Category:

# What is Inductive Charging?

Article Details
• Written By: M. McGee
• Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
2003-2019
Conjecture Corporation
 As President of Uruguay, José Mujica refused to live in the presidential mansion and gave away 90% of his salary.  more...

 October 16 ,  1964 :  China became the fifth country in the world to successfully detonate a nuclear bomb.  more...
wiseGEEK Slideshows

Inductive charging is a method of moving power wirelessly. A power-generating source system is placed near a power storing or power-transferring system. An electromagnetic field is generated between the two objects, and power moves from one system to the other. Inductive charging is a common way of moving power from a main system to a subsystem, such as the power grid to a local transformer. It may also work on a smaller scale, allowing hand-held gadgets to benefit from wireless recharging.

Regardless of the scale used, inductive charging works the same way. To start, two power systems are placed very close to one another. These power systems do not need to be exposed or connected to each other. Each of these power systems contains an electrical coil. This coil stores electricity for the device’s eventual use.

As a result of the coils’ proximity to each other, they generate a low-power electrical field that connects them. This field allows the two systems to transfer electricity as though they were connected. In general, this will result in the two power systems sharing electricity until they both have exactly the same amount of power. Since a small amount of power is lost in the transferal, this equilibrium is generally only possible when both systems are out of power.

With inductive charging, one of the devices generates power or has an external power source, and one of them doesn’t. Since one device is constantly powered, it will never run out of electricity; this is the sender. When the receiver can’t take on any more power, the sender stops sending it over. This system works around the normal problem of induction by constantly keeping the power systems full.

Induction has several advantages over standard power transferal. One of the main benefits is that it's wireless. This allows the power systems to have a modular construction, making repairs easier. Since it is wireless, the power systems may be completely enclosed, making the system air- and watertight. In the case of electric gadgets, there is no upper limit on the amount of devices that may be charged at once; this allows a single inductive charging mat to charge several items at the same time.

The main disadvantages of inductive charging are heat and power consumption. In most cases, it takes more power to inductively charge an item than charge it through normal means. This is a result of the power lost to the electrical field used to connect the coils. In addition, the process has the potential to generate a lot of heat. The amount of heat generated is an indicator of the amount of electricity being lost during the process.