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’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 computer that isn’t 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 telephones, tablet computers, 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 specific to the device they include. However, there can be some generic chargers that 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 for your device.
Micro USBs are theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most 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 (depending on its recorded amps and voltage).
Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, including iPads and iPods. For older devices using a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.
In order for a charger for use on a different device, it’s essential that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit securely into the charging port of the unit. 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 this equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll 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 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 just how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, though a laptop can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage required by the device. This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and possibly even start a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” to the device, or how much power 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 locate on the battery that came with your device are the maximum amount of amps which can be pulled from the device. The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled simultaneously. To be able to swap chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number listed on the device’s battery. If a unit is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power source and kill the device.
So for those who have a modern USB device (smart phone, tabletcomputer, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (as long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that use the newest 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 that: 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 apparatus can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is all chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That’s pretty much how they work. There has to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the correct way to charge the battery. If 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, especially cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the energy needs of the device, or are not built to keep a steady flow safely. This can cause 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 are 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 come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other apparatus. Make certain you follow what we said and you should be ready to go!