Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Notebook, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, laptop, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you’re like me, you’ve probably compiled quite a few chargers through 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?
Kinds 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. While some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most frequent.
Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they include. However, there can 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 optimal charging amperage or voltage for your device.
Micro USBs are theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most smartphones, Android apparatus, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw various amps. I will explain this further later and how to know whether the charger is safe to use (depending 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 charge with the Lightning Connector.
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 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 securely is only 1 part of the equation.
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you will get a label with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A). For notebook 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 located 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 company’s website.
Voltage is how much power the charger will draw into the apparatus, or how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus 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 required 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 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 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. In order to swap chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number listed on the device’s battery. 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 apparatus.
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). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage listed with a plus/minus on it like this: 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 apparatus can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v and 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That is pretty much how they work. There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct direction to charge the battery. If you look at your vehicle, it has a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
The issue with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is they often don’t support the energy requirements of the apparatus, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow safely. Overall, it’s better to stay 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 efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, notebook, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device. Make certain to follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!