Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, laptop, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you have 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 isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that 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 using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.
Laptop chargers are fairly unique to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the capability to be interchanged between notebooks. This always requires changing of the charger”head” and might not be the best charging amperage or voltage to your device.
Micro USBs are theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in many 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 (based on its listed amps and voltage).
For older devices with a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
In order for a charger to be used 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 as far as charging heads, while laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just one part of the equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Determined by the power brick of the charger you will get 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 bottom of the charger, in which it would meet the wall. For the device you’re trying to charge, 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 device, or how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus 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 required by the device.
Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” to the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device. The amount of volts won’t ever change, but the amount of amps that the device 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 max amount of amps that may be pulled by the device. To be able to exchange chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number listed 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 source 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 quicker charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB interfaces that use the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage recorded with a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%. If this is the case, 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% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5 percent 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 greater than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting point to note is chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That’s pretty much how they operate. There has to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the correct direction to charge the battery. When you look at your vehicle, it’s a 12V battery, but typical alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
The issue with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or are not built to keep a steady flow safely. This can result in 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 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, tablet, or other apparatus. Be certain you follow what we said and you should be good to go!