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Do all car chargers provide the same current?

Discussion in 'Android Accessories' started by John Jason, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. John Jason

    John Jason Android Enthusiast
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    I'm supposed to have a job?
    Portland, left side North America
    I had an Atrix 4G, but returned it a couple weeks ago. While I had it I bought a car charger on eBay for cheap. It worked fine with the Atrix.

    However, now I have moved to T-Mobile and have a used MyTouch 3G. Since I bought it used, not from T-Mobile, I have no insurance or warranty. Therefore, I am a bit cautious about plugging it into the car charger.

    My thinking is that the car charger must be providing the same current as a standard USB port on a computer. I can charge the MyTouch 3G off the USB port on my computer just fine, so I assume the voltage would be the same. But I thought I'd ask here before frying my new (used) phone.
     

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  2. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns!
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    Not all car chargers output the same current levels. The amperage should be written on the charger. Computer USB ports charge at 500mA as do most car USB chargers. However, you can find car chargers rated for higher current. Typically, these higher-current chargers are made for specific models but work with most phones; the catch is that if it's not made for your phone, it doesn't give you the full current. But it is safe to use. A higher current charges faster.

    For power-intensive apps like navigation, the power consumed by the phone is often greater than what a 500mA charger can provide. In this case, you'll want to look for a 1000mA (1A) or higher charger made for your phone.

    Charging faster means more heat is generated, and Li-Ion batteries are very sensitive to heat. So if you care about the longevity of your battery, try to charge at lower current whenever convenient.
     
  3. takeshi

    takeshi Android Expert
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    Current and voltage are 2 different things.
     
  4. takeshi

    takeshi Android Expert
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    There's not really any "typically" in this case. There are plenty of generic chargers that supply more than 500mA.

    If it doesn't supply as much current as your device can handle it doesn't give you full current. OEM versus aftermarket isn't really relevant. Check the specs on the charger (as you mentioned).
     
  5. 350Rocket

    350Rocket Well-Known Member
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    College for Civil Engineering
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    I have 3 different car chargers and never paid attention to which one I was using, but they always seem to charge much faster than the usb port on my computer. The one I have on me right now came with a bluetooth speakerphone and its 750ma. I don't know what the others are.
     
  6. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns!
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    The device draws as much current as needed, or as much as it's programmed to accept.

    Android phones have two charging modes: trickle (USB) or full (A/C) mode. Trickle will always be 500mA. The device makes the determination based on the voltage on the data pins. Many times, manufacturers program the device to look for a very specific voltage before it allows full A/C mode charging. On my Evo, A/C mode is only engaged when the data pins are shorted. Then it will charge at the max rating of the charger.

    Many 1A+ chargers only trigger trickle mode on Android devices (I know from personal experience). You'll want a battery app/widget that indicates which charging mode your device is in to know for sure. Will a generic work with your phone at the max amperage? Maybe. But you're gambling that the charger's data pins are doing what your device is expecting. If it's not, it defaults to the slower charge. Safest bet is to go with the OEM. Otherwise, you will do what I did: buy a bunch of cheapo generics until you find one that actually triggers A/C mode.
     
  7. coos lick

    coos lick Android Enthusiast
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    I would say I see quite a difference between mains, USB and car charger. Mains will charge my desire pretty quickly, USB quite slowly and my cheap Ebay car charger will only keep the battery steady when using navigation with the screen on. Switching the screen off will allow it to charge. I think that this is pretty standard.
     
  8. TwinCams

    TwinCams Member
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    Which is dangerous to electronics, too much mA or too high current?? :thinking:

    Again, this is relation to the original post of using generic car chargers, etc.
     
  9. Ichapp

    Ichapp Member
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    TwinCams, current is measured in amps (and thus also milliamps which are abbreviated mA).
     
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  10. TwinCams

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    Thank you. ;)
     
  11. Charger Harbor

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    All Car chargers are not created equal. There are Car chargers that have the potential to send an Output charging speed of 1 Amp, 2 Amps and 2.4 Amps. However, every device has a limit of how much Amps they can accept, so if a smartphone were connected to a 2.4A Car charger, then it would only accept however much Amps it could take. NOT the entirety of 2.4A.

    However, if a iPad were connected to a Car charger with the potential to send out 2.4 Amps, then the iPad would accept the 2.4A charging speed because it can be accept that amount of Amp Current.
     

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