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How to tell if appliances are dual voltage or not . . . help!!

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Jun 19th, 2005, 05:33 AM
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How to tell if appliances are dual voltage or not . . . help!!

I am planning on taking my hair dryer and flat iron with me to England and Ireland. I understand that I need an adapter, but I am not sure if I need a converter as well.

I have read here that if your appliance is dual voltage you only need an adapter, not a converter. How do you know if an appliance is dual voltage or not? My hair dryer and flat iron are Conair brand.

TIA!!
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Jun 19th, 2005, 05:40 AM
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Have a look on the name plate,
It will say something like.
Voltage 110/240v or something along those lines.
If it only says 110v don't plug it in in UK it will burn out very quickly.
Most hotels have a hair dryer in the room here and if not you can normally get them from reception. Is it worth carrying it, same goes for the iron.

Another place to look is the operating instructions, but if your still in doubt leave them home.

Muck
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Jun 19th, 2005, 05:42 AM
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It depends on the model you bought.
Look at the stem of the hairdryer near the power switch.
Do you see a small slot, usually with a slide mechanism containing a hole, that could accommodate the point of a pen or some other very small point? If so, the voltage can be changed from the lower number (North America) to the higher number (Europe).
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Jun 19th, 2005, 05:46 AM
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Look at the plate near the entrance of the power cord or elsewhere. All appliances have something, somewhere that says what power they expect. If it mentions both 120 (or anything starting with 1) and 220 (or anything starting with 2) volts, it's dual voltage. Sometimes all you need is a different plug and you're in business. Some appliances have a switch you must flip first.
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Jun 19th, 2005, 06:11 AM
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As mentioned above, somewhere in the raised print on the underside you'll see something like 125/250V if it's dual voltage.

If it's not, it's preferable to buy a new dual voltage model (Conair has a large array of products) rather than buy a converter. Converters are expensive, heavy, and don't work very well with anything that heats and has a motor (such as a blow dryer).
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Jun 19th, 2005, 06:56 AM
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I bought a converter from Radio Shack that they assured me would work with my flat iron . It wouldn't even warm up!. So for my next trip I bought a Conair dual voltage flat iron. It doesn't even have a switch, it just accepts either current.
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Jun 19th, 2005, 08:38 AM
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I have an applicance that is dual voltage but there is no switch, also. I think that is possible for some kinds of appliances that are simple and perhaps only heating elements? And I think something with a motor, like a hair dryer, requires a switch. I know all dual voltage hair dryers I've seen definitely have a switch. But I have a ceramic hair flat iron and a water boiling coil that are both dual voltage but neither has a switch that you need to change. Both say what they accept on them (110/240V), though.
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Jun 19th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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cruiseluv, no offense, but I wouldn't listen to anything that an employee of Radio Shack assured me.

They assured me that all telephone jacks in Europe are the same as in the US -- WRONG -- and they continued to argue with me about it.

They assured me that the UK and France have the same electrical outlets and that if going to Europe I only needed one adapter plug, refusing to believe me when I tried to explain to THEM the difference!

And they sold me a $100 clock/alarm/currency converter that never worked from the day I got to Europe with it, but they refused to refund my money for it when I returned on the day I got home, because I had been in Europe two months and their warranty is only good for 30 days!
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Jun 20th, 2005, 04:00 AM
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Patrick,

No offense taken. Now I know better!
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Jun 20th, 2005, 09:38 AM
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Though I don't like bashing of some businesses, I would have to agree with Patrick about Radio Shack. Usually, though, you can find one person at a Radio Shack who actually knows something. It could be the manager, or an employee; but the problem is that you won't know whether they are experts or not. As I have noted on another thread, Radio Shack SHOULD be able to provide accurate information. That, however, is simply not the case. I don't worry because I am an electrical engineer and I know what I want when I go into a Radio Shack, but woe unto those who don't know!!

The advice you've been given is good. I'd summarize it this way:
-First look in the literature or on the unit for an indication of the dual voltage.
-Second, look for a switch to see if you will need to move it from one voltage setting to another.
-Third, if neither of the above is true, you will need a converter and/or adapter. I have a very compact converter that is also an adapter that has served me well all over Europe.
-Finally, for higher wattage items such as hair dryers, curling irons, and the like, you need to look at their wattage consumption before buying a converter and adapter. Be sure the converter you buy can handle the wattage that your worst appliance uses. Good luck.
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Jun 20th, 2005, 11:13 AM
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Sometimes there will be a voltage range listed, e.g. 100v-240v. So long as the range is inclusive of either 120v or 240v you should be fine with just a plug adaptor in UK.
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Dec 19th, 2008, 09:32 AM
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Dec 19th, 2008, 09:51 AM
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If our appliance (whatever it is) says any one of the following or something similar
~ 90V-240V
~100/120V - 220/240V
~100V-220V
then it is built to work with the voltages of both US (fluctuates between 90 and 120 V around the nominal 110V) and Europe (fluctuates between 200 and 240 V around the nominal 220V) voltages.

Most modern small appliances (camera chargers, mp3 players, phone chargers, el. razors etc.) are built that way.

What you still need is an adapter to make the flat US blades/prongs fit into the round (and differently spaced) holes of the European sockets. Simply a physical matching adapter, nothing to do with electricity. You get them in just about any store these days. Target, Walmart, you name it.

CAUTION: If you have a heat-generating thing like hair dryer, curlers etc. and it is not built for the dual voltages, then you really need to pay attention. You need to buy a converter that fits that kind of device, not just any voltage converter - the wattage comes into it now, so read up on that at www.ricksteves.com or at www.conair.com/-c-55_90.html.

Much better, buy such a device over there, then you know it works, bring it back, keep it for the next trip or sell it on Craiglist.
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Dec 19th, 2008, 11:00 AM
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If you know the model number, you can probably look it up online to find out if it is dual voltage.
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Dec 19th, 2008, 01:13 PM
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As Robespierre pointed out on a thread on the same topic just now - the UK prong arrangement is different yet again, look at this example:

http://tinyurl.com/3krkl4

or this one:

http://tinyurl.com/4ryvck
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