GaN Charger VS Normal Battery Charger
GaN Charger VS Normal Battery Charger: What Are the Differences
The GaN charger and the normal battery charger have similarity in some ways. They are both for power charging as well as for power delivery (PD). However, their differences are much more significant. Let’s explore how they differ.
The key difference between the two types of battery chargers lies in their made-of components. For years, the normal battery chargers we regularly use for our smartphones, laptops and computers are silicon-based. That said, they rest in the built-in silicon-only power management integrated circuits (Power ICs).
Instead, the GaN charger innovatively uses the built-in gallium nitride chip which is made of gallium nitride, the new semiconductor material alternative.
When it comes to the difference between the two kinds of components, actually it all depends on their bandgap (All semiconductor materials have what is called a “bandgap”). Bandgap describes how easy the current can pass through a solid semiconducting material. The thumb rule is the wider the bandgap, the higher the electron mobility and power frequency.
The GaN material the GaN charger utilizes is a kind of compound semiconductor which has a wide bandgap of 3.4 eV (WBG). Compared with the GaN’s 3.4 eV, the silicon semiconducting material built in the normal battery charger only has a 1.12 eV bandgap. Therefore, the GaN battery chargers can sustain far higher voltage as well as far higher power density than the silicon-based ones.
If observe carefully, you can easily find that the vast majority of the released GaN chargers have USB C ports, the next generation of USB 3.0. And unlike the normal battery chargers which always only have one Micro USB port or one USB port or one lightning port, the GaN chargers always have multiple USB C ports.
In terms of charging ports, the GaN charger takes advantage of the USB C ports in many aspects compared with the normal battery charger. On the one hand, coupled with the data cable, the GaN charger using the USB C ports can achieve fast charging speed of up to 10Gps and higher power density of up to 100W.
On the other hand, the vast majority of GaN chargers take advantage of multiple USB C ports or USB C plus USB A ports to allow for fast charge of multiple devices at the same time.
In short, in terms of charging ports, compared with the normal battery charger, the GaN charger is powered with higher versatility as well as flexibility.
Charging Speed & Power Efficiency
The difference in built-in components, in fact, determines the critical difference between the two types of battery chargers — difference in charging speed as well as in power efficiency.
As mentioned earlier, this all depends on their difference in bandgap width. The silicon semiconducting material used in the normal battery charger has very narrow bandgap and is gradually reaching its physical limits, leading to the incapability of handling high voltages, high power density as well as achieving fast charging.
However, in the case of the GaN utilized in the chip of the GaN charger, it owns much wider bandgap than silicon, which means it is capable of conducting far higher voltages and handling much more power over time.
The GaN charger has been shown to be capable of transmitting electrons with 1000 times the efficiency of the battery charger using silicon material. Therefore, it’s able to achieve faster charging with high power efficiency. This is what makes the GaN charger stand head and shoulders in the charging battle.
In terms of overall size, it’s definitely the GaN charger in much smaller size that wins the battle.
Nowadays, as the demand for fast charging grows increasingly, in order to achieve faster current input/output, companies have to pull out the normal silicon-based battery chargers with higher power such as 30W, 40W and even 60W at the expense of tiny size. That being said, the higher the power, the larger the silicon charger. The more bulky the charger, the harder the charger to be carried around.
By contrast, after moving to the GaN charger, carrying around a tiny charging footprint in your backpack or handbag for fast charging your mobile phone or laptop on the go with ease isn’t just a daydream anymore. The high power density of the GaN components in the GaN battery charger allows for more power to be switched, thus making the charger to be made more compact.
Simply put, compared with the normal battery charger, the GaN charger allows for shifting more power for faster charging while still maintaining its overall size to be smaller.
Power Dissipation and Heat Produced During Charging
In addition to the differences in charging speed as well as overall size, the difference in bandgap between the components of the two types of battery chargers also determines their difference in power dissipation and charging temperature.
In the case of the normal battery chargers using silicon components, they have been, in fact, being designed in more sizeable volume in order to satisfy the need of fast charging. However, this is at the expense of less power dissipation, causing potential risks of troublesome issues such as overheating, overcharging as well as short-circuiting.
In the flipping side, the bandgap efficiency of the GaN components in the GaN charger brings up minimal power dissipation. This is because the GaN charger using GaN components with wider bandgap is more efficient in power delivering, making less power remain in the charger and less heat be dissipated.
That said, compared with the normal battery charger, the GaN charger is capable of ensuring cooler charging and in turn preventing overheating and overcharging issues to safeguard the devices being charged.
GaN charger, as the new charging technology, has risen to fame in the power charging field. Indeed, with the advantages of delivering faster charging speed, offering higher power efficiency as well as reducing heat dissipation in small yet mighty size, it is gradually becoming a strong rival against the normal battery chargers.