Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile 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, notebook, camera, or tablet that is not the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we will focus on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. Although some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.
Laptop chargers are rather unique to the device they include. However, there can be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops. This always requires changing of the 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 exact same voltage, but may draw various amps. I will explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (based on its recorded amps and voltage).
For older devices with 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 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 this equation.
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will get a label 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 bottom of the charger, where 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 manufacturer’s website.
Voltage is how much power the charger will draw in the apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” into the device 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.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” to 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 may be pulled from 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 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 faster charging (so long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Site 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 using a plus/minus on it like that: 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 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That’s pretty much how they operate. There needs to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct way 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.
The problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the power needs of the device, or are not built to maintain a steady flow securely. This can cause 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’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, laptop, camera, tablet, or other device. Make certain to follow what we said and you should be good to go!