Dell D620 Battery Repair

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

Types of Chargers

In this guide, we’ll focus on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  While 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 come with.  However, there can be some generic chargers which boast the capability to be interchanged between notebooks.  This always requires changing of the charger”head” and may 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 apparatus, and tablets.  Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw different amps.  I will explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (based 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 port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.

The Plugs Must Be The Same

In order for a charger to be used 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, whilst notebook chargers are often 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 find a label with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A).  For notebook chargers, this charging brick is often halfway down the charger and typically looks exactly like it sounds — a brick. 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 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 into the device, or just how much is being”pushed” to 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. 

Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the device, or how much electricity is used by the device.  The quantity of volts will never change, but the quantity of amps that the device pulls may change depending on how hard the device is working.  The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps which 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 recorded 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 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 equal).  *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB ports that use the new Battery Charging Specification.

If The Micro USB  Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…

Some devices might have their voltage listed 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 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.  This means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (as long as the amperage of the charger is equal 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 produce the necessary current flow in the correct direction to charge the battery.  If you look at your vehicle, 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 that they often don’t support the power needs of the device, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow securely.  Overall, it’s better 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 assist you.  Now you know how to safely and efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other device.  Be certain you follow what we said and you should be good to go!