Cell phone users know that there is nothing more frustrating than a low battery alert in the middle of a busy day. Most people need their cell phones to be functional at all times, as they are integral to communication with friends, family members, and colleagues, whether it is via talk or text. Owners of smartphones often become dependent on them for much more than communication, using them to browse the Web, check email, download media, edit documents, add information to their personal calendars, and much more.
With the current reliance on cell phones, users consider it more important than ever to have reliable battery life. To ensure full power for their cell phone during the day, most users charge it up at night using a cell phone charger. This guide will explore some common sources of loss or damage for cell phone chargers, explain how cell phone chargers work, and describe some of the benefits of one type of charger in particular: the USB cell phone charger. With this information, buyers will know what to look for when they shop for USB cell phone chargers.
Sources of Loss or Damage for Cell Phone Chargers
In spite of all that manufacturers do to make cell phone chargers reliable, they may eventually malfunction or fail. Users should double check their phone halfway through the charging process to ensure that the charge is holding. If it appears that the charger is no longer performing its function, users should immediately begin the search for a new one.
Another potential reason for needing a new charger is loss or damage. Chargers are relatively small items that are easily misplaced in a home or office. In a home with children or pets, cell phone chargers may be carried off and hidden by a small child and not discovered until months later, or the household’s dog may decide that the charger would make a good chew toy and damage the wiring. Buyers who find themselves frequently replacing broken or lost chargers may want to stock up on several used USB chargers, which can usually be purchased at low prices from some retailers.
How USB Cell Phone Chargers Work
Learning about the interaction of a charger and a cell phone battery can help buyers identify problems and understand what type of charger they need. First, buyers should know that today’s cell phones commonly use lithium-ion batteries, which contain an anode, a cathode, and a conductive electrolytic substance between the two. The anode is made of carbon, while the cathode is made of lithium metal oxide.
When the cell phone is functioning normally, lithium ions flow gradually from the anode to the cathode. This chemical process depletes the battery energy resources over time. The number of hours of cell phone battery life depends on the level and on the type of activity. For instance, on a typical smartphone, a simple phone conversation takes much less battery power than video streaming or gaming.
Eventually, the battery’s charge drops low enough to trigger the low battery alerts with which most cell phone users are familiar. If users ignore these alerts and continue to use the cell phone, the battery will completely run out of power and the phone will shut down.
If possible, users should charge the battery as soon as they receive an alert. Otherwise, their phone may power down at the worst possible moment. In the case of a USB charger, users would simply connect the charger to the appropriate port in their phone and plug the other end into a USB port on a personal computer or laptop. The device serving as the power source needs to be on while charging takes place.
As the current flows from the power source through the charger’s wire and into the cell phone’s battery, it initiates a chemical reaction, causing the lithium ions to flow from the cathode back to the anode. The reaction allows the battery to store the chemical energy and use it later to operate the cell phone.
Types of Cell Phone Chargers
Buyers will usually encounter three types of cell phone chargers on the market: wall chargers, USB chargers, and car chargers. The differences between these three chargers lies primarily in the source from which they draw the power necessary to charge the cell phone battery. For buyers’ convenience, the chart below clarifies the distinction between these three types of chargers.
Type of Charger
USB chargers draw power from a functioning electronic device such as a personal computer. They connect to the cell phone at one end and to the USB port at the other.
Wall chargers draw AC (alternating current) from a regular electrical outlet and convert it to usable DC (direct current) for the cell phone battery.
Car chargers are plugged into a car’s DC power outlet (usually the cigarette lighter socket). These chargers borrow power from the car battery to charge the cell phone.
From the descriptions in the chart above, buyers should be able to decide which type of charger best fits their needs. Many buyers choose to buy more than one type of charger in order to have additional options at home or on the road.
Advantages of a USB Cell Phone Charger
While each type of charger accomplishes the same function in nearly the same way, the USB cell phone charger has a few advantages over wall chargers and car chargers. USB chargers are compact, versatile, quick, and convenient.
A USB cell phone charger takes up much less space than the other two types of chargers do. In addition to the phone connector and wire, wall chargers have an adapter node at one end where the conversion from AC to DC takes place. Car chargers have a long, bulky portion that fits into the car’s dashboard DC socket. A USB charger, on the other hand, is little more than a short length of cable with a small connector at each end. It can be tucked into a purse, a pocket, or a laptop case and taken anywhere with ease.
USB chargers have a distinct advantage over car chargers when it comes to versatility. While car chargers can be very useful, they are designed to fit a very limited kind of socket, found only in automobiles. In a home, office, or restaurant, they are useless. By contrast, the USB charger will fit into most computers or laptops, in any room or location anywhere in the world.
The USB charger also has a compatibility advantage over the wall charger. Since electrical outlets overseas differ from those in the United States, North American wall chargers for cell phones are useless in Europe unless the owner has a special adapter. The USB charger needs no adapter. It can use the energy from the traveler’s laptop or another personal computer.
While all USB cell phone chargers should supply adequate charge to the cell phone within a reasonable time frame, some chargers are more powerful than others are. These chargers usually accomplish the job in much less time. Buyers should check the output specifications on any charger that they are considering to ensure that it will supply a swift recharge. If the USB charger was not originally designed for a cell phone, but was intended for a larger mobile device, it should be able to charge the phone without causing any issues or overloads. It may even be able to finish the recharge more quickly.
Its size, compatibility, and charging speed make the USB charger a convenient choice for busy cell phone users. To avoid being caught without a cell phone during a hectic school day, college students may want to keep a USB charger in their backpack or laptop bag. Professionals will likely want to keep one in a drawer at the office or carry one in a pad folio or briefcase. Parents juggling multiple children and appointments could keep a USB charger plugged into the home computer at all times so that they always know where their charger is and can hook up their phone as needed.
While most electronic devices must be turned on in order for the USB charger to work, some desktop PCs are the exception. These PCs have sleep-and-charge ports that allow some energy to flow even when the machine is off. Users may also find that one USB port on their computer can charge their cell phone faster than another does. To determine which ports may allow sleep-and-charge and which will provide the fastest recharge, owners should check their computer’s specifications or experiment with a few different scenarios to find out what their options are.
Buying a USB Cell Phone Charger on eBay
Although you can purchase USB cell phone chargers in many brick and mortar retail locations, including stores run by the major cell phone companies, you may find a wider selection and better bargains if you visit an online auction site like eBay.
Many eBay sellers post packages deals or bundles, while some even offer free shipping and return policies. Every seller has a visible feedback score so that you can see how other buyers have fared with that particular seller. Also, if you have a question about particular a USB charger listing, click Ask a Question or visit the seller’s profile and click Contact Member to ask them to clarify any questions you have about the listing.
You can locate listings of USB cell phone chargers by simply typing "USB cell phone chargers" into eBay’s search bar. You can also click Electronics on the main page, select Cell Phones and Accessories, and then click Chargers and Cradles to see a long list of results, including USB chargers and some charger sets that include different kinds of chargers for bargain prices.
USB chargers are a convenient way for buyers to keep their cell phones fully charged and functional at all times. The broad selection of chargers available on eBay, along with its easy navigation and the user-friendly transaction process, can make the shopping experience simple and enjoyable for buyers. With a new stock of USB chargers, buyers will be ready the next time their cell phone needs to be charged quickly in an emergency or overnight.