Honda Insight Battery Repair

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

Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet seem 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 focus on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  While some devices have chargers with 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 that boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops.  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 many smartphones, Android apparatus, and tablets.  Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw different 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 port, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.

In order for a charger to be used on a different device, it’s essential that the plug  of the charger (the”head”) fit securely into the charging port of the unit.  Micro USBs are the same across the board so far as charging heads, whilst notebook chargers are often specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting firmly is only one part of the equation.

Determined by 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 bottom of the charger, where it would meet the wall.  For the device you are trying to charge, the voltage and amperage required will be seen on the battery that came with the device or on the company’s website.

Voltage is how much power the charger will draw in the device, or just how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, while a notebook can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage required by the device. 

Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” to the apparatus, or how much power is used by the device.  The amount of volts will never change, but the amount 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 are the max amount of amps that may be pulled from the device.  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 device is paired with a charger which can’t 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 quicker charging (as long as the voltage is equivalent ).  *Website 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 with a plus/minus on it like that: 5v +- 5%.  If this is true, you can 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 and 5 percent 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 has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the proper direction to charge the battery.  If you look at your vehicle, 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 issue with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they frequently don’t support the energy needs of the apparatus, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow securely.  Overall, it’s best to stay with the charger designed for the device you’re 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 efficiently use a charger that did not include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tablet, or other device.  Make certain to follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!