Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, notebook, 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 that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this guide, we’ll focus 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 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 theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in many smartphones, Android devices, 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 (depending on its listed amps and voltage).
For older devices using 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 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 as far as charging heads, whilst notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is only one part of the equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will 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, where it would meet the wall. For the device you are trying to charge, the voltage and amperage required will be seen on the battery that came with the device or on the company’s website.
Voltage is how much power the charger will draw in the device, or how much is being”pushed” to the device 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 amount of volts won’t ever change, but the amount of amps that the device pulls may change depending 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. If a device is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp necessity, it may burn out the power supply and kill the apparatus.
So if you 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 ). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that employ the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 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 device can take 5v minus 5 percent 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 (as long as the amperage of the charger is equal to or higher than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting point to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That’s pretty much how they operate. There needs to be a voltage differential to generate 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 issue with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is that they frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow securely. This can result in 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 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 effectively use a charger that did not include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tablet, or other device. Make sure to follow what we said and you should be good to go!