Car Battery Repair Charger

Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet? 

Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you’re 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 that came with the device?

Types of Chargers

In this article, we will concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  While some devices have chargers using 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 which boast the ability to be interchanged between notebooks.  This always requires changing of the charger”head” and might not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage for your device.

Micro USBs are theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in many smartphones, Android apparatus, and tablets.  Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw various 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 with 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 notebook chargers are often specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting securely is just one part of this equation.

Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will get a tag with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A).  For laptop 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 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 manufacturer’s website.

Voltage is how much power the charger will draw in 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 will never change, but the amount 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 are the maximum amount of amps which can be pulled by the device.  If a device is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp necessity, 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 (so long as the voltage is equivalent ).  *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that use the new Battery Charging Specification.

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

Some devices might have their voltage recorded using a plus/minus on it like this: 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 device can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v plus 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. 

An interesting point to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge.  That’s pretty much how they operate.  There needs to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the proper 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, especially cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow safely.  This can cause damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s best 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, notebook, camera, tablet, or other device.  Be sure you follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!