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Old 04-04-2006, 08:07 AM   #1
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Many folks often post here about whether or not their electronic gizmo (iPod, camera, laptop, iron, hair dryer, etc) will work when they travel abroad.

Let’s face it- most modern travelers want to have some music when they’re traveling, take pictures, or just shave/do their hair. The idea of carrying a metric ton of batteries is counterproductive- those little things are heavy!

Unfortunately, there are no common denominators when it comes to voltage and plugs for these devices. Worldwide, electric power ranges from 110v-250v. Each country has its own type of plug for their current. There is a ton of confusion, then, as to what works and doesn’t.

The purpose of this FAQ is to make it a bit easier to travel with those electronic gadgets that make our lives that much easier.

Note: This FAQ does not advocate one device, brand, or retailer/e-tailer over another. It’s purely for informative purposes and to answer some questions. Your mileage may vary.

IPods/Apple Laptops:

The ubiquitous iPod had to have been designed with the backpacker in mind. It’s small, easy to use, and the adapter with minor additions can work in any electrical system worldwide.

The adapter:



(this is the US-version.)

By purchasing Apple’s Travel Power Plugs (available for $39 US on apple.com and elsewhere), the standard in-the-box adapter can be used anywhere and everywhere.

The Travel Plug Kit:



Note: This adapter kit works with any iPod charger as well as the Powerbook/iBook chargers.

Link to Apple's US store to purchase:

Apple Travel Plug Kit

Cameras/Cell Phones, etc:

Your digital camera likely came with a large power adapter with a plug designed specifically for it. The brick-looking thing with the wires coming out of it is actually a multiple voltage transformer, able to be used in most, if not all countries. In this case, it’s best to read the brick, and find out if in fact it is multi-voltage capable.

So we are on the same page, this is what you should be looking at:



If you have this type of device, or a "wall-wart" (transformer that hangs on the electrical outlet, typically a cell phone or electric shaver charger), a simple plug-changer is all you need. With one of these, all you need to do is plug your transformer into this, then plug into the wall. The device’s transformer does all the hard work.

Wall Wart:




Pic of plug changer:


US to UK/Australian adapter

NOTE: You should always use a grounded adapter with devices that have a grounding plug. In the US, that would be the third, round prong. This is for your safety!

Non-transformer equipped devices (irons, hair devices, etc)

The last major type of devices require both a plug changer and a transformer. With these, you plug your iron, for instance, into a device, then put the appropriate plug for your locale on the transformer, and go about your business.

Pics of transformer:



Hopefully this helps. Any travel store or website should have the plugs you need, and should be able to tell you what voltage and plug the country you are traveling to utilizes. The following web sites are good for figuring this out, and ordering the required plugs, etc.

International Voltage Chart By Country, with plugs


Worldwide Transformers and Plugs

Magellan's Interactive FAQ and plug/voltage selection

Good luck and happy travels!
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:13 AM   #2
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Good work, Joker, and thanks!
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Old 04-04-2006, 04:31 PM   #3
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here is some more information that I wrote in a past thread
Quote:
Originally posted by agriadam@Jan 3 2006, 05:32 PM
All of the outlets are the same in the European Union Plus some... England has a different type.* If you are going to be using a hair dryer it should not be a problem on most of the units just be sure that the watts required of the hair dryer do not exceed the watts listed on the Converter

(Note that 110 volts = 120 volts and 220 volts = 240 volts,, their close enough to be the same)
Remember that in the US we use 110 volts AC on all standard outlets, in Europe Australia and England they use 220 volts AC.* Now most of the time you will need a power converter that will drop half of the current from 220 volt down to 110 volts.* But on most new equipment with an AC power adaptor that converts AC to DC i.e. Camera, camcorder, computer, DVD player, etc....* you may only need an adaptor not necessarily a converter, an adaptor just modifies the arrangement of the standard North American two spades to the European Two prongs etc.* Be absolutely certain this is a possibility if you connect your hair dryer straight to 220 volts when it is designed for 110 volts you could cause serious damage or injury.

The way to tell if it has the ability for 110(120) or 220(240) check on the device for a label and look for a label with input and output. For example my camera charger says:

Input: AC100-240V 50/60Hz
* * * * * 16-20VA .2A 13w
Output: DC5v 1.5A

What this means is that I can run 110 or 240 Volts AC (alternating Current) into the unit and it is going to pull 13 watts it will then convert the power to 5 volts DC (Direct Current)

My recommendation is to go with the power converter that way you know you are safe.

WATTAGE
Another important area is wattage your standard 30 dollar power converter can typically handle around 1600 watts being pulled across it and a standard hair dryer pulls 1875 watts DO NOT USE.* I am not sure what a travel hair dryer pulls but look it up because if it is over 1600 than you cannot use it with most Power converters that I have seen.

My advice, buy a hair dryer over there that will plug into their plugs and is rated for their current... PS Hair dryers over there work better because they can pull even more wattage due to the increase of voltage
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:52 PM   #4
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B careful with some camera chargers and possibly other equipment. My camera came with a UK lead and a european lead that plug into the charger cradle.

However last summer i didnt take the euro lead with me and just used the UK one via a normal converter. Randomly one day the battery just didnt work anymore and the charger would no longer light up. I spent a whole day in Riga trying to find a new charger - went to every camera store i could find. Eventualy found an olympus shop and got a new charger for £40. Put the battery in and it charged fine, i later read in the instructions it specificaly says not to use voltage converters but to use the correct lead instead. So word of warning check your instructions first.
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Old 04-20-2006, 07:47 PM   #5
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thanks joker - i spent hours looking on the stupid apple site and found nothing and thought "screw that, theres gotta be something on Tpunk"... shoulda looked here first!
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Old 04-30-2006, 09:51 PM   #6
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thanks for putting all this together joker!

one thing i'm not clear on after reading this is whether or not it's okay to just use a standard plug converter on the ipod power adapter. the ipod adaper says it's rated for 100-240V right on it (eliminating the need for the transformer) so it looks like all you're buying from apple is a bunch of really expensive plug changers, which seems redundant if you already own the $30 universal transformer/adapter kits.

i just dropped $30 transformer/plug converter kit and the idea of spending another $40 on the ipod adapter is tough. but an even tougher thing to swallow is a fried ipod.

anyone have any thoughts?

~collin
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:32 PM   #7
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you do not need to buy the kit from apple the transforme that you bought will work just fine
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Old 05-01-2006, 01:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by soma77@Apr 30 2006, 08:51 PM
thanks for putting all this together joker!

one thing i'm not clear on after reading this is whether or not it's okay to just use a standard plug converter on the ipod power adapter. the ipod adaper says it's rated for 100-240V right on it (eliminating the need for the transformer) so it looks like all you're buying from apple is a bunch of really expensive plug changers, which seems redundant if you already own the $30 universal transformer/adapter kits.
You can get away with using a plug changer without any issue. I've seen some generations (specifically older like mine) not be compatible with an actual transformer. It's not a wise idea to double up the transformers.

Quote:
i just dropped $30 transformer/plug converter kit and the idea of spending another $40 on the ipod adapter is tough. but an even tougher thing to swallow is a fried ipod.

I'd suggest getting the right plug changer for the ipod adapter, again, but if you just have a plain plug changer and not a transformer, you should be okay.
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:08 AM   #9
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thanks guys, i appreciate the help.

so just to clarify for everyone between your two posts:

standard plug changer on ipod power adapter, good.
doubling up on using the transformer and ipod adapter together, bad.

let me know if i messed that up.

i have the two prong u.s. plug --> 220 ungrounded euro plug changer which fits the tines on the ipod power adapter so i think i'll be okay.

you rock.

~C
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by soma77@May 1 2006, 08:08 AM
thanks guys, i appreciate the help.

so just to clarify for everyone between your two posts:

standard plug changer on ipod power adapter, good.
doubling up on using the transformer and ipod adapter together, bad.

let me know if i messed that up.

i have the two prong u.s. plug --> 220 ungrounded euro plug changer which fits the tines on the ipod power adapter so i think i'll be okay.

you rock.

~C
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Old 05-01-2006, 03:40 PM   #11
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agreed you will be fine
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“If you can imagine a man having a vasectomy without anesthetic to the sound of frantic sitar-playing, you will have some idea what popular Turkish music is like.”
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:05 AM   #12
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Does anybody have anything good or bad to say about particular model of plug adapters? I'm planning on getting the Franzus with built-in surge protector.
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:36 AM   #13
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My brother gave me his, a little cheap one from Walmart. I used it for several months without any problems, shouldn't matter what kind you use. Most personal electronics seem to be dual-voltage now anyway, so you don't have to worry about transformers or stuff like that (be sure to check though).
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Old 05-12-2008, 12:14 PM   #14
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good info thanks
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:48 PM   #15
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This thread has been very helpful for me today. Thanks Joker and agriadam.
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