Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, 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, notebook, camera, or tablet that is not the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this guide, we will focus on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. Although some devices have chargers with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.
Laptop chargers are fairly specific to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the capability 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 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 different 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).
For older devices using a 30-pin charge interface, 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 important 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 laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just 1 part of the 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 laptop 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 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 how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus 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 needed by the device. This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and possibly even start 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 amount of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the system pulls may change depending on how hard the device is working. The number that you find on the battery that came with your device will be the max amount of amps which can be pulled by the device. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it can burn out the power supply and kill the apparatus.
So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB ports that use the newest 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 the case, you can use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that rating is telling you is that the device can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting point to note is chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That’s pretty much how they operate. There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the proper direction to charge the battery. When you look at your vehicle, it has a 12V battery, but typical alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
The problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the energy needs of the apparatus, or are not built to keep a steady flow securely. This can result in damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s best to stick 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 help you. Now you know how to safely and effectively use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other device. Be sure to follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!