Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, laptop, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you’ve probably compiled a number of chargers over 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 article, we will focus on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, 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 include. However, there can be some generic chargers that boast the ability to be interchanged between notebooks. This always requires changing of the charger”head” and might 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 devices, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the exact same voltage, but may draw different amps. I will explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (based 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 interface, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
For a charger to be used on another device, it’s important that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit securely into the charging port of the unit. 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 securely is just 1 part of this equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Determined by the power brick of the charger you will get a label with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A). For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually located at the base of the charger, where it would meet up with 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 in the apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, though a notebook can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” to the device, or how much power is used by the device. The quantity of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the system pulls may change based on how hard the device is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps which can be pulled from the device. 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 device.
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 ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that employ the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices may 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 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts. 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 greater than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting thing to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That is pretty much how they work. There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct way 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 apparatus, or aren’t built to keep 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 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 effectively use a charger that did not include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Be certain to follow what we said and you should be good to go!