Battery Repair Solution

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 are 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, laptop, camera, or tablet that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?

Types of Chargers

In this article, we’ll concentrate 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 unique to the device they include.  However, there can be some generic chargers that boast the capability to be interchanged between notebooks.  This always requires changing of the 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 various amps.  I’ll explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (based on its listed 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 to be used 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 securely is just one part of this equation.

How Voltage and Amperage Matter

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 appears exactly like it sounds — a brick. For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually found at the bottom of the charger, in which it would meet 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 apparatus, or just how much is being”pushed” to the device 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 fast power is”pulled” to the device, or how much power is used by the device.  The quantity 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 which may be pulled by the device.  If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power supply and kill the apparatus.

So for those who 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 ports that use the newest Battery Charging Specification.

If The Micro USB  Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…

Some devices may have their voltage listed with a plus/minus on it like that: 5v +- 5%.  If this is the case, you may use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that score is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. 

An interesting point to note is all chargers provide 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 proper direction to charge the battery.  When you look at your car, it has a 12V battery, but average 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 they frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow securely.  This can cause damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s better 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 efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, notebook, camera, tablet, or other device.  Make sure you follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!