Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, laptop, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you’re like me, you have probably compiled quite a few chargers over the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, notebook, camera, or tablet computer that is not the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this article, we will concentrate 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 rather specific to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between notebooks. This always requires changing of this 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 apparatus, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the exact same voltage, but may draw different amps. I’ll explain this further later and how to know if 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 with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
For a charger to be used on another 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, while laptop chargers are often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just one part of this equation.
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you’ll get a tag with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A). For notebook 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, in which it would meet the wall. For the device you’re 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” 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 needed by the device.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” to the device, or how much electricity is used by the device. The amount of volts won’t ever change, but the amount of amps that the system pulls may change depending on how hard the unit is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device will be the maximum amount of amps that can be pulled from the device. In order to swap 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 which can’t 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, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy quicker charging (so long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB interfaces that employ the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage listed 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 rating is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That’s pretty much how they work. There has to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the correct way to charge the battery. When you look at your car, it’s a 12V battery, but typical alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
The problem with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is that they frequently don’t support the power needs of the device, or are not built to maintain 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 stick 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 assist you. Now you know how to safely and efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Be certain you follow what we said and you should be good to go!