Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, laptop, 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 is not the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this guide, we will focus 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 frequent.
Laptop chargers are fairly specific to the device they include. However, there can be some generic chargers that boast the capability to be interchanged between laptops. This always requires changing of the charger”head” and may 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 (depending on its recorded amps and voltage).
For older devices using a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
For a charger to be used 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 so far as charging heads, whilst laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is only 1 part of this equation.
Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll 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, 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 in the apparatus, or just how much is being”pushed” into the apparatus 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 required by the device. This is important: drawing too high of 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 amount of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity of amps that the device pulls may change depending on how hard the device is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device will be the maximum amount of amps which may be pulled by the device. In order 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 which can’t support the amp necessity, it may burn out the power supply and kill the device.
So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy quicker charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that use the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices might 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 plus 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 is pretty much how they operate. There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the proper way to charge the battery. If you look at your vehicle, it’s 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, especially cheap knockoffs, is they frequently don’t support the power requirements of the apparatus, 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 better to stay with the charger designed for the device you’re 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 effectively use a charger that did not include your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other apparatus. Make certain you follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!