Watch Repair And Battery Replacement

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 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 is not the original manufacturer’s charger that came with the device?

Kinds of Chargers

In this article, we will concentrate on three types of chargers: notebook chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with telephones, tablets, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  While some devices have chargers with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.

Laptop chargers are fairly specific to the device they come with.  However, there can be some generic chargers which boast the capability to be interchanged between notebooks.  This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage for your device.

Micro USBs are theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most smartphones, Android devices, and tablets.  Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw different amps.  I will explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (based on its listed 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 for use on a different device, it’s essential 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 so far as charging heads, while notebook chargers are often specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting firmly is just one part of this 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 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 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 device, or 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.  This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and possibly 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 power is used by the device.  The quantity of volts will never change, but the amount of amps that the device pulls may change depending on how hard the unit is working.  The number that you find on the battery that came with your device are the max amount of amps that may be pulled by the device.  The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power source and kill the device.

So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tabletcomputer, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (so long as the voltage is equal).  *Website Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that use the new Battery Charging Specification.

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

Some devices might have their voltage listed with a plus/minus on it like this: 5v +- 5%.  If this is true, you can use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that score is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5 percent 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 higher than the device’s listed amperage).

An interesting point to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries they charge.  That’s pretty much how they work.  There needs to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct direction to charge the battery.  If 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 issue with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or are not 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 designed 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 effectively use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus.  Be certain you follow what we said and you should be good to go!