Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, 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 quite a few chargers through the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, notebook, camera, or tablet that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we’ll concentrate on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. Although some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.
Laptop chargers are fairly unique to the device they come with. However, there can be some generic chargers that boast the capability to be interchanged between laptops. This always requires changing of this 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 many smartphones, Android devices, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw various amps. I’ll explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (based 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 control the Lightning Connector.
For a charger for use 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 so far as charging heads, while laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is only 1 part of this equation.
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will find a label 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’re trying to charge, 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 into the apparatus, or just how much is being”pushed” to 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 quickly power is”pulled” into the device, or how much power is used by the device. The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity 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 maximum amount of amps which may be pulled from the device. The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled simultaneously. If a device is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp necessity, it can burn out the power supply and kill the apparatus.
So for those who 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 use the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage listed using 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 and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. So 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 provide a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That is pretty much how they operate. There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the proper direction to charge the battery. If 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 they often don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or are not built to keep a steady flow securely. Overall, it’s best to stick with the charger made for the device you are 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 effectively use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, notebook, camera, tablet, or other device. Make certain to follow what we said and you should be ready to go!