Home Technology Using same USB charger for all devices, you probably shouldn’t

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USB has become the charging standard of electronic devices. These days, most phones or tablets comes with a USB data-cum-charging cable which is good for connecting with either computers for transferring data/syncing the device or the wall chargers supplied with the devices for charging. Since all these devices come with USB charging support, is it safe or recommended to inter-change the chargers? In one word ‘NO’.

The main concern is, are these chargers really interchangeable? Or we are doing some sort of damage to our gadget by not using the supplied charger with it?

First thing you need to figure out if doing so will make it explode or not. This means checking the voltage and amperage on your charger to make sure it’ll work with your device. On most chargers you’ll find the voltage listed somewhere on the power brick. Voltage is what pulls energy into the device. If the voltage is too high, you might end up shorting out your devices because you’ll overload the circuits. For mobile phones and other mobile devices like the Kindle that charge with USB, the voltage is typically 5V. A laptop charger might be as high as 20V or 25V.

Don’t feed the devices with lower charging current ratings with high current chargers, it may degrade their battery, performance and functionality.

Likewise, amperage is just as important. Amps are the current that’s supplied to your device. This regulates how much power flows through from the power supply to your device. Too much current may heat up the battery, may hurt the circuitry or may make it misbehave because of static charge build up. Too low current causes less damage, but slows down the charging cycle which may deteriorate the battery charging levels or performance in the long run.

The kind of damage that you might be doing unknowingly to your devices may include:

  • Poor battery performance in long run because of improper charging
  • Too slow charging may take hours to charge the device
  • Too fast charging may affect the circuitry, touch screen performance
  • Overheating may damage the battery prematurely
  • In worst case, it might kill the device

So the easiest way to sort such troubles, is to use the supplied charger only with each of the devices so that they are being fed on what they are supposed to eat. You may have a bunch of cables and chargers looking messy, but it is better for long life and safe operation of your gadgets. And if there is no other option it is recommended to use the charger with the low voltage.



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