Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you have probably compiled quite a few 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?
Kinds of Chargers
In this article, we will focus on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablets, 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 unique to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the capability to be interchanged between laptops. 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 same voltage, but may draw various amps. I’ll explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (depending on its listed amps and voltage).
For older devices using a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
In order for a charger to be used on another 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 as far as charging heads, while notebook chargers are often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is just 1 part of this equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll get 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 located at the bottom of the charger, where it would meet the wall. For the device you’re attempting to charge, 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 in the apparatus, or just how much is being”pushed” into the device 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 required 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 quickly power is”pulled” to the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device. The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the amount of amps that the system pulls may change depending on how hard the unit is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device will be the maximum amount of amps which may be pulled from the device. If a device is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp necessity, it may burn out the power supply 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 quicker charging (so long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may 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 true, you may 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% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. So this means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (as long as the amperage of the charger is equivalent to or greater than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting point to note is all chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That’s pretty much how they operate. There needs to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the proper way 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 problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the apparatus, or are not built to keep a steady flow safely. This can result in damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s best to stick 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 device. Be sure you follow what we said and you should be ready to go!