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Electrical conversion question: Can I use fan/hair dryer on low w/out converter?

Electrical conversion question: Can I use fan/hair dryer on low w/out converter?

Apr 13th, 2006, 05:33 AM
  #1  
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Electrical conversion question: Can I use fan/hair dryer on low w/out converter?

On a previous trip to Europe I bought a small hair dryer that had a switch for going from 110V to 220V which I thought was rather high tech. We used the hair dryer on the trip w/ no problem. We also took a small fan to help with sleeping. We turned that puppy on high the first night and were amazed at how quickly the little fella could spin…almost blew itself off the desk. About 10 minutes later it died w/ a sizzle. Upon returning to the US I dropped the hair dryer and had to open it up to remove a loose part that was rattling around inside. I was amazed and disappointed to see that my high tech hair dryer that I thougth had a built in converter actually only had a small switch that locked out the ability to use high...there was no actual converter in it.

The point to all of this is to ask...is it USUALLY ok to take appliances that have a high and low setting to Europe, use a plug converter and only use it on the low setting? I’m talking about things like fans, hair dryers, curling irons, etc...not high tech electronic items.

Thanks
Wekiva is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 05:42 AM
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I'm not an electrical engineer, but if you bring a 110V only appliance and plug it in with a plug adapter to a European socket (220V), your 110V appliance will "fry" no matter how high/low the setting.

I don't know how a converter switch going from 110V to 220V works, but it just does.
Budman is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 05:45 AM
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No, any appliance that is made for 110V will NOT work if you plug it into a 220 outlet. You will need a converter, or splurge and buy a dual voltage one. Most new appliances like hair dryers are all dual voltage -- merely turn a switch and it will work with a simple plug adapter.

What you're talking about with locking out high on the hair dryer, means that your low setting will work like high on the higher voltage. The only problem would be you won't have a low setting when you operate it on 220.
 
Apr 13th, 2006, 05:47 AM
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Well I am fine w/ losing the low setting. But my hair dryer seems to differ w/ your statements. It is definitely a 110 appliance and it will work w/ 220 but only in low. I want to take another fan and am thinking that I will only use it on low and it should be OK.
Wekiva is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 05:55 AM
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Do so at your own risk. You've been warned.
Budman is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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Wekiva: I am not a techy nor know that much about current/voltage etc. But I do have common sense and have several dual volatge appliances and travel to Europe often.

Most dual voltage appliance have some sort of governor inside that only allow them to work on low or medium power when set at 220. I assume that is to protect the appliance from over heating or blowing up.

Not only will a 110-only appliance not work - it will also likely blow all the circuits in your hotel/B&B and make the manager pretty mad . . .. .
janisj is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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Wekiva, I don't think your hair dryer differs from our statements. You apparently DO NOT have a 110 appliance, you have a dual voltage appliance. If there is a switch or screw you turn to a mark for 220, then it is dual voltage. The fact that turning a switch locks out the high setting would seemingly confirm that. What you have already has a converter in it. Turning that switch makes it work on 220. You should have no problem with it.
 
Apr 13th, 2006, 08:06 AM
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No somebody should explain the difference between an electronic and an electric appliance. And why some things work and/or blow the fuse, others fry . If anybody can explain this in a way people understand, please do try, I can't. On the other hand who needs to understand how things work, when they are clearly labelled 110V or/and 230V
logos999 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 08:25 AM
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" DO NOT have a 110 appliance, you have a dual voltage appliance."

Well that is what I thought unitl I opened it up. The little dial that you turned to go from 110 to 220 did NOTHING but slide a bar in front of the hairdryer knob to stop it from being switched to high. Now maybe inside the wiring of the hair dryer there was a converter but it had nothing to do with the 110 to 220 dial. And this was a cheap hair dryer...like $15 at Target. I would be suprised if it had an electrical converter in it...but who knows.

Oh well. I'll probably leave the fan at home and most of the hotels have hair dryers...we'll survive!
Wekiva is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 08:39 AM
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How do you know it isn't doing something other than making it impossible to use high?

I have a couple dual voltage things which work fine and they do more than just make it impossible to use high (I know that for a fact, as you can put them on high if you forget), but is it really worth risking electrical problems in order to save the $10-15 a dual-voltage hair dryer costs if that is all it is? don't be so cheap.
Christina is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 08:39 AM
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Wekvia - if it has a dial to change the setting from 110 to 220, you will just need to get the adapter to plug it in. The hairdryer has its own converter, that is what the switch does. It makes sense that it doesn't allow the high setting when it is at 220. I'm not sure what else you are expecting to see to confirm that it is indeed converting from 110 to 220V.
cls2paris is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 08:41 AM
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How do you know it isn't doing something other than making it impossible to use high?

I have a couple dual voltage things which work fine and they do more than just make it impossible to use high (I know that for a fact, as you can put them on high if you forget), but is it really worth risking electrical problems in order to save the $10-15 a dual-voltage hair dryer costs if that is all it is? I think you should try to save money elsewhere.
Christina is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 08:43 AM
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Walmart sells a dual voltage hair dryer for $7.
loves_to_travel is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 09:15 AM
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Wekiva clearly already has a dual voltage hair dryer, buying a new one will give her the same thing. Trust us, Wekiva, if there is a switch on it to convert the voltage, that is what it is doing. Why would someone make and sell a hair dryer with a fake switch? Or why would they label it for 220 if it doesn't do that?
 
Apr 13th, 2006, 11:44 AM
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I have a dual voltage hair druer which is part of a clothes drying system. When you turn it to the 220 setting that automatically locks out the highest heat setting (and believe me, it isn't needed).

Please do yourself a favor and trust the switches, don't open the device when you hear things "rattling around" and please stay in an air conditioned accommodation so you won;t need that fan that spun out into the darkest part of the universe.

Oh, and enjoy that next trip, too.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 12:23 PM
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I wasn't trying to be cheap...and I probably will buy a converter. I was just curious. Thanks for the feedback.
Wekiva is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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Wekiva, if it helps any I have a small portable travel fan that I bought on the Sharper Image website. I usually travel to Europe during off-peak season when air conditioning isn't needed, but I like cool air blowing on me when I sleep. I also like the white noise of the fan; it can masks outside noises as well. It runs of 4 DD batteries.

http://www.sharperimage.com/us/en/ca.../sku__SI533BLK

Just as an aside; I brought a hair dryer to Florence with me a few years ago. Even with the adaptor and converter it still blew the fuse....twice! Poor DH had to go to the reception desk and ask them to reset it. They finally gave me a hairdryer to borrow and mine went in the trash.

Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 12:39 PM
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I've heard from some Canadians, they have 220V outlets installed in their home? Can't you have this in the US too? It would finally set an end to transformers put on lamp poles, and cables being hung up in the streets instead of buried underground. Is this ever going to happen or will this "prehistoric" ;-) system go on forever. Just imagine the damage not! being done by a hurricaine if the cables were buried underground. O.K, stupid question, I guess this is never going to happen, right?
logos999 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 12:40 PM
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it's not just the voltage it is also the hz. europe runs on 50, US on 60. from someone who has moved around a lot, trust me, things don't run right with the wrong voltage/hz...even when you have a converter (the reason is that no converter changes hz). without a converter, no chance.

your broken hair dryer runs on dual voltage/dual hz. maybe the switch only stops it from running on high..the high setting does not work right with 220. this does not change the fact that the underlying device is designed to work under both systems. another appliance that is not so marked is not.
walkinaround is offline  
Apr 13th, 2006, 12:50 PM
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"I wasn't trying to be cheap...and I probably will buy a converter."

And the reason for buying a converter would be. . .????
Have you been listening here, or are you just convinced none of us know what we're talking about?
 

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