Battery Side Terminal Repair

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

Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet seem to come with their own charger.  If you are like me, you have probably compiled quite a few chargers through 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 article, we will focus on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  Although some devices have chargers with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.

Laptop chargers are rather unique to the device they include.  However, there may 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 to 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 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 (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 control the Lightning Connector.

The Plugs Must Be The Same

For a charger to be used on another device, it’s important 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 often specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting firmly is only 1 part of the equation.

How Voltage and Amperage Matter

Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will 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 located at the base of the charger, where it would meet up with the wall.  For the device you’re attempting to control, the voltage and amperage required will be found on the battery that came with the device or on the manufacturer’s website.

Voltage is how much power the charger will draw in the apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” into the apparatus by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, though 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 electricity is used by the device.  The quantity of volts will never change, but the quantity of amps that the system pulls may change depending on how hard the device is working.  The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device are the maximum amount of amps which may be pulled by the device.  If a device is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp necessity, it can burn out the power supply and kill the apparatus.

So for those who have a modern USB device (smart phone, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy quicker charging (as long as the voltage is equal).  *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that use the new Battery Charging Specification.

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

Some devices may have their voltage recorded using a plus/minus on it like this: 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 percent 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 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 has 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’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 problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the energy needs of the apparatus, or aren’t built to keep 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 Know How To Safely & Effectively Swap Chargers

I hope this article was able to help you.  Now you know how to safely and effectively use a charger that did not include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device.  Be certain you follow what we said and you should be ready to go!