Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you have probably compiled quite a few 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 which came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this article, we’ll focus on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. While some devices have chargers with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.
Laptop chargers are fairly unique to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops. This always requires changing of the charger”head” and may not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage for your device.
Micro USBs are theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most smartphones, Android apparatus, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw various amps. I will explain this further later and how to know if 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 using a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
In order for a charger for use on a different device, it’s essential 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, whilst notebook chargers are often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is only 1 part of the equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll find a label with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A). 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 seen 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, while a notebook 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 potentially even start a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device. The quantity of volts will never change, but the quantity 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 max amount of amps which may be pulled from the device. The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled simultaneously. If a device is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp necessity, it can burn out the power supply and kill the device.
So if you 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 might not work with USB ports that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage listed using 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 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting point to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That is pretty much how they work. There needs to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the correct way to charge the battery. If you look at your car, 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, especially cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the power requirements of the device, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow securely. This can cause 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 effectively use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Be certain you follow what we said and you should be good to go!