Questions concerning laptop chargers

Discussion in 'Computer Games and General Discussion' started by Catastrophic, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. Catastrophic

    Catastrophic Perfectly Normal

    Apr 28, 2012
    I recently dug up my brother's old Toshiba laptop that he stopped using a long time ago. I want to reinstall the OS and clean it up so it can be used again, but there's a problem. I can't find the old charger for it!

    I'm currently using a small Toshiba myself and after checking under both laptops the numbers read as follows:
    My laptop: 3.95A DC 19V
    Brother's laptop: DC 19V === 6.3A

    19V 3.95A
    19V 6.3A

    As you can see the amperage is significantly higher than on my laptop. Nevertheless I tried plugging it in and charged it for a little while and it appeared to be charging just fine when the laptop is off. I did notice though that when I left it on and came back it had shut down possibly due to lack to power.

    What I really want to ask is: Is it really ok to be using a lower amperage charger at all? Can it damage the battery or other components? Thanks.
  2. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Tom BombaDadlo

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    Jul 11, 2009
    United States
    I forgot
    AFAIK using a lower amp charger won't damage the battery, but (as in your case) it might not charge while in use. In some kind of odd mixup I managed to get a charger 2A lower than an official charger I had for a laptop and it would work when 100% charged and when it was off, and it's been in use for 2-3 years by my sister and everything seems to be fine.
  3. Catastrophic

    Catastrophic Perfectly Normal

    Apr 28, 2012
    I'll keep that in mind, thanks.

    but what does AFAIK stand for?
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    As long as the amperage meets or exceeds the one you are using for the same voltage and pinout it is fine- no laptop charger I have seen this side of the early 90s vintage gear or something really custom has anything about charge management/battery reconditioning it it (it being in the laptop or battery itself these days). I sense it will probably help to mention that just because it says a given number of amps does not mean that is flowing from the moment you connect it to the moment it stops*. It technically means that is the highest amperage it can deliver and reliably produce the stated voltage but if you want to think of it as it will deliver up to that amperage go right ahead.

    *Volts are how much energy a given amount of charge will transfer and Amps is how many units of charge flow in a given time period- it is why current (c/second) times voltage (Joules/c) is power (Joules/second)

    As for what will happen in your case- the amperage is probably rated for the all in scenario (laptop on, blaring music, full brightness, full hard drive, full CD, CPU and GPU on full pelt, full USB complement all kicking out the full power..... all while charging the battery at the highest rate it is designed to and a bit of overhead just for fun). This being said 2.35 amps is still a bit much for just the battery charge alone in my opinion.

    In short damage to the laptop is a longshot but not impossible and damage to the charger is more likely but somewhat lower if you play it right and to this end you might be able to hold out until you can source a charger. Play it right = no charging the battery and using the machine at the same time (better if you can leave the battery out entirely) and if running without a battery drop the brightness and try not to do anything outrageous like encoding a video from a DVD to your hard drive.
    I can not say I feel entirely comfortable suggesting you push a charger like this (if it was my own so be it but I am like that with all my tools) and it would be better if it was something like I just need to get this file off the machine rather than general usage so I will close saying if the charger gets hotter than it usually does (or worse) or some happens on the laptop that makes it appear unstable (screen flickering and such) stop immediately and try not to use it for too long at a time.

    Also if a laptop has been benched for a while do remember to clean out the fans and heatsinks as I have seen quite a few like that which will shut down due to thermal issues just as well (and a few others that will bluescreen for some reason and shut off there). Of course the big problem with older laptops is the charge port being broken or unreliable. Also if the battery has not been charged in a while it might have entered a regime known as deep discharge at which point you can try reconditioning the battery but if you have to ask this question then do not go down that path by yourself, lose it and forget the idea of a battery or replace it (either in whole or just the cells within it).
  5. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

    Apr 21, 2008
    London, UK
    As far As I Know.

    It's recommended only to use official or confirmed compatible chargers for your devices. Using chargers with the wrong voltage, amperage or even polarity can damage the battery and/or the PSU. Some just won't accept them outright, but some wouldn't be able to tell the difference and could overcharge.

    ...and that's all I know. Ask an electrician for more details.
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