Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you’re like me, you have probably compiled a number of chargers over 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?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we’ll concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. While some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.
Laptop chargers are fairly specific to the device they include. However, there can 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 designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in many smartphones, Android apparatus, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw different amps. I will explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (depending on its recorded 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.
In order 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 1 part of this equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll 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 located at the base 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 found on the battery that came with the device or on the company’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 around 5V, though 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 electricity is used by the device. The quantity of volts will never change, but the quantity of amps that the device 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 maximum amount of amps that may be pulled by the device. If a unit is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp requirement, it can burn out the power supply and kill the device.
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 (as long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB ports that use the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage recorded using a plus/minus on it like this: 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 apparatus can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is chargers provide 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 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 they frequently don’t support the power requirements 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 better to stay 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 assist 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. Be certain you follow what we said and you should be good to go!