Can You Use Any Charger With Any Cell Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet appear to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you’ve 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 computer that isn’t the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?
Kinds of Chargers
In this guide, we will concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop 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 common.
Laptop chargers are fairly specific to the device they include. However, there can be some generic chargers that boast the ability to be interchanged between notebooks. This always requires changing of the charger”head” and may not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage for your device.
Micro USBs are designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in many smartphones, Android apparatus, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the exact same voltage, but may draw different amps. I will 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, including 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 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 so far as charging heads, whilst 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
Determined by the power brick of the charger you will get 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 are trying to control, the voltage and amperage required will be seen 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 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 needed by the device. This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and potentially even begin a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how fast power is”pulled” to the device, 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 are the maximum amount of amps that can be pulled from the device. The amount found on the charger is how many amps can be pulled at once. To be able 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 that cannot support the amp requirement, it can burn out the power source and kill the device.
So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tablet, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy quicker charging (so long as the voltage is equivalent ). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it might not work with USB ports that employ the newest Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage recorded 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 device can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5 percent of 5v = 5.25 volts.
An interesting thing to note is 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 produce 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.
The issue with knockoffs, especially cheap knockoffs, is that they frequently don’t support the energy requirements of the apparatus, or are not 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 better to stick 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 assist you. Now you know how to safely and efficiently use a charger that did not include your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other apparatus. Make sure to follow exactly what we said and you should be good to go!