Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every cell phone, notebook, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you have probably compiled quite a few chargers through the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, camera, or tablet computer that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we will focus 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 rather unique to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the capability to be interchanged between laptops. 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 most smartphones, Android devices, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw various 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.
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, while notebook chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just 1 part of this equation.
Determined by the power brick of the charger you will find a tag 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 base of the charger, in which it would meet the wall. For the device you’re 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 into the device, or just how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, while a laptop can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device.
Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” to the apparatus, or how much power is used by the device. The quantity 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 that can be pulled by the device. The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled simultaneously. If a unit is paired with a charger which can’t support the amp necessity, it may burn out the power source and kill the apparatus.
So for those who have a modern USB device (smart phone, tablet, 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 might not work with USB ports that employ the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Isn’t 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage recorded 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.
An interesting thing 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 car, it has a 12V battery, but typical alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
The problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they frequently don’t support the energy needs of the device, or aren’t built to keep a steady flow securely. This can result in 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’re using.
Now You Understand How to Safely & Effectively Swap Chargers
I hope this article was able to help you. Now you know how to safely and efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other apparatus. Be sure to follow what we said and you should be good to go!