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There are two essential aspects to take note of. At the first instance, it is important to note that the electrical power specifications may vary from country to country that you are visiting. Not many countries have a electrical power specification as you have at home, and hence you should have the right adapter with you when you travel abroad. Secondly, the kind of wall mounted power outlet sockets in most of the countries, are not usually the ones that you find at home. It is entirely different, and your device power input plug may not fit into that socket at all.

The mains power voltage specifications differ from country to country. For example, the electrical and electronic devices in U.S. operate on 120 Volts AC, but the United Kingdom has a 220 volts AC outlet, which is different from the one in the United States. Secondly, your device power input plug will never fit the power outlet sockets available in the United Kingdom. Therefore, if you are traveling from home to the United Kingdom, you do not only need an adapter for your device power input plug, but a voltage converter as well, of the type which would convert the 220 Volts AC electrical power output to 110 Volts AC for your device to work properly.

It is recommended that, when-ever you plan your next visit abroad, take a look at the guide of the power outlet specifications available in the country or countries that you are visiting and prepare yourself to carry appropriate electrical accessories for those devices to work properly. There are indeed universal plug adapters available, which will comply with the power out input sockets of many countries, but the need of voltage converters cannot be ignored

A guide to international electric outlet specification is presented below:

COUNTRY VOLTAGE FREQUENCY

Afghanistan 220V 50 Hz

Albania 20V* 50 Hz

Algeria 230V 50 Hz

American Samoa 120V 60 Hz

Andorra 230V 50Hz

Angola 220V 50 Hz

Anguilla 110V 60Hz

Antigua 230V* 60 Hz

Argentina 220V 50 Hz

Armenia 220V 50 Hz

Aruba 127V* 60 Hz

Australia 230V* 50 Hz

Austria 230V 50 Hz

Azerbaijan 220V 50 Hz

Azores 220V* 50 Hz

Bahamas 120V 60 Hz

Bahrain 230V* 50 Hz*

Balearic Islands 220V 50 Hz

Bangladesh 220V 50 Hz

Barbados 115V 50 Hz

Belarus 220V 50 Hz

Belgium 230V 50 Hz

Belize 110/220V 60 Hz

Benin 220V 50 Hz

Bermuda 120V 60 Hz

Bhutan 230V 50 Hz

Bolivia 220/230V* 50 Hz

Bosnia 220V 50 Hz

Botswana 231V 50 Hz

Brazil 110/220V* 60 Hz

Brunei 240V 50 Hz

Bulgaria 230V 50 Hz

Burkina Faso 220V 50 Hz

Burundi 220V 50 Hz

Cambodia 230V 50 Hz

Cameroon 220V 50 Hz

Canada 120V 60 Hz

Canary Islands 220V 50 Hz

Cape Verde 220V 50 Hz

Cayman Islands 120V 60 Hz

Central African Republic 220V 50 Hz

Chad 220V 50Hz

Channel Islands 230V 50 Hz

Chile 220V 50 Hz

China, People’s Republic of 220V 50 Hz

Colombia 110V 60Hz

Comoros 220V 50 Hz

Congo, People’s Rep. of 230V 50 Hz

Congo, Dem. Rep. of (former Zaire) 220V 50 Hz

Cook Islands 240V 50 Hz

Costa Rica 120V 60 Hz

Côte d’Ivoire

(Ivory Coast) 220V 50 Hz

Croatia 230V 50Hz

Cuba 110/220V 60Hz

Cyprus 240V 50 Hz

Czech Republic 230V 50 Hz

Denmark 230V 50 Hz

Djibouti 220V 50 Hz

Dominica 230V 50 Hz

Dominican Republic 110V 60 Hz

East Timor 220V 50 Hz

Ecuador 120-127V 60 Hz

Egypt 220V 50 Hz

El Salvador 115V 60 Hz

England (See United Kingdom)

Equatorial Guinea 220V* 50 Hz

Eritrea 230V 50 Hz

Estonia 230V 50 Hz

Ethiopia 220V 50 Hz

Faeroe Islands 220V 50 Hz

Falkland Islands 240V 50 Hz

Fiji 240V 50 Hz

Finland 230V 50 Hz

France 230V 50 Hz

French Guiana 220V 50 Hz

Gaza 230V 50 Hz

Gabon 220V 50 Hz

Gambia 230V 50 Hz

Germany 230V 50 Hz

Ghana 230V 50 Hz

Gibraltar 240V 50 Hz

Great Britain (See United Kingdom)

Greece 220V 50 Hz

Greenland 220V 50 Hz

Grenada (Windward Is.) 230V 50 Hz

Guadeloupe 230V 50 Hz

Guam 110V 60Hz

Guatemala 120V 60 Hz

Guinea 220V 50 Hz

Guinea-Bissau 220V 50 Hz

Guyana 240V* 60 Hz*

Haiti 110V 60 Hz

Honduras 110V 60 Hz

Hong Kong 220V* 50 Hz

Hungary 230V 50 Hz

Iceland 220V 50 Hz

India 230V 50 Hz

Indonesia 127/230V* 50 Hz

Iran 230V 50 Hz

Iraq 230V 50 Hz

Ireland (Eire) 230 50 Hz

Isle of Man 240V 50 Hz

Israel 230V 50 Hz

Italy 230V 50 Hz

Ivory Coast (See Côte d’Ivoire)

Jamaica 110V 50 Hz

Japan 100V 50/60 Hz*

Jordan 230V 50 Hz

Kenya 240V 50 Hz

Kazakhstan 220V 50 Hz

Kiribati 240V 50 Hz

Korea, South 220V 60 Hz

Kuwait 240V 50 Hz

Laos 230V 50 Hz

Latvia 220V 50 Hz

Lebanon 110/220V 50 Hz

Lesotho 220V 50 Hz

Liberia 120V 60 Hz

Libya 127V* 50 Hz

Lithuania 220V 50 Hz

Liechtenstein 230V 50 Hz

Luxembourg 220V 50 Hz

Macau 220V 50 Hz

Macedonia 220V 50 Hz

Madagascar 220V 50 Hz

Madeira 220V 50 Hz

Malawi 230V 50 Hz

Malaysia 240V 50 Hz

Maldives 230V 50 Hz

Mali 220V 50 Hz

Malta 240V 50 Hz

Martinique 220V 50 Hz

Mauritania 220V 50 Hz

Mauritius 230V 50 Hz

Mexico 127V 60 Hz

Micronesia (Federal States of) 120V 60 Hz

Monaco 127/220V 50 Hz

Mongolia 230V

Montserrat (Leeward Is.) 230V 60 Hz

Morocco 127/220V* 50 Hz

Mozambique 220V 50 Hz

Myanmar (formerly Burma) 230V 50 Hz

Namibia 220V 50 Hz

Nauru 240V 50 Hz

Nepal 230V 50 Hz

Netherlands 230V 50 Hz

Netherlands Antilles 127/220V* 50 Hz

New Caledonia 220V 50 Hz

New Zealand 230V 50 Hz

Nicaragua 120V 60 Hz

Niger 220V 50 Hz

Nigeria 240V 50 Hz

Northern Ireland (see United Kingdom)

Norway 230V 50 Hz

Okinawa 100V* 60 Hz

Oman 240V* 50 Hz

Pakistan 230V 50 Hz

Palmyra Atoll 120V 60Hz

Panama 110V* 60 Hz

Papua New Guinea 240V 50 Hz

Paraguay 220V 50 Hz

Peru 220V* 60 Hz*

Philippines 220V 60 Hz

Poland 230V 50 Hz

Portugal 230V 50 Hz

Puerto Rico 120V 60 Hz

Qatar 240V 50 Hz

Réunion Island 220V 50Hz

Romania 230V 50 Hz

Russian Federation 220V 50 Hz

Rwanda 230V 50 Hz

St. Kitts and Nevis (Leeward Is.) 230V 60 Hz

St. Lucia (Windward Is.) 240V 50 Hz

St. Vincent (Windward Is.) 230V 50 Hz

Saudi Arabia 127/220V 60 Hz

Scotland (See United Kingdom)

Senegal 230V 50 Hz

Serbia-Montenegro 220V 50 Hz

Seychelles 240V 50 Hz

Sierra Leone 230V 50 Hz

Singapore 230V 50 Hz

Slovak Republic 230V 50 Hz

Slovenia 220V 50 Hz

Somalia 220V* 50 Hz

South Africa 220/230V* 50 Hz

Spain 230V 50 Hz

Sri Lanka 230V 50 Hz

Sudan 230V 50 Hz

Suriname 127V 60 Hz

Swaziland 230V 50 Hz

Sweden 230V 50 Hz

Switzerland 230V 50 Hz

Syria 220V 50 Hz

Tahiti 110/220V 60 Hz

Tajikistan 220V 50 Hz

Taiwan 110V 60 Hz

Tanzania 230V 50 Hz

Thailand 220V 50 Hz

Togo 220V* 50 Hz

Tonga 240V 50 Hz

Trinidad & Tobago 115V 60 Hz

Tunisia 230V 50 Hz

Turkey 230V 50 Hz

Turkmenistan 220V 50 Hz

Uganda 240V 50 Hz

Ukraine 220V 50 Hz

United Arab Emirates 220V* 50 Hz

United Kingdom 230V* 50 Hz

United States of America 120V 60 Hz

Uruguay 220V 50 Hz

Uzbekistan 220V 50 Hz

Vanuatu 230V 50 Hz

Venezuela 120V 60 Hz

Vietnam 127/220V* 50 Hz

Virgin Islands (British and U.S.) 115V 60 Hz

Wales (See United Kingdom)

Western Samoa 230V 50 Hz

Yemen, Rep. of 220/230V 50 Hz

Yugoslavia (Former) 220V 50 Hz

Zambia 230V 50 Hz

Zimbabwe 220V 50 Hz

Primary sources: Electric Current Abroad (1998 edition), U.S. Department of Commerce, National Technical Information Service; World Electricity Supplies and Electrical Plugs; an International Survey, (both 1993), British Standards Institute. Additionally, since this table was first posted in late 1995, numerous revisions have (and continue to be) made as a result of personal observations or reports from other travelers.

For further references please visit http://www.mindlogic.com/VOLT_ADPT.shtml

Now, it is not the question of having the right adapter with you when you visit abroad. You must be also concerned with the electrical power specification that is available in the country of your visit. Looking at the guide above, it is clearly understood that your electrical and electronic devices will require not only plug adapters but also a built-in or separate voltage converter. If you are planning a visit to the United Kingdom, you will need a device which converts the electrical power of 230 Volts Alternating Current (AC) to 110 Volts AC before you can apply that power to your equipment.. These converters need to be of the right specification of providing the right output alternating current and the frequency as well for your equipment to work correctly.

If you need to charge your digital camera in Beijing, you will need an adapter which lets you plug in your charger on the wall socket. That’s not all. Beijing has an electrical power output of 220 Volts AC with 50 Hz frequency and your charger can only accept an input voltage of 120 Volts AC and 60Hz. Hz, which is the short form of Hertz, is the number of cycles the alternating voltage goes through one cycle. This AC output voltage is normally a sine-wave, alternating between a positive and a negative level. This is a smooth variation with time as the other variant, and completion of one such cycle in one second is termed as 1Hz. Therefore, a 110 Volt AC of 60 Hz has 60 cycles in one second.

Remaining on the aspect of charging your digital camera in Beijing, you do not only need a plug adapter but also the right voltage converter, which will give you a 120 Volts AC, 60 Hz output from an input of 220 Volts AC of 50 Hz, which is the standard electrical power in China. The converted AC voltage applied to your charger produces a much lower Direct Current (DC) voltage output to your digital camera, for charging the camera’s re-chargeable battery. Application of the direct 220 Volts AC output, without a converter will not only destroy the charger unit but may also damage your digital camera, if it is plugged into the charger,

Therefore, when you travel abroad, it is desirable that you check the electrical power specification of the country or countries that you are visiting. At the same time you should determine the plug adapter that you would be wanting. For this purpose you may like to visit http://www.mindlogic.com/VOLT_ADPT.shtml for more information.

Voltage converters are available in different specifications, which mainly depend upon the purpose of its application. For example, a voltage converter for your digital camera recharging unit will be much smaller than the one you would need to turn on your iron, if you have one with you. The varying sizes of such converters depend upon the kind of alternating current or wattage that you would require to either turn on the charger or the iron. The wattage along with the specification of input and output voltages are generally specified on the body of the converter units that you are buying.

There are adapters available which cater for multi-voltage operation. For example, the adapter itself will give you an option to be switched from 110 Volts AC output to 230 volts AC output. This is done through a toggle, at times appearing as a screw head on the converter body itself. But then again you may need a plug adapter to plug this mini-converter in the electrical power source available in the country that you are visiting. In certain countries the electrical power may have surges. Surges are high frequency levels of very high voltages, suddenly appearing at the output of the power source for a fraction of a millisecond or even micro-second. There are such adapters which are available with surge protection. Please bear in mind, thunderstorms can produce these electrical surges which may damage your equipment.

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Source by John Dulaney