Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you have 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 that came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we will focus on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. Although some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.
Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers that 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 exact 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).
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.
The Plugs Must Be The Same
In order for a charger to be used on a different device, it’s essential 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 as far as charging heads, while laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting firmly is only 1 part of the equation.
How Voltage and Amperage Matter
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 located at the base of the charger, where it would meet up with the wall. For the device you are trying to charge, 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 into the device, or just how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to around 5V, though a laptop can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage required by the device.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much power is used by the device. The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity of amps that the system 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 max amount of amps that may be pulled by the device. The number found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled simultaneously. To be able to swap chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number listed on the device’s battery. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp necessity, it can burn out the power source 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 (as long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Website Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB ports that use the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage listed using 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 score is telling you is that the device can take 5v minus 5 percent of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5 percent 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 equivalent to or higher than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting point to note is chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That is pretty much how they work. There needs to be a voltage differential to generate the necessary current flow in the correct direction to charge the battery. If you look at your car, it’s a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
The problem with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow securely. This can cause damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s best 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, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Be certain to follow what we said and you should be ready to go!