⚡ Can I charge laptops with phone chargers? ⚡


👤 Diwas Poudel    🕒 Dec 9 2022    📁 TECH

Charging Laptops with Phone Chargers

Laptop chargers. They’re big, clunky, and heavy. You don’t want them in your backpack when going for a walk. Phone chargers - Small, concise, and lightweight. It used to be impossible to imagine charging your laptop with a phone charger. However, with the rise of Type-C, we can do it. In this article, we discuss how to do that and how we can use different chargers to charge laptops. 

USB Type C - The game changer

USB Type C is a 24 Pin USB connector system that is rotationally symmetrical. Almost every smart device uses a USB charger nowadays, but have you ever managed to get the connector in the charger the right way on the very first try? USB PD chargers use reversible USB-C connectors. So you’ll never have to put on a fight with your charger ever again. This means that it renders memes like this redundant.

USB C, simply put is the younger, better version of USB A. It’s faster, it’s smaller and it’s capable of delivering power to various devices. Recently, Xiaomi launched a phone with a USB charger capable of delivering 210W to a phone. The Redmi note 12 discovery edition boasts a 210w type C charger. This is all possible because of the technology called Gallium Nitride. Here is a good video by popular YouTuber Mrwhosetheboss about the phone. 

Laptop with USB Type C
fig. Laptop with USB Type C

The amount of potential type c has shown since its official release in August 2014 has been nothing short of extraordinary. Using this connector also creates the possibility to use one charger for many devices. Whether you’re looking to charge your smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, or laptop. If it can be connected using USB-C, it can be charged using the Power Delivery feature of USB-C. To see more about the benefits of USB C, you can check out our article on The Benefits of USB C

Power Delivery Through USB C

USB C is capable of delivering massive amounts of power for its size. Advertised as fast charging technology, USB C is supported by most android phones, laptops, and apple devices. This is the reason a lot of devices no longer come with a different power connector but a simple USB C connector. Depending on the device, various types and capacities of chargers will be suitable for you. The table below shows the ideal power delivery to a device using Type C charging. 

Device  Power
Laptops 45 - 100 watts
Tablets 18 to 45 watts 
Mobile Phones 18 to 45 watts
Power Banks 18 to 30 watts

How does it work?

Before anything, it is important to note that not all USB C ports support power delivery. It is also worth noting that not every type C charger is going to charge any device. There is a certain set of specifications that need to be met before a charger can charge a device. When a type c charger is connected to the device, they form a double handshake protocol. This is where how much power will be supplied to the device and how much power can the supplier handle is specified. The standard for USB C without power delivery is 5V/3A but the voltage and current can be upped to 20V/5A.

How to see if a Laptop Supports USB-C charging?

If you want to be able to charge your laptop with USB C but don’t know if your laptop supports it, you can try the following guide. 

1 Check the Type C Port

The Type C port of the laptop determines if you have power delivery compatibility or not. If the laptop port has something along the lines of “USB PD” written or a ⚡ sign next to it, it is possible that the laptop is capable of Type C charging. There are, however, other specifications that need to be met before plugging in a random Type-C charger in the PD port. 

Laptop with USB PD Port
fig. Laptop with USB PD Port (Image credit)

2 Look for your Model on the Internet

A quick look at your laptop’s model number on the internet can help you decide if your laptop is compatible with type C charging or not. It’s best recommended to go to your manufacturer’s official website for reference. This is because it’s the best place for finding out the reference of your phone.

3 Take a Look at the User Manual

Documentation is not something to be ignored. If you have a physical copy of the user manual, you should take a good look at it. This is because a user manual contains all the necessary information for the user. Therefore, it can really guide you on what to do and what not to do. 

The guide to USB-C charging

There are some things that you need to be careful about while charging laptops with your phone chargers. In order to get the best performance out of a USB C charging device, you should be on the lookout for the following:

1 The Voltage, Current, and Wattage

The voltage, current, and wattage of every charger and adapter varies from one to another. Therefore, you should go ahead and match the specifications of your charger with your laptop. For this, you can go to your laptop’s official support site and take a look at the documentation. 

2 Charging Speed

It should be kept in mind that charging with USB C is not as fast as charging with an actual power socket is. For example, my legion 5 charges really fast with the original 300W charger. But when I charge it with a 60W USB C, it charges really slowly. This becomes a problem if we’re using any app that drains the battery of the device. As the app drains the battery, the low-power charger might not be able to keep up and you might end up losing charge than gaining. Always keep the charge levels in mind when you’re solely depending on USB-C charging. 

The Dangers of Charging with Phone Chargers

While capable of charging the device, phone chargers aren’t made for laptops. There are some inherent dangers that come with doing this. Here are some things we have to be wary of. 

  1. Maximum Power Draw
    It is never a good idea to keep a machine running at full throttle for a long time. But using a phone charger to charge a laptop does exactly that. So, it might shorten the life span of the phone charger by a large margin. 
  2. Power Spikes
    Laptops, especially gaming laptops are susceptible to huge spikes in power draw. This might also damage the charger. 
  3. Hardware Failure
    Because of multiple reasons, the adapter that is being used to supply the power might get burnt out. The same can happen with the cable. This can be quite dangerous and might cause an electrical fire. Therefore, we must always be careful when dealing with sensitive hardware like this. 

Conclusion

While possible, charging your laptop with a phone charger can come with a lot of potential problems. So, it is a good idea to have your phone charger as a backup charger for your laptop. Not the main charger. For safety reasons, it is preferable to use the original or adapted charger. You must take the steps suggested above in order to avoid any accidents with the phone charger. Speaking of problems and accidents, you might want to check our article on Killer USB here.

Article by : Adamya Neupane

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