Can I Interchange Charging Methods with USB Cables?
July 23, 2014 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Can I use my phone's USB charger/wall plug to charge my sports camera? Or, what do I need to know in order to figure it out myself? (Details within.)

I have a Polaroid xs100 Extreme Edition Waterproof sports camera. It comes with a USB cable to transfer files and to charge the camera.

I have an LG Spectrum phone that has a USB cable to charge via the laptop, OR I can plug its USB cable into a wall plug that came with the phone.

Can I plug my camera's USB cable into the phone's wall plug and charge the camera that way? I am hesitant to "try it and find out" because I don't want to risk damaging the camera. I am fine with the camera taking longer to charge with the phone's plug; I just don't want to ruin the camera or its battery by doing so.

I don't know the volts, amps, ohms(?) or any of that stuff for the camera, phone, or USB specs to compare them all to see if they are the same that regard.
posted by TinWhistle to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

It's pretty much that simple, all USB connections are 5v, at differing amperages, usually .5, 1.0 or 2.1A.

You are never going to hurt a device by using a different USB charger than it came with, worst case is it will charge very slowly or not at all (for example, an iPad that wants 2.1A will charge very slow or not at all if connected to a USB charger that delivers .5A).
posted by Cosine at 8:23 AM on July 23, 2014 [7 favorites]

Cosine has it.

If it can help to have anecdotal evidence, I have been doing this very same thing for the past 6 years with my mp3 player, phones, tablet, and camera. They're all still going strong.

If the plug fits (and it's supposed to fit, ie. mini-USB takes mini-USB, micro- takes micro-, etc.), it'll work.
posted by fraula at 9:54 AM on July 23, 2014

I just did this with a new-to-me Acer tablet. I assumed any micro-usb would work, but when I borrowed a friend's phone charger it didn't. I ended up searching Amazon for that specific tablet and then narrowed the search to chargers. Lots and lots of compatible chargers came up.

I will say that when I tried to charge an older iPhone with a no-name car adapter it fried the phone. It was under warranty, but personally I'm not going to take that chance again with Apple stuff.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:33 AM on July 23, 2014

The full answer is "probably, and it won't hurt to try". USB is designed so you can plug any device into any power source and it won't explode. However some power sources won't charge some devices. A few devices like the iPad require a high power USB charger to charge. And some perverse devices like PS3 controllers require being plugged into a computer with an active data line, a passive charger won't work. The only bad thing that happens is it won't charge though, no harm in trying.
posted by Nelson at 4:10 PM on July 23, 2014

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