How To Repair Lithium Ion Battery

Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet? 

Every mobile phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you’re like me, you’ve probably compiled quite a few chargers through the years.  So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, camera, or tablet that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?

Kinds of Chargers

In this article, we will focus on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  Although some devices have chargers with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.

Laptop chargers are fairly unique to the device they include.  However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the capability to be interchanged between notebooks.  This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might not be the best charging amperage or voltage for 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 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 (depending on its recorded amps and voltage).

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

The Plugs Must Be The Same

In order for a charger to be used on a different device, it’s essential that the plug  of the charger (the”head”) fit securely into the charging port of the device.  Micro USBs are the same across the board so far as charging heads, while notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting securely is only one part of the equation.

How Voltage and Amperage Matter

Determined by the power brick of the charger you will find a tag with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A).  For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually located at the bottom of the charger, in which it would meet the wall.  For the device you are attempting to control, the voltage and amperage required will be found 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” to the device by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, though a laptop can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage required by the device. 

Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device.  The quantity of volts won’t ever 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 are the maximum amount of amps that may be pulled from the device.  In order to swap chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number listed on the device’s battery. If a device is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power source 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 equal).  *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that employ the new Battery Charging Specification.

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

Some devices might have their voltage listed with 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 score is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v plus 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. 

An interesting point to note is all chargers supply 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 proper direction 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.

Stay Away From Cheap Knockoff Chargers

The problem with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is they frequently don’t support the power needs of the apparatus, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow safely.  Overall, it’s best 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 effectively use a charger that did not include your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other apparatus.  Be sure you follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!