Monday, August 10, 2009

Not all Nokia battery chargers built the same

An article posted a while ago on AAS mentioned phone battery charge time varied by the charger used. If you've bought Nokia phones from their various product lines then you may have noticed Nokia including different chargers. But what exactly is the difference?

From left to right: AC-3U, AC-6E, AC-5U, AC-5E

Here is a comparison of the various current Nokia chargers:

TypeShort DescriptionConnectorPower OutputPackaged with
AC-3Blocky low end chargersNokia 2mmDC 5V, 350mANokia 1110, Nokia 3555, Nokia 5310, Nokia E61
AC-4High end chargersNokia 2mmDC 5V, 890mANokia 5610, Nokia E71
AC-5Small high end chargersNokia 2mmDC 5V, 800mANokia N82, Nokia N95
AC-6Mid-ranged chargers designed for microUSB charging. They resemble the AC-4 in design but output is very different.  Non-detachable cable.microUSBDC 5V, 550mANokia N97
AC-8High end chargers. They resemble the AC-4 in design.Nokia 2mmDC 5V, 890 mANokia E75
AC-10High end chargers. Non-detachable cable.microUSBDC 5V, 1200 mANokia N85, Nokia N86, Nokia N97, Nokia N900
AC-20Mid-ranged chargers.  Non-detachable cable.microUSBDC 5V, 750 mANokia Lumia 520
AC-50High end chargersmicroUSBDC 5V, 1300 mANokia Lumia 925, Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 620
AC-60High end chargersmicroUSBDC 5V, 1500 mANokia Lumia 1020
CA-101USB cablemicroUSBDC 5V, 500 mANseries and Eseries
DC-4High end car chargers.Nokia 2mmDC 5V, 890 mAN/A
DC-6Mid-range car chargers. They resemble the DC-4 in designmicroUSBDC 5V, 550 mANokia 5800, E72, N97 mini navigation editions
DC-9Mid-range car chargers. They look like a square box with retractable cordNokia 2mmDC 5V, 700 mAN/A
DC-10High end car chargers. They are similar to the DC-9 in design.microUSBDC 5V, 1200 - 1500 mAN/A

All this information can be found in small text on your charger. The output indicates the amount of power sent to the phone. You may notice a letter just after the types I listed above such as 'U' or 'E'. This letter indicates the region the charger is designed for - 'U' would be for the United States/Canada, 'E' is European, and 'N' is India. The same type of charger produces the same output regardless of the charger's region. Moreover, both 'E' and 'U' chargers work with an input of 100-240V at 50-60Hz, so both chargers can work in North America and Europe without worry - with a simple plug adapter of course.

Charging my N82 took over twice as long to charge with the AC-3 compared to the bundled AC-5. I've charged my N82 with a AC-5E charger in Europe, Japan, India with a plug adapter, and North America with a plug adapter with no problems.  But be sure not to overcharge your phone by using a charger that has a higher power output than the charger that came with your phone as it will overheat your battery and degrade the life of the battery.

Interestingly, the high end N97 bundles such a low output charger. I initially thought it was a microUSB limitation but Nokia also makes the AC-10 which produces much more power. I think someone swapped the battery charger in the review unit I have because the official N97 sales package mentions the inclusion of a AC-10. It would have been better if Nokia equipped the N97 with both the older Nokia charger port and the microUSB charging like the E75 so we could use our existing chargers too.

As you can see, Nokia makes various chargers and the higher the output the faster your phone will charge. So if you have a number of chargers available and need to charge your Nokia phone in a hurry, be sure to pay attention to the charger.  Plus, don't use a charger with a higher power output than the charger included with your phone to avoid wearing out the battery too quickly