I Built an iPhone That Charges in 9 Minutes: The Journey of Innovation

As a tech enthusiast, I’m always looking for ways to push the boundaries of what’s possible with our everyday gadgets. Today, I’m diving into a project that combines innovation, a bit of risk, and a lot of curiosity. The goal? To find out how fast I can charge an iPhone. This challenge involves not just a simple battery swap but an exploration into the limits of charging technology, even if it means breaking a few phones along the way.

The starting point for this experiment is an iPhone 8, chosen for its affordability and the fact that it was the first iPhone model with fast charge capabilities. Typically, this phone charges from empty to full in around an hour and 57 minutes using the fastest charger available. But I believe we can do much better.

**Step One: More Chargers, More Power?**

Inspired by the legendary TechRax, I decided to see what happens when you connect 100 chargers and 100 cables to a single iPhone. The idea seemed straightforward: more chargers should equate to faster charging. However, reality often defies expectations. After painstakingly stripping countless wires and connecting everything, I was ready for the big moment. The result? Disappointingly, the charging speed was slower, not faster. Despite each charger being capable of supplying one amp, the phone’s 1821 mAh battery did not charge as quickly as the math suggested it should.

To understand why, I grabbed a second iPhone and connected it to my benchtop power supply, a shout-out to Keysight for providing some fantastic test gear. Setting the power supply to five volts and a maximum of 10 amps, I noticed that the phone was only drawing around 9.6 amps. Clearly, something within the phone was limiting the charging current.

**Unveiling the Battery Management System (BMS)**

To solve this mystery, I needed to dive deeper into the phone’s internals, specifically the battery. Disassembling the phone, I exposed the battery cell and the BMS, or Battery Management System. The BMS is crucial as it manages the battery’s charge levels, prevents overcharging, and monitors temperature to avoid overheating. Essentially, it’s the BMS that’s limiting the charge current to protect the battery.

The next step was bypassing the BMS. I soldered wires directly onto the battery’s tabs, a risky maneuver that could potentially overheat the battery. Using eight-gauge wire, I carefully pre-tinned the tabs and soldered the wires in place. This setup allowed me to charge the battery without the BMS intervening.

**The High-Amperage Charge Attempt**

With the BMS bypassed, I took the battery outside to test a high-amperage charge using a 90 AMP, 4-volt power supply. Setting the voltage to 4.2 volts, I connected the battery and began charging. Initially, the battery drew around five amps, which slowly decreased to 1.5 amps. Despite my expectations of a dramatic lithium battery fire, the battery only got mildly warm. The charging speed was still not significantly faster than a normal charger, taking about an hour and a half.

**Exploring Lithium Titanate Batteries**

Determined to find a faster solution, I turned to lithium titanate batteries, known for their rapid charging capabilities. I built a small battery pack from four of these batteries, each capable of charging at 5 amps. Removing the iPhone’s stock battery and BMS, I connected the lithium titanate pack via a step-up voltage regulator, which adjusted the lower voltage of these batteries to the higher voltage required by the iPhone.

This setup charged the iPhone much faster than a standard battery. The phone, however, was unable to accurately report the battery level due to the absence of a BMS. Using an external current meter, I monitored the charge, stopping when the current dropped to around 150 milliamps. This indicated the battery was nearly full. Impressively, this setup charged the iPhone in just 22 minutes, a significant improvement.

**The Ultimate Test: Super Capacitors**

Pushing the limits further, I experimented with super capacitors. These components can charge extremely quickly but store less energy compared to traditional batteries. I used a 5000 farad lithium carbon super capacitor, capable of a 47-amp charge rate. Connecting this to the iPhone using a 90-amp charger and thick gauge wires, I managed to charge the phone in a record-breaking nine minutes.

**Trade-offs and Practicality**

While the super capacitor achieved an impressive charge time, it comes with trade-offs. Super capacitors have lower energy density, meaning they need to be larger to store the same amount of energy as a traditional battery. So, while you could have an iPhone that charges in nine minutes, it would either last half as long or be significantly bulkier.

**Learning and Experimentation**

This project was not just about pushing technological boundaries but also about learning and experimenting. The intricacies of battery chemistry and electronics were fascinating to explore. Throughout the process, I used Brilliant, an online learning platform, to brush up on my chemistry knowledge. Brilliant offers interactive courses in math, science, and computer science, perfect for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of these subjects.

Brilliant’s approach to active learning through problem-solving resonated with me. Their courses, such as chemical reactions, provided valuable insights that I applied directly to my experiments. If you’re keen on enhancing your problem-solving skills and expanding your knowledge, I highly recommend checking out Brilliant.

**Conclusion**

The journey to build an iPhone that charges in nine minutes was filled with unexpected challenges and valuable lessons. From experimenting with multiple chargers to bypassing the BMS, exploring advanced battery technologies, and finally achieving a breakthrough with super capacitors, it was a thrilling adventure in innovation.

For more exciting projects and in-depth explorations of technology, be sure to subscribe to my channel. And if you’re interested in professional phone repair services, check out [Gadget Kings PRS](https://gadgetkingsprs.com.au/). They offer expert repairs for a wide range of phone issues, ensuring your device is in top condition.

Explore their services and insightful blogs at [Gadget Kings PRS Blog](https://gadgetkingsprs.com.au/blog/), and stay tuned for more groundbreaking experiments and tech insights.

This extended narrative includes the original experiment details, the learning process, and a nod to Gadget Kings PRS, aligning with your request for a 1000-word story and incorporating the web links.

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