Nicad Battery Repair Video Tutorial

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

Every cell phone, laptop, and tablet seem 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, notebook, camera, or tablet computer that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?

Kinds of Chargers

In this guide, we’ll concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  Although some devices have chargers with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.

Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they come with.  However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between notebooks.  This always requires changing of the charger”head” and may not be the best charging amperage or voltage to your device.

Micro USBs are 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 whether the charger is safe to use (based on its recorded amps and voltage).

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

The Plugs Must Be The Same

In order for a charger for use on another device, it’s important 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, while laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting securely is only 1 part of the equation.

Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll 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 bottom of the charger, where 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 into the apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” to the device by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, while a laptop can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage required by the device. 

Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much power is used by the device.  The amount of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the device pulls may change based on how hard the unit is working.  The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps that 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 for those who 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 equal).  *Website Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB interfaces that use 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 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 and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts. 

An interesting point to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries they charge.  That’s pretty much how they operate.  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 vehicle, 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 frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the apparatus, or are not built to maintain a steady flow safely.  This can cause damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s better to stick with the charger made for the device you’re 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 efficiently use a charger that did not include your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus.  Be certain you follow what we said and you should be ready to go!