Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet appear 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 isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we’ll concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop 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 specific to the device they come with. However, there can be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops. This always requires changing of this charger”head” and may 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 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 listed amps and voltage).
Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, including iPads and iPods. For older devices using a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
For a charger for use 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 notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just 1 part of the equation.
Determined by the power brick of the charger you will find 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 found at the base of the charger, where it would meet the wall. For the device you are trying to charge, the voltage and amperage required will be found 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 around 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 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 quickly power is”pulled” to the device, or how much electricity is used by the device. The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity of amps that the system pulls may change based on how hard the device is working. The number that you find on the battery that came with your device are the maximum amount of amps that can be pulled from the device. The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled simultaneously. If a device is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp necessity, 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 (so long as the voltage is equivalent ). *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 Isn’t 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage listed with a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%. If this is true, you may 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 and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is all chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That is pretty much how they work. There needs to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the proper direction to charge the battery. When 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, particularly cheap knockoffs, is they frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the apparatus, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow safely. 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 include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tablet, or other apparatus. Make sure to follow what we said and you should be ready to go!