Car Battery Not Holding Charge How To Fix

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 quite a few chargers through the years.  So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, camera, or tablet that is not the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?

Types of Chargers

In this guide, we’ll focus on three types of chargers: laptop 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 fairly specific 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 this charger”head” and may not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage to your device.

Micro USBs are theoretically 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 various amps.  I will explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (based on its recorded amps and voltage).

Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, including iPads and iPods. For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.

The Plugs Must Be The Same

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 device.  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 securely is only 1 part of the equation.

How Voltage and Amperage Matter

Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you’ll 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 located at the base of the charger, where it would meet the wall.  For the device you’re attempting to charge, the voltage and amperage required will be seen 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 how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus 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. 

Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” to the device, or how much power is used by the device.  The quantity of volts will never change, but the quantity of amps that the system pulls may change depending 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 which can be pulled from the device.  To be able to swap chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number recorded on the device’s battery. If a unit is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp necessity, it can burn out the power source and kill the apparatus.

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).  *Website Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that use the new Battery Charging Specification.

If The Micro USB  Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…

Some devices might have their voltage recorded with a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%.  If this is the case, you may 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 plus 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. 

An interesting point to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries they charge.  That’s pretty much how they operate.  There needs to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct direction to charge the battery.  When you look at your car, it has 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 frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or aren’t built to maintain 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 stick with the charger designed for the device you’re using.

Now You Understand 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!