Hybrid Battery Repair Equipment

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

Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you are 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, notebook, 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 concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  While some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.

Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they come with.  However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the capability to be interchanged between notebooks.  This always requires changing of this charger”head” and may not be the best charging amperage or voltage for your device.

Micro USBs are theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most 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 if the charger is safe to use (based on its recorded amps and voltage).

For older devices with a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.

The Plugs Must Be The Same

In order for a charger for use on another device, it’s important 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 laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting firmly is only one part of this equation.

How Voltage and Amperage Matter

Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll find a label with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A).  For laptop 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 located at the base of the charger, in which it would meet up with the wall.  For the device you’re attempting 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” into the apparatus by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, while a laptop can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage required by the device.  This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and potentially even begin a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.

Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” to the device, or how much power is used by the device.  The amount of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the device pulls may change based on how hard the unit is working.  The number that you find on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps which can be pulled from the device.  The amount 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 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 (as long as the voltage is equal).  *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.

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

Some devices might have their voltage listed using a plus/minus on it like that: 5v +- 5%.  If this is the case, 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 plus 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts. 

An interesting thing to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries they charge.  That’s pretty much how they work.  There needs 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 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, especially cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the energy needs of the device, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow securely.  This can cause damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s best to stay with the charger made 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 efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device.  Be certain to follow what we said and you should be ready to go!