Cell Phone Charger Parts: Names and Functions?

Here are the parts of a cell phone charger, their names, and functions:

  • Power Plug
  • Transformer
  • Rectifier
  • Filters and Voltage Regulators
  • Charger Connector (USB Cable)

So if you want to learn all about the parts of your phone charger, their names, and functions, then you’re in the right place.

Keep reading!

Parts of a Cell Phone Charger: Names and Functions?
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What Are the Parts of Your Cell Phone Charger Called?

Join us as we explore cell phone charger parts and their functions. 

Cell phone chargers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are huge brick-style ones; others are slim and sleek. But all the cell phone chargers have one simple function, which is to charge your smartphone.

Your smartphone draws its power from a lithium-ion battery inside it. But this lithium-ion battery is just a storage device.

It stores energy in the form of chemical potential that it slowly converts to electrical energy as the cell phone is used. This process is called charging.

You have to connect your phone to a power source when you need to charge your phone. That is where the cell phone charger or wireless cell phone charger comes in.

The cell phone charger takes power in the form of electrical current from the wall outlet and then processes it, so it is safe to be used by the mobile. This electrical power is used to charge the battery of your cell phone.

The energy is again stored as chemical potential in the lithium-ion battery, ready to be used.

Cell phone chargers come as one single unit that connects to the wall. It has a regular USB cable that connects the charger to your device by plugging directly into the phone.

No matter the individual performance of a cell phone charger, all the parts that make up a cell phone charger are, more or less, the same.

This is a list of parts you can find on a cell phone charger:

#1 Power Plug 

Like in any other power supply unit, the Power Plug is part of the charger that goes into the wall outlet. 

Power Plugs come in dozens of different shapes and sizes. 

Usually, the Power Plug has the same shape as the common outlets used in your country. 

Companies offer different Power Plugs based on where they are selling their mobile. 

The important thing to note is that the Power Plug is the part of the cell phone charger that goes into a power outlet. It acts as a gateway for your cell phone charger to the power source, which in this case is your wall power outlet.

#2 Transformer

Transformers are electrical circuits inside the cell phone charger that step down the voltage of the electrical current. 

Most house outlets either supply power at 120 volts or 220 volts or somewhere in between. If connected directly, this voltage is too high to charge a mobile. 

So, transformer circuits step down this voltage before passing it on to the mobile. Same as with a laptop charger.

Cell phones generally charge somewhere between 5 volts and 12 volts. 

Companies can vary the voltage and current values to try to reach a higher wattage value. 

A watt is the unit of power. Power is energy flow per second, so the higher the wattage of a charger, the faster the cell phone will charge. 

So, depending upon the charger, the transformer will step down the voltage somewhere between 5 to 12 volts. 

But why does the current in your power outlet arrive at such high voltage that it needs to be stepped down before being used? 

There are many reasons for this, one being that not all devices run at low voltages like 6 volts. Some home appliances need higher voltage to function correctly. 

Another reason is that the current coming from the transmission wires to your home is already at really high voltage. This is because it is far easier and more efficient to transmit electrical power over long distances if the voltage is high. 

The voltage is stepped down before coming into your home via a larger transformer outside your home. 

But it is still somewhere in the 120 V to 220 V range. It needs to be further stepped down before it can be used to charge your mobile. 

#3 Rectifier

A rectifier in a cell phone charger converts the incoming AC current into DC current.

This is because most appliances and devices work on DC, but your main power supply is in AC. This is done via diode-based rectifiers. 

In the rectification process, small diodes only allow current to flow in one direction, effectively behaving like DC. 

More engineering and physics go behind it, such as the difference between half-wave rectification and full-wave rectification, but I digress. 

For our purposes, the rectifier circuit is an AC to DC converter. 

Some of you might wonder, if all appliances work on DC, then why do power supply companies give us power in AC? 

There are good reasons behind transmitting power supply in AC. One of the more important ones being that AC can be transmitted long distances with ease. 

So, we need to have rectifiers in our power supplies to convert the current into DC that is usable by the said appliance. 

#4 Filters and Voltage Regulators 

Once the current has gone through the rectifier and is converted from AC to DC, it goes through several different filters and voltage regulators. These circuits smooth out the current coming from the rectifier.

We need it because the current coming out of a rectifier is not constant. There is variance and disturbance in the current flow. 

Different circuitry such as capacitors is used to make the current flow more evenly and smoothly.

A constant and reliable current flow is necessary if you need to charge your phone. Disturbances can even damage your cell phone battery if they go unfiltered and unprocessed. 

#5 Charger Connector 

The final part of any cell phone charger is the connector. 

Usually, the connector cable for most modern cell phone chargers is separate. Meaning that it can be taken out and replaced. 

In the old days, it was pretty standard that cell phone chargers came as one whole piece with the connecting wire attached to the charging brick itself. 

But now connecting wires have connectors on both ends. USB cables are now most commonly used for connecting.

USB cable parts.
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The coverings of USB cables can differ, but what is inside of a standard cord typically doesn’t change. We are going to run through the colors of the wires inside. 

You should NOT cut into USB cables unless you know what you are handling.

  • Red Wire: It is the wire that passes on the positively charged electric power. The red wires in a USB cable have five volts of direct current electricity.
  • Black Wire: Everything needs a grounding wire. Cell phone chargers are no different.
  • White Wire: A white wire is typically the positive wire, but for data.
  • Green Wire: It is the negative wire and also for data.

Usually, USB Type-A is on one side to connect to the charging brick and a Micro USB connector on the other end to connect to the cell phone. 

But just like with laptop chargers, USB Type-C is becoming more and more common these days.

A lot of cell phone chargers come with connectors for USB Type-C on both ends. 

The standardization of the power connectors also helps cell phone chargers to have the ability to cross charge other brands. 

The only cell phone brand that has a history of doing its own thing is Apple. They use their own proprietary lightning connector to connect to the phone. 

You will see Micro USB B and USB Type C as the standard connectors for most other cell phones. 

One of the main reasons USB Type C has become so popular with cell phone manufacturers, and consumers is that USB Type C is reversible. This means that you can plug the connector in any direction in the cell phone port. It will work, unlike the Micro USB connector that you need to plug in the correct orientation.

Apple’s lightning connector, on the other hand, Is already reversible. 

But still, there is pressure from different governments and consumers for Apple to switch to USB Type C. This is because a lot of other devices such as laptops, cameras, and smartwatches use USB Type C to charge anyway. 

It would be easier for the end-user to carry one charger instead of 3. But so far, Apple hasn’t announced any plan to switch to USB Type C. 

When to Replace a Cell Phone Charger?

The first thing to know is that cheap is not always good when it comes to phone chargers. 

The chance of a charger melting is always there, and when they are poorly made, it makes for an even more dangerous and expensive situation.

If a charging cable melts inside of your charging ports, don’t try to fix it yourself. 

Take it to a cell phone repair shop to see if they can save the phone. If they can’t replace the charging port, you will be buying a new phone.

If you see smoke or smell electrical fire, unplug it all and don’t try to fiddle with it. Just replace it. It is never a good idea to try and ‘fix’ anything electricity-related. 

Cell phone chargers are mostly harmless, but why chance it for a silly charger.