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Having a conversation where a colleague asked another to pass the charger, only to find out a cable was handed over.

Decided to wonder whether a USB cable really qualifies as a charger, since we are used to plugging it into an adapter (the charger) which connects to the power outlet.

However, you have USB ports built into power outlets nowadays and also USB ports in computers which serve the function of a 'power outlet'.

So is it technically correct to call a USB cable a charger?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If I asked someone to lend me an outlet to charge my laptop with, and they just handed me an extension cord, I would not be very happy. \$\endgroup\$ – DKNguyen Feb 26 at 4:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well @maplesyrup, technically the USB mains adapter is not a charger either, it is merely a power supply that provides power via USB connector. The battery and the circuitry to charge it are in the phone and it just uses the power from USB connector to charge it. \$\endgroup\$ – Justme Feb 26 at 7:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's really funny you mention this. I deal with marketing, copywriting and mobile devices. Incredibly, teenagers today are starting to call the cable a "charger". This is completely ridiculous - they are idiots - but it's a fact. As bizarre as it sounds, this is happening with the present (2020) generation of preteens / young teens. \$\endgroup\$ – Fattie Feb 26 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can confirm teenagers are increasingly referring to it as a "charger", to the extent that my oldest teen nieces and nephews didn't know what a USB cable even was, with an "oh you mean the charger?" comment to go with it; definitely bothers me a little bit that people are using something daily without really knowing what it is :P \$\endgroup\$ – Luke Briggs Feb 26 at 14:02
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So is it technically correct to call a USB cable a charger?

No.

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So is it technically correct to call a USB cable a charger?

No.

  • Technically what is known as a "charger" is a fixed voltage power supply which knows nothing about batteries.
  • The cable knows nothing about batteries either.
  • The battery charging management is built into the phone / tablet. This circuitry monitors the state of charge of the battery and regulates the voltage and current from the power supply and to the battery.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ most chargers phone chargers are a little smarter. for instance the provide a specific voltage on the data lines, so that the pone / tables knows it is a 2amp charger, and can draw more current usb c chargers have actual digital power management build in, so that de phone exactly knows what voltage the charger can scale up to, and what current it can deliver. \$\endgroup\$ – on8tom Feb 26 at 15:33
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Nah. Charger cord, yes. But not a charger.

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The "USB cable", per se, provides no power itself, it is just a means of connecting one type of adapter to another. Therefore the use of the word "cable".

A "charger" is a device used to put energy into another device or rechageable battery.

The charger may need a connecting cable from it's output terminal to the device to be charged, this is where the "USB cable" is used.

That's the pedantics, what teenagers chose to do with it is out of our power.

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