Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, 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, laptop, camera, or tablet that is not the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this article, we’ll concentrate 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 frequent.
Laptop chargers are fairly unique to the device they come with. 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 devices, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the exact same voltage, but may draw various amps. I will 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, such as iPads and iPods. For older devices using 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 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 so 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 the equation.
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you’ll find a tag with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A). For laptop 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 found at the base of the charger, where it would meet up with the wall. For the device you are attempting to control, 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 how much is being”pushed” to the device 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 needed by the device. This is important: drawing too high of 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 will never change, but the amount of amps that the system pulls may change based on how hard the unit is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device will be the max amount of amps that may be pulled from the device. The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled simultaneously. If a device is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp necessity, it can burn out the power source and kill the device.
So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tabletcomputer, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 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 apparatus can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is all chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That is pretty much how they work. 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 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, particularly cheap knockoffs, is they frequently don’t support the power needs of the apparatus, 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 better to stick with the charger designed 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 efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Make sure you follow what we said and you should be ready to go!