Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you’re like me, you’ve probably compiled quite a few 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 which came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this guide, we’ll focus on three types of chargers: notebook 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 rather specific 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 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 various 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 using a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
In order for a charger to be used on a different device, it’s important that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit snugly to the charging port of the device. Micro USBs are the same across the board so far as charging heads, whilst notebook chargers are often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is just one part of this equation.
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 found at the bottom of the charger, where it would meet the wall. For the device you are trying 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 into the apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus 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 needed by the device. This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and potentially even start a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” to the device, or how much power is used by the device. The quantity of volts will never 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 max amount of amps that may be pulled by the device. The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. If a device is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp requirement, it can burn out the power source and kill the device.
So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (as long as the voltage is equal). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB ports that use the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage recorded using a plus/minus on it like that: 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 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is all 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 produce the necessary current flow in the correct direction to charge the battery. If you look at your vehicle, it has 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, particularly cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the power requirements of the apparatus, or aren’t 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 stay with the charger designed for the device you are 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, laptop, camera, tablet, or other apparatus. Be sure to follow what we said and you should be good to go!