The value of Qi certification

Blog | 16th May 2018

Wireless charging has been gaining popularity and more branches are realizing its potential. But the real boost in the adoption of wireless charging came when Apple decided to adopt Qi (pronounced: ‘’chee’’) and join the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). Unfortunately, the rapid growth of wireless charging adoption has led to many low-quality, counterfeit products that are potentially unsafe. This is where the value of Qi certification comes in.

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ZENS PuK while wirelessly charging the iPhone

Qi and Qi certification

Before diving deeper into Qi certification, let’s go back to the basics of Qi and Qi certification; what does it mean and why is it relevant? Qi is a global standard like Bluetooth, NFC, USB and WIFI. Its name comes from the Asian philosophy and means ‘’vital energy’’; an intangible flow of power. Basically, the idea behind Qi is that all devices carrying the Qi logo are compatible with all Qi chargers. This eliminates the need for separate chargers, cables or adapters while traveling, as any Qi certified mobile device can be charged on any Qi certified wireless charger.

Official Qi certification testing

Products using the Qi standard must be tested rigorously to help ensure safety, interoperability and energy efficiency. Only products that have passed the independent laboratory tests can use the Qi logo and are considered “Qi-certified”.

During compliance testing, it is tested whether the new product is compliant with the official Qi specification. These compliance tests are performed only by independent WPC Authorized Test Labs with the use of validated test equipment.

During interoperability testing, conducted by a WPC Authorized Interoperability Test Lab, the new product is tested for its compatibility with a wide span of existing Qi certified products. This ensures that all new products are ‘‘backwards compatible’’; they should work with all existing Qi products.
The Consortium mandates interoperability testing with ALL previously certified products before the Qi certificate is approved in order to ensure all Qi products work together. One of the authorized Test Labs, located in Belgium, has more than 400 off-the-shelf mobile devices available for Qi testing.

The risks of a non-Qi-certified wireless charger

You may not even have heard of Qi very often, so why should you worry about it? Using non-Qi-certified chargers may be dangerous, because these wireless chargers may not meet the mandatory and necessary protection features.

Risk of injury
The Qi certification comprises Foreign Object Detection (FOD) measures. This means that for Qi certified products, the transmitter of the wireless charging system can detect if, for example, a piece of metal is located on its surface. In this case, the transmitter either does not start charging at all or it stops charging. If a wireless charger does not have FOD or if FOD does not work well, objects that are placed in close proximity to the wireless charger, or between the charger and the phone (e.g., phone case), may get very hot. This may cause serious injuries such as third degree skin burns.

Risk of device damage
The Qi specification includes measures that limit voltages wireless chargers induce in other mobile devices. A non-Qi-wireless charger that is not designed properly may induce high voltages inside mobile devices when they are placed in close proximity to the charger. These high voltages may cause damage to your device.
The Qi specification concerns thermal testing of wireless chargers. Also, it includes magnetic shielding of the battery to minimize heating of the battery and mobile phone. Overheated chargers damage the battery itself and shorten battery life. Temperatures reaching or exceeding 100 °C can potentially cause serious damages to the surfaces that are in contact with an uncertified wireless charger or an uncertified phone case. It may even cause your phone case to melt.

Risk of incompatibility
The idea behind Qi is that all Qi products are interoperable; any Qi certified mobile device works with any Qi certified wireless charger. Products that are not certified may be incompatible with other wireless charging products.

Recognizing a Qi-certified product

How do you know if a product is really Qi-certified? There are several indicators that you can use to find out whether you are dealing with a counterfeit product or an official Qi product.

  • Check whether the company is member of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) – only companies that are members of the WPC and signed the Qi logo license agreement can certify a product.
  • Always look for the Qi logo – the Qi logo can only be used legally for products that have Qi certification.
  • Pay attention to the Qi claim that is made – being ‘Qi-certified’ is the only official claim. Claims like ‘Qi compliant’, ‘Qi compatible’ or ‘works with Qi’ may indicate the product has not undergone official Qi certification testing.
  • Check the Qi certification database – all Qi certified products can be found in this database. A product is Qi-certified if you find a match for the brand name, product name, and type number.

ZENS is member of the Wireless Power Consortium and all ZENS products are Qi certified.

Were you aware of the value of Qi certification and the potential consequences of using a non-Qi-certified wireless charger?

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