Milwaukee M18 Battery Repair

Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet? 

Every mobile phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you are like me, you’ve 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 that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?

Types of Chargers

In this article, we will concentrate on three types of chargers: notebook 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 common.

Laptop chargers are rather unique to the device they come with.  However, there can be some generic chargers which boast the capability to be interchanged between laptops.  This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might 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 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 whether the charger is safe to use (depending on its listed amps and voltage).

For older devices using a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.

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 laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting firmly is only one part of the equation.

Determined by the power brick of the charger you will find a tag 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’re 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 into the device, or just how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to approximately 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” to the device, or how much electricity is used by the device.  The quantity 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 find on the battery that came with your device will be the max amount of amps that can be pulled by the device.  The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp necessity, it may burn out the power source and kill the apparatus.

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 quicker charging (so long as the voltage is equal).  *Website 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 Isn’t 5v…

Some devices may have their voltage recorded 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 score is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v plus 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. 

An interesting point to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge.  That is pretty much how they work.  There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the proper direction to charge the battery.  If 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 that they frequently don’t support the power needs of the device, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow securely.  This can result in damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s better to stay with the charger made for the device you’re using.

Now You Know How To Safely & Effectively Swap Chargers

I hope this article was able to help you.  Now you know how to safely and efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other apparatus.  Be sure to follow what we said and you should be good to go!