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 quite a few chargers through the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, 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 focus on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablets, 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 rather specific to the device they come with. However, there can be some generic chargers that boast the ability to be interchanged between notebooks. This always requires changing of this 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 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 if the charger is safe to use (based on its listed amps and voltage).
For older devices using a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
In order for a charger for use on a different device, it’s essential that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit securely into the charging port of the device. Micro USBs are the same across the board so far as charging heads, whilst notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is only 1 part of the equation.
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you’ll find a tag with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A). For laptop chargers, this charging brick is often halfway down the charger and typically looks exactly like it sounds — a brick. For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually found at the base 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 company’s website.
Voltage is how much power the charger will draw in the apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” to the device by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, though a laptop 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 potentially even begin a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” to the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device. The amount of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the system pulls may change based on how hard the unit is working. The number that you find on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps which can be pulled by the device. The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot 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, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy quicker charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that use the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices might 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 device can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. 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 supply a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That is pretty much how they work. There has to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the correct direction to charge the battery. If you look at your car, it’s 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 often don’t support the energy needs of the apparatus, or are not built to keep 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 are 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, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device. Make certain you follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!