Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, laptop, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you have 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 article, we’ll focus on three types of chargers: notebook 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 rather unique to the device they include. However, there may be some generic chargers which 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 to 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 same voltage, but may draw various amps. I will explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (based on its listed amps and voltage).
For older devices using a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
In order for a charger for use on another 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 so far as charging heads, while laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is only one part of this 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 typically looks exactly like it sounds — a brick. For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually found at the base of the charger, where it would meet up with the wall. For the device you are trying to charge, 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 into the device, or how much is being”pushed” into the device by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, while a laptop can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device.
Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” into the device, or how much electricity is used by the device. The amount of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity of amps that the system pulls may change based on how hard the unit is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps that can be pulled from the device. The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled simultaneously. In order to exchange 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 can burn out the power supply and kill the device.
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 faster charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB interfaces that employ the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 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 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 (so long as the amperage of the charger is equal to or higher than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting thing to note is all chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That’s pretty much how they operate. There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the proper direction to charge the battery. If you look at your vehicle, 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 issue with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the power requirements of the apparatus, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow securely. This can result in damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s better to stay with the charger designed for the device you’re 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, laptop, camera, tablet, or other device. Be sure to follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!