Electric Adapter and/or Converters?

Aug 22nd, 2010, 05:34 PM
Original Poster
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Electric Adapter and/or Converters?

I have a few items that will need to be charged over the duration of our two week trip. Can anyone unlock the mystery of if I need an adapter and/or converter? Also, I would appreicate any input on where to get them and how much I should expect to pay.

Potential items needing to be charged:
MP3 player
Canon digital camera that takes a recharagable battery
cell phone

Lastly, probably a silly question, but I read an article that said due to the cost of electricity some B&B's will hide the outlets or render them useless. Is this true? Should I have concerns about being able to charge the items if I ever figure out what I need to take to do so?

cmf_1098 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2010, 05:45 PM
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No mystery. An adapter is the thing you use so your flat blade North American plugs will fit into outlets of another shape; they do not alter the voltage. A converter changes the voltage. Converters are typically larger and heavier; a cheap one can be a hazard.
Chances are you do not need a converter, as most modern electronics accept input in the 110-20 or 240 range. Read yours (it's there somewhere, though you may need a magnifying glass under strong light!) and if - as is likely - it says input up to 220 you are fine with just an adapter.
Never heard of hiding the outlets.
Seamus is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2010, 05:45 PM
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The items you reference are dual voltage. You just need an outlet adapter for those items. You may fing less outlets than in your home, but I have never encountered a place that hid them to discourage you from plugging in what you need to charge.
cherrybomb is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2010, 05:53 PM
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I have a Canon digital with rechargeable battery and the charger is not dual voltage so a converter is required. Check your Canon charger to see if there is a converter built in (it will be a rectangular box in the middle of the power cord). My charger does not have a power cord - it plugs directly into the wall.
adrienne is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2010, 07:10 PM
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For adapters it depends where you go which you will use.
In Portugal, Spain, Italy we used the same kind, the 2 prones. Most places didn't have the thrid prone in the middle for earth/ground, but in Lake Como I found they did use the 3 kind.

In Switzerland most wall plates we saw had 3 kinds in one plate, one for 3 prones, one for 2 prones. We used the one with 2 prones as the one with 3 was funny looking and none of the adapters we had fit in either. I was lucky that one of the 2 prones I bought in Portugal fit.

Most of our electronics are up to 240, my Sony camera charger just plugs in the wall as my netbook.

When you bought a converter you have to look also at the wattage of your electronics as voltage is not only what you have to look for. We learned the hard way, in Chile we bought one converter but didn't see the wattage or watts and ended up burning the Xbox transformer and the lights in the Hotel.

After that we bought last year one for small electronics with the right watts and up to 240V
pookymimi is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2010, 07:18 PM
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......The items you reference are dual voltage. ..... Mostly likely that is true BUT -- you absolutely have to the input label on EACH device. Don't be lazy !!!!
fmpden is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 05:12 AM
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See http://tinyurl.com/2y9zvv for the fundamentals on using electricity in Europe.
spaarne is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 07:06 AM
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We purchased our adapters in a set at Radio Shack for around $20. Several came in the package-for various areas of the world-we took the one that would work in Ireland-just one plug-very lightweight. We did find, however, that some places we stayed provided them, if you ask.
We only used it for the cell phone-we decided long ago that rechargeable batteries were not worth the trouble because they do no last long enough, so now just travel with a few highter quality lithium batteries instead. You can always buy more if needed.
SusieKay is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 07:41 AM
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<<< We purchased our adapters in a set at Radio Shack for around $20. >>>

Most of these adaptors are not safe to use with high wattage devices like hair dryers as they don't have a proper earth pin so in use you become the earth if things go wrong. Use them on low wattage devices like phone chargers only
alanRow is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 08:08 AM
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I am sure by now you realize adapters and converters are two (2) VERY different things, right?

For adapters follow the guidance on Euroepan outlets (2 prongs versus 3, etc...). For converters, check your appliance. If dual voltage you are all set, if not get to Radio Shack and buy a converter. TIP: Take a short extension with you as well.
Viajero2 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 08:54 AM
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I also have a Canon camera--it did not come with a battery charger. I bought a dual voltage charger at Target or Walmart--it didn't cost much. It came with 4 new rechargeable batteries, so I have 1 set charging while the other set is in the camera.
Paul1950 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 11:15 AM
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As noted, what someone else has may not be what you have, even if it is the same brand - for example, my plug right into the outlet camera battery charger is dual voltage. Be sure to check what it say on each of your devices
Seamus is online now  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 09:43 PM
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Frankly, whenever I go to Europe (usually Ireland), I bring both. The other comments are "generally correct" but why take the chance. All adapters do is allow you to plug our plugs into their plugs. The converter adapts the voltage from our system to their system. To me, rather than take a chance, I always use a converter.

I have not heard of the practice of rendering plugs unusable but some hotels "seem" to hide them or make them hard to find. Also there generally seems to be a lot fewer plugs in the run of the mill hotel there than we are accustomed to here in the US. Remember, this is a foreign country and their system is not necessarily our system. Not worse or better, just different. Hope this helps!

cjkilker is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 08:25 AM
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If you are anyone you are traveling with plans to bring a hairdryer and have it successfully work, I would be careful. I have been to Ireland 4 times and finally this last time I just broke down and bought an Irish Hair dryer and left it at my cousin's house permanently so I can use it again and again when I go over. If you have a relatively high watt hairdryer it burns out after 1 use. I had an 1800 watt dryer, which is average. Another thing to mention is hair straighteners. I plugged mine into a converter and it would not turn on. Immediately shorted out and did not work upon returning to the states!
tarmor1 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 05:01 PM
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Thanks so much for the help, sounds like I can easily be prepared.

cjkilker - great idea, and perhaps the best solution just to be sure.

Thanks for the advice on hair dryers, curling irons and straighteners; however, we are taking none. Oddly, I have long hair (hubby has none), but only use a dryer on days I go to work. I usually wear my hair up a lot, and travel really light. I actually tent camp on most vacations (although not this one) and usually do without recharagable electronic devices.

Main reason for the electronics is the long flights. Cell phone is quickly fading off the list when I got quotes on international calling rates. Oh what did we do before cell phones

Thanks again!
cmf_1098 is offline  

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