help with electrical plug adaptor

May 2nd, 2004, 08:13 AM
  #1  
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help with electrical plug adaptor

My son will be going to China (Beijing and Shanghai) very soon for 2 weeks. We have a cell phone (Nokia 3310) that my daughter purchased in Great Briton. This summer, my daughter will be going to Australia to attend school. We need info on plugs for charging the phone. Thanks in advance for any help.
1. What plugs are used in China? Some sites say AU or UK. Another says 4 different plugs are used. Any ideas?
2. Would it be simpler,and inexpensive, for him to just rent a phone when he gets there?
3. If we decide to pick up another phone (so my daughter has 1 and we can have another when we visit her in Australia) would it make sense (cheaper) for my son to buy a phone in China and could he get one with an Australian type plug?
susan4 is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 08:57 AM
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China uses the same GSM network and similar frequencies to Europe. So, the Nokia you have should work in China. If he's a heavy user, what he should do is to get a local SIM card after arriving in China. The rate should be much lower than using the UK plan. But no need to buy or rent a new phone.

It's true that there are many types of plugs used in China. He may find more than one type in a typical hotel room. The most common type seems to be two/three round holes. A typical two round prong used in Continental Europe should work in China.
rkkwan is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 09:40 AM
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Can batteries for other kinds of electronics (like US-bought portable DVD's, or even AA battery rechargers for digital cameras) be charged in Chinese outlets? Is a transformer needed because of their 220 volt system?
EdEdwards is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 10:11 AM
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Here are the facts on plugs and voltages:

The most common socket in China is the two-flat-pin kind common in North America, closely followed by the two small round pins common in much of continental Europe, but the sockets are usually designed to take either, and indeed, face plates are often designed to take both these and the three-flat-pin plugs with two tilted pins common in Australia, Fiji, etc. The latter are usually used for higher voltage devices requiring an earth. The fridge/minibar in your room will usually use one of these, as will the housekeepers' vacuum cleaners.

The three-chunky-pin sockets common to the UK and Hong Kong are found in Sino-foreign joint-venture hotels, and others in which Hong Kong investment has been involved, but are less usual. In these better hotels housekeeping staff always have adapters, and often transformers available for those who have North American devices. But overall these sockets are less common, and Britons would be wise to bring an adapter which adapts to North American or Continental Europe style sockets.

However, adapters between one plug type and any other are very cheap and readily available in department stores and high street electrical shops throughout China, although those adapting the UK-style plugs are a little less often seen, so it might be wise to bring one of these. But for any mobile phone bought in China (under Y1000 for the cheapest new model with spare battery, charger, SIM card and Y100 of call time; second-hand phones for as little as Y300), which will come with North American-style two flat pins, an adapter for Australia can be bought very easily.

Important note for North Americans: Devices with one pin broader than the other, or with a third earthing pin, will not fit in Chinese sockets. And you have voltage problems, too.

Voltages: China, the UK, and Australia all use 220V to 240V. North American devices requiring 110V cannot be used in China without a voltage transformer, best taken with you, but annoyingly heavy. Plug in without the transformer and you'll fry your device.

Mobile phones from the UK, China, and Australia will all work in each other's territory, but North American phones will not unless of the more expensive tri-band kind. Users may also have to ask their service providers to unlock the phone so that a different SIM card or chip can be inserted while in China. Note that for international calls from China both China Mobile and China Unicom now both offer an 'IP card' which uses Internet routing and cuts the cost of international calls from a Chinese mobile phone to nearly the same as those from IP phone offices, but these usually have to be used in the town or province in which they are purchased. Approach any mobile phone store (of which there are dozens in any main street) or stall with the letters 'IP' displayed, and say 'IP ka' and wave your phone. The supplier may need to see what kind of SIM card you have to give you the right phone card. But the instructions on the card and when you dial-up are in English.

Peter N-H
http://members.shaw.ca/pnhpublic/China.html
PeterN_H is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 10:45 AM
  #5  
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Thank you for the info. If I understand correctly, he should bring a UK to US adaptor plug to use in China? and that a UK to AU plug might also work? He is staying at a university for part of the time and then traveling. Thanks for your help!
susan4 is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 11:10 AM
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Yes, just for convenience bring the UK to US. Sockets for UK to AU are not common, but not quite as common--a room might have one of those but several US/Europe-type sockets. All other converters are very easily acquired in China itself.

Peter N-H
http://members.shaw.ca/pnhpublic/China.html
PeterN_H is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 02:49 PM
  #7  
 
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Peter is correct about the two-flat pin type of sockets. US-styled prongs with one flat pin longer than the other will not work.

For my family travelling to China from the US, we bring two extra adapters.

First is a US-styled two flat pins (one longer than the other) to two round pins adapter.

Second is a two round pin to two flat pin (identical length).

With both round and flat types available, we never have any problems charging camcorder or iPod batteries.
rkkwan is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 05:55 PM
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So you are able to charge the iPod and camcorder WITHOUT a transformer... I would suppose then that the battery pack for a small DVD player, and a small AA battery charger for a camera would both accept the great voltage, too?
EdEdwards is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 07:00 PM
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The voltage requirements for your device will be written clearly on the side of it. Some devices, such as most laptops and the iPod come with multi-voltage transformers. The iPod's, for instance (as it states clearly on the side) accepts voltages of between 100V and 240V.

But plug in most 110V devices such as DVD players and battery chargers into a 220V socket and "Phut!" If you're lucky, that will be just a fuse. But quite likely a melt-down of part of the innards and a very nasty smell.

READ what your device says on it very carefully. If it says 110V, and nothing more, do NOT plug it in in China without using a transformer.

Peter N-H
http://members.shaw.ca/pnhpublic/China.html
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