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What is the Difference Between Power Adapters & Chargers?

Buyers who are new to power adapters often mistake some small power adapters as chargers, because they not only look alike, but also have similar parameters. Today, we will give you a brief introduction to power adapters & chargers and their differences.


1. What is a power adapter?


The power adapter is an interface transfer device, that is, an adaptor. Its main function is to stabilize the voltage, that is, to stably introduce the AC (alternating current)/DC (direct current) into the electric equipment, and there is no storage of power during the process. Once there is no AC/DC power, the adapter cannot effectively get the power to the electric equipment.


The power adapter is generally composed of a shell, a power transformer and a rectifier circuit. It is mainly suitable to be used as power supply conversion equipment for small portable electronic equipment and for electronic appliances. It is also an accessory equipment. As a built-in power supply or an external power supply, the adapter can be an independent hardware interface equipment or an information interface.


The common power adapters on the market are those that undergo transformation, rectification, and stabilization. The output is DC. When the power is satisfied, it can be understood as a low-voltage stabilized power supply. It is widely used in equipment such as routers, currency detectors, printers, telephone handsets, game consoles, language repeaters, notebooks, massagers, LCD screens, etc. Most power adapters can automatically detect the input voltage of 100 to 240V AC (50/60Hz).


2. The difference between power adapters & chargers


The charger is an equipment that converts AC into low-voltage DC. In the electricity use occasions where the battery is used as a working power source or a backup power source, the charger has a wide range of application prospects. It has many categories, the most common one is divided into high-level business chargers, dock chargers, USB chargers, car chargers, etc. according to the way of use. Another common one is divided into lead-acid battery chargers, nickel-cadmium/nickel-hydrogen chargers, and lithium battery chargers according to raw materials.


The basic structure of the lithium battery charger and other rechargeable battery chargers is the same. It consists of three parts: a shell, an input/output line, a circuit board, a heat sink, and various electronic components. In principle, it is composed of a stable power supply plus necessary control circuits such as constant current, voltage limit, and time limit.


It can be seen that the charger can also achieve the function of the power adapter, because it has one more control circuit than the power adapter. For example, the mobile phone charger includes three stages of constant current, constant voltage, and trickle charge, which is decided by the design of charger itself. And the charging control of the notebook computer is in the computer body, so the power adapter only plays a role of voltage stabilization, and does not have the constant current and voltage limit design of the above-mentioned charger.

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