Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you have probably compiled quite a few chargers through 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 which came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we will concentrate on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, 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 include. However, there may be some generic chargers that 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 to your device.
Micro USBs are designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most smartphones, Android apparatus, 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 listed amps and voltage).
For older devices using a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
In order 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 laptop chargers are often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is only one part of this equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will 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 located at the base of the charger, where it would meet the wall. For the device you’re 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 just how much is being”pushed” to the device by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 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 a voltage could short out the device and possibly even begin a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much power is used by the device. The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity of amps that the system 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 max amount of amps that may be pulled by 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 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 might not work with USB ports that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage listed 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 device can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5% 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 equal to or higher than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting thing to note is chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that 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. If you look at your car, it’s a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
The problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is they frequently don’t support the power needs of the device, or are not built to maintain a steady flow safely. This can result in damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s best 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, notebook, camera, tablet, or other apparatus. Make sure to follow what we said and you should be ready to go!