Each device usually comes with its own charger, and there are times when we get to the point where we don’t know which charger was for which device. Recently, USB-C chargers have become more and more popular for multiple devices, especially smartphones and laptops, so it is only natural that one wonders if it might not be easier to use just one. charger for everything, right?
You can charge (almost) anything with your laptop’s USB-C charger
With the recent rise in popularity of certain standards (USB-C and USB-PD), the short answer to the question we have asked ourselves is that in general yes it is safe to use a powerful laptop charger. to charge other devices. However, as you may have noticed if you are an attentive reader, we have used the expression “in general” because as always there are exceptions as ultimately it will depend on the charger of the laptop and well. also sure of the device you intend to charge.
In order for the compatibility between the laptop charger and the other device to be successful (that is, you can use the laptop charger to charge the battery of another device), two conditions must be met, the most obvious being that they share the same physical type of port, in this case USB-C.
In 2014, the USB-C connector was officially announced by USB Implementer’s Forum (USB-IF), a non-profit organization that brings together industry-leading companies such as Microsoft, Intel or Apple. USB-C (originally known as USB Type-C) was designed with the idea of creating a single universal standard that would solve all the problems of previous designs; Fully reversible, USB-C is said to be small enough to accommodate smartphones, yet rugged enough to power laptops and even monitors, as you may already know.
If we move to 2020, USB-C has become the new standard in all types of devices, and today the vast majority of smartphones and laptops already carry this connector for power; in fact, the European Union is pulling the strings to ensure that USB-C is now mandatory in all smartphones, so not only is it more and more common to find devices with this type of connector, but it soon seems what will be mandatory.
Therefore and in summary, the first condition is obviously that the laptop charger and the device whose battery you want to charge are USB-C, because obviously you cannot aspire to charge the battery, for example, from a smartphone with a laptop charger. conventional socket with its specific type of socket, at least not without using an adapter.
It is essential to know the charging protocol
Having a USB-C connector doesn’t guarantee that everything is automatically compatible, and the second requirement, besides the two devices sharing the physical USB-C connector, is that they also have the same charging protocol. Fortunately, if your laptop is charging its battery through a USB-C port, it will almost certainly support the USB-PD (USB Power Delivery) charging protocol. It is the most common protocol today and allows output power of up to 20V at 5A (100 watts of power) in laptops, and it is also the protocol behind recently introduced fast charging technologies. implemented by Apple and Google in their iPhone and Pixel devices respectively, eg.
Today, all modern batteries have a built-in charge controller that regulates the input voltage and prevents overcharging. This works in conjunction with the fact that most chargers also support different output voltage levels, so in practice this means that when you connect a charger to a device, they both have some sort of ‘talk’ or “Negotiation” into each other. where the device “tells” the charger the voltage and amperage it must supply to charge your battery.
Precisely because of this negotiation, it means that even if your device does not support fast charging, it will continue to work and charge its battery with your laptop’s USB-C charger, because the charger will simply be the default. at the standard rate of 5V and 1A that most devices require. Now, the fact that it takes more or less to charge the battery of the other device is something else.
Always use a good quality original charger
So far we’ve seen that the standard will allow you to charge virtually any modern device with a USB-C laptop charger, but there’s one more thing to keep in mind: all of the above assumes that your laptop’s USB-C charger can successfully negotiate the power required by the other device, and while this is a very basic specification for almost any power supply, the reality is that there is still a small minority of poor quality “ fake ” chargers that do not meet standards. dictated by USB-IF.
Therefore, the recommendation if you intend to charge another device using your laptop’s USB-C charger is to make sure it is the original (as it must be compliant with a series of specifications and regulations, surely it must conform to the USB-IF standard), or if it is not the original charger, please make sure it is at least a good quality charger and not a cheap low quality charger that might give you trouble.
You should know that some retailers like Amazon have already banned the sale of USB chargers that do not comply with the regulations, but still it is still important to stress this fact since if you were to try to charge the battery from, for example example, a tablet with a “Chinese” charger could provide you with more voltage / amperage than you need (since it is not able to negotiate) and possibly overload your device and damage it.