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A backwards question regarding Australian electrical equipment in the US?

A backwards question regarding Australian electrical equipment in the US?

Sep 15th, 2005, 07:35 PM
  #1  
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A backwards question regarding Australian electrical equipment in the US?

I know the US runs on 110 volts, so there is no risk of frying equipment, but what about charging devices like IPODs, Video camera and rechargeable batteries ? Can you just use the appropriate plug adapter and just take longer ? Does anyone know if you can use triband Aussie mobiles in the US.? (yes I know ask my provider !!! )
Marko is offline  
Sep 15th, 2005, 08:35 PM
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I'm pretty sure the devices you're talking about will be dual voltage, but this should be stated in the user manual and perhaps on the device itself.

Your triband phone should operate on not only the 900 and 1800 MHz frequencies used in most countries, Australia included, but the 1900 MHz used in North America - that's the point of a triband phone.

However, GSM isn't the only system used there, and I'm unsure as to which carriers use GSM and what the penetration is in various regions. As I've recently bought a Samsung E310 triband in anticipation of a visit to the US and Canada I need to find that out myself. Another issue I need to check out is which if any carriers may service the entire area we're planning to travel through - my recollection is that unlike Australia many US carriers are confined to particular regions, and travelling outside their service areas will entail extra charges for roaming.

I'm assuming that buying a prepaid SIM card should be no problem in those countries.

One other thing - phones sold here in conjunction with prepaid contracts are generally locked to the carrier concerned (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, whoever) for a defined period, at least 6 months. At the end of that period they need to be "unlocked" if you want to use them with another carrier's SIM.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Sep 15th, 2005, 08:37 PM
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Should have said, if you plan to enquire about the phone situation on the US forum, I'd be grateful if you could let us know - I for one will be interested to read the replies.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Sep 15th, 2005, 09:22 PM
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Sorry about the serial posts, but my resident advisor on matters technical tells me that any rechargeable device these days should be OK within a range of 100-250V typically.

I'm advised however that it's not a good idea to plug 240V-only appliances (eg hairdryers) into a 110V supply, as frying is in fact a possibility due to the motor having to work too hard. Buy a converter or if cheap buy locally.
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Sep 15th, 2005, 09:37 PM
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Marko, I think I can help you, just back from NY.
Phone: As long as your triband isn't locked you should be fine with a prepaid SIM card when you get there. (Lots cheaper than using your Global Roaming for local calls). Do check that your 'phone is ok with US networks (some types aren't). No probs with adapter for charger.

With my laptop, it was easier to just buy a power cord ($14)to suit US power points. (Some have 2 inlets & some are earthed & need a 3rd prong) Just make sure your equipment can operate in range 110-250v (it's printed on the back of most things).

Hairdryers: Mine worked but v.slow on "full blast". May be same with razors - can't say

Adapters: Try & get both types (2 + 3 prong)from travel shop here before you go. Save you time chasing around for them there.

Have fun. Find mischief. Get into it
Bokhara is offline  
Sep 15th, 2005, 11:48 PM
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Me.....mischief ???? whatever could you mean !!! Thanks for the advice.
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Sep 16th, 2005, 01:30 AM
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Hi Marko
No problem with IPODs, shdn't be a problem with Video Cameras, my sony AA battery chargeris dual voltage. The one appliance to watch out for are discmans - apparently they aren't always dual voltage. Also I took those plug mosquito burners last year & they didn't work at all on 110 volts.
I use T Mobile prepaid SIM cards when in the States - much cheaper than using global roaming with Telstra. They have stores everywhere.
Agree you should buy your plug adapters before you go. My daughter is going to school in Canada & is using one she bought in Toronto & it keeps flashing
Have a great time.
Sarvowinner is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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Hi Marko,

As said already, most devices with a transformer in the power cord will probably work ok here in the US. Check the numbers on the block to ensure that they mention both voltages. If so, they are already set to handle being plugged in directly.

If they're not dual voltage and they're something you can't live without, I would suggest locating a converter prior to your trip, while still in Oz. When my wife moved here from Melbourne a few years ago, she brought with her a number of electric items that, of course, were not intended for traveling - a stereo, a few appliances and such, and were not dual voltage. I was surprised to find that converters that convert TO U.S. voltage levels weren't all that eay to find here. Ones that converted from US to other conventions were available at all the usual travel stores. Eventually we had to mail order to get one.

On the phone situation - we have a pair of tri-band T-Mobile phones that we take everywhere and just use the service we enlisted for here in the US, without switching SIM cards. They work here, Australia, Europe and apparently in Asia, which we'll get the chance to test soon. But, we only use them for emergencies and so far have not spent as much on calls as we would have for the pre-paid approach. I can imagine that if you will be calling a lot, the sim would make the most sense, so long as your phone is unlocked. I would speculate that one of the three bands is the US standard, but you're right in that only you provider (or the website for the phone manufacturer) could state for certain. It is the phone manufacturer, after all, that determines the frequency capabilities that they built into their device.

Hope you have a nice trip up this way!
Clifton is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 09:07 AM
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Oh, and Neil, your advisor is probably mostly right, but having left a very bad smell of electrical smoke in a guestroom in Ireland, I can attest to that not always being the case. Even with rechargeable devices in these modern times!

There are some regional carriers here in the US, but some major national carriers with which you may want to research further would be (that I can recall offhand):

Sprint
T-Mobile
Cingular
Verizon
Clifton is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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Thanks, Clifton - I'll keep those carriers in mind, and check their websites. I think (not 100% sure) that CDMA-based services are more common than GSM in the US, but it sounds as though GSM is becoming more widespread.

In Asia and Australasia you should be fine if your phone handles GSM 900 and 1800 MHz, except I believe in Japan, which uses uniquely Japanese technology. We've used ours in China, Vietnam and NZ with no problems except for the extortionate international roaming charges, which is why I'll be going the prepaid route next time we travel.

In Australia, phones acquired from a carrier as part of a 12-month or longer monthly payment plan aren't locked.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 02:52 PM
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I used Cingular and just put $25 on a pre-paid SIM. From memory, I think they have quite a few "plans" to cater for short/long calls etc. (I only threw out the brochure last week!) Top up by 'phone if you need. As I wanted to use my cell for lots of local calls, it was a better option than Global Roaming.
Bokhara is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 10:32 PM
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Neil, I got a few replies on the us thread, just click the name.
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