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How Do Wireless Chargers Work?

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 by | Filed Under: I've Always Wanted To Know...

I’ve Always Wanted To Know:

How Do Wireless Chargers Work?


Wireless charging is a popular new feature included on some cell phones and available as an add-on to many others. How does the charger work? Does it require special batteries? Is it safe? I’ll go through each question step by step.

How does the charger work? In most cases, wireless charging works by inductive charging. Inductive charging uses a base station or power mat that creates a strong electromagnetic (EM) field. The receiving device has a induction coil in it which converts the strong EM field back into regular electricity to charge the battery. Wireless charging is not a new invention (invented by Nikola Tesla) and has been used in early crystal radios to power the radio, though its current implementation is significantly improved in efficiency and design.

Does it require special batteries? The answer is both yes and no. Technically speaking, the actual battery does not need to be different, but the induction coil and mechanism needs to be built into the device to allow the charging. In most implementations, that mechanism is either built into the battery or made into a case which connects to the phone or device via the charging port. Wireless charging is less efficient than traditional AC wall adapters, so the energy usage may be significantly higher.

Is wireless charging safe? The main benefit of wireless charging over traditional charging is the safety of the unit. Because no direct electrical connection is made, there is no risk of being electrocuted by touching the mat or having liquid spill on it. This is the primary reason wireless charging is preferred for some medical implants, due to the reduced risk of injury. The lack of corrosion/damage to the charging port is also a strong benefit, as all of the components needed to charge are inside of the device.

Is wireless charging available for your device? That’s the ultimate question, which depends on your specific device and the brand of wireless chargers you go with. You can find wireless charging mats at many electronics retailers, and there will usually be cases or replacement batteries to fit most major brands of phones and devices. Popular brands include Duracell powermat (pictured above). Energizer inductive charger and others can be found by searching for wireless charger and the model of the device you want to charge on Google.


Do you have a general technology or electronics question you always wanted to know like “How does a Microwave work?” or “Why do LED’s last so long?” Write me at and your question may be answered in an upcoming “I Always Wanted To Know.” For specific computer support questions ask our writers by clicking here.

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One Response to “How Do Wireless Chargers Work?”

  1. Mike Coloma says:

    What is a ‘Hot spot’ device for tablets and computers? How does it work?

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