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Caution while using other wireless chargers with your Gear S3! It could fry your watch!

Can you use another non-oem wireless charger with your Gear S3 / S2? Well it seems that you might accidentally fry your watch according to some reports.
By
Akshay
 - 
Feb 3, 2017

We keep hearing of smartphones catching fire or just getting fried internally due to the use of cheap off-market chargers (we are keeping the Note 7 mishap out of reference here because that was a manufacturing fault in the battery as Samsung recently explained). Usually, the problem with such chargers is that they use cheap or defective components that causes variations in power regulation and even outputs impure DC voltages with ripples, harmonics and even surges. All these factors affect the battery heavily and sometimes bypasses the battery protection circuit which is present in every mobile battery.

Wearables aren't left out with this problem too. Due to the small form factor of wearables such as the Gear S2 and S3, Samsung decided to let go off a wired method for charging the batteries and instead embedded wireless charging systems in them. However, wireless chargers don't come cheap and the original ones for example, the Gear S3's wireless charger, costs above $30. This encourages users to buy cheaper off-market chargers which quite often have reported to affect the wearables.

One such incident has been reported by a Gear S3 user named Lamar Jackson-

"Do not try to use wireless chargers other than OEM for your Gear. I tried a few with no luck then found one in a drawer that I had not tried. Fried my Frontier. I've been without it for two and a half weeks. Just got it back. Repaired."
Samsung-Gear-S3-Do-not -wireless-use-chargers-OEM

It was a charge force desk mount wireless charger that Lamar had used here with his Gear S3, it seems that many other users have also faced similar issues with the Gear S3 after they used a non-OEM charger, a reddit user also reported to have burnt his wrist on wearing the Gear S3 after charging with an original Gear S2 charger. This case is more interesting as both the Gear S2 and Gear S3's wireless charger (which are certified under WPC) have similar 5V and 0.7A rating and hence outputting a power of 3.5W. This could probably be because the Gear S3 doesn't fit perfectly in the wireless charging cradle of the Gear S2 and hence causes flow of Eddy currents through other parts of the watch which builds up heat.

Another thing to notice is that most off-market Gear S3 chargers have voltage and current rating of 5V and 1A and hence outputting a power of 5W which could in some cases fry the battery charging circuit on the Gear S3's mainboard. So take care of your Gear S3 and only charge it with an OEM charger folks!

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One comment on “Caution while using other wireless chargers with your Gear S3! It could fry your watch!”

  1. Excuse me, but a few explanations in that article are ... let's call it 'not quite right' :).

    1) Yes, you should only use the supplied charging cradle from Samsung for the Gear S3 since it has the right current limiting circuitry to charge the S3 battery right. But that's all done by the cradle. What's called 'the charger' in the article, especially when talking about the current specs of 700mA or 1A, is a plain 5V power supply like any other of these wall bricks. It does NO charging! It just supplies! The 700mA, or 1A or whatever is only the maximum rating. Since the S3 cradle has a maximum intake of ~350mA, Samsung just saved a few cents by supplying a 700mAh type only rather than a 1 or 2A type. You can connect the cradle to any 5V supply, it doesn't influence anything (BTW, also to a power bank on the road).

    It is true, that the original cradle limits the current into the S3 to a max. of ~350mA, which supplies the battery with roughly 170-200mA charging current (QI charging is quite inefficient). Most non-Samsung QI chargers will supply a higher current which indeed stresses and overheats the S3 battery. But the S3 has even a built-in security logic for that case. You will get a "Battery overheated" message (or similar) and charging (as normal operation) will be suspended as long as the battery is too hot. So your S3 will not fry right away! Nevertheless, use the original charging cradle to charge your S3 but use any 5V micro-USB supply you like (with a minimum of 500mA supply current).

    2) It's just ludicrous to assume a missplaced watch causes "flow of Eddy currents through other parts of the watch which builds up heat.". Wireless charging is a process between to coils only! They have to be well aligned to transfer power anyway. If they are missaligned the power flow is reduced and with the 'intelligence' of QI charging even interrupted. There is NO WAY, that energy is send to any other parts of the watch heating them up. That theory is ridiculous. So if you missplace your S3, charging just takes longer or the charge process won't even start. I have no knowledge about the charge current management of the S2 cradle. But if that's not the right one for the S3 (why shoul it?), it might well be the reason for heating up the S3 - as any other non-S3 cradle does.

    It is indeed a pity the S3 doesn't manage the right charge current internally. That would allow all kind of QI chargers with different shapes or built-in ones in tables or such.

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