Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, laptop, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you’ve 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 that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this guide, we will focus on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. Although some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.
Laptop chargers are rather unique to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops. This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage for your device.
Micro USBs are theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in many smartphones, Android apparatus, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the exact same voltage, but may draw different amps. I will explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (depending on its recorded amps and voltage).
Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, including iPads and iPods. For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
In order for a charger for use on a different device, it’s essential that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit snugly to the charging port of the unit. Micro USBs are the same across the board so far as charging heads, whilst laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is just one part of the equation.
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you’ll get a tag 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 located at the base of the charger, in which it would meet up with the wall. For the device you’re attempting to charge, 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” to the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, while a notebook can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much power is used by the device. The amount of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the system pulls may change based on how hard the device is working. The number that you find on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps that may be pulled by the device. If a device is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power source and kill the device.
So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tabletcomputer, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB interfaces that use the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage listed using a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%. If this is the case, you can use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that rating is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. This means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (as long as the amperage of the charger is equal to or higher than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting thing to note is chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That’s pretty much how they operate. There needs to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the proper way to charge the battery. If you look at your car, it has a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
The problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is they frequently don’t support the power needs of the device, or are not built to keep a steady flow safely. This can result in damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s better to stick with the charger made for the device you are using.
Now You Understand How to Safely & Effectively Swap Chargers
I hope this article was able to assist you. Now you know how to safely and effectively use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, notebook, camera, tablet, or other apparatus. Be certain you follow what we said and you should be good to go!