Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, laptop, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you’re like me, you’ve probably compiled a number of 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 that came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, 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 common.
Laptop chargers are fairly specific to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops. This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage for 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 exact 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 listed amps and voltage).
For older devices with a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.
In order for a charger to be used on another 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 as far as charging heads, while notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just 1 part of the equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll find 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 are trying to control, the voltage and amperage required will be seen 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 device, or just how much is being”pushed” into the apparatus 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” to the device, or how much electricity is used by the device. The amount of volts will never change, but the quantity of amps that the device pulls may change depending on how hard the device is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps that can be pulled from the device. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power source and kill the device.
So for those who have a modern USB device (smart phone, tabletcomputer, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (as long as the voltage is equal). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that use the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage recorded using a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%. If this is true, 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.
An interesting point to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that 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 way to charge the battery. When you look at your vehicle, 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 issue with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the power needs of the device, 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 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 help 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 to follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!