Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet appear 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 isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this article, we will concentrate on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. Although some devices have chargers with 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 can be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between notebooks. This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might 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 devices, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the exact 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 listed amps and voltage).
For older devices with a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.
In order for a charger to be used on a different 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 one part of the 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 found at the base of the charger, where it would meet the wall. For the device you are trying to control, the voltage and amperage required will be seen on the battery that came with the device or on the company’s website.
Voltage is how much power the charger will draw into the apparatus, or just how much is being”pushed” into 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 required by the device.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the device, or how much electricity is used by the device. The amount of volts won’t ever 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 will be the max amount of amps which can be pulled from the device. In order to swap chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number recorded on the device’s battery. 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 for those who have a modern USB device (smart phone, tabletcomputer, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy quicker 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 newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage listed with 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 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.
An interesting thing to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries 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. When 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 issue with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the power needs of the apparatus, or are not 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, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Make sure you follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!