Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you’re like me, you have 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 isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this article, we will concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. Although some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.
Laptop chargers are rather unique to the device they come with. However, there can be some generic chargers which boast the ability 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 designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most smartphones, Android devices, 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 (based 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.
For a charger to be used on a different 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 so 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
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you’ll 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 bottom of the charger, in which it would meet the wall. For the device you are attempting to control, the voltage and amperage required will be found 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 device, 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 of 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 quickly power is”pulled” into the device, or how much power is used by the device. The amount of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity of amps that the system pulls may change based on how hard the device 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 by the device. The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. To be able to exchange chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number listed on the device’s battery. If a device is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power supply and kill the apparatus.
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 (so long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage listed with 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 rating is telling you is that the device can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is all chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That is pretty much how they operate. There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct way 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.
The problem with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the power needs of the apparatus, or are not built to keep 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 are 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 efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device. Be certain you follow what we said and you should be good to go!