Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A Follow-up On Electricity Woes

I just wanted to re-post something that Jay left in the comments section of an earlier post regarding my inability to plug my laptop in.  He sent the following link:


It's a very handy page that lets you know what voltage a specific country uses and what type of plugs they typically use.  I think that the big thing to keep in mind is that you really can put any type of plug anywhere, it's the voltage that it really going to make the difference, and even there you'll find that many devices with an external power supply (one of those nice black bricks that you plug that sit between the wall and your device) will convert automatically in the range from 100-220V for you.

If you're going to a country that uses 220V instead of our familiar 110V you MAY need to bring a power converter.  However, they tend to be pretty bulky, so check your electronics and see if they'll convert automatically.  In my case my camera charger and my laptop will do the full 100-220V range, so I will typically not need to lug around a huge converter.  What you will probably need though is a plug adapter.  These are tiny little devices that really just take your two or three pronged North American plug and put it into the shape necessary to fit in an international socket.  They're quite tiny, and you only need a few different ones to be covered a lot of places in the world.  Even carrying one that will convert from a three prong grounded North American plug to a two pronged ungrounded one could save you a real headache.  That's actually what I ran into in the Dominican Republic.  The plugs that were in my room weren't exactly as shown on the website above, but the key point was that they had no ground prong.  By carrying my own adapter I would have solved that issue.

So ultimately what I'm saying is that you should use that website, check the situation for voltage and typical plug type, but still bring a handful of adapters anyway.  They're really tiny so they won't take up much room in your luggage, and they could make the difference between being able to use your electronics and not.  Even in a country that typically uses a North American style plug, it's what you find in your hotel room that's likely to impact your ability to use your electronics.  So, it's the old Scouting moto for today I guess - always be prepared.

Thanks to Jay for the website, and remember to always check back on the comments section everyone, a wealth of interesting information gets posted there.  Have a great day!


Jabbles said...

Glad I could help.
At least the next trip in in the USA so power should not be an issue, cell reception yes but power no.

Aunt J. said...

We found that the European hotels often had adapters that they would loan out to their guests. If you are buying an adapter, check to see if it has multiple plugs that fit onto the base. Handy when you come across different electrical outlets.
But you're right, the adapters are small and I stuck our's inside a spare shoe.