Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, laptop, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you’re 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 isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we will concentrate 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 with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.
Laptop chargers are fairly unique to the device they include. However, there can be some generic chargers that boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops. 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 devices, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the exact 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 recorded amps and voltage).
Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, such as iPads and iPods. For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
In order for a charger for use on another 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 often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is just 1 part of the equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Determined by the power brick of the charger you will find 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 bottom of the charger, where it would meet the wall. For the device you are attempting 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 in the apparatus, or just how much is being”pushed” into 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 required by the device. This is important: drawing too high of a voltage could short out the device and possibly even begin a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” into the apparatus, 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 maximum amount of amps that may be pulled by the device. The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it can burn out the power supply and kill the device.
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 quicker charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *Website 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 Is Not 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage listed using a plus/minus on it like that: 5v +- 5%. If this is true, you may use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that rating 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 equal to or higher than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting point to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That is pretty much how they work. There needs to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the proper way to charge the battery. When you look at your vehicle, it has a 12V battery, but typical alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
The problem with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is they frequently don’t support the power requirements of the apparatus, or are not built to keep a steady flow safely. This can cause damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s best to stay 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, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device. Make sure you follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!