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Thread: Is a charger the same as a power supply.

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2016

    Location: Bishops Stortford

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    I'm Chris.

    Default Is a charger the same as a power supply.

    I need a 5 volt power supply for one of my bits of kit.

    When I search I see, on sale, power supplies and chargers that cover 5volts, but are they the same thing?

    If I plug in a 5 volt charger surely it must have the ability to wack in enough voltage to charge a 5v battery so will this overload my device.

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

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    I'm Dennis.

    Default

    A power supply is defined as having the required voltage output and the necessary current capability for whatever device it was designed for.

    A charger has a specific design need. It has to overcome the internal resistance of the device to be charged, and so generally has a greater output voltage than that of the device to be charged.

    A charger with an output voltage of 12V is inadequate for charging a 12V car battery for this reason, and they usually have an output of up to around 17 to 20V to overcome the internal resistance of the battery.

    So for your bit of kit, if it needs 5V, then a power supply of 5V with enough current capacity will suit.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

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    I'm Grant.

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    yeah, chargers produce more of a constant current profile while psu's are more of a constant voltage(up to required current)
    Regards,
    Grant .... ؠ ......Don't be such a big girl's blouse

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
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  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2016

    Location: Bishops Stortford

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    I'm Chris.

    Default

    Thanks guys

    Given that the USB port on a computer can be used both as a power supply and charger, what is happening there?
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  5. #5
    Join Date: Oct 2012

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    I'm Alan.

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    If using USB as a charger there is always an embedded charger in the connected device.
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  6. #6
    Join Date: Apr 2016

    Location: Bishops Stortford

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    I'm Chris.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebottle View Post
    If using USB as a charger there is always an embedded charger in the connected device.
    That makes perfect sense. Its been concerning me for years
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    SW1X Open Baffle Speakers containing both vintage and modern alnico drivers and paper cones. All silver wired and crossover-less where possible - 8" Cube Audio FC8 full range drivers and vintage 15" Altec VOTT 416 bass drivers
    Hi fi Collective twin mono ladder stepped attenuator, with Charcroft Z-foil and silver wired.
    Welborne 45 SET monoblocks 1.8W
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  7. #7
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

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    I'm Grant.

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    yeah pc usb lines in general make very poor chargers.. usb2 only has max of 500ma and its not smart.. much less if its a bus usb.
    Regards,
    Grant .... ؠ ......Don't be such a big girl's blouse

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
    .... ..... ...... ...... ................... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....
    OPPO BDP-103D - PANASONIC UB450 - LEAF HD BLUETOOTH - NURAPHONE' HEADPHONES - 2*ZBOOK'- ROON - MULTI HDD'S -

    **Ive studied deeply in the philosophies and religions, but cheerfulness kept breaking through**

    "An old man sleeps with his conscience at night, while young kids sleep with their dreams"

    "Justice is sinking to the bottom of the sea, And it feels like I'm living in the wasteland of the free"

    It was the weakest practical joke since Cardinal Wolsey got his nob out at Hampton Court and stood at the end of the passage pretending to be a door!

    I like my whisky old and my women young. "Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak!"

    ***SMILE, BE HAPPY***

  8. #8
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

    Posts: 1,811
    I'm Dennis.

    Default

    Many power supplies, typically so of wall warts, have a voltage higher than that specified and it is not critical, so the 'over voltage' can be used to charge or to power a device without any harm, especially when small currents are involved.

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