Gadgets

Is charging my phone/tablet with any USB charger safe for my phone?

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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, does it mean that it is safe or recommended to inter-change the chargers?

What Is The Problem?


Talking of a real world scenario, I have 5 gadgets at home including 3 phones and 2 tablets which charge via USB chargers. 4 of them have same charging connector (a micro-USB) which is not becoming a standard for most of the gadgets that we use (at least non-Apple and non-high end like Note 3 which uses a USB 3.0). With same kind of connector and not all the devices plugged in at the same time, I prefer leaving 2 of the USB chargers hooked to my wall port and keep charging all my phones and tablets using these two chargers. Also many a times, I use the external battery packs and computer USB ports for an emergency charge when I am running out of battery on phone.

The main concern is, are these chargers really interchangeable? Or am I doing some sort of damage to my gadget's battery life or circuitry by not using the supplied charger with it?


What Is The Solution?

First let's talk about the kind of damage that I may be doing unknowingly to my devices which may include:
· Poor battery performance in long run because of improper charging
· Too slow charging (low current) may take hours to charge the device
· Too fast charging (high current) may affect the circuitry, touch screen performance (not kidding, it may cause static charges which affect touch screen response)
· Overheating may damage the battery prematurely
· In worst case, damage to circuitry because of improper current (may kill the device gradually)

Too much current, like using a 2 Amp charger on a phone which is designed for 0.8 Amp or 1 Amp charging may heat up the battery, may hurt the circuitry or may make it misbehave because of static charge build up.

Too low current (using a 1Amp charger for a tablet designed to charge with 2 Amp charger) causes less damage, but slows down the charging cycle which may deteriorate the battery charging levels or performance in the long run.

Solution 1: Don't be lazy, use the matching charger only

This is 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.

Solution 2: Remember charging current for all devices (recommended)

You can also remember the charging currents and pick two chargers to charge all of them. Like for tablets, which charge on 2 Amp, use a 2 Amp charger of any of the tablets and use it to charge all your tablets. And your phones which may charge on 0.8 Amp or 1 Amp, you can use one charger of 0.8 Amp (pick the lower current one, as it is safer) and charge all your lower current devices with it.

This leaves you with fast charging for fast ones, slow for slow ones and less clutter on your wall ports.

Solution 3: Use lowers current charger for all devices (not recommended)

If you want to use only charger for all devices, which we don't recommend until they all have same (or very close) charging current, then you can pick the one with lower current rating. This way, you will be doing less damage to the devices compared to using the fast charger for all the devices.

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


The above article is contributed by Rohit Khurana, who is a professional blogger from India. He comes from Mechanical Engineering background and has worked in telecom software industry for around 4 years. He has been blogging since 2007 on more than 6 blogs. His gadget blog is called Intellect Digest. He is also active on YouTube with his gadget review video channel.
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