Today, we all have many different chargers around the house, as most devices need their own charger to recharge their battery. However, in recent times chargers with USB-C connection are the order of the day and the universality of this connector can allow us to charge different devices using a single charger. However, to what extent is this possible? And what about a laptop charger , whose power is much higher than that used by normal devices? In this article we are going to investigate about it and we are going to tell you what you can charge with a USB-C laptop charger.
Each device usually comes with its own charger, and there are times when we get to the point that we do not know which charger was for which device. Recently, USB-C chargers are becoming more and more widespread for multiple devices, especially for smartphones and laptops, so it is normal that we wonder if it would not be easier to use a single 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 posed is that generally yes, it is safe to use a powerful laptop charger to charge other devices. However, as you may have noticed if you are an observant reader, we have used the expression “in general”, since as always there are some exceptions because ultimately it will depend on the laptop charger and of course also the device whose battery you intend to charge with it. .
For the compatibility between the laptop charger and the other device to be successful (that is, so that you can use the laptop charger to charge the battery of another device) two conditions must be met, the most obvious of which is that they share the same physical type of port, in this case USB-C.
In 2014, the USB-C connector was formally 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 (initially known as USB Type-C) was conceived with the idea of creating a single universal standard that would solve all the problems of previous designs; Fully reversible, the USB-C would be small enough to fit smartphones, but robust enough to power laptops and even monitors, as you may already know.
If we move forward 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 strings to ensure that USB-C is mandatory in all smartphones from now on, so not only is it becoming more and more frequent to find devices with this type of connector, but it soon seems which will be mandatory.
Therefore and in summary, the first condition is obviously that both the laptop charger and the device whose battery you intend to charge is USB-C, since obviously you cannot aspire to charge the battery of, for example, a smartphone with a laptop charger. with its specific plug type, at least not without using an adapter.
It is essential to know the charging protocol
Having a USB-C connector does not guarantee that everything is automatically compatible, and the second condition, in addition to the fact that both devices share the physical USB-C connector, is that they also have the same charging protocol. Fortunately, if your laptop charges its battery through a USB-C port it will almost certainly support the USB-PD (USB Power Delivery) charging protocol. This is the most common protocol today and allows power output of up to 20V at 5A (100 watts of power) in laptops, and it is also the protocol behind fast charging technologies recently implemented by Apple and Google in their iPhone and Pixel terminals respectively, for example.
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 levels of output voltage, so in practice this means that when you connect a charger to a device, they both have a kind of “talk” or “negotiation” in each other. where the device “tells” the charger how much voltage and amperage it must supply to charge your battery.
Precisely because of this negotiation, this 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, as the charger will simply default to the standard rate of 5V and 1A which most devices need. 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 have seen that the standard will allow you to charge almost any modern device with a USB-C laptop charger, but there is one more thing to keep in mind: all of the above assumes that the USB-C charger of your laptop 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 don’t meet the standards. specifications dictated by USB-IF.
Therefore, the recommendation if you intend to charge another device using the USB-C charger of your laptop is that you make sure that this is the original one (since as it must meet a series of specifications and regulations, it must surely meet the standard USB-IF), or if it is not the original charger, make sure it is at least a good quality one and not a cheap and poor quality one that could give you problems.
You should know that some retailers such as Amazon have already banned the sale of USB chargers that do not comply with the regulations, but even so it is still important to highlight this fact since if you were to try to charge the battery of, for example, a tablet with a charger «from the Chinese ‘could supply you with more voltage / amperage than you need (because it is not able to negotiate) and get to overload your device and damage it.