Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you’re like me, you have probably compiled a number of chargers through the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, camera, or tablet computer that is not the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this guide, we will focus on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, 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 frequent.
Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers which boast the capability to be interchanged between notebooks. 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 devices, 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 if 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 with a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
For a charger for use on another device, it’s important that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit snugly to the charging port of the unit. Micro USBs are the same across the board as far as charging heads, while laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is just one part of the equation.
Determined by the power brick of the charger you will find 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 attempting to control, 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 in the apparatus, or just how much is being”pushed” into the device by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 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” to the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device. The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the amount of amps that the device pulls may change based 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 which may be pulled from the device. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp necessity, it can burn out the power supply and kill the device.
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 equal). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB interfaces that use the newest 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 that: 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 device can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 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 greater than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting point to note is chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That is pretty much how they work. There has to be a voltage differential to generate 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.
The problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the power requirements of the device, or are not built to maintain a steady flow securely. 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 assist 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 certain to follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!