New Gadget Claims to Protect Your Phone Battery

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Key Takeaways

  • The Canal Battery Guard is a new device that claims to extend the life of your phone battery by minimizing overheating.
  • The Canal Battery Guard gadget plugs in between a standard charging brick and a USB charging cable.
  • The gizmo is available for pre-order on Kickstarter and is expected to ship next year.
The Canal Battery Guard next to a smartphone and a cup of coffee
Canal

It’s not your imagination. Your smartphone battery doesn’t last as long as it did when you first bought it. But a new device aims to extend the life of your phone battery by minimizing overheating.

The Canal Battery Guard is a device that plugs in between a standard charging brick and a USB charging cable. By using the app to connect via Bluetooth and setting the time you’ll be waking up in the morning, the Battery Guard will keep the battery cool and safe from the harmful temperatures that can shorten its life while charging overnight, according to the company.

"The Battery Guard regulates the entire charging process to minimize the heating and damage caused by continuous charging."

"Our preliminary testing has shown the Battery Guard can cut the rate of battery decay in half, or double the lifespan of the battery," Nick Kshatri, co-founder of Canal Electronics, the maker of the Battery Guard, said in an email interview. "This not only alleviates users’ low battery anxiety during the day, but it also allows them to keep their phone longer. Keeping phones longer is better for the environment as it cuts down on electronic waste, and it’s also much more cost-effective."

Limited Lifespan

A typical phone lithium-ion battery lasts about three years, which is about 300 to 500 charge cycles, according to manufacturers. After that, the battery capacity will drop by around 20%. According to Apple, iPhone batteries are expected to last at least 500 full recharging cycles before the capacity drops under 80%. 

Close up view of the Canal Battery Guard resting on its side
Canal

"When charging a lithium-ion battery, the lithium gravitates to the anode, which is made of graphite," Gavin Harper, a research fellow at the University of Birmingham who studies battery technology, said in an email interview. "During discharge, not all of the lithium is removed, and over time, a film builds up on the surface of the anode.

"This is made of lithium atoms—lithium oxide and lithium carbonate. This degrades the performance of the battery as it accumulates because it gets in the way of the lithium being able to interact with the graphite."

From Class to Kickstarter

Kshatri and a group of friends came up with the idea for the Battery Guard four years ago when they were students together in a freshman engineering class at the University of Pittsburgh. Earlier this year, they won a $5,000 prize to help make the idea a reality. They’ve since taken their idea to Kickstarter. 

There are other products on the market that claim to extend battery life by stopping the charging process once the phone has reached 100%, also known as overcharging, though Kshatri says they differ from their product.

"This is markedly different from our product because the Battery Guard regulates the entire charging process to minimize the heating and damage caused by continuous charging," Kshatri said. "Also, the concept of 'overcharging' that these products claim to fix is a myth. Phones are smart enough to stop charging when they are full."

"This not only alleviates users’ low battery anxiety during the day, but it also allows them to keep their phone longer."

Compared to other similar products, Kshatri says other devices don’t go as far as the Battery Guard, explaining that it also "allows you to customize the charging process since you can set exactly when you want your phone to finish fully charging. This allows you to get the most possible benefit out of the charging process based on your specific schedule."

The Canal Battery Guard plugged in between an iPhone charging brick and a USB cable
Canal

You can pre-order the Battery Guard for $15 via a Kickstarter campaign, which ends on December 17. After the campaign, the company says deliveries will begin in July 2021. Customers also have the option to beta-test the Battery Guard and get it earlier in March.

In the never-ending search for more battery life, the Battery Guard could be a milestone if it lives up to its promises, and if it ever emerges from the depths of Kickstarter. In the meantime, remember to follow your ABCs (Always Be Charging).

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