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elaine123 Apr 2nd, 2005 04:12 PM

What type of convertor do we need for France?
We are trying to figure out if we need a convertor w/ 2 prongs side by side and then a hole underneath. This is what was shown on a convertor site...But, all I've seen on the internet has 2 prongs and no hole. Then what about adaptors, what should they look like? We're staying in a hotel part of the time, and then we've rented a house in Provence. I'm lost...A few years ago, we went to Prague & Lisbon, and I thought we had the right convertor/adaptor set and nothing worked....Help, Why is this so hard?

zippo Apr 2nd, 2005 04:34 PM one at the airport when you get there.Dont sweat it.

Budman Apr 2nd, 2005 04:37 PM

I know what you mean. I've seen all different kinds of receptacle with different kinds of grounds.

What types of "gadgets" are you looking at using? The 2-prong will most likely work in most receptacles in France.

From this link, if you purchase the GS-9, GS-104, and GS-20 (their cheap), you should be set for all of the different configurations. ((b))

logos999 Apr 2nd, 2005 04:44 PM

There are 2 different Plugs
- no additional grounding called
"Euro Plug" (2 round prongs) used nearly everywhere in Europe

- additional grounding the german "Schuko Plug" (2 round prongs plus "two ground contacts"

Both plugs are used in France. You can plug a "Euro Plug" into a "Schuko" Socket as it compatible. You MUST NOT use a POLARIZED american plug with a "Euro Plug" adaptor as this may kill you... If you have polarized american plugs ALLWAYS use a "Schuko" adapter. Check you plugs before you buy you adaptor.
Standard american plugs can be used with a Euro Plug adaptor.

Google for "Euro Plug" and "Schuko" for pictures.

Allways check for Voltage (France uses 240 Volts, 50Hertz) Never use a 110 Volts device without convertor in a 240V socket. The converter has to carry the CE- mark to be legally used in Europe.

Budman Apr 2nd, 2005 04:58 PM

<You MUST NOT use a POLARIZED american plug with a "Euro Plug" adaptor as this may kill you... If you have polarized american plugs ALLWAYS use a "Schuko" adapter>

OK, now I'm scared. What does a polarized american plug look like? U.S. 3-prong plug?

A Schuko adapter is similar to GS-20 in my link above? I'm thinking so.

So a curling iron or hair dryer would go with a "Euro Plug" (GS-9, GS-104 plug above) and one would not have to worry about being killed?, and a 3-pronged U.S. plug would be used with GS-20? (Just make sure the curling iron/hair dryer is dual voltage (110/220), and you have switched to 220)

Most outlets in the kitchen/bathrooms would have the Schuko adapter type outlets, where as most other outlets where one would plug in a lamp, would have a 2-prong european adaptor (Euro Plug).

logos999 -- Is this correct? ((b))

logos999 Apr 2nd, 2005 05:27 PM

>If you have polarized american plugs ALLWAYS use a "Schuko" adapter

It a two prongs plug, where one prong is a little bigger. Its like Type A here!ab.htm, but you cant twist it. Allways look for a schuko adapter if you got one of these.

>A Schuko adapter is similar to GS-20 in my link above? I'm thinking so.

Yes, GS-20 is a Schuko. You may find (older) installtions in France which need the hole, and there are Adapters available which only have the 2 additional contacts. So check before you buy.

>So a curling iron or hair dryer would go with a "Euro Plug" (GS-9, GS-104 plug above) and one would not have to worry about being killed?

GS-09 would be absolutly illegal and extremely dangerous. It has a receptacle for a polarized plug and a non grounded Euro Plug on the other side. Dont use it! There a chance that you blow the fuse immedeately.

GS-104 is what you need (notice the difference of the flat prongs in GS-09.

Almost all outlets have Schuko as its fully compatible with Euro Plug and has additional safety. It is not allowed to install "Euro Plug only" outlets.

Budman Apr 2nd, 2005 05:36 PM

Thanks. So our original poster should use the GS-104 and the GS-20 and should be OK? With shipping/handling, should cost about $10 for the two. ((b))

logos999 Apr 2nd, 2005 05:44 PM

Yes, but she would better buy the adapters in France. Ive not yet seen a voltage converter at that may legally be used in Europe. Look for the "CE" sign. Nevertheless they are selling them.

Maybe I just didnt do enough searching...

Robespierre Apr 2nd, 2005 05:47 PM

"You MUST NOT use a POLARIZED american plug with a "Euro Plug" adaptor as this may kill you..."

I'm skeptical. Why do you think this is dangerous? Please provide an explanation that would mean something to an Electrical Engineer.

logos999 Apr 2nd, 2005 06:07 PM

I hope you really are an engineer...
Here are a few basic things.

In Europe we use additional grounding, which is usually maked "green/yellow" and attached to the "safety pin" of the Schuko Plug. This green/yellow cable is connected to the chassis of your device and grounded. Imagine, you have a nice metal hair dryer... A polarized plug emulates this with only 2 wires. (Old,Old, really old installations).

Sa what will happen it you use GS-9 with you polarized device? You have a 50% change of plugging it in the wrong way. The chassis of you device will carry 240 Volts, you touch it and you wont ask any more questions ;-) or chassis and ground are connected internally this will blow the fuse, (and you are lucky ;-)

Easy, isnt it??

Robespierre Apr 2nd, 2005 06:25 PM

Yes, but not a 50/50 chance of dying.

We don't make appliances with the chassis connected to either leg of the line any more, so it's not as if every metal case is hot if the plug is inserted the wrong way. All that is lost is the quasi-protection of a ground fault not being absorbed by the ground wire/pin/circuit. The chance that a hot wire will short out to the case is unchanged by the polarity of the plug. There is still one hot wire (out of two) within the appliance, and either one of them can erode or get twisted into contact. Same odds.

So I wouldn't worry about it.

logos999 Apr 2nd, 2005 06:48 PM

Now I am really scared.

>We don't make appliances with the chassis connected to either leg of the line any more

Right, its not 50/50, but Do you really know who has designed it and when? These things are from China. And yes the chassis of European "3 prong devices" usually is directly connected to ground on the green/yellow. How can you be shure your devices are different??? You cant! Its just speculation about the work of some far east designer!
It is extremely risky and not a all legal in Europe (guess why).
Of course it might work and you can say "dont worry", but I not going to be responsible for anybodies death.

Dont defeat the security features of your device... and read the manual of ANY polarized device you find out there. They dont do this for fun.
Sorry if this sounds rude...

logos999 Apr 2nd, 2005 06:50 PM

You cant give such kind of advice to the public.

AJPeabody Apr 2nd, 2005 08:48 PM

It sounds like a converter is more trouble than it's worth if all you are using are a few simple appliances. Forget packing a curling iron and a transformer and a plug adapter or two and just buy a European version of the appliance when you get there. It will work with no worries and will serve you on future trips.

Sometimes there is another method. My electric shaver has a 220 volt setting, so all I needed was a European shaver cord, which fit just like the American one but has a European plug on the end. Works great! Same principle works for other appliances that have interchangeable cords and a 220 volt setting.

beaker Apr 2nd, 2005 09:02 PM

So can you use a 1600 watt heavy duty converter for "heating appliances" like irons for a battery charger for digital cameras?

Thanks for your advice.

elaine123 Apr 3rd, 2005 05:38 AM

Thanks for the advice. Right now it looks like I should just buy a convertor/adaptor when I arrive. Are these readily available in most stores?

logos999 Apr 3rd, 2005 06:25 AM

You can use a 1600 Watts converter if it carries the "CE"- Mark. Those inexpensive converters usually dont. Get one in Europe when you arrive. They are readily available in the shops, but not specified for havy duty appliances. The biggest risk are things like curling irons, electric cettles etc., They arent that expensive, why dont you just buy them in Europe?

mari5 Apr 3rd, 2005 06:30 AM

Perhaps you are confusing converter with an adaptor. Converters change the voltage....
Adapters are just little plugs that go between your appliance and the wall so to fit the various "holes". You can buy a kit of several countries at WalMart (etc) in the travel section. and the country is usually printed on it.
About the change in voltage size...Conair makes a curling iron that will adjust automatically in each country and the U.S.,,,,also my husbands shaver does the same for recharging........perhaps you could buy a hair dryer the U.s that adjusts automatically within.....
I guess it depends on the appliance you want to use.
You also can Google "Adapter plugs for France" and maybe find an answer.

Budman Apr 3rd, 2005 06:47 AM

Hair dryers and curling irons produce heat, thus take a lot of watts to operate. I would strongly recommend against using these with a converter and buying a dual voltage appliance.

Technology is wonderful. My travel iron and battery charger both adapt to the dual voltage (110/220) by just plugging them in with the appropriate plug adapter. ((b))

StuDudley Apr 3rd, 2005 07:03 AM

I've have not used a voltage converter in over 10 years. We vacation 2 months in France each year. Our dryer & curling iron have either manual or automatice 220 settings. Our toothbrush charger, camcorder, & PC have automatic converters also. We don't take an iron, but my guess is that a "travel" iron that is not 220 compatible is kinda self defeating.

I've never paid attention to the 2 prong plug adaptor, and I'm still alive - never been shocked. Just make sure that it has one larger slot to accommodate US plugs.

Stu Dudley

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