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

Every mobile phone, notebook, and tablet seem 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, notebook, camera, or tablet that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?

Types of Chargers

In this guide, we’ll concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  While some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.

Laptop chargers are fairly specific to the device they include.  However, there can be some generic chargers that boast the ability 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 apparatus, and tablets.  Micro USB chargers typically have the exact 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).

For older devices using a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.

The Plugs Must Be The Same

For a charger to be used on another device, it’s important that the plug  of the charger (the”head”) fit snugly to the charging port of the device.  Micro USBs are the same across the board so far as charging heads, whilst laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting securely is only 1 part of this 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 laptop chargers, this charging brick is often halfway down the charger and typically looks exactly like it sounds — a brick. For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually found at the bottom of the charger, where it would meet up with the wall.  For the device you are 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 in the apparatus, or just 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.  This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and potentially even start a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.

Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device.  The quantity of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the device pulls may change based on how hard the device is working.  The number that you find on the battery that came with your device will be the maximum amount of amps which can be pulled by the device.  The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. If a device is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp necessity, it may 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 quicker charging (as long as the voltage is equivalent ).  *Website Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.

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

Some devices may have their voltage listed using a plus/minus on it like that: 5v +- 5%.  If this is true, 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 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. 

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 has to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the proper direction to charge the battery.  If you look at your vehicle, it has a 12V battery, but typical 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 energy requirements of the device, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow safely.  Overall, it’s better to stick with the charger made 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 come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus.  Be sure to follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!