Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, 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 a number of chargers over 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?
Kinds of Chargers
In this guide, we’ll concentrate on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. Although some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.
Laptop chargers are rather unique to the device they include. However, there can be some generic chargers which boast the capability to be interchanged between laptops. This always requires changing of the charger”head” and may not be the best charging amperage or voltage to your device.
Micro USBs are theoretically 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’ll explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (depending on its recorded amps and voltage).
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 snugly to the charging port of the unit. Micro USBs are the same across the board as far as charging heads, while notebook chargers are often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is only 1 part of the equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will find a label 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, where it would meet up with the wall. For the device you are 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 how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, while a notebook can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device. This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and possibly even start a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the device, or how much power is used by the device. The amount of volts will never change, but the quantity of amps that the system pulls may change based on how hard the device is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device are the maximum amount of amps that may be pulled by the device. The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled simultaneously. To be able 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 that cannot support the amp necessity, it may 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 quicker charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *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 might have their voltage recorded with a plus/minus on it like that: 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 device can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5 percent 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 equal to or greater than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting thing to note is all chargers supply 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. 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 they often don’t support the energy needs of the device, or are not built to maintain a steady flow safely. 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’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 effectively use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Make certain you follow what we said and you should be good to go!