Device Charging 101: The Importance of Amps

shutterstock_613566698-web

I don’t know about your office, but at ours, there’s an unexplained phenomenon going on. It seems that when LocknChargers step away from their desks to grab a cup of coffee or attend a meeting, they return to find their USB charging cables and chargers have vanished in thin air!

We get it. When your phone battery runs low, and you’ve left your cable and power supply at home, it’s hard to avoid the temptation of heading to the closest office for a quick charge. From smartphones to laptops, USB charging is everywhere these days. There are even rechargeable dog collars! But just because there’s an abundance of USB chargers and power supplies, that doesn’t mean they’re one size fits all. You would never grab an iPad power supply to charge a Chromebook. We’re here to explain the importance of matching the amps and voltage of a power supply to the product you’re charging, and why you should take notice of them on the tech specs of your charging solution.

Amps Go with the Current

First, let’s start with what an amp actually is. We’re talking electricity and electrons here, not guitars and concerts. When creating an electric current, it’s useful to be able to measure it. Electrical current is measured in ampere or “amps.” The quantity of amps tells you how much electricity is being drawn through the power cable.

Working with Voltage

For most mobile devices, the voltage to recharge the battery is typically five volts of direct current, shown as 5V DC. It’s critical to match the voltage of a power supply or charger to the device you’re charging. If the device specifications read “5V DC,” then 5V DC must be applied to the product. Apply more volts such as 12V, and you run the risk of destroying the device.

If you apply too little, the device won’t work. Think of your device as a flashlight with brand new batteries. When you turn it on, the flashlight is nice and bright because the batteries are at the correct voltage. As time goes by, the batteries start to drain and the voltage drops. The flashlight dims as it’s operating at a lower voltage and eventually, it will stop working. So the volts must be correct for a product to function.

Power Supply Considerations

A power supply or charger supplies current. Devices like mobile phones, tablets and laptops consume current and will take as much as they need. So if a product requires 2.1 amps, then the power supply should supply 2.1 amps or more. If the power supply provides more than 2.1 amps, the product will still only take 2.1 amps. If the power supply only supplies 1 amp, the device may fail to charge, or it will charge very slowly.

While it’s essential to match the voltage between the charger and the device, it doesn’t matter if the power supply or charger can provide more current then the device requires. However, providing less current will prevent charging or slow it down. A poorly designed charger can also prevent charging or increase the time it takes to charge. That’s why you should only use reputable manufacturers.

REAL-WORLD EXAMPLE

An iPad requires a charger capable of supplying 2.1 amps at a voltage of no less than 4.97V at the charger connector on the cart. Failure to provide this amount of current at the right voltage will extend the amount of time required to charge the iPad battery. This detrimental effect can be easily demonstrated by charging an iPad with an iPhone charger. An iPhone charger can only supply the iPad with 1 amp, which means charging will be dramatically slower. In the real world, imagine a student, teacher, nurse or maintenance engineer checking out an iPad in the morning that was placed on charge the night before. Likely, the iPad will still not be fully charged. If iPads and tablets are uncharged, students can’t learn, nurses can’t communicate, and employees can’t perform their jobs.

How to Safely Charge Multiple Devices

When you’re tasked with simultaneously charging multiple devices at once, obviously borrowing a charging cord and power supply from a coworker isn’t an option. That’s why LocknCharge offers the remote control ECO Safe Charge™ Power Management System. This intelligent programmable power management unit can charge multiple laptops and power other electrical equipment safely.

In our high capacity charging stations and charging carts, the devices can be programmed for a certain amount of time. If the device has built-in software, it won’t overcharge. If the device just needs a quick pick me up in the middle of the day, it will charge just as fast in its cart. You control how long you want your devices charged, and ECO Safe Charge will supply as much power as the device needs, regardless of how much of a charge it currently has. Other great benefits of ECO Safe Charge:

  • Reduces the possibility of blowing a circuit when a Cart or Station filled with devices is plugged into a single outlet.
  • The ECO-TIMER™ functions can reduce your energy consumption, reduce carbon emissions, extend the life of device batteries and reduce your power bills.

Don’t neglect the importance of reading the product specs when purchasing charging solutions to ensure that you’re charging at the correct rate for the devices you’re using. If the spec sheet doesn’t show the charging current for the device you wish to charge, be sure to ask the manufacturer.

If secure and efficient charging is important to you, check out our FUYL Tower smart lockers. All compartments contain a power outlet and a 2.4 amp USB port so you can securely charge almost any device, including iPads, tablets, laptops, mobile phones, Chromebooks and more!

Contact LocknCharge Today

Continue Reading

Supporting Digital Transformation in the Workplace and Schools: Spiceworks Webinar

This webinar has been removed.


Featured Article

Everything You Need to Know About Smart Charging Lockers
Take a deep dive into this article about Smart Lockers to better understand their value, workflows, features and more.

Continue Reading

San Francisco USD Department of Technology Develops Plan for Safe and Successful Device Deployment

The Story

Like many school districts across the United States, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is starting the 2020-21 school year remotely. The Department of Technology (DoT) for the SFUSD has made it their mission to prepare nearly 5,000 educators (over 400 of whom are new to the district) in all aspects of a digital classroom–from both a hardware and software perspective. Every minute leading up to the school year was critical to their readiness, as students’ education continues to hang in the balance.

Challenges

Safety Concerns
In preparing for the new remote school year, the health and safety of SFUSD’s teachers and the DoT staff were a top priority. At the outset, every time a teacher needed a new device or to exchange an old one, they would stop by the Help Desk Office in-person and interact with an on premises team member. Although they did everything they could to avoid in-person contact, the sheer volume of traffic was putting everyone involved at increased risk.

Staffing Concerns
Each time this type of device support was needed, a team member had to be physically onsite. Triaging the issue would gobble up a minimum of 15 minutes from the Help Desk’s schedule–not to mention the growing wait time for a tech person to become available. Whether a teacher is new to the district or a current teacher’s device needs repair, it’s imperative that teachers can access a working device as quickly as possible.

Teacher Training Needs
In order for teachers to prepare for a new way of digital teaching, they needed more time and increased Help Desk support to learn new software and be trained on best practices for remote teaching. Constant interruptions due to device deployment and hardware issues took valuable time away from the DoT team’s ability prepare teachers for their new digital classroom.

Preparing for Success

In order to streamline these challenges, SFUSD strategically placed four LocknCharge FUYL Tower Smart Lockers at the district’s centrally-located main office where it could be accessed beyond normal office hours and even on weekends. Each bay is equipped with one ready-to-go device, which simplified the process of distributing and maintaining devices to 3 easy steps without the need for any face-to-face interaction or Help Desk interruption.

San Fran

3 Easy Steps for Device Distribution

Number-1

A teacher in need of a device notifies the Help Desk through its ticketing system.

Number-2

Within 1 business day, a FUYL Tower bay is assigned to the teacher.

Number-3

The teacher retrieves the device with their 6-digit PIN and is ready to go.

“[FUYL Towers] are keeping our mission-critical team members safe and free from public interactions while effectively deploying hundreds of educator devices.”

– David Malone, Executive Director of Technology and Innovation for San Francisco Unified School District

LNC-US-CaseStudy-SFUSD-Social-2020.10.02-Website Graphic

The Outcomes

  • 1,200 devices are being deployed via FUYL Towers to NEW teachers joining the district and returning para educators.
  • Zero physical human contact for distribution services ensures the safety of DoT staff and educators.
  • There is no difficult scheduling for device pickups or dropoffs, and hours of access are greatly increased.
  • Device deployment was shortened from as many as five days to as few as one day.
  • With LocknCharge Cloud, the Help Desk can track who retrieved a device from a Tower and when.
  • The Help Desk recovered valuable time needed to focus on teacher training.

An Uncertain Future

It’s impossible to know what the future of education will look like one month from now or even one year from now, which makes putting a back to school safety plan in place very difficult. Should schools switch to a hybrid model or an in-person model, the FUYL Tower is flexible enough to remain an extremely useful tool in any scenario:

  • LocknCharge Cloud offers a streamlined way to expand the program to include student devices.
  • Devices can continue to be deployed with zero contact to new teachers or students extremely quickly.
  • Towers can be used as a repair pick-up/drop-off point to keep device downtime to a minimum.
  • Towers can easily be switched to “Public Mode” to be used as public charging stations throughout the school. This is especially helpful for 1:1 take-home device programs because students who forget to charge their device at home will be able to securely charge their device at school.
  • Towers can be placed in areas such as Family Resources Centers or other indoor spaces to allow the community easier access to devices as needed.
  • Students with housing insecurity are offered a place to safely charge and store their devices overnight.

Download a PDF of this Case Study

Continue Reading