Ego Battery Repair

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

Every mobile phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you’re like me, you’ve probably compiled a number of chargers over the years.  So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, notebook, camera, or tablet that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?

Types of Chargers

In this guide, we will focus 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 frequent.

Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they include.  However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops.  This always requires changing of the charger”head” and may not be the best charging amperage or voltage to 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 different amps.  I’ll explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (based on its recorded 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.

For a charger to be used on a different 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 firmly is just 1 part of this equation.

Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will get 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 bottom of the charger, where it would meet up with the wall.  For the device you are attempting 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 around 5V, though a notebook can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device. 

Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device.  The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity of amps that the device pulls may change depending 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 which can be pulled from the device.  The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. If a device is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp necessity, it can burn out the power supply and kill the apparatus.

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 (as long as the voltage is equivalent ).  *Website 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 may have their voltage recorded with a plus/minus on it like that: 5v +- 5%.  If this is the case, you may use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that rating is telling you is that the apparatus 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 supply 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 proper way to charge the battery.  If you look at your vehicle, it’s a 12V battery, but typical 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 that they often don’t support the energy requirements 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 best 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, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus.  Be sure to follow what we said and you should be ready to go!