Many mobile phones are practically constant companions for their users. Yet phone users only take notice of their batteries and power packs when they run out at an inopportune time or when their performance drops drastically. Some simple general rules can go a long way towards improving the safety and life of these tiny powerhouses. Below, TÜV SÜD expert Robert Hausladen summarises the best tips on how to handle mobile phones and their batteries.
Compulsory inspection: Mobile phones fall under the scope of the European Directive on radio equipment (1999/5/EC). Before mobile phones can be placed on the EU market, they must be tested according to an array of regulations including the EN 60590-1 standard (Information Technology Equipment – Safety). Batteries and power packs must also pass additional testing under the EN 62133 standard (Safety requirements for portable batteries). When choosing a mobile phone, consumers are well advised to check that the devices have undergone the above tests.
Avoid heat and cold: Mobile phones and their batteries should never be exposed to high temperatures. When left on a car dashboard, for example, your device may overheat – even in autumn or winter sunshine. Your phone manufacturer provides exact information on the maximum temperatures for using and charging your mobile phone. Phone owners should make sure to comply with these specifications in all cases, advises TÜV SÜD expert Hausladen. If your mobile phone feels hot, even after only a short period of use, have it checked in a specialist shop. Mobile phones are generally supplied with lithium-ion batteries. They reach their maximum life span at operating temperatures of between 20 and 40° Celsius. Temperatures below or above this range can severely curtail battery performance and life. Charging mobile phones at temperatures above 40° or below 0° Celsius could cause premature ageing or defects, and should therefore be avoided. In addition, mobile phone batteries should not be exposed to major temperature fluctuations, which could reduce their performance and life. Good to know: The longer you go between charges, i.e. the fewer charges you have over time, the longer your battery will last.
No mechanical stresses: Mobile phones and their batteries should be protected against impacts, blows and other stresses. Particular caution should be applied if a device has fallen onto a hard surface or into water or has been exposed to naked flames. In this case, phone owners should consult a specialist retailer and have their device checked to ensure it is still safe to use.
Original accessories only: “Use only original phone batteries and chargers”, advises TÜV SÜD expert Hausladen. Phone owners who opt for cheap phone batteries and no-name chargers when they need new accessories may be letting themselves in for incalculable safety risks.
What to do in case of defects: Sometimes phone batteries show a drastic drop in capacity. In this case, take the power pack out of the phone, cover the contacts using tape and dispose of the batteries correctly by taking them to a public recycling yard or specialist electronics shop. Never throw old batteries out with your regular household rubbish.
Carefully study the user manual: Last but not least, a tip that should actually be at the top of the list. Before connecting their new mobile phone to a charger or using it for the first time, proud owners of new devices should take the time to read the user manual carefully, taking special note of the information given on how to charge and discharge phone batteries. And phone users should never try to open the batteries, warns TÜV SÜD.