Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, laptop, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you have probably compiled a number of chargers over the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, notebook, camera, or tablet computer that is not the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Kinds 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. 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 include. However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the capability 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 most 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 (depending on its listed amps and voltage).
For older devices using a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
For a charger for use on another device, it’s essential 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, while notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just 1 part of this equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Somewhere on 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 appears 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 are attempting 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” into the device by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, while a laptop 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 system 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 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 recorded on the device’s battery. If a unit is paired with a charger which can’t 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 (so long as the voltage is equal). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB ports 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 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. So this means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (as long as the amperage of the charger is equal to or greater than the device’s listed amperage).
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 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, especially cheap knockoffs, is that they frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow securely. Overall, it’s better to stay with the charger made 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 efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Make sure you follow what we said and you should be ready to go!