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Old 05-29-2012, 05:00 PM   #1
jlou
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Electrical converters vs. adapters

I am having major stress over this one.

I understand that adapters simply adapt the plug to a US-style plug, and converters actually convert the higher voltage of Europe to the lower voltage that most of our appliances run on.

So, I bought an electrical converter. I also know that many appliances say that they can accept either, but I can't seem to find any "switch" on my curling iron. I see a switch that I'd have to use a screwdriver on my hair dryer, but any writing on the hair dryer has long since worn off, so I can't be sure.

The documentation that came with my converter says that I have to switch something on the converter, for high vs. low wattage devices. But I can't see anything on my devices in watts, they just say things like "100 - 220 V", which makes it seem like it's a range???

My documentation for my camera, which has a battery charger, says not to use "electrical transformers for foreign travel, as they will cause damage".

And, on our knights and lights, I used my curling iron with a converter, and it started smoking!

So, I'm at a loss as to what to do. I'm going on Viva Italia soon, but my son is traveling to Spain in a few weeks, and will need to charge his camera battery chargers and his iPod. I'm worried about him leaving something charging in his room, or overnight, and having a fire.

So, does anyone have any advice as to which devices require the converter vs. just an adapter? It would seem to me that you can't go wrong by converting the electricity to what we get in the US, but then I saw that warning in my camera documentation, and thought, maybe that's why I almost had the fire with my adapter?

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:14 PM   #2
lost*in*cyberspace
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I travel internationally several times a year, so I think I can help you.

First, you probably didn't need the convertor. I have never needed one. For electronic devices such as cell phones, iPads, iPods, computers, cameras etc., you don't need a convertor. All you need is a plug adapter for the country where you will be traveling and your devices will be fine. No fires!

For your curling iron and hair dryer, you just need to find the voltage switch on these and switch from 110 US volts to European 220 volts, then use a plug adapter to plug into the wall. If you can't find the switches on your dryer or curling iron, you might consider buying travel ones with dual voltage. In fact, you really don't need to bring a hair dryer; I haven't stayed in a European hotel which doesn't have these in years.
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:19 PM   #3
jlou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
I travel internationally several times a year, so I think I can help you.

First, you probably didn't need the convertor. I have never needed one. For electronic devices such as cell phones, iPads, iPods, computers, cameras etc., you don't need a convertor. All you need is a plug adapter for the country where you will be traveling and your devices will be fine. No fires!

For your curling iron and hair dryer, you just need to find the voltage switch on these and switch from 110 US volts to European 220 volts, then use a plug adapter to plug into the wall. If you can't find the switches on your dryer or curling iron, you might consider buying travel ones with dual voltage. In fact, you really don't need to bring a hair dryer; I haven't stayed in a European hotel which doesn't have these in years.
Thanks for such a quick reply!!! That makes me feel much better. I can send him with just the adapter, with no worries then. I thought I might need the adapter for my curling iron, and you're right, the only device where I did see some sort of switch was the one I wouldn't need over there anyway!
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:21 PM   #4
Bobo912
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This might help...or might give you information overload.

http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/arti...ity+guide.html
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:52 PM   #5
sayhello
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I agree with lost*in*cyberspace. Any current electronics like cell phones or iPads, etc, just need an adapter. (Your cell phone would have to be REALLY old for that not to be true). That's what I used last year in London & Paris, and I had no issues. I bought a travel curling iron, so just had an adapter for that (although it turned out to be totally inadequate for my needs, so I bought a new one in London.) And all the hotels had blow dryers, so I didn't need to worry about that. I'd check with the hotels (or ABD) to be sure, but I think the hotels like to provide their own, not only as a courtesy, but for the safety of their hotel!

Just make sure you have the correct adapter for Italy. I'm pretty sure I've read that their adapter is different from the one most of Europe uses.

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Old 05-29-2012, 06:53 PM   #6
Tozzie
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I have been to 3 different European countries since 2010 I never needed anything more than an adapter, infact one of the hotels in Ireland actually had american plugs in the room as well as Ireland's plugs. I have charged laptop, ipod, ipad and I phone without an issue. The only issue that I even heard of was someone using a hair straightener fried it. The hotel all have hair dryers so no worries there either.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:45 PM   #7
Danibelle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
I travel internationally several times a year, so I think I can help you.

First, you probably didn't need the convertor. I have never needed one. For electronic devices such as cell phones, iPads, iPods, computers, cameras etc., you don't need a convertor. All you need is a plug adapter for the country where you will be traveling and your devices will be fine. No fires!

For your curling iron and hair dryer, you just need to find the voltage switch on these and switch from 110 US volts to European 220 volts, then use a plug adapter to plug into the wall. If you can't find the switches on your dryer or curling iron, you might consider buying travel ones with dual voltage. In fact, you really don't need to bring a hair dryer; I haven't stayed in a European hotel which doesn't have these in years.
If your curling iron, hair dryer, etc. are NOT dual voltage, they will burn out unless you use a converter. There are some affordable dual voltage appliances available. Also, travel stores sell converters with the various adapter plugs.
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:02 PM   #8
icehawkmom
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I have found that even with the voltage adapters, my blow dryer doesn't work. It is a pretty high watt professional model. My sister has had the same experience with hers. Last trip I hauled my big blower dryer all over and couldn't get it to work. I am just planning to buy a cheaper model when I get to Europe and leave it behind when our next trip is over. That will leave a little extra room to shop!
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