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Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell 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 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 computer 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 telephones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors.  While some devices have chargers with a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.

Laptop chargers are fairly unique 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 the charger”head” and may not be the best 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 various amps.  I’ll explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (based on its recorded 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 interface, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.

The Plugs Must Be The Same

In order for a charger for use on a different 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 as far as charging heads, whilst notebook chargers are often specific to both make and model.  However, the plug fitting firmly is just 1 part of the 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 located at the base of the charger, where it would meet up with the wall.  For the device you’re attempting to charge, the voltage and amperage required will be seen 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 just how much is being”pushed” to the apparatus by the charger.  A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, while a notebook can pull up to 25V.  A charger must equal the voltage required by the device.  This is important: drawing too high 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 device, or how much electricity is used by the device.  The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the quantity of amps that the system pulls may change based on how hard the unit is working.  The number that you find on the battery that came with your device are the maximum amount of amps that may be pulled from 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 recorded on the device’s battery. If a device is paired with a charger that cannot 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 equivalent ).  *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB interfaces that employ the new 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 score is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts  OR  5v and 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts. 

An interesting point to note is all chargers supply a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge.  That’s 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 car, it has a 12V battery, but average alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.

Stay Away From Cheap Knockoff Chargers

The problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the apparatus, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow safely.  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 Understand 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 include your smart phone, laptop, camera, tabletcomputer, or other device.  Make certain you follow exactly what we said and you should be ready to go!


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7 Signs Your Car Battery Is About To Die and Should Be Replaced (or reconditioned)

With no battery, your car simply isn’t functional.  One of the most inconvenient things in life is if your car battery suddenly dies unexpectedly!

But the great news is… there are several ways to know if your car battery is on the verge of dying and needs to be replaced.   In this guide we will go over 7 signs your car battery is going to die and needs to be replaced or reconditioned.

Before we get started discussing these 7 critical signs, it’s important to remember that if experiencing issues with your car battery, be certain to check the battery connections and wires first because sometimes a faulty connection can appear to be a bigger problem.

1) Slow Cranking – When turning the key, if your vehicle turns over for more than normal or takes some time to”catch,” it often is because the battery charge is low.  While the newcomer can be the culprit, the majority of the time the battery is to blame.  If this is happening frequently, it’s a fantastic sign your car battery is going bad and it may be time to replace your battery or recondition it.

2) Check Engine Light/Battery Warning Light – The check engine light is always a good sign of something off with your vehicle.  The battery power being feeble will trip the check engine light.  If your check engine light is on, be sure to check the battery power level.   This is only going to light up if there’s an issue with the battery.

3) Age – A car battery life span, in ideal conditions, is about five years.  

4) Electrical Component Issues –  One sure indication your battery is starting to fade is if electric components are fighting to operate (such as lights, windshield wipers, power locks, and windows).

This can damage other engine components if not addressed quickly.  If you notice this, you can either bring your battery into a store and have them look at it or you can use our reconditioning steps and do it yourself.

7) Multiple Jump starts Needed – if you are having to jump your battery to get your car started over three times each week, it’s time to replace the battery or recondition it.  Excessive jumping can also damage other systems, so it is best to have the battery replaced or correct the battery yourself.

If your car battery is showing any of these 7 signs, know that your battery should be replaced or reconditioned before your car no more runs.