Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile 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 guide, we’ll 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 using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.
Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they come with. However, there can 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 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 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, including iPads and iPods. For older devices using a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
For a charger for use on a different 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 so far as charging heads, whilst laptop chargers are often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just one part of the equation.
Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll get 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 located at the bottom of the charger, in which it would meet the wall. For the device you’re trying 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 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 laptop can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage required by the device.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much electricity 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 find on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps which may be pulled by the device. In order to swap chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number listed 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 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 quicker charging (as long as the voltage is equal). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB interfaces that use the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage listed with a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%. If this is true, 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 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting point to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That’s pretty much how they operate. There needs to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct direction to charge the battery. If you look at your car, it has 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 they frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow safely. Overall, it’s best to stay 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 assist you. Now you know how to safely and efficiently use a charger that did not include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tablet, or other device. Make sure to follow what we said and you should be good to go!