What Is The Difference Between a Charger and an Adapter?

Wireless technology has greatly impacted how we can take advantage of devices, allowing for more portability without the need for a constant connection with a wall plug. Despite this, many wireless electronic devices operate on battery power, meaning that if they are not using a battery type that is directly replaceable, they will need to have their energy replenished on a regular basis by connecting them to an outlet. To do this, one will typically use a charger or adapter, both of which can supply power to a device. While chargers and adapters have a similar appearance and general role, their actual functionalities differ. While chargers charge devices such as batteries or supercapacitors that store energy, adapters supply power directly to a device such as a laptop. To help you better understand this difference, we will briefly discuss chargers and adapters in this piece.

With the use of a charger, alternating current (AC) from the wall outlet can be transformed into low-voltage direct current (DC). Chargers are generally used when the device in question has a rechargeable battery that acts as the working or backup power source. There are many types of chargers on the market for various applications, and examples include business chargers, dock chargers, car chargers, USB chargers, and other such common types that are used in residential, commercial, and industrial settings alike.

While categorizing chargers based on type or application is common, they can also be classified based on the raw materials of the battery being charged. For example, lithium battery chargers are quite common, and they exhibit the fairly standard charger design with a shell, input/output line, circuit board, heat sink, and other various electronic components

The power adapter is considered a type of interface transfer device, and it is designed to either supply a device with alternating current or direct current without using any form of power storage during the process of electrical power transfer. As such, if current were to cease flowing through the adapter, it would fail to supply equipment with any further energy for operations. Power adapters are generally made up of a shell, power transformer, and a rectifier circuit. Power adapters primarily serve smaller forms of electronic equipment as well as various appliances, and adapters may either be a built-in power supply or an external piece.

With this basic set of roles and differences, one can better understand how chargers and adapters work and how they may be used. If you are ever trying to test a power supply for whether it is a charger or adapter, one easy way to tell is to keep everything plugged in while removing the battery. If the device uses a charger, even with the device plugged into a wall outlet, it will not be able to function without the battery. Meanwhile, a device with an adapter would still be able to function without a connected battery if plugged in, as the adapter will directly supply the device with power, while the battery utilizes a circuit to draw a charge from the adapter.

If you are in the market for chargers, adapters, or various electronic devices, look no further than Aerospace Aces for all of your various needs. We are a website owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, meaning that customers are provided with unmatched customer service where all your needs are met to the best of our abilities, coupled with competitive prices and rapid lead times for your benefit. Explore our database as you see fit, and we encourage you to fill out and submit an RFQ form at your earliest convenience for the means of receiving customized quotes on items of interest. Start the procurement process with us today and see how Aerospace Aces can operate as your strategic sourcing partner for all your needs!


January 10, 2024

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