Irobot Battery Repair

Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile 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 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 that is not the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?

Kinds of Chargers

In this guide, we’ll focus 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 fairly specific to the device they come with.  However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between notebooks.  This always requires changing of the 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 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 if the charger is safe to use (based on its recorded amps and voltage).

For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control 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, whilst laptop chargers are often specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting firmly is only 1 part of the equation.

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, where it would meet the wall.  For the device you are attempting to charge, 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 into the apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, though a notebook can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device. 

Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” to the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device.  The amount of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the device pulls may change depending on how hard the device is working.  The number that you find on the battery that came with your device are the maximum amount of amps that may be pulled from the device.  The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. To be able to swap 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 necessity, 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 equal).  *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB ports that employ 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 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 plus 5% 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 equivalent to or higher than the device’s listed amperage).

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 needs to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the proper way to charge the battery.  If you look at your vehicle, it’s a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.

The problem with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the power needs of the apparatus, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow safely.  Overall, it’s best to stick with the charger designed 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, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus.  Be sure you follow what we said and you should be ready to go!