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 computer that is not the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we will 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 with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.
Laptop chargers are fairly unique to the device they come with. However, there can be some generic chargers that boast the ability to be interchanged between notebooks. This always requires changing of this charger”head” and may not be the best charging amperage or voltage to your device.
Micro USBs are 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 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).
Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, including iPads and iPods. For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.
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 so far as charging heads, whilst notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is only one part of this equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will 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 appears 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 the wall. For the device you’re attempting 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 in the device, or just how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, though a laptop can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into 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 system pulls may change depending on how hard the device is working. The number that you find on the battery that came with your device will be the maximum amount of amps that can be pulled by the device. In order to swap chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number listed on the device’s battery. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power source 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 faster charging (so long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that use the new 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 this: 5v +- 5%. If this is the case, you can 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% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5 percent 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 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 operate. 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 vehicle, it’s a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
Stay Away From Cheap Knockoff Chargers
The issue with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is they frequently 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 made for the device you’re using.
Now You Understand 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 include your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Make certain you follow what we said and you should be good to go!