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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - INTERNATIONAL ELECTRICITY

The majority of the most frequently asked questions are answered by the following:


Many appliances are what they call "multi-voltage" or “dual-voltage” If you have an electrical appliance that you want to use in a foreign country (where the voltage can be 220/230/240) and the appliance is multi-voltage (says input 100-240 volts) or dual voltage (says input 125/250 volts) you usually only need a plug adapter. The input voltage (and the watts or amps) information can usually be found on a charger but it could be anywhere on the appliance often on the main body of the appliance where it can be difficult to see.

If you determine that you only need plug adapters, take a look at our World Electric Guide . It is a list of all the countries in the world showing their voltage, frequency and, when you click on the country name, it shows which plug adapter(s) are needed there. Many countries have more than one configuration so there are often more than one adapter required.

If you want to use a surge protector for your appliance while overseas, you definitely want to consider one of these surge protectors most of which are rated up to 250 volts . A US surge protector cannot be used since they are designed for maximum voltage of 125 volts.

If an appliance like a battery charger or laptop appears to not be multi-voltage or dual voltage you would need a transformer to step down the foreign voltage to 120 volts. The MWP107 transformer would be recommended for any of those type of appliances that are under 100 watts. One of these voltage converter / plug adapter kits would handle those electronic devices under 50 watts and most ungrounded (2 pin plug) hair appliances up to 2000 watts. You will also need to use a grounded plug adapter for the MWP107 depending on what we show is required in our World Electric Guide.

Keep in mind that most foreign countries do not have as many grounded (3 pin) receptacles (outlets) as the US and Canada have.



Why does your web site show so may plug adapters for some countries?

First, the web site shows both the grounded (3 pin plugs) and the ungrounded (2 pin plugs) for every country. If your appliances all have just 2 pin plugs (ungrounded) then you would only need the ungrounded plug adapters shown for that country and they can be purchased individually here. If your appliances all have 3 pin plugs (grounded) then you would only need the grounded plug adapters shown for that country and they can be purchased individually here. If you have both grounded and ungrounded appliances then you would need all those shown. In the “bundles” shown, you will see a discounted price that make it less expensive than buying them individually

Second, those countries with multiple grounded and ungrounded plug adapters shown will have different outlet configurations in different areas of the country for a variety of reasons, political, geographical, practical, etc. Keep in mind that most foreign countries do not have as many grounded (3 pin) receptacles (outlets) as the US and Canada have. If an appliance is grounded (3 pins) you definitely want to plug it into a grounded outlet with a grounded plug adapter but grounded outlets, as mentioned before, will not always be available in many countries.

What will I need to take a cell phone charger, digital camera charger, and hair dryer to a 220/230/240 volt country?

Presuming that the appliances listed are ungrounded (2 pin plugs) and are not multi or dual voltage (see top of page), you will need a voltage converter kit. These kits include a voltage converter and plug adapters. They are available in a hard case and a soft case and each having different features such as maximum watts, length of warranty, number of adapters included, and price. We recommend the AS2100K and the VCAP automatic voltage converter kits. You can compare features but they both include an automatic voltage converter and plug adapters. They are considered to be “dual watt” voltage converters. They both can provide power for your electronic devices (chargers) that are under 50 watts (you will need to verify that) and also provide for the higher watts of the hair dryer. They can also handle a hair dryer but the maximum watts for the hair dryer on the AS2100K is 2100 watts and 2000 watts for the VCAP They are both automatic (self-sensing), so no manual switching is required. All solid state voltage converters, including these, are never to be used continuously or ever left unattended.

What do “grounded” and “ungrounded” mean?

These are references to the number of pins on the appliance plug. Appliances with 2 pins on their plug are called “ungrounded” Appliances with 3 pins on their plug are called “grounded”. Most foreign countries do not have as many grounded (3 pin) receptacles (outlets) as the US and Canada have.

What is the difference between a voltage converter and a transformer?

Transformers convert electricity from high voltage to a lower voltage, and vice versa, through induction. They produce what is called “full sine wave” electricity which is what you get from your outlets at home and office. All electronic devices and some appliances that contain any electronic components (often as simple as an automatic feature such as auto-on or auto-off) require full sine wave electricity or they will malfunction.

Solid state voltage converters, in simple terms, use electronics (not induction) to convert high voltage (220/230/240 volts) to a lower voltage. They produce “modified sine wave” electricity which is fine for most hair dryers, travel irons, and appliances like those but will not work with any electronic appliances or devices.






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