Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you’re like me, you’ve probably compiled a number of chargers over 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?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we will focus on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. While some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.
Laptop chargers are fairly unique to the device they come with. However, there can be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between notebooks. This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage for your device.
Micro USBs are designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most smartphones, Android apparatus, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw different amps. I’ll explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (depending on its recorded amps and voltage).
For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.
For a charger for use on a different device, it’s important that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit securely into the charging port of the device. Micro USBs are the same across the board as far as charging heads, whilst notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is only one part of this equation.
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will 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 appears 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 are trying to control, the voltage and amperage required will be seen 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 apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” to the device by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, while a notebook can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device. This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and potentially even begin a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” to the device, or how much electricity is used by the device. The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity of amps that the device pulls may change depending on how hard the unit is working. The number that you find on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps which can be pulled by the device. If a device is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it can burn out the power source and kill the device.
So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy quicker charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage listed with a plus/minus on it like that: 5v +- 5%. If this is true, you can use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that score is telling you is that the device can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. So this means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (so long as the amperage of the charger is equivalent to or greater than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting thing to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That’s pretty much how they operate. There has to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the correct way to charge the battery. If you look at your vehicle, it’s a 12V battery, but typical alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
Stay Away From Cheap Knockoff Chargers
The issue with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is they frequently don’t support the power requirements of the device, or are not built to keep a steady flow safely. Overall, it’s better to stick with the charger designed for the device you are using.
Now You Know 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 device. Be certain to follow what we said and you should be ready to go!