Samsung Battery Repair

Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet? 

Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet appear to come with their own charger.  If you are 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?

Types of Chargers

In this article, we will focus 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 common.

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 laptops.  This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might not be the best 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 same voltage, but may draw different amps.  I’ll explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (depending on its recorded 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 port, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.

In order for a charger to be used on a different device, it’s important 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 often specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting securely is only 1 part of this 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 found at the bottom of the charger, in which it would meet the wall.  For the device you are attempting to control, 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 in the device, or how much is being”pushed” into the apparatus by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, while a laptop can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device.  This is important: drawing too high of a voltage could short out the device and possibly even begin a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.

Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” into the device, or how much power 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 locate on the battery that came with your device will be the maximum amount of amps which can be pulled by the device.  The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled simultaneously. 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 unit is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp requirement, it can burn out the power source and kill the device.

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 equal).  *Website 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 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 rating is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v plus 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 point to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries 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 direction to charge the battery.  When you look at your vehicle, it’s a 12V battery, but typical 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 they often don’t support the power needs of the device, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow securely.  Overall, it’s best to stay 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 assist you.  Now you know how to safely and efficiently use a charger that did not include your smart phone, notebook, camera, tablet, or other device.  Be certain to follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!