Friday 4 November 2016

How Safe Is It To Charge Your Laptop With Your Friend’s Charger That Has Different Specifications

A charger or ‘power adapter’ is the soul of your laptop. Without a charger, your laptop has zero use. It mostly happens when you forget your charger at  home when you are out somewhere. Or your charger goes kaput due to an internal fault and your new charger will only arrive in a weeks time. These are some difficult situations that every laptop user faces. In such situations, there is no option but to borrow chargers from your friends or use an  old charger lying around.
Does using such a charger create problems? Does a charger of a different wattage and different make harm your device? Is it safe to use a power supply with a different configuration? These are some questions that every laptop users face and we will try to answer them in this article.

What if I use a different make power adapter to charge my laptop?

First and foremost you have to understand how a  power adapter works. A power adapter basically converts the normal local electric input voltage (110-120 Volts in the United States, Most other areas 220-240 Volts) into DC output that charges and runs our electronic devices. The normal DC output is 12 volts but it may differ in varying devices. Power adapters are a bit like canned food. Some manufacturers put a lot of information on the label. Others put just a few details. And if there is no information on the label, proceed with extreme caution.

The most important details for you to look out  are the voltage and the current. Voltage is measured in volts (V) and current is measured in amps (A).  (You’ve probably also heard about resistance (Ω), but this doesn’t usually show up on power adapters.)
The other important term to know is polarity. For direct currents, there is a positive pole (+) and a negative pole (-). For an adapter to work, the positive plug must mate with a negative receptacle or vice versa. Direct current, by nature, is a one-way street, and things just won’t work if you try to go up the downspout.
The next thing to match is the connector. Different laptop manufacturers come with different type of connectors supposedly to be able to market their chargers and other accessories.
So, if your charger is has gone kaput or you have forgotten it at home, here are a few things you should note while connecting your friends power adapter to your laptop.
  1. The connector should be the same. Kindly check if the size and shape of the male connector on the power adapter matches with the female socket on your laptop
  2. Once you get a charger with matching connector shape and size, kindly check the voltage and polarity. If you have forgotten your charger at home or someplace else, you can get the exact specifications of your power adapter online.
  3. Make sure your friends charger has equal or higher Amps
If you have found a charger which checks the above three points, you should have no issues using your friend’s charger to charge your laptop. Remember, using a charger with the wrong voltage rating can potentially damage your laptop. This is typically caused by too high voltage. But using a charger with too high current won’t damage your laptop. Using a charger with too low current rating might fry the power supply, but not the laptop

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