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 have probably compiled a number of chargers through the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, 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 unique to the device they come with. However, there can be some generic chargers which boast the ability to be interchanged between laptops. This always requires changing of the charger”head” and may not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage to your device.
Micro USBs are theoretically designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in many smartphones, Android apparatus, 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 whether the charger is safe to use (depending on its recorded amps and voltage).
For older devices using a 30-pin charge interface, a connector can be used to charge with the Lightning Connector.
In order for a charger to be used on a different device, it’s essential that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit securely into the charging port of the unit. 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 this equation.
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, in which 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 apparatus, or just how much is being”pushed” into the device 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 required by the device.
Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” into the apparatus, or how much electricity is used by the device. The amount of volts will never change, but the quantity of amps that the system pulls may change based on how hard the unit is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device will be the max amount of amps which may be pulled by the device. 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 unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp requirement, it may burn out the power supply 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 faster charging (so long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB interfaces that use the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices may have their voltage recorded with a plus/minus on it like that: 5v +- 5%. If this is true, you may use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that rating 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 point to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries they charge. That’s 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 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 they often don’t support the energy requirements of the apparatus, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow securely. This can cause damage to the device but can also pose a safety/fire hazard. Overall, it’s better to stay with the charger made for the device you are 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. Make certain to follow what we said and you should be ready to go!