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Power management

Understanding wire-less charging

May 11, 2012 | Markus Huschens, Murata Electronics Europe | 222904584
Understanding wire-less charging The increasing popularity of battery-powered consumer electronic devices such as portable media players, smartphones and tablets has led to a host of different chargers and a tangle of wires littering the home. The concept of wirelessly charging the devices, i.e. without any direct-wired connection, has been around for a while but is now rapidly gaining interest to make it more flexible and useable. But what are the different techniques available, and what are the design challenges an engineer needs to deal with?
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Being able to remove the need for charger cables and wirelessly charge your consumer device has many attractions. Perhaps we should be more specific and say that the goal here is to provide a way of charging an applications battery by other innovative means other than by wires or connectors.

Already popular in a number of consumer devices such as an electric toothbrush, the approach has been dominated by an inductive method based on Maxwells law. The variation in a magnetic field from a coil induces a current in another coupled coil. While the inductive approach using magnetic fields is suitable for a number of small applications like the one above, the use of it in more modern consumer electronics such as tablets and smartphones creates several engineering design challenges. As the power to feed the battery increases, the related efficiency or the flexibility in positioning the coupling coil also arises. The main concern with an inductive approach is how to control EMI generated by the signal creating or transmitting the energy, using an inductive field, to the receiving device. The receiving device then converts magnetic energy into electric energy so that it can charge the battery. WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, Cellular systems, and FM radio are just some of the many wireless voice and data connectivity methods that could suffer interference from such electro-magnetic fields.
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