Repair Battery Corrosion

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

Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you’re 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 that is not the original manufacturer’s charger that 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 telephones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  Although some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.

Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they include.  However, there can be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops.  This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might not be the best 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 different 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).

Apple Lightning Connectors are standard on all new Apple devices, such as iPads and iPods. For older devices using a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.

For a charger to be used on another device, it’s essential 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 so far as charging heads, while notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting firmly is just 1 part of this equation.

How Voltage and Amperage Matter

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 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 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 required by the device. 

Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” to the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device.  The quantity of volts will never change, but the quantity of amps that the system pulls may change based on how hard the unit is working.  The number that you find on the battery that came with your device will be the maximum amount of amps which may be pulled from the device.  To be able to exchange chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number recorded on the device’s battery. If a device is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power supply 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 faster charging (as long as the voltage is equivalent ).  *Website Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that use the new Battery Charging Specification.

If The Micro USB  Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…

Some devices might have their voltage listed using a plus/minus on it like that: 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 device can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v plus 5 percent 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 equal to or greater than the device’s listed amperage).

An interesting point to note is all chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries they charge.  That is pretty much how they work.  There needs to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the proper way to charge the battery.  If 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 frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow safely.  Overall, it’s best to stick with the charger made for the device you are 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 effectively use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, notebook, camera, tablet, or other apparatus.  Make sure to follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!