Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you’ve probably compiled a number of chargers through 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 article, we will focus 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 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 can be some generic chargers that boast the capability to be interchanged between laptops. 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 apparatus, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw different amps. I will explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (based on its recorded amps and voltage).
For older devices with 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 to be used on a different device, it’s important that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit securely into the charging port of the device. Micro USBs are the same across the board as far as charging heads, while notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just 1 part of the equation.
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will find a tag 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, in which it would meet up with 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 manufacturer’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, though a notebook can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage required by the device.
Amperage is how quickly 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 quantity of amps that the device pulls may change depending on how hard the unit 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. The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. If a unit is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power supply and kill the device.
So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (as long as the voltage is equal). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB ports that use the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage recorded with 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 score is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That is pretty much how they work. There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct direction 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 issue with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the power needs of the device, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow safely. 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 come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other apparatus. Make sure to follow what we said and you should be good to go!