Another good tip is to get a charger with a battery built in so that in case of an emergency that you have no source of power around you the phone can still get charged.

  5. phones shut themselves off automatically when their battery voltage gets too low to avoid a deep cycle. The difference between 5% and letting your battery "die" is practically nothing.

  6. I was wondering if it's a good idea to power down your phone at night to give the battery a rest. Os, should it be left on most of the time? Thanks.

  7. So..
    *Don't bring your phone to your daily volcano sightseeing/walk.
    *Charge your phone before it dies (nobody likes funerals)
    * Don't turn off your phone for longer periods of time (a couple of months or more) if it doesn't have more than 50% battery and remember to turn it on at least once every 6 months (like any of can actually survive without your phone for longer than 6 days)..
    cough I meant 6 hours

  8. wow totally a waste of my time, should be called " an idiot's guide to an idiotic how your phone battery works"
    and im still waiting for hacks and longer battery life.
    however I do have to say good job on the animation.
    how ever the information was very lacking.

  9. I think one of the problems is people get confused with battery chemistry. People are still applying the rules fot NiCd & Ni-MH even though that chemistry has not been used in phones for years.Some of the problem is in the stores who still tell customers to charge the battery for 15 hrs before using. If people stuck to road rules like they do old battery rules we would have no road accidents.

  10. It's worth mentioning that a lot of companies are building better batteries . So hopefully in a couple of years the batteries will last much longer

  11. Huh, this debunks the "let your phone fully die before charging it again" myth. I used to do this a lot but I guess I'm not supposed to.

  12. By the way it's 40% not 50% and you should also tell them to avoid charging to 100% charge your phone to 80% that way your li ion battery should last a very long time

  13. How about leaving the phone charged at 100% over night? I charge my phone every night to keep the battery topped off even though an hour worth of charge would suffice.

    Also, in terms of heat, I'm assuming that the heat generated by the phone that's "over active" (pardon the non technical description) would be bad for battery life as well, wouldn't it?

    Thanks!

  14. Do water purification system next, when travelling to another country which has no clean water source, you have to boil it to kill the germs but for how long? What about filtration systems do they kill microbacterias? What are the chemicals in water that we add? All I know is we have flouride in the tap.

  15. OK, I'm a little late to the discussion but here's something I noticed. If my phone gets too cold, say under 5 C, it discharges very quickly. I haven't measured by how much, but it seems 2-3 times the normal overnight rate. If I keep my phone in my sleeping bag, the discharge rate is much lower.

  16. Silly question: Can unused 2015/16 smartphone battery like LG V10s eventually rendered unusable if kept, for example cabinet, for like over 5 years? I plan to buy extras as a precaution.

  17. how did you arrive at the constant figure of 50% ? any formula? why not 40% then? also does the total capacity of a battery comes into play? eg a 2300mAh battery and a 4300mAh battery.. hope you'll reply .. thanks..

  18. This is basically Bullshit. If you follow all this so called advice, at the end of your batteries life, it might extend the life for at most an extra day or so, but in the long run, it is just worn out and needs to be replaced. So if you want to listen and follow all this bullshit to maybe get an extra day or two of battery life, so be it. More than likely you won't get anything extended. So go ahead, be a Stooge, and try it, at a waste of your time. If you have a taste for shit,,,,, eat it.

  19. Cathode is positive and Anode is negative! Have you ever been to a science class? Junior high school students know better.

  20. whats problem My phone IS having cause it doesnt Even say Power low when it shut Downs at 31% what the heck

  21. Everytime i charge my phone, i always let it charge until it reach 100%. Then i will use the phone as usual. Do i really need to charge it until 100% everytime? Or is there any harm if i just wanted to charge it until 100% everytime?

  22. IPhone x. We took out 3.5mm audio and the home button its very evolutionarily awesome… Why not make thermal layered lithium ion battery and or make batteries much more powerful

  23. I am your 1 thousandth, seven hundredth like, exactly. cool to see that number change with my click πŸ™‚ (kicks it from 1.6 to 1.7k likes, rare to see)

  24. some say dont fully charge your smartphone, only charge 40-80% for maximize battery. some said just fully charge to 100%. not sure which to follow.

  25. Finally a video about making the battery last instead of all the videos that say that in the title but are actually about making the charge last

  26. Just came upon your site, in that I'm thinking of changing out my Motorhome batteries as well. I've got 4 golf cart 6V batteries, thinking of going with AGM this time. Wondering if I should add two more ( lovy.biz/44oi ) as I have a residential fridge that tends to pull out many Ah's from my system. I'm new to this lifestyle, so a ton to learn…nothing for wifi or cell boosting yet, so as I say, lots to learn.

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