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Oftentimes, we find ourselves looking for substitutes for our technical devices in certain situations. Which is why most laptop users tend to use laptop chargers of a lower wattage power adapter. Although this seems like a nice hack for a while, there might be a few consequences of using a lower wattage charger for your laptop.
What Does Charger Wattage Mean?
To put it simply, the wattage indicates the amount of power that can be drawn in once your laptop is connected to the power outlet. Each and every single charger has its own level of wattage, which is why they are categorized as either “high wattage chargers” or “low wattage chargers”.
How Exactly Does a Laptop Power Supply Work?
We can compare the power demanded by your laptop with the need for lighting in your room. Although you might be alright with dimmer lights or lights with lower brightness levels and power such as 45W or 60W bulbs, they won’t be as effective for when you need extremely bright light for work.
Also Read: Can I Leave My Laptop Plugged in Overnight?
Similarly, the supplied power supply of your laptop is built to handle and endure the worst possible charging conditions. And although it may seem to function normally in most cases, it won’t be getting enough power to run high capacity programs.
Once your charger has been plugged into the wall socket, the AC power is automatically converted into DC power and transmitted to the motherboard. The motherboard will then distribute it to various other parts of your laptop, especially the battery as it will be storing DC power that can be used later.
Can I use a Lower Wattage Charger for my Laptop?
The answer is yes. You definitely can use a lower wattage charger for your laptop (you can even charge your laptop without a charger!), but this will directly impact the performance of your laptop itself. For instance, using a 45 watt charger for a laptop that requires 90 watts might not enable it to function at its maximum potential. Again, this greatly depends on the type of activity being carried out on your laptop itself.
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For instance, if you’re using your laptop to read some article, or if your laptop stays idle with minimal brightness level, the low wattage charger will work perfectly fine. But if you plan on watching a video or a movie at high volume, it is highly likely that your laptop rejects the power coming in through the charger, and switches over to the DC power stored in its battery. Since the laptop will not be gaining any power through the low wattage charger, it will ultimately shut down once the battery runs out.
Also Read: Can You Use a Laptop Without a Battery?
Using a low wattage charger for your laptop will be more of a frustration, rather than a convenience to you. Based on multiple reviews and experiences by users, as well as professionals, it can become quite difficult to properly charge your laptop through a low wattage charger. Since the power trickles in slowly, it might take hours to fully charge your laptop, which is definitely not an ideal situation if you’re in a hurry. You can check what power supply you have to work out the correct wattage for your laptop.
It is possible to charge your laptop battery externally (without a charger) using the USB-C port.
What are the Risks Associated with Using a Low Wattage Charger for your Laptop?
With a low powerage, you can potentially cause a fuse in the power supply, damaging it and various other components of your laptop. Since your laptop will be charging at a slower rate than usual, despite having a high current, the battery of your laptop will get ruined as well. The life of your battery will be substantially reduced, and it will get drained at a much faster rate as well.
Also Read: How to Replace Laptop Battery Cells
Most users also complain about their device and the adapter overheating, since it takes a longer time for the battery to fill up. These cooling problems could also have some other negative impacts on your device, further reducing the performance and capability of your laptop.
There will also be the risk of breaking some components of your laptop as they will be demanding power, but will be unable to get it due to a power shortage resulting from using a lower wattage charger.
When you use a lower wattage charger, the voltage regulator inside of the motherboard adjusts the voltage in the current to match with the requirements of the internal components of your laptop. This way, you can easily power up your device with a lower wattage charger that has a minimal difference than the one actually required to power up your device. For instance, you can easily charge your 20V PC with a 19V charger without any complications.
But if the difference ends up being significantly higher, you might end up facing complications with the voltage regulator, so much so that it ends up failing or breaking down.
Is it Possible to use a Lower Wattage Charger Without Harming your Laptop?
Realistically, there is one situation where you could use a lower wattage charger without negatively impacting your device and its performance. If you plug in your laptop when the battery is fully charged for external power support, you can avoid both overheating your device as well as ruining the life of your battery.
In case the battery of your device is not charged, make sure that you’re not currently using the laptop while it charges. Doing so will further protect the life of both your laptop, as well as its battery.
Although it isn’t recommended to use a lower wattage charger for a substantially high powered device due to the complications that can occur from it, professionals have deemed it to be safe to use when in a sticky situation. Continuous usage of a lower wattage charger will, however, will be risking serious damage to your precious device.
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