Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you’re 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, notebook, camera, or tablet computer that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this guide, we will focus 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 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 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 different amps. I’ll explain this further later and how to know whether 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.
In order for a charger to be used on another 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 as far as charging heads, whilst laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is only 1 part of this equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll find a tag with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A). For laptop chargers, this charging brick is often halfway down the charger and appears 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, where it would meet up with the wall. For the device you are trying 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” to the device by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, while a laptop can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage required by the device.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” to the apparatus, or how much power is used by the device. The quantity of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the device 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 by the device. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot 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 (as long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that employ the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage listed using a plus/minus on it like this: 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 apparatus can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5% 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 higher than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting thing to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That’s pretty much how they work. There needs to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the proper direction to charge the battery. If you look at your car, it’s 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 requirements of the apparatus, or are not built to keep a steady flow safely. Overall, it’s better to stay with the charger made for the device you are using.
Now You Understand How to Safely & Effectively Swap Chargers
I hope this article was able to help you. Now you know how to safely and effectively use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other apparatus. Be sure you follow what we said and you should be ready to go!