How-To Geek

Speed Up USB Charging with a Dedicated Charger

When you need power for your gadgets and you need it fast, skip the USB port on your computer and switch to a wall charger for a boost; read on to see why.

Specifications for USB ports have changed over the years and the port on your computer likely doesn’t put out enough juice to charge your portable electronics as fast as a wall charger could. Extreme Tech explains:

There is a huge variance, then, between normal USB 2.0 ports rated at 500mA and dedicated charging ports which range all the way up to 2100mA. This leads to a rather important question: If you take a smartphone which came with a 900mA wall charger, and plug it into a 2100mA iPad charger, will it blow up?

In short, no: You can plug any USB device into any USB cable and into any USB port, and nothing will blow up — and in fact, using a more powerful charger should speed up battery charging.

For a more detailed look at the specifications and how to maximize your battery charging based on the device and its age, hit up the link below.

How USB Charging Works, Or How To Avoid Blowing Up Your Smartphone [Extreme Tech]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/7/12

Comments (8)

  1. Green Star

    I observed this, usually my mobile takes 2-3 hrs to fully charge, when I charged this with blackberry playbook charger it took less than an hour. But I was afraid that this may blow my mobile or mobile battery. Still I do this for few minutes when ever I need to make some urgent calls and my mobile ran out of battery, few mins (2-3min) charge will give my mobile to make 15-20mins talk.

  2. Lee

    I always use wall chargers with my gadgets. It’s easier to have some wall chargers on a power strip always plugged in than having a bunch of ports taken up on my computer.

  3. Howard

    Two points to consider:

    1) Slower charging leads to longer battery life.
    2) Some phones, like my T-Mobile LG G2x (LG P999 v10f), have poorly-designed charging circuits which allow the battery to overcharge (and overheat) if used with a charging source with higher current output than the one that LG sells. I have also noticed that the phone goes crazy while plugged into a higher-current charger.

    That second item was partially fixed by switching to an extended-life battery with built-in charging limiter. Note to self: Avoid cheap corner-cutting companies like LG.

  4. PackMule64

    @Howard I love my LG G2x from T-Mobile. I did buy the extended battery from blue mall and love it! I easily get 3 days out of my phone now. I have few few friends with I-Phones that definitely have android envy over my G2x. Also since I went to the LG site and updated to android 2.3.4 I haven’t had any of the old freeze problems. I do try to remember to do a complete restart every week.

    The dedicated charger that came with my extended battery is great, I now use it for all my devices.

  5. Citrus Rain

    I ended up buying an external charger for my phone so it could make it through Trotcon without stopping and sitting near a plug. The charger seems to charge quickly as if the phone was charging from an outlet and while plugged into the wall the power appears to give 50% to any occupied usb port until it’s battery is charged. But the portable charger didn’t charge itself if 2 devices were charging off it, so I had to use a wall charger in the hotel.

    Did this instead of getting an extended or backup phone battery since the HTC Thunderbolt has bad options for both batteries, and I don’t plan to renew this phone.

  6. infmom

    Make sure you know exactly what voltage your gizmo uses. I have a third-party iPod charger that only works with older iPods, not the iPod Touch. And my Sony Reader takes 5.2v, not the usual USB 5v, so standalone 5v chargers don’t work.

  7. Jeff G

    two comments:
    (after owning dozens of USB charging phones, smartphones, i-crap, mp3 .. .on and on )

    1) I have noticed that just because something seems to charge really fast, (display a high % or “bars” to show its charged), many times it goes down much more quickly (almost like a false positive)…

    2) (that said..) the fastest way to recharge a device that I have found is using a external rechargeable battery pack. Weird, right? These devices are about the size of a large cell phone and ALL battery, you charge em for a couple days the first time and they will refill your cell phone or tablet several times before needing a recharge. (Many companies make them, I’m not going to advertise for anyone here)

    hope this helps

  8. Chris

    #2 Is correct because it is clean power an equal wave of electricity into the battery from a battery.

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