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Overcharging is bad for the lithium-ion batteries inside your devices. This issue is why companies like Apple have introduced charge optimization features to their devices. But many devices don't have these kinds of protections -- and their batteries can suffer if they are left on charge for extended periods.
Now, Canadian firm LAVA Computers has a simple and low-cost gadget that claims to add years to your device's battery life.
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Called Charge-Check, this compact, universal plug-and-play adapter uses Battery Modulation to protect your lithium-ion battery from overcharge and bloating.
Claiming to be the ultimate battery protection for personal devices, LAVA's Charge-Check is a compact, universal plug-and-play adapter that uses Continuously Active Battery Modulation to protect your lithium-ion battery from overcharge and bloating.
Using Charge-Check is simple. You pop it in-line with whatever device you are currently charging, and it starts working straight away.
There's a built-in default charge strategy, where Charge-Check monitors charge level of the device using CABM (Continuously Active Battery Modulation) and charges the battery until sufficiently topped-up for up to a maximum of 4 hours.
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At this point, Charge-Check will stop charging for a fixed length of time, the default being 3 hours, before attempting to top-up the battery again. According to LAVA, this is a good strategy because lithium-ion batteries are proven to last longer when the battery's charge percentage is kept in the 50-60% charge zone.
You can customize the amount of time -- from 1 hour to 5 hours -- using the button on the front, and Charge-Check can also be set to do a single charge and then stop.
Also: Your Apple charger may be a counterfeit, and this tiny gadget can tell
On the front of Charge-Check are a pair of LEDs that act as charge indicators, but if you charge things at night in your bedroom, these could become annoying, so LAVA have included a night-mode feature that turns these lights off.
I've been testing this device and it does what it says in terms of controlling charging, and does so without overheating or causing any problems. In fact, it's a great tool for looking after things that you keep on charge and turn to every so often.
For example, on my workbench I have an LED light, thermal camera, and power bank that are constantly on charge, and I feel adding Charge-Check to the equation would help keep the batteries in these devices healthier for longer.
Also: The best power banks for recharging your devices
Note that the output port on Charge-Check is USB-A, and with the supply of these cables dwindling, rapidly being replaced by USB-C, you might need to dig out older cables from your stash, or use a USB-A to USB-C adapter, which I've tested and works fine.
The only thing I can't test right now is how much extra battery lifespan Charge-Check would give me. However, the way it charges is certainly better in terms of lifespan, and it will be a lot better than just piling power into a device continually. I think this tool is perfect for devices that are on charge for extended periods of time. It's certainly an innovative solution to a tricky problem.