What's the Difference Between Level 1 & Level 2 EV Chargers?


Episode 1833

Carmine from Chicago, IL

Carmine has an electric vehicle and wants to know what's the difference between level 1 through level 3 charging. Leo says it's the size of the water pipe for the electricity. It uses the same amount of electricity, it just depends on how fast he wants it. The bigger the pipe, the more it costs. So charging an electric car in the middle of the day will cost more than filling it in the middle of the night, when demand is lower. He'll also need special 40 amp circuits and 240v AC plug receptacles to use them. That will require an electrician. It's about $200.

Why Can't My MacBook Keep a Charge?


Episode 1701

Matthew from Lake Arrowhead, CA

Matthew says that he's been having issues with a used Apple MacBook laptop maintaining a charge. Leo says to change the battery. If that's an issue, then he can move to the charger itself, and they fail. If it's not the power adapter or the MagSafe, then look to the cords. Outside of that, it will point to the circuitry inside. He can download Apple's diagnostic software, it's been leaked online. But if there's something inside, Apple will require replacing the logic board, and that's nearly the cost of an entire computer.

The Giz Wiz ... Magnetic Personality


Episode 1650

This week's gadget is a Magnetic Charger that you can put onto your computer and even phone. Amazon describes them as Magnetic Phone Charger Cable, GARAS 3 in 1 Nylon Braided USB Fast Charging & Data Syncing Cord with LED Light Compatible with Mirco USB, Type C Smartphone and iProduct (3.9 ft-Red). Here's a bit more of what Amazon says about them: GARAS round magnetic charging cable support QC 2.0/3.0 quick charge, data sync speed up to 480Mbps.

Is it OK to Keep my Smartphone Plugged in and Charging?

Lithium-ion battery

Episode 1575

Richard from West LA, CA

Richard wants to know if keeping his laptop and smartphone plugged in all the time will damage it. Leo says that there is great debate about it. It's not really bad to keep them plugged in at all. What's worse would be completely discharging or overheating them. Lithium-ion batteries also have circuitry designed to keep from overcharging. Check out Battery University for details on the life of batteries. 

Do I have a virus on my Android phone?

Episode 1417

Diane from Oxnard, CA

Diane got a message that said "downloading virus" when she went to a website on her Android phone. Leo says that's a bogus popup designed to scare her into downloading something. There's no legitimate message on her phone warning her that it will download a virus. She has a blank screen now, though. Leo says that is probably coincidental. It sounds like her phone's screen has gone out, or she could have a bad charging cable or clogged charging port preventing it to charge. There is a forced recovery mode for Android to bring it back up.

Is it harmful to use an external battery with my iPhone?

Apple iPhone Battery Case

Episode 1254

Kenny from Temple, TX

Leo says it isn't harmful at all, and Apple even sells an external battery for the iPhone 6/6s. In general with these charging cases, when you charge the case it will also charge the phone. On the Mophie cases, there's a switch for when you want to switch to the battery. When it comes to Lithium Ion batteries, though, the best thing to do is keep it charging. The battery will last longer if it stays charged vs charging and discharging. It's definitely not good to let it fully drain.

Why does my iPad give me a warning message that my charging cable isn't supported?

Episode 1242

Carl from Corona, CA

Carl got a cheap $2 charging cable for his iPad online, and now he's getting a message on his iPad that it isn't supported. Leo says that Apple has a proprietary cable for syncing data and charging devices. Leo suspects he'd probably be able to charge his iPad with that cable just fine, but he won't be able to sync the data. When buying a cable, he should look for "MFi Certified." Those cables are made to work with Apple devices. Apple licenses that cable technology, so he won't ever find an MFi Certified cable for cheap.