of the world outside of North America uses electricity at
approximately 220 volts/50hz. while most North American
appliances are designed for 110 volts/60hz. In addition to the
voltage/frequency problems, the wall outlets (receptacles)
configurations are also different from country to country (there
are 10 different grounded wall outlet plug adapters and 6
different ungrounded wall outlet plug adapters). The solution to
the different voltage/frequencies you will encounter as you
travel is either a VOLTAGE CONVERTER or a TRANSFORMER depending
on the type of appliances or equipment you plan to use. The
solutions to the problem of wall outlet (receptacle) differences
are PLUG ADAPTERS (but remember: plug
adapters don't change the voltage).
the appliances or eqipment you intend to take overseas with you
are all ungrounded and you will only need to use them one at a
time for short periods of time, then you might consider an
Ungrounded Voltage Converter as a solution to the differences in
voltages as you travel.
Ungrounded Converters can
be used only for ungrounded appliances (2 pins on the plug) and
only with "electric" (never "electronic")
appliances, that is, appliances that are used for heating
purposes and / or use "universal" motors (curling
irons, hair dryers, steam inhalers, bottle warmers, irons, etc).
Converters and Transformer/Converters do not change the frequency
differences (hz or cycles) you will encounter outside of North
America. The issue of Frequency will be covered below.
must always read and follow all instructions about converters and
all electrical devices for your safety. U.S. visitors to
countries will want to convert the 220 volts to 110
volts through the
use of one of our "step down"
converters. The following"step down" converters are
available: a 0-50 watts model, a 50-1875 watt model, and a
"hi-lo" 0-1875 watt model (it has a setting switch for
0-25 watts and for 26-1875). We also carry a "step up"
0-50 watt model for the use of foreign low wattage appliances in
Converters are for ungrounded (2 pins) appliances only. You can
follow the link below for instructions and specifications of all
our models. You will also find a link below that will take you to
a listing of over 220 countries that gives their voltages and
required adapters. Most converters are not designed for
"continuous duty" and should be used for short periods
of time, 45 minutes to an hour. They must be unplugged from the
wall when not in use.
CONVERTER / TRANSFORMER
is a converter/transformer (our TA-50A) , a hybrid if you will,
that like a converter can only be used with ungrounded appliances
but like a transformer produces a full sine wave electrical
output, making it suitable for up to three hours continuous use and and it be used
with all electronic devices except computers.
can be used with grounded plugs (3 pin) and can be used with
"electric" and "electronic" appliances
alike(unlike a ungrounded converter that can only be used for
"electric appliances"). "Electronic" refers
to those devices and appliances that contain electronic circuitry
of some sort such as: most radios, some shavers, fax
machines,computers, printers, etc. We carry transformers that
just "step down" 220/240 volts to 110/120 volts (as
would apply to a U.S. visitor to a foreign country) and we carry
step up / step down transformers that will, with just the flip of
a switch, "step up (110/120 to 220/240 for the foreign
visitor to the U.S.)" or "step down" 220/240 volts
to 110/120 volts.
Features of all the Transformers include:
off/on power switch, replaceable safety fuse, heavy duty metal
case, 5' of cord with either a European grounded "schuko"
plug (on the step down transformers) or a grounded U.S. plug (on
the step up / step down comination), and a power indicator light.
There is 1 U.S. grounded outlet on the 100 and 200 watt models
and 2 U.S. grounded outlets on the remaining seven models which
go up to 3000 watts. For warranty information click on the link
below. The Transformers like the Converters do not change the
frequencies. That issue is covered below.
OUTLET (RECEPTACLE) PLUG ADAPTERS
If you were
looking for a worldwide standard, forget it! There are at least
13 different configurations that we know of, each requiring its
own adapter. And if that wasn't complicated enough, some
countries use 2, 3, 4, and even 5 different configurations in
different areas within their borders. Adapters are a simple
solution (once you have found the right one[s]) to the
configuration problem and we have attempted to provide you with
the best source for finding the correct adaptors with our World
adapters are available as either grounded or ungrounded. Which
one you need depends on the plug of the appliance or equipment
you intend to use overseas. A plug with 2 pins or blades is
ungrounded and one with 3 pins or blades is grounded. Usually you
can use an ungrounded plug in a grounded adapter but not vice
versa. One very important warning!!
Remember that plug adapters do not change voltages!
creating the World Electricity Guide we used the most
reliable sources we could find, including the U.S. Department of
Commerce and travelers like yourself. We appreciate your
assistance in trying to create a reliable source for what is
obviously a complicated issue and to make this information
available to all travelers with no obligation to buy. We've done
a lot of research in order ensure the accuracy of the information
you find here (there are over 220 countries listed here), but we
can only guarantee that it isn't infallible and there will be
some mistakes and/or omissions. In cases where we found sources
that recommended different or additional adapters for the same
country we included them all (we hope that "it is better to
have and not need than to need and not have" applies here).
CYCLES, HERTZ, HZ (60 HZ vs. 50HZ)
frequency refers to the number of cycles that electrical voltage
or current (maximum positive values then maximum negative values)
goes through each second. In North America the
frequency,expressed as Hertz, is 60 cycles per second (60 Hz).
This information about frequencies would never be important in
your life if you never left North America. But if you do leave
the U.S., in addition to having to deal with those higher
voltages in other countries, you may also have to contend with
the lower frequencies (50 Hz) in most foreign countries . Because
of the lower frequency, as an example, most AC motors will rotate
and equipment that simply contain heating elements with no
electronic timers, microchips, or other electronic circuitry are
unaffected by frequency. Many appliances have DC (direct current)
motors and convert the incoming AC into DC which is not affected
by frequency. Many appliances are "multi-voltage" and
have electronic circuitry that automatically senses and then
compensates for the frequency and voltage differences. There are
also some appliance that are "dual voltage" that can be
manually switched from one voltage to another.
CALCULATION (volt X amp = watts)
refers to the amount of power (electricity) consumed by your
appliances and equipment. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Actually it
is very simple and it is important to know a little about it
because you need to know wattage in order to choose a Converter
or a Transformer.
wattage of most appliances and equipment is found on decals or
labels of some sort on the appliance or equipment or in the
owner's manual. In addition, the decals or labels also usually
give the voltage and/or amperage of the appliance.
the wattage isn't given you can still figure it out if you know
the voltage and amperage. If you multiply the voltage times the
amperage, the result equals the wattage of the appliance. For
example, the decal on the appliance you want to take overseas
doesn't list the wattage but gives the voltage as 120 volts and
the amperage is 1.1. To find the wattage of that particular
appliance, multiply the voltage 120 times the amperage 1.1,