Craftsman 18V Battery Repair

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

Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you’re 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, notebook, camera, or tablet computer that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?

Types of Chargers

In this guide, we will concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop 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 common.

Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they come with.  However, there can be some generic chargers that boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops.  This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might 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 devices, 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 if the charger is safe to use (depending on its listed amps and voltage).

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

The Plugs Must Be The Same

For a charger to be used on another 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, whilst laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting securely is only one part of this equation.

How Voltage and Amperage Matter

Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll find a label 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 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 apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” into the device by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, though a notebook can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage required by the device.  This is important: drawing too high of a voltage could short out the device and potentially even begin a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.

Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” to the apparatus, or how much power is used by the device.  The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the amount of amps that the system pulls may change depending on how hard the unit is working.  The number that you find on the battery that came with your device will be the max amount of amps that may be pulled from the device.  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 device is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it can burn out the power source and kill the apparatus.

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

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

Some devices might have their voltage listed using 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 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 all chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries 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.  When you look at your car, it’s a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.

Stay Away From Cheap Knockoff Chargers

The problem with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is they frequently don’t support the power requirements of the apparatus, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow securely.  Overall, it’s better to stick 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 assist you.  Now you know how to safely and efficiently use a charger that did not include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus.  Be sure you follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!