Converters for Italy

Oct 16th, 2006, 09:24 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,017
Converters for Italy

We will be in Rome, renting an apartment in a few weeks.

I just got back from the AAA travel store, and am totally confused with the things to purchase for electronics.

We will have our cell phone charger, and our digital camera charger. I am not sure if we will have a hairdryer, or if the apartment comes with one.

AAA told me I need a transformer and converter (2 plugs) but that I should get the 3-plug grounded one. Well, what if the wall unit doesn't have 3 holes? I don't know if they are just trying to get me to buy stuff or what. Do I need a transformer for these things?
wanderer is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Look at your cell phone charger and your camera charger.

If it says 110-220 Volts then it can be used in Italy without a transformer (a transformer converts the voltage from 110 to 220). All it needs is an adapter (converts the 2 flat prong US to the 2 round prong Italy).

As for the hairdryer I would just buy a cheap one over there (if the apt doesn't provide one). There are stories of people burning their's out even with the proper equipment.

saps is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 09:59 AM
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Check your chargers -- most of the newer ones are 110/220. If that's the case, you will only need a plug adapter, not a transformer. The GS-9 in the link below is the general one for a 2-prong plug. The GS-20 and PB-11 are the ones with the ground, depending upon the type of socket. They are all very reasonable.

If you have any other 110V appliances such as hair dryers/curling irons, you will need a transformer/converter. Most of the newer ones have a switch that will convert it over from 110 to 220. Check the appliances/chargers, see what they have (110/220), and come on back to the board and ask a specific question for a specific appliance depending upon the volts/plug type.
Budman is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Well, I typed out a post for your question & thought I posted it, but it is not here. So I will try again. If you get them both, "excuzi me!" But as a female, I was totally confused also. Hope my info helps.

I got my adapter at Walmart for a few bucks. I know it works because I used it last year. It has 2 small round prongs that go into the Italian wall plug. Then my U.S. two flat pronged applicance goes into the adapter - easy. If you have a U.S. appliance that has the 3rd round plug, put into the Walmart adapter a 3 prong U.S. adapter plug (it is usually rubber & orange - can buy at Walmart; it is like an extension cord with only the plug, not the cord). Or, if you want to plug in more than 1 device into the adapter that is in the Italian wall plug, take a 2/3 appliance extension cord. But be careful not to overload & start a fire or fry the Italian electricity!

Re: a converter - I called the companies for my camcorder & camera (toll free # in the instructions booklets); I also called Best Buy to see if I would get the same answers. The battery chargers are both "dual voltage"; no converter needed - but still need an adapter, of course.

I bought a converter at Walmart ($25/$30) & after cut up the vacuum seal cover so it can't be returned, I discovered that my curling iron is too many watts - can't use it - I'll use hair rollers at night! A hair dryer may be the same.

I emailed the Venice & Rome apartments & discovered they have a "shared" clothes iron for us (shared with other tenants) - no converter needed there!

So, I'll take the Walmart purchased converter just in case our toothbrush charger & hair shaver/trimmer charger need it (didn't call on those). After all, I already paid Walmart, might as well take it along!

Good luck & have a great trip. We leave a week from this Wed.! So excited!

Julie_Hurst is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 12:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,017
OK, thanks all makes sense now, except what is the difference between an transformer and converter (seems like we need neither, just curious).

The cell phone charger says 100-240 V and the digital camera battery charger says 110-240 V - so we should need just the 2-prong adapters for these if I understand correctly.

I found out there is a hairdryer and iron at the apartment.

Now for you digital camera types, this is our first trip going digital. I'm planning on getting a 2GB memory card, and one extra battery to have charging while we use the one in the camera. Does this sound reasonable, or do we need 2 extra batteries, and is 2GB enough for a card? We will be there Sat-Sat and tend to take lots of pics.

Thanks everyone for your help.
wanderer is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 12:29 PM
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You are not really serious are you about the toothbrush charger and hair trimmer? SIMPLIFY!!!!
dutyfree is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 12:31 PM
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I think in the context of your discussion with AAA a converter is what I am calling an adapter.

A transformer "transforms" the voltage so you don't fry your equipment.

An adapter (or converter) "adapts" (or "converts") the plug to fit into a Italian electrical socket.

Both your camera and phone charger need an adapter only (2 round prongs).
saps is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
If I were you, I would take an inexpensive electric item as the "sacrificial" item to attempt to plug in or charge before you start with cell phones, ipods, digital cameras, etc.

Here was our Italian electricity experience:

1. Rome apartment - I did not want to plug any thing in; the electrical system seemed old to me; some of the small appliances were plugged in with adaptors. DH plugged in a water pic and despite the converter and adaptor, it burnt out immediately. Nothing else was plugged in there.

2. Florence apartment - charged everything with no problem

3. Venice hotel - everything in thehotel was new and beautiful but nothing would charge. Even when we plugged things into outlets that had lamps plugged into them that were on, nothing at all happened. Never figured that one out.

missypie is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 12:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,244
Wanderer, from what you described, all you need is a couple of plug adapters. They are very inexpensive (the GS-9). You are set if you don't have any other appliances.

As for the 2GB memory, it all depends upon two things -- 1) the megapixels you have your camera set for, and 2) the number of pictures you plan on taking.

There should be a chart with your memory stick that will convert the two and tell you how many pictures you can get with a 2GB memory stick based upon the pixel size you have your camera set for. If you don't have a conversion chart, you could google one or check with the manufacturer of the memory stick.

Budman is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 404
Dutyfree - don't know why you would post that I need to "SIMPLIFY!!!!"; seems condesending; hopefully I am reading it incorrectly. While I appreciate all info I get from this board, I did not ask for advice on packing or electrical issues. My response to your post is that my family never simplifies on our hygiene & we will be in Italy for over 3 weeks.

Thank you anyway, Julie
Julie_Hurst is offline  

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