News

How USB-C Batteries Could Help the Earth

However, professionals may still prefer dedicated chargers.

  • NiteCore’s new Sony camera battery has a built-in charger and a USB-C port.
  • “Self-charging” batteries have many disadvantages, but they are certainly useful.
  • Professionals will probably prefer to use dedicated chargers for speed and reliability.

Vitalii Petrushenko / Getty Images

NiteCore’s new Sony camera battery is self-charging – all you need is a USB-C cable and – yes – a USB-C charger.

One of the biggest advantages of USB-C is its ubiquity. As more and more gadgets are now switching to the standard connector, you never have to think about how to charge them. You just take the closest cable and everything is done. NiteCore has now added a USB-C port to the battery itself, so you can charge the battery from your smartphone, laptop or other power pack. You still need a charger, but you don’t need a dedicated, separate charger. Maybe that’s how all batteries should work.

“Proprietary chargers are a thing of the past, having unique, individual chargers for every device we own is impractical and terrible for the environment, so this move by NiteCore is welcomed. Milica Vojnic, marketing specialist for reuse and manufacturing at Wisetek, told Lifewire Bigger rechargeable batteries like this should come with a USB-C port. “Realistically speaking, it’s okay to add extra circuitry to the battery if it means the battery itself can be used for a long time. It’s okay to add some e-waste to the battery,” he told e-mail. We are helping the environment by reducing it.”

ups and downs

The advantage of a rechargeable battery that does not need its own charger is obvious. You can charge from any charger and if you want to charge multiple batteries at once, just borrow a few phone chargers or plug them into spare ports on a laptop.

Sony NiteCore USB rechargeable battery.

NiteCore

However, it has more disadvantages. One that NiteCore avoids is reduced capacity. With the extra circuitry for the charger, there is less room for the battery, which means shorter battery life. When it comes to NiteCore’s Sony battery, it manages to pack a 2250mAh capacity against the nearly identical 2280mAh of the Sony NP-FZ100.

Another disadvantage is the charging time, which can be related to a third negative, heat.

“NiteCore’s new USB-C camera battery is set to be a 7.2V 2250mAh battery and it looks like it will take 4 hours (240 minutes) to charge. The original battery it replaced appears to be charging in 150 minutes (2.5 hours) with the 7.2V 2280mAh battery and original charger.” “So you don’t lose power, but you lose charge time. Internal USB-C charging takes 60% longer to charge. So if you’re constantly changing and charging batteries while shooting, you may need to buy twice as many batteries.”

While Sony’s external charger dissipates heat more easily, NiteCore may like to keep it slow to maintain heat levels inside the battery.

And finally, there is the issue of reliability. More circuits means more room for trouble, but there may be a wash in the end. You may need to replace a faulty battery, but if your Sony charger fails, you’ll have to pay $99 for a replacement. On the other hand, good third-party chargers are available much cheaper. For example, I like the Patona brand for my Fujifilm battery charger.

A camera that charges with a USB power bank.

Rapeepong Puttakumwong / Getty Images

batteries

Almost everything we use these days has a battery, and if we can make charging them a smoother procedure, that’s great. The environmental impact of adding more circuitry to a camera battery is likely small compared to the benefits of universal USB-C charging. We can store and use the same chargers for years, and gadget makers don’t need to put extra chargers in every box.

But there are other ways to charge a battery with USB-C. Some cameras, like Fujifilm’s X-Pro3, have a charger built into the camera that allows you to charge the battery without removing it. And yes, the X-Pro3 does this with a USB-C cable.

For the avid hobbyist, perhaps USB-C is a godsend. But for professionals, the old ways work just fine and can only be thought of as working.

“The cost of batteries is quite high, and many professional camera models use backward compatible batteries,” says Burak. “Upgrade options with a built-in USB-C charger are limited. You cannot buy and use a new fast charger. And if that technology turns it into new batteries, you’ll have to upgrade your entire battery pack instead of just replacing the charger. As such, I see no solid reason to dispose of my current batteries without a built-in charger.”


See more

How USB-C Batteries Could Help the Earth

But professionals may still prefer dedicated chargers

NiteCore’s new Sony camera battery has a built-in charger and USB-C port. 
There are plenty of downsides to “self-charging” batteries, but they sure are convenient. 
Pros will probably prefer to use dedicated chargers for speed and reliability.
Vitalii Petrushenko / Getty Images

NiteCore’s new Sony camera battery is self-charging—all you need is a USB-C cable and—yes—a USB-C charger.

One of USB-C’s greatest benefits is its ubiquity. As more and more gadgets switch to the now-standard connector, you never really have to think about how you charge them. You just grab the nearest cable, and it all sorts itself out. NiteCore has now added a USB-C port to the battery itself, so you can juice a battery from your smartphone, laptop, or other power brick. You still need a charger, but you don’t need a special, separate charger. Maybe all batteries should work like this.

“Proprietary chargers are a thing of the past, having unique, individual chargers for every device we own is simply impractical and terrible for the environment, so this move from NiteCore is a welcome one. Larger rechargeable batteries like this should indeed come with a USB-C port,” Milica Vojnic, a marketing specialist for reuse and manufacturing specialist Wisetek, told Lifewire via email. “Realistically speaking, adding the extra circuitry into the battery isn’t an issue if it means the battery itself can be used over a great period of time. By cutting out on the amount of e-waste created, we’ll be helping the environment.”

Ups and Downs

The upside of a rechargeable battery that doesn’t need its own charger is clear. You can charge it from any charger, and if you want to charge several batteries at a time, you just have to borrow a few phone chargers or plug them into spare ports on a laptop. 

NiteCore

But the downsides are more numerous. One, which NiteCore avoids, is reduced capacity. With extra circuitry for the charger, there’s less space for the battery, meaning shorter battery life. In the case of NiteCore’s Sony battery, it manages to pack in a capacity of 2250mAh, vs. 2280mAh from the Sony NP-FZ100, which is practically identical. 

Another downside is charging time, which may be related to a third downside—heat. 

“NiteCore’s new USB-C camera battery is specced as 7.2V 2250 mAh battery and seem to take 4 hours (240 mins) to charge. The original battery it replaces is a 7.2V 2280 mAh battery and seems to charge in 150 mins (2.5 hours) with the original charger,” professional photographer Can Burak Bizer told Lifewire via email. “So, you don’t lose power, but you lose charging time. Built-in USB-C charging takes 60% more to charge. So, if you are constantly swapping and charging batteries during your shoot, you may need to buy double the batteries.”

It could be that NiteCore likes to keep it slow to keep heat levels down inside the battery, whereas Sony’s external charger can dissipate heat more easily. 

And finally, there’s the question of reliability. More circuitry means more room for problems, although, in the end, it could be a wash. You might need to replace a malfunctioning battery, but if Sony’s charger goes wrong, you’ll have to pay $99 for a new one. On the other hand, good third-party chargers are available for much less. I like the Patona brand for my Fujifilm battery charger, for instance. 

Rapeepong Puttakumwong / Getty Images
Batteries

Pretty much everything we use these days has a battery, and if we can make charging them a more uniform procedure, that’s great. The environmental impact of adding more circuitry to a camera battery is probably small when compared to the advantages of universal USB-C charging. We can keep and use the same chargers for years, and gadget makers don’t need to put redundant chargers in every box. 

But there are other ways to USB-C charge a battery. Some cameras, like Fujifilm’s X-Pro3, have a charger built into the camera, which lets you charge the battery without removing it. And yes, the X-Pro3 does this via a USB-C cable. 

For enthusiastic amateurs, then, maybe USB-C is a boon. But for professionals, the old ways work just fine and can be relied upon to just work. 

“Batteries cost a substantial amount, and many pro camera models use backward compatible batteries,” says Burak. “With a built-in USB-C charger, upgrade options are limited. You simply can’t buy and use a new fast(er) charger. And, if such technology comes to new batteries, you’d have to upgrade your whole battery set instead of just changing your charger. So, I can’t see a solid reason to scrap my existing batteries without a built-in charger.”

#USBC #Batteries #Earth


Trả lời

Email của bạn sẽ không được hiển thị công khai. Các trường bắt buộc được đánh dấu *

Back to top button