Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you have probably compiled a number of chargers through the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, notebook, camera, or tablet computer that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this article, we will focus on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. Although some devices have chargers with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.
Laptop chargers are fairly specific to the device they include. However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the capability to be interchanged between notebooks. This always requires changing of this charger”head” and may not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage for your device.
Micro USBs are theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most smartphones, Android apparatus, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the exact same voltage, but may draw various amps. I will explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (based on its listed amps and voltage).
For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
For a charger for use on a different device, it’s important that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit snugly to the charging port of the device. Micro USBs are the same across the board as far as charging heads, whilst notebook chargers are often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just one part of the equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you’ll find a label with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A). For laptop chargers, this charging brick is often halfway down the charger and typically looks exactly like it sounds — a brick. For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually found at the base of the charger, in which it would meet up with the wall. For the device you are attempting to control, the voltage and amperage required will be found on the battery that came with the device or on the company’s website.
Voltage is how much power the charger will draw into the device, or how much is being”pushed” into the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, while a laptop can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device.
Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” to the apparatus, or how much power is used by the device. The amount of volts won’t ever change, but the amount of amps that the device pulls may change based on how hard the device is working. The number that you find on the battery that came with your device will be the max amount of amps that may be pulled from the device. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp necessity, it can burn out the power supply and kill the apparatus.
So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (so long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that use the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage recorded using a plus/minus on it like that: 5v +- 5%. If this is true, you may use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that rating is telling you is that the device can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts. So this means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (as long as the amperage of the charger is equivalent to or greater than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting point to note is all chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That is pretty much how they operate. There needs to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the proper direction to charge the battery. If you look at your vehicle, it has a 12V battery, but typical alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
Stay Away From Cheap Knockoff Chargers
The problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they frequently don’t support the power requirements of the device, or are not built to maintain a steady flow securely. Overall, it’s best to stick with the charger designed for the device you’re using.
Now You Understand How to Safely & Effectively Swap Chargers
I hope this article was able to help you. Now you know how to safely and efficiently use a charger that did not include your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device. Be certain you follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!