I may be going to England soon and have been looking at voltage
converter kits. I've seen some that say they only work with items
using 500 watts to 1600 watts. I can understand the maximum wattage
amount, but why would they have a minimum? These are not expensive
Thanks for any information.
Those high wattage ones (as opposed to ones around 40-50 watts) are only
good for devices that lack electronics, ballasts or motors. The high
wattage ones merely chop the waveform and pass through a higher peak
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
The "cheap" converters are typically a
diode in series with the line. They
work ok for many higher power heating
appliances. But for smaller units,
each one has to be looked at
individually. Many electronic things
on 240 volts, 50 cycles directly with
only a plug adapter .... some will not.
Some units have voltage switches, but,
with the proliferation of switching
power supplies, many will just be spec'd
at something like 100-250 volts,
45 - 100 cycles. There are also small
electronic converters for units that
are only spec'd at 120/60. They take
240 volts 50 cycles and convert it
to 120 volts 60 cycles. BTW, some
hairdryers will work with the "diode"
type adapter and some won't. Some you
may have to reverse the plug,
if there's diodes in the hairdryer. If
we knew what you were trying to power,
it might be helpful.
Yes, you need to look at the specs on the devices you plan to bring. On
a recent trip to Egypt all I brought was a plug adapter and a power
strip since all the phone chargers, camera chargers and other stuff I
was bringing had wide input range switching power supplies.
Depends what you are going to power?
A more elaborate voltage converter may include an SPS (Switching power
supply, somewhat akin to a computer PS) they require a certain
minimum load in order to work properly.
Also as mentioned the mains frequency in many countries in this world
is 50 hertz, not 60 hertz, as in North America.
That can have two effects. 1) Clocks and audio players 'may' run slow!
2) Certain devices don't run as well at 5/6ths the frequency and in
extreme cases may run hotter (partly because there is less magnetic
metal in transformers and motors that run at 60 hertz.)
But it is very much a case of what are the specs. of the devices you
want to power over there. There is a heck of a difference between a
shaver or moustache trimmer taking 3 to 7 watts and a hair dryer using
say 1200 watts! Also whether the devices are recharge-ables or direct
Generally there are two requirements:
a) Voltage converter (if needed). For example; your PC power supply/
charger may (or may not) have a switch that changes it from 115 to
230. Or it may be compatible with both without changing anything. Read
b) Plug adapters to fit sockets over there (The UK generally accepts
the UK 13 amp, fused, 3 pin plug) to adapt them to your North American
style plugs. If you also are going to other parts of Europe you may
need to adapt to Schuko two pin plugs with a side ground/earth
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