Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you’re like me, you have probably compiled quite a few chargers over the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, notebook, camera, or tablet computer that is not 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 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 frequent.
Laptop chargers are fairly specific 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 optimal charging amperage or voltage for your device.
Micro USBs are 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 various amps. I’ll explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (based on its recorded amps and voltage).
Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, including iPads and iPods. For older devices using a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
In order for a charger for use on a different 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 so far as charging heads, whilst notebook chargers are often specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is only one part of the equation.
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will get a label with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A). For laptop chargers, this charging brick is often halfway down the charger and appears exactly like it sounds — a brick. For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually found at the bottom of the charger, where it would meet up with the wall. For the device you are attempting 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 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.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device. The amount of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity of amps that the device pulls may change based on how hard the unit is working. The number that you find on the battery that came with your device are the maximum amount of amps that may be pulled from the device. The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled simultaneously. To be able 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 requirement, 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 equivalent ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB ports that use the new 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 this: 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% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is chargers provide 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 proper direction to charge the battery. When you look at your car, it has a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
Stay Away From Cheap Knockoff Chargers
The issue with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the energy requirements of the apparatus, or aren’t built to keep 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 stick 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 include your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Be sure to follow what we said and you should be good to go!