Battery Repair San Diego

Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet? 

Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet seem to come with their own charger.  If you are like me, you’ve probably compiled quite a few chargers over the years.  So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, camera, or tablet computer that is not the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?

Types of Chargers

In this guide, we will concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop 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 common.

Laptop chargers are fairly unique to the device they include.  However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the capability to be interchanged between laptops.  This always requires changing of this charger”head” and may not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage to your device.

Micro USBs are designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most smartphones, Android devices, and tablets.  Micro USB chargers typically have the exact 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 listed amps and voltage).

Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, including iPads and iPods. For older devices using a 30-pin charge interface, 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 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 usually specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting firmly is just 1 part of this equation.

Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you’ll get a label with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A).  For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually found at the base of the charger, where it would meet the wall.  For the device you are trying 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 apparatus, or just how much is being”pushed” to the device by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, while a laptop can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device. 

Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the device, or how much power is used by the device.  The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity 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 can be pulled by the device.  In order to exchange chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number recorded on the device’s battery. If a device is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp necessity, it may burn out the power supply 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 (as 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 Isn’t 5v…

Some devices might have their voltage recorded with 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 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts. 

An interesting thing to note is chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries they charge.  That’s pretty much how they operate.  There has to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the proper direction to charge the battery.  When you look at your vehicle, it’s a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.

The issue with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is that they frequently don’t support the energy needs of the device, or are not built to keep a steady flow securely.  Overall, it’s best to stay 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 include your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus.  Be sure to follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!