Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet appear 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, laptop, camera, or tablet that is not the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we’ll focus on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, 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 specific to the device they include. However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops. This always requires changing of the 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 many 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 if the charger is safe to use (based on its listed 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.
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 as far as charging heads, while notebook chargers are often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just one part of this equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Determined by the power brick of the charger you’ll get a tag 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 bottom of the charger, in which it would meet the wall. For the device you’re attempting to charge, the voltage and amperage required will be found on the battery that came with the device or on the manufacturer’s website.
Voltage is how much power the charger will draw in the apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” into the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 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” to the device, or how much electricity is used by the device. The quantity of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the device pulls may change depending on how hard the unit is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device will be the maximum amount of amps that may be pulled by the device. In order to exchange 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 which can’t support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power supply and kill the device.
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 may not work with USB ports that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage listed with a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%. If this is the case, you may 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. So this means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (so long as the amperage of the charger is equal to or higher than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting point to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That’s 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. When you look at your vehicle, 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 problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the energy needs of the device, or are not built to maintain a steady flow securely. Overall, it’s better 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 efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device. Make sure to follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!