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 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 is not the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, 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 common.
Laptop chargers are rather specific 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 the charger”head” and may not be the best 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 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 port, 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 another device, it’s essential 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, while notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is just 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 notebook 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 bottom of the charger, where it would meet the wall. For the device you are trying 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 in the device, or just how much is being”pushed” into the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, though a notebook can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage required by the device.
Amperage is how fast 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 amount 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 which can be pulled from the device. In order to swap 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 source 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 (so long as the voltage is equal). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that employ 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 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. 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 higher than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting point to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That’s pretty much how they work. There has to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the proper way to charge the battery. If you look at your car, it’s 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 often don’t support the energy requirements of the apparatus, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow securely. 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 include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device. Make sure to follow what we said and you should be good to go!