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 are like me, you’ve probably compiled quite a few chargers over the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, camera, or tablet computer that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this article, we’ll concentrate on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, 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 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 notebooks. This always requires changing of the charger”head” and may not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage for 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 exact same voltage, but may draw different amps. I will explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (based on its listed amps and voltage).
Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, such as iPads and iPods. For older devices with a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
In order for a charger to be used on another device, it’s important that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit securely into the charging port of the unit. 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 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 other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually located at the bottom of the charger, where it would meet up with the wall. For the device you are trying to charge, the voltage and amperage required will be found 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 device, 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 needed by the device.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into 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 system pulls may change based on how hard the device 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 necessity, it can burn out the power source and kill the apparatus.
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 faster charging (as long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB interfaces that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage recorded with 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 rating is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. This means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (as long as the amperage of the charger is equivalent to or greater than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting thing to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries 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 way to charge the battery. When you look at your car, it’s a 12V battery, but average 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 often don’t support the power needs of the device, or aren’t 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 stay with the charger designed for the device you’re using.
Now You Know How To Safely & Effectively Swap Chargers
I hope this article was able to assist you. Now you know how to safely and effectively use a charger that did not include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Be certain you follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!