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Is it possible to use an USB power meter like the UM24C (https://liutyi.info/um24c/) to measure the energy consumption of a smartphone (in detail, I would to measure the current drain)?

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For example, I'm executing an app and I would to measure the energy consumption of the smartphone when the app is in execution (of course I will not have the maximum of the accuracy, but just an estimation; better than nothing).

It seems that it is possible (i.e. connect the USB meter to a energy source, and after connect the smartphone to the power meter), but I would like to have a confirmation about it. By the way, (i) I have a good USB cable with a low resistance, (ii) I cannot remove the battery of my smartphone, (iii) I connected the INPUT of the power meter to a power bank or a computer. It make sense?

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You cannot measure the phones power consumption this way. The USB dongle will only see the current being used to charge the battery of the phone not the power the phone is drawing from the battery.

  1. You could use an application on the phone that monitors the phone battery and logs its usage. No external device can monitor the power the phone is using. This will be a fairly inaccurate measurement just because phones can generally only reference the battery voltage to determine its charge status.

  2. If you are willing to risk a phone the way to do this would be to open the back of the case, get to the battery connector, de-solder the phone's positive terminal and connect a current meter in line of this rail like shown below,

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The multimeter would then be able to measure the actual amount of current being drawn from the battery by the phone. This would give you the most accurate results, but does risk damaging the phone.

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  • can you provide me some suggestions about the Android applications that can I use to do that? Applications that log that. – CipherX Aug 13 at 14:22
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    The last few versions of Android already have this functionality built in; it can be found in settings under battery usage on most Android devices. Third party options are ‘Battery Monitor’ & ‘Battery Log’ found on the play store (I have never used these, but they look like they monitor the information your looking for). – Jack Soldano Aug 13 at 14:26
  • Yes but under the battery usage you don't have the current drain values. I will try the apps that you suggested. Thank you very much for all your suggestions. You brought me on the right way. – CipherX Aug 13 at 14:31
  • You would need to do maths to work out the current drain, you need to know the size of your phone’s battery. The Android 'Battery Usage' settings will tell you the percentage drain over x time. You can then calculate the current drain over that period, any way you look at this you are likely to have to do some maths & logging. – Jack Soldano Aug 13 at 14:35

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