Charger Cable Types: Know About Different Charging Cables and Their Parts

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

We all use chargers for cell phones and laptops. When plugged into a wall socket, a charger converts the AC into a single Direct current voltage. You can also call it an AC adapter or a power adapter. A power supply has output and input voltages; thus, it needs both output and input connectors. As a result, you can find a wide range of connectors for output and input power transfer. Due to this, there are several charger cable types. This article will classify them according to their connecting devices. 

4k HDMI Cable | Working Principle |...
4k HDMI Cable | Working Principle | Normal Vs HDMI cable

Laptop Charger Cables

Laptop charger cables help you charge your laptop by converting incoming alternating current into direct current. Here are the different parts of a laptop charger that combine to make the charger work.

Power Plug

The power plug is the first part of your laptop charger that connects to the wall socket or power outlet. In general, power plugs are 1.5mm alternating current or AC power plugs that come with an attached cord, and the male plug enters into the female socket. The other end connects to the power bricks, either fixed or removable. In the fixed one, you cannot detach the female part of the power plug from the power brick. On the other hand, in the removable chargers, you can take out the female outlet and change the power brick or power plugs according to your convenience.

Transformer

There is a transformer circuit in the power brick that steps down the voltage that comes from the AC power plug. The AC that comes from your wall socket has a very high voltage. The circuit in the laptops cannot bear that high voltage, so you have to step down that voltage through a transformer. Once the current steps down, it reaches the next part of the laptop charger, i.e., AC/DC rectifier circuit.

Rectifier

Your laptop charger’s AC/DC rectifier converts the incoming alternating current into Direct current. You need not necessarily use a rectifier as you can use any AC to DC converting circuit; however, diode rectifiers are the most common in use. Rectifiers are essential because your laptop needs a Direct current to function while the incoming current is AC.

Filters and Regulators

After the current converts into DC, it enters voltage regulator circuits and filters. These are either capacitors or smoothing circuits. Filters make the current smooth as the current coming from rectifiers has rough edges. A smooth current ensures that your laptop gets a constant and reliable power supply. Smoothing circuits also store some current to provide needed current to the laptop when no current comes from the rectifier.

Ferrite Bead

A ferrite bead is a cylindrical module-like thing you can see in the power cord from the power brick. You can also call it ferrite choke. It is mainly a magnetic material with a wire wound around it. This cylindrical part prevents your laptop wire from becoming a radio. Any long wire can convert into an antenna and receive or send radio waves, which is possible with the laptop wire. If the wire starts working as an antenna, it will hinder its function of powering the laptop.

Without ferrite beads, your laptop wire may become a transmitter and transmit radio waves. As a result, it will disturb the working of your laptop and nearby devices too.

In the second scenario, your laptop wire can turn into a receiver. It may then receive any intentional or unintentional signals from nearby devices and can interfere with the laptop’s working.

You will find ferrite beads in old laptops only as the modern USB-C power cables do not come with ferrite beads anymore.

Charger Connector

Finally, the charger connector is the part that plugs into your laptop. Charger connectors come in different shapes and sizes depending on the manufacturer and the brand, and they are either square, cylindrical, or in some weird shapes. However, nowadays, USB-type C connectors on your laptop will be more commonly seen. The main advantage of a USB C-type charger is that, along with charging, you can also use them for data transfer.

If you want to replace your laptop charger, don’t forget to check the connector. Although all laptops use DC power connectors, they are all different.

Laptop cable connector typesDescription
Cylindrical connectors
Cylindrical connectors
You may know this connector type by different names like tip connectors, barrel connectors, coaxial power connectors, or sleeve connectors. These connectors have insulated hollow cylinders connecting to the laptop’s charging point.
Snap and Lock connectors
Snap and Lock connectors
You may know them as Kycon 4-pin or 3-pin DC power plugs. In these connectors, a thin metal cylinder surrounds 3 or 4 pins that fit into the charging port.
Molex connector
Molex connectorV
You can use this type of connector with personal computers for supplying power. In this, a flat and plastic rectangular base encases several electric wires with three, four, and six terminals.
USB connector
USB connector
It has a hollow rectangular metal tip. Inside this, there are two or more flat pins of metal.
laptop charger cable

Image: laptop charger cable

Cell Phone Charger Cables

Cell phone chargers help you charge the battery of your phone. The cell phone battery stores the power in the form of chemical potential, which slowly converts into electrical energy while using your cell phone. Cell phone chargers come in a single unit but comprise different parts that combinedly function and help charge your mobile device.

Charger Cable Types: Power Plug

A charger’s power plug enters the wall’s power outlet. Power plugs are of different shapes and sizes depending on the shape and size of the power outlets used in your country.

Transformer

Transformers in cell phone chargers are the circuits that help step down the high voltage of electrical current from the primary power source. Most power outlets are either 120 or 220 volts, which is very high for mobile phones as they need around 5 to 12 volts for charging. Depending on the charger, the transformer steps down the voltage somewhere between 5 to 12 volts.

Rectifier

Like a laptop charger, a mobile charger rectifier also covers an AC into a DC. It is essential as your power supply comes in AC while your devices work in DC.

Charger Cable Types: Filters and voltage regulators

Once the current converts into direct current, it passes through different filters and voltage regulators. These smoothing circuits help convert the disturbing and rough current from rectifiers as smooth. You may use other circuits such as capacitors to make the current smooth. A smooth, constant, and reliable current is essential for efficiently charging your phone.

Charger Cable Types: Charger connector

The last of the cell phone charger is a connector. In earlier days, cell phone chargers came in one whole piece where connector cable used to be fixed to the power bricks. Nowadays, cell phone chargers come with a connector cable that you can separate easily and replace when needed. In other words, connector cables have connectors at both ends. USB cables are the most common connector cables in cell phone chargers.

When choosing a charging cable, you must pick a cable compatible with your phone. Here is a guide for different phone charger cable types.

Phone cable typesDescription
Micro-USB cable
Micro-USB cable
A Micro-USB cable is a small cable you can use for mobiles and other gadgets. If you are using these cables, insert them correctly; otherwise, they will not charge your device, and not inserting them correctly can also damage your charging port. These cables can transmit data at a speed of 480Mbps. The subtypes of micro-USB cables are USB A cables and Type B cables.
Apple’s lightning cable
Apple's lightning cable
Apple’s lightning phone charger cables have replaced 30-pin dock connectors since 2012. The lightning cables have eight pins, and you can insert them upside down. Almost all the latest models show compatibility with the lightning charger cable. You can charge different Apple gadgets with a single charger cable.
USB Type C cable
USB Type C cable
The USB type C charger cables are becoming the most common type of USB cable among cell phone manufacturers due to their multiple advantages over other cable types: Firstly, USB-C cables are faster than others. Secondly, these USB cable types are more powerful than other cables. Thirdly, you can insert these cables upside down, so there are no chances of damage to these cables.
phone charger cable

Image: phone charger cable

Conclusion

Using the right charging cables for your electronic devices speeds up their charging. Further, it also maintains the long life of your device. If you are confused about which charging cable to pick for your electronic device, we are here to help you. Cloom has a team of technical experts who can guide you about different cables and suggest the best cable type for your device. Call us today or request a quote.

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