How To Repair Battery

Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet? 

Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you’re like me, you have probably compiled a number of chargers through the years.  So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, camera, or tablet that is not the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?

Types of Chargers

In this article, we’ll focus on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablets, 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 fairly unique to the device they come with.  However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops.  This always requires changing of the charger”head” and may 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 devices, 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 (based on its listed amps and voltage).

Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, including iPads and iPods. For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.

The Plugs Must Be The Same

For a charger to be used on a different 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 laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting firmly is just one part of this equation.

How Voltage and Amperage Matter

Determined by the power brick of the charger you will get a label 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 bottom of the charger, in which it would meet up with 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 into the device, or how much is being”pushed” into the apparatus by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, though a notebook 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 won’t ever 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 will be the max amount of amps which may be pulled by the device.  The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. To be able to exchange 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 that cannot support the amp necessity, it can burn out the power source and kill the apparatus.

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 employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.

If The Micro USB  Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…

Some devices might have their voltage recorded with a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%.  If this is the case, you may use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that score 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.  This means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (so long as the amperage of the charger is equivalent to or higher than the device’s listed amperage).

An interesting thing to note is all 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 correct way to charge the battery.  When you look at your vehicle, it has a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.

The problem with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the energy requirements of the apparatus, or are not built to maintain a steady flow securely.  Overall, it’s better to stick with the charger made 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, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus.  Make certain to follow what we said and you should be ready to go!