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Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by Gargoyle, Dec 22, 2011.
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A general intro to the powermat wireless charging technology.
Problem is cases. Won't work with my Otterbox case.
Did have the Touchstone charger for my Palm Pre.
Problem isn't the seats at the airport or in the car. Problem is that my iPhone doesn't have this technology built in. Or my wife's Android phone. And it's generally not easy to put a case around it that then also plugs into the power port of the phone without making it bulky.
My wife's Palm Pre had induction charging with the Touchstone, and it worked reasonably well. But the device was designed with this feature in mind, i.e. it wasn't a third party solution. The Touchpad tablet has it, too, but I didn't buy the charging station for it, as it didn't seem worth the extra money.
This is a chicken and the egg problem. Putting the tech inside gadgets requires there to be more pads available all around but more pads require more gadgets. Despite a rather large number of companies in the Wireless Power Consortium, there aren't really many choices for silicon providers, so going in without second source is not a safe affair.
My problem is the inefficiency of these charging mats. It is a waste of massive amounts of electricity.
When the figure out how to eliminate that I'd be interested.
I had a 3 mat charger that I used for a while while me and the wife both had iPhones and it was better that way, since in spite of the inefficiencies we were at least using it to charge two devices.
But I agree with all the problems listed above... the fact that the feature isn't built in, the added bulk of adding a charging case (or charging battery door in some cases), etc.
I really need to plug my electric toothbrush charger into my kill-a-watt measuring tool to see how much I pay for keeping it topped off at all times.
What numbers are you comparing for the efficiency conclusion? Cheap AC/DC bricks are quite horrendous with efficiencies, but no one pays attention to that.
i do not have numbers but will look for them.
Do Apple's "Designed in California" bricks/cubes for iPhones and iPads fall into the "cheap" category?
Not sure what the question is about. Apple designed products or Apple approved Made for iPad/od/hone products have to pass a good number of performance criteria, but efficiency is not an overriding priority.
PowerMat claims 85% efficiency, plus they have auto shut-off so when the device reports to the case that it's 100% charged, it will shut off and supposedly not waste any juice. Only WildCharge (which I think was licensed by Energizer) claims higher efficiency with wireless power since they supposedly use some kind of patented conduction tech rather than induction like PowerMat does.
Most of the decent charging bricks out there by comparison are 40-50% efficient, with a ton of waste in the form of heat. Some of the cheap-o bad ones are as bad as 20% efficient by comparison.
Mats might be inefficient, but it's all relative.
You said that cheap bricks are inefficient. My question was: do Apple products fall into the "cheap" category. I could have been more precise, as they are actually not exactly cheap, so I'll rephrase: do Apple products fall into the "inefficient" category? And if so, how do I find more efficient alternatives?
That's a hard one to answer without looking at all the energy in/out numbers of each solution out there. I don't think you'll find anything much more efficient. Most manufacturers simply won't spent much (or any) extra money to get another 5-10% efficiency on a 10W device. You are certainly getting more efficient solution than the knocks off that often use subpar designs and linear regulation, hence the heat and inefficiency noted by viguera above.
For those interested in technology, you might want to take note that Motorola is apparently jumping in big time at CES this year. A bit surprising, as theirs was not the name coming up at the top of companies pushing the technology.
If you ever find those, let us know. I did a little research and it appears that the efficiencies are at least on par.