Gameboy Battery Pack Repair

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

Every mobile phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you are 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, laptop, camera, or tablet that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that 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 telephones, 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 fairly specific to the device they come with.  However, there may 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 best charging amperage or voltage for your device.

Micro USBs are designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in many smartphones, Android devices, and tablets.  Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw various amps.  I’ll explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (based on its recorded amps and voltage).

Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, such as iPads and iPods. For older devices with a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to charge with 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 snugly to the charging port of the device.  Micro USBs are the same across the board so far as charging heads, while laptop chargers are usually 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’ll get 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 bottom of the charger, where it would meet up with the wall.  For the device you are trying 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 in the apparatus, or just how much is being”pushed” to the device 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 required 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 device, or how much power is used by the device.  The quantity of volts will never change, but the quantity of amps that the device pulls may change based on how hard the unit is working.  The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device are the maximum amount of amps that 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 listed on the device’s battery. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp necessity, it can 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 (so long as the voltage is equivalent ).  *Site 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 might have their voltage listed 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 rating is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. 

An interesting thing 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 has a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.

The issue with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is they frequently don’t support the power requirements of the apparatus, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow securely.  Overall, it’s better to stick with the charger made 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 include your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device.  Be certain you follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!