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A battery charging station is a unit that provides electrical or solar power for more than one device with portable batteries. Units are typically used with laptop computers, mobile phones, and mp3 players. Connection to the battery charging station may be made with a universal serial bus (USB) port.
Electrical charging stations traditionally plug into the wall for electrical power. Power is then distributed to several different portable devices, based on the number of outlets provided. Converters may be needed for each device being charged on the station. For instance, one mp3 player may connect with USB, while a cell phone may require a different type of charging connector.
Solar charging stations generally use solar cells or panels to collect electricity, which is then used to charge mobile devices. A solar charging station typically offers limited charging power based on the solar cell's direct contact with sunlight. If the unit is not in direct sunlight, charging time may be extended. If no sunlight is available to power solar cells, charging may be halted and the portable device may discharge power.
In some cases, the term battery charging is used to describe an organizer for portable cell phones, smartphones, and mp3 players. These may feature shelves that allow separation, and holes in its back to allow charging cords to pass through. Standard electrical bars or outlet extension bars can be used to supply power to each charging cord. Battery charging station units typically provide one or more docking brackets, shelves, or some other form of holder to house devices.
Some eco-friendly automobiles also use charging stations to recharge electric, hydrogen, or alternative vehicle power systems. Compressed air vehicles and plug-in hybrids are two more common automobile styles that require a battery charging station or hydrogen replacement station. Quick electrical automobile charges can cause overheating of batteries due to the higher current volumes needed to push sufficient power into the battery. These quick chargers take a minimum of 10 minutes to charge, in most cases.
If alternative energy is generated with solar panels, wind turbines, or water turbines, a battery charging station may be used to collect excess power that is not used for primary electrical needs. In this case, electricity is typically stored in batteries attached to a diverter. The diverter ensures power is moved from one battery to another when a charge is complete. If a diverter is not attached, battery life may be reduced, as excess electricity often produces heat, which can damage energy storage cells.