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’re like me, you’ve probably compiled a number of chargers through the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, notebook, camera, or tablet that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this article, we’ll focus on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. While some devices have chargers with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.
Laptop chargers are fairly unique to the device they come with. However, there can 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 to 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 same voltage, but may draw various amps. I’ll explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (based on its listed amps and voltage).
Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, such as iPads and iPods. For older devices with a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
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 so far as charging heads, whilst notebook 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
Somewhere on 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 found at the base 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 seen 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 just how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus 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 of a voltage could short out the device and possibly even begin a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much power 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 device is working. The number that you find on the battery that came with your device will be the maximum amount of amps that may be pulled from 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 apparatus.
So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tabletcomputer, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy quicker charging (as long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that use the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage listed with a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%. If this is true, you can use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that score is telling you is that the device can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That is pretty much how they operate. There needs to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct direction to charge the battery. When you look at your car, it’s a 12V battery, but typical 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 frequently don’t support the energy needs of the device, or aren’t built to maintain 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 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 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!