Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you’re like me, you’ve probably compiled quite a few chargers through 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 which came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this article, we will concentrate on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablet computers, 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 unique to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the capability 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 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 recorded amps and voltage).
For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
In order for a charger for use on another device, it’s important that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit snugly to the charging port of the unit. Micro USBs are the same across the board as far as charging heads, whilst notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is only one part of this equation.
Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll find a tag 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 found at the base of the charger, where it would meet up with the wall. For the device you’re attempting to charge, the voltage and amperage required will be found 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 apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” into the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, though 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 start a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device. The amount of volts will never 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 may be pulled by the device. To be able to exchange chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number recorded on the device’s battery. If a device is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power supply 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 equivalent ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB interfaces that employ the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage recorded 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 and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting point to note is all chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That’s pretty much how they work. There needs to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the correct way to charge the battery. If you look at your car, 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 they frequently don’t support the energy needs of the apparatus, or aren’t 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 stick 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 assist you. Now you know how to safely and effectively use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other device. Be certain to follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!