World Wanders

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Electricity Around the World  


Resources

 
    Electricity Around the World
    World Clock
 
 

Useful Websites

 

    Sky Scanner
    List of Low Cost Airlines
    The Man in Seat Sixty-One...
    Hospitality Club
    Mitfahrzentrale
    Hitchhikers
 
 
 
 

Original source: http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity.htm

 

To add to the inconveience of our tourist beings, plug shapes, plug holes, plug sizes and sockets are all different in different countries.To make it even more difficult for travellers, there is no standard mains voltage throughout the world and also the frequency!

Here is the list of different types of electric plugs / sockets / electricity used in different countries. Make sure you have the right adapters in your bag before you leave your country!


Table (single-phase voltage, frequency and plug/sockets)


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

COUNTRY

SINGLE-PHASE VOLTAGE

FREQUENCY

SOCKET TYPE

Afghanistan
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
Albania
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Algeria
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
American Samoa
120 V
60 Hz
A / B / F / I
Andorra
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Angola
220 V
50 Hz
C
Anguilla
110 V
60 Hz
A
Antigua
230 V
60 Hz
A / B
Argentina
220 V
50 Hz
C / I *
Armenia
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Aruba
120 V
60 Hz
A / B / F
Australia
240 V
50 Hz
I
Austria
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Azerbaijan
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
Azores
230 V
50 Hz
B / C / F
Bahamas
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Bahrain
230 V
50 Hz
G
Balearic Islands
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Bangladesh
220 V
50 Hz
C / D / G / K
Barbados
115 V
50 Hz
A / B
Belarus
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
Belgium
230 V
50 Hz
E
Belize
110 V / 220 V
60 Hz
B / G
Benin
220 V
50 Hz
E
Bermuda
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Bhutan
230 V
50 Hz
D / F / G
Bolivia
230 V
50 Hz
A / C
Bosnia & Herzegovina
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Botswana
230 V
50 Hz
D / G
Brazil
127 V / 220 V *
60 Hz
A / B / C / I
Brunei
240 V
50 Hz
G
Bulgaria
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Burkina Faso
220 V
50 Hz
C / E
Burundi
220 V
50 Hz
C / E
Cambodia
230 V
50 Hz
A / C / G
Cameroon
220 V
50 Hz
C / E
Canada
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Canary Islands
230 V
50 Hz
C / E / L
Cape Verde
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Cayman Islands
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Central African Republic
220 V
50 Hz
C / E
Chad
220 V
50 Hz
D / E / F
Channel Islands (Guernsey & Jersey)
230 V
50 Hz
C / G
Chile
220 V
50 Hz
C / L
China, People's Republic of
220 V
50 Hz
A / C / I
Colombia
110 V
60 Hz
A / B
Comoros
220 V
50 Hz
C / E
Congo, People's Rep. of
230 V
50 Hz
C / E
Congo, Dem. Rep. of (formerly Zaire)
220 V
50 Hz
C / D
Cook Islands
240 V
50 Hz
I
Costa Rica
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
220 V
50 Hz
C / E
Croatia
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Cuba
110 V / 220 V
60 Hz
A / B / C / L
Cyprus
230 V
50 Hz
G / F **
Czech Republic
230 V
50 Hz
E
Denmark
230 V
50 Hz
C / E / K
Djibouti
220 V
50 Hz
C / E
Dominica
230 V
50 Hz
D / G
Dominican Republic
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
East Timor
220 V
50 Hz
C / E / F / I
Ecuador
110 V
60 Hz
A / B
Egypt
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
El Salvador
115 V
60 Hz
A / B / C / D / E / F / G / I / J / L
Equatorial Guinea
220 V
50 Hz
C / E
Eritrea
230 V
50 Hz
C / L
Estonia
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Ethiopia
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
Faeroe Islands
230 V
50 Hz
C / K
Falkland Islands
240 V
50 Hz
G
Fiji
240 V
50 Hz
I
Finland
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
France
230 V
50 Hz
E
French Guyana
220 V
50 Hz
C / D / E
Gabon
220 V
50 Hz
C
Gambia
230 V
50 Hz
G
Gaza
230 V
50 Hz
H
Georgia
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
Germany
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Ghana
230 V
50 Hz
D / G
Gibraltar
230 V
50 Hz
C / G
Greece
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Greenland
230 V
50 Hz
C / K
Grenada (Windward Islands)
230 V
50 Hz
G
Guadeloupe
230 V
50 Hz
C / D / E
Guam
110 V
60 Hz
A / B
Guatemala
120 V
60 Hz
A / B / G / I
Guinea
220 V
50 Hz
C / F / K
Guinea-Bissau
220 V
50 Hz
C
Guyana
240 V
60 Hz
A / B / D / G
Haiti
110 V
60 Hz
A / B
Honduras
110 V
60 Hz
A / B
Hong Kong
220 V
50 Hz
G
Hungary
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Iceland
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
India
230 V
50 Hz
C / D / M
Indonesia
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Iran
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Iraq
230 V
50 Hz
C / D / G
Ireland (Eire)
230 V
50 Hz
G
Isle of Man
230 V
50 Hz
C / G
Israel
230 V
50 Hz
H / C
Italy
230 V
50 Hz
C / F / L
Jamaica
110 V
50 Hz
A / B
Japan
100 V
50 Hz / 60 Hz **
A / B
Jordan
230 V
50 Hz
C / D / F / G / J
Kenya
240 V
50 Hz
G
Kazakhstan
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
Kiribati
240 V
50 Hz
I
Korea, North
110 V / 220 V
60 Hz
A / C
Korea, South
110V / 220 V
60 Hz
A / B / C / F
Kuwait
240 V
50 Hz
C / G
Kyrgyzstan
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
Laos
230 V
50 Hz
A / B / C / E / F
Latvia
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Lebanon
230 V
50 Hz
C / D / G
Lesotho
220 V
50 Hz
M
Liberia
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Libya
127 V / 230 V
50 Hz
D / F
Liechtenstein
230 V
50 Hz
J
Lithuania
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Luxembourg
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Macau
220 V
50 Hz
D / G
Macedonia
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Madagascar
127 V / 220 V
50 Hz
C / D / E / J / K
Madeira
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Malawi
230 V
50 Hz
G
Malaysia
240 V
50 Hz
G
Maldives
230 V
50 Hz
D / G / J / K / L
Mali
220 V
50 Hz
C / E
Malta
230 V
50 Hz
G
Martinique
220 V
50 Hz
C / D / E
Mauritania
220 V
50 Hz
C
Mauritius
230 V
50 Hz
C / G
Mexico
127 V
60 Hz
A
Micronesia, Federal States of
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Moldova
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Monaco
230 V
50 Hz
C / D / E / F
Mongolia
230 V
50 Hz
C / E
Montenegro
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Montserrat (Leeward Islands)
230 V
60 Hz
A / B
Morocco
220 V
50 Hz
C / E
Mozambique
220 V
50 Hz
C / F / M
Myanmar (formerly Burma)
230 V
50 Hz
C / D / F / G
Namibia
220 V
50 Hz
D / M
Nauru
240 V
50 Hz
I
Nepal
230 V
50 Hz
C / D / M
Netherlands
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Netherlands Antilles
127 V / 220 V
50 Hz
A / B / F
New Caledonia
220 V
50 Hz
F
New Zealand
240 V
50 Hz
I
Nicaragua
120 V
60 Hz
A
Niger
220 V
50 Hz
A / B / C / D / E / F
Nigeria
230 V
50 Hz
D / G
Norway
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Oman
240 V
50 Hz
C / G
Pakistan
230 V
50 Hz
C / D
Palau
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Panama
110 V
60 Hz
A / B
Papua New Guinea
240 V
50 Hz
I
Paraguay
220 V
50 Hz
C
Peru
220 V
60 Hz
A / B / C
Philippines
220 V
60 Hz
A / B / C
Poland
230 V
50 Hz
C / E
Portugal
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Puerto Rico
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Qatar
240 V
50 Hz
D / G
Réunion Island
230 V
50 Hz
E
Romania
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Russian Federation
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
Rwanda
230 V
50 Hz
C / J
St. Kitts and Nevis (Leeward Islands)
230 V
60 Hz
D / G
St. Lucia (Windward Islands)
230 V
50 Hz
G
St. Vincent (Windward Islands)
230 V
50 Hz
A / C / E / G / I / K
Samoa
230 V
50 Hz
I
San Marino
230 V
50 Hz
F / L
Saudi Arabia
110 V / 220 V ***
60 Hz
A / B / C / G
Senegal
230 V
50 Hz
C / D / E / K
Serbia
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Seychelles
240 V
50 Hz
G
Sierra Leone
230 V
50 Hz
D / G
Singapore
230 V
50 Hz
G
Slovakia
230 V
50 Hz
E
Slovenia
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Somalia
220 V
50 Hz
C
South Africa
230 V
50 Hz
D / M ***
Spain
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Sri Lanka
230 V
50 Hz
D / G / M
Sudan
230 V
50 Hz
C / D
Suriname
127 V
60 Hz
C / F
Swaziland
230 V
50 Hz
M
Sweden
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Switzerland
230 V
50 Hz
J
Syria
220 V
50 Hz
C / E / L
Tahiti
220 V
50 Hz / 60 Hz****
C / E
Tajikistan
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
Taiwan
110 V
60 Hz
A / B
Tanzania
230 V
50 Hz
D / G
Thailand
220 V
50 Hz
A / B / C
Togo
220 V
50 Hz
C
Tonga
240 V
50 Hz
I
Trinidad & Tobago
115 V
60 Hz
A / B
Tunisia
230 V
50 Hz
C / E
Turkey
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
Turkmenistan
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
Turks and Caicos Islands
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Uganda
240 V
50 Hz
G
Ukraine
230 V
50 Hz
C / F
United Arab Emirates
240 V
50 Hz
G
United Kingdom
230 V
50 Hz
G
United States of America
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Uruguay
220 V
50 Hz
C / F / I / L
Uzbekistan
220 V
50 Hz
C / F
Venezuela
120 V
60 Hz
A / B
Vietnam
220 V
50 Hz
A / C / G
Virgin Islands
110 V
60 Hz
A / B
Yemen, Rep. of
230 V
50 Hz
A / D / G
Zambia
230 V
50 Hz
C / D / G
Zimbabwe
240 V
50 Hz
D / G

 

* In Brazil there is no standard voltage. Most states use 127 V electricity (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Maranhão, Pará, Paraná, Rondônia, Roraima, Sergipe and Minas Gerais). Other – mainly northeastern – states are on 220 V (Alagoas, Brasília, Ceará, Mato Grosso, Goiás, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Santa Catarina and Tocantins). Although in most parts of the states of Bahia, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul 127 V is used, the cities of Santos, Jequié, Jundiaí, São Bernardo do Campo, Novo Friburgo, Bagé, Caxias do Sul and Pelotas run on 220 V. The states of Pernambuco and Piauí use 220 V, except for the cities of Paulista and Teresina (127 V).

** Although the mains voltage in Japan is the same everywhere, the frequency differs from region to region. Eastern Japan uses predominantly 50 Hz (Tokyo, Kawasaki, Sapporo, Yokohama, Sendai), whereas Western Japan prefers 60 Hz (Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Hiroshima).

*** Saudi Arabia uses 110 V in many parts of the country, such as the Dammam and al-Khobar area (situated in the eastern province of Ash Sharqiyah). 220 V can be commonly found as well, especially in hotels.

**** In Tahiti the frequency is 60 Hz, except for the Marquesas archipelago where it is 50 Hz.

 

 

Plugs and sockets


Below is a brief outline of the plugs and sockets used around the world in domestic environment. The outline map below visualises the spread of the different plug types used around the world. For easy reference, compatible plug types are represented with the same colour.

 

world map according to electricity and types of adapters, switches and sockets

 

TYPE A

(used in, among others, North and Central America and Japan)

This class II ungrounded plug with two flat parallel prongs is pretty much standard in most of North and Central America. At first glance, the Japanese plug and socket seem to be identical to this standard. However, the Japanese plug has two identical flat prongs, whereas the US plug has one prong which is slightly larger. Therefore it is no problem to use Japanese plugs in the US, but the opposite does not work often. Furthermore, Japanese standard wire sizes and the resulting current ratings are different than those used on the American continent.

Type A and B plugs have two flat prongs with a hole near the tip. These holes aren't there without a reason. If you were to take apart a type A or B socket and look at the contact wipers that the prongs slide into, you would find that in some cases they have have bumps on them. These bumps fit into the holes so that the outlet can grip the plug’s prongs more firmly. This prevents the plug from slipping out of the socket due to the weight of the plug and cord. It also improves the contact between the plug and the outlet. Some sockets, however, don't have those bumps but just two spring-action blades that grip the sides of the plug pin, in which case the holes aren't necessary.

There are also some special outlets which allow you to lock the cord into the socket, by putting rods through the holes. This way, for example vending machines cannot be unplugged. Moreover, electrical devices can be "factory-sealed" by the manufacturer using a plastic tie or a small padlock through one or both of the plug prong holes. For example, a manufacturer might apply a plastic band through the hole and attach it to a tag that says: "You must do X or Y before plugging in this device". The user cannot plug in the device without removing the tag, so the user is sure to see the tag.


 

TYPE B

(used in, among others, North and Central America and Japan)

This is a class I plug with two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin (American standard NEMA 5-15/Canadian standard CS22.2, n°42). It is rated at 15 amps and although this plug is also standard in Japan, it is less frequently used than in North America. Consequently, most appliances sold in Japan use a class II ungrounded plug. As is the case with the type A standard, the Japanese type B plugs and sockets are slightly different from their American counterparts.

An ungrounded version of the North American NEMA 5-15 plug is commonly used in Central America and parts of South America. It is therefore common for equipment users to simply cut off the grounding pin that the plug can be mated with a two-pole ungrounded socket.


 

TYPE C

(used in all countries of Europe except the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta)

This two-wire plug is ungrounded and has two round prongs. It is popularly known as the europlug which is described in CEE 7/16. This is probably the single most widely used international plug. It will mate with any socket that accepts 4.0 - 4.8 mm round contacts on 19 mm centres. The plug is generally limited for use in class II applications that require 2.5 amps or less. It is, of course, unpolarised. It is commonly used in all countries of Europe except the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is also used in various parts of the developing world. Whereas type C plugs are very commonly used, this is not the case for type C sockets. This kind of socket is the older and ungrounded variant of socket types E, F, J, K and L. Nowadays most countries demand grounded sockets to be installed in new buildings. Since type C sockets are ungrounded, they are currently being phased out in many countries and replaced by type E, F, J, K or L (depending on the country). A type C plug fits perfectly into a type E, F, J, K or L socket.


 

TYPE D

(used almost exclusively in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Namibia)

India has standardised on a plug which was originally defined in British Standard 546 (the standard in Great Britain before 1962). This plug has three large round pins in a triangular pattern. It is rated at 5 amps. Type M, which has larger pins and is rated at 15 amps, is used alongside type D for larger appliances in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Namibia. Some sockets can take both type M and type D plugs.

Although type D is now almost exclusively used in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Namibia, it can still occasionally be found in hotels and theatres in the UK and Ireland. It should be noted that tourists should not attempt to connect anything to a BS546 round-pin outlet found in the UK or Ireland as it is likely to be on a circuit that has a special purpose: e.g. for providing direct current (DC) or for plugging in lamps that are controlled by a light switch or a dimmer.


 

TYPE E

(primarily used in France, Belgium, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Tunisia and Morocco)

France, Belgium and some other countries have standardised on a socket which is different from the CEE 7/4 socket (type F) that is standard in Germany and other continental European countries. The reason for incompatibility is that grounding in the E socket is accomplished with a round male pin permanently mounted in the socket. The plug itself is similar to C except that it is round and has the addition of a female contact to accept the grounding pin in the socket. In order to bridge the differences between sockets E and F, the CEE 7/7 plug was developed (see photo above): it has grounding clips on both sides to mate with the type F socket and a female contact to accept the grounding pin of the type E socket. The original type E plug, which does not have grounding clips, is no longer used, although very rarely it can still be found on some older appliances. Note that the CEE 7/7 plug is polarised when used with a type E outlet. The plug is rated at 16 amps. Above that, equipment must either be wired permanently to the mains or connected via another higher power connector such as the IEC 309 system. A type C plug fits perfectly into a type E socket.


 

TYPE F

(used in, among others, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Portugal, Spain and Eastern Europe)

Plug F, known as CEE 7/4 and commonly called "Schuko plug", which is the acronym of "Schutzkontakt", a German word meaning "earthed/grounded contact". The plug was designed in Germany shortly after the First World War. It is similar to C except that it is round and has the addition of two grounding clips on the side of the plug. It has two 4.8 mm round contacts on 19 mm centres. Because the CEE 7/4 plug can be inserted in either direction into the receptacle, the Schuko connection system is unpolarised (i.e. line and neutral are connected at random). It is used in applications up to 16 amps. Above that, equipment must either be wired permanently to the mains or connected via another higher power connector such as the IEC 309 system. In order to bridge the differences between sockets E and F, the CEE 7/7 plug was developed (see photo above). This plug, which is shown above, has grounding clips on both sides to mate with the type F socket and a female contact to accept the grounding pin of the type E socket. The original type F plug, which does not have this female contact, is still available at the DIY shops but only in a rewireable version. A type C plug fits perfectly into a type F socket.

The Russian Federation uses a standard plug and socket defined in Russian Standard Gost 7396 which is similar to the Schuko standard. Contacts are also on 19 mm centres, but the diameter of this contact is 4.0 mm compared to 4.8 mm which is standard in Continental Europe. It is possible to mate Russian plugs with Schuko outlets, but Russian sockets will not allow to connect type E and F plugs as the outlets have smaller hole diameters than the pins of those two plugs mentioned. Many official standards in Eastern Europe are virtually identical to the Schuko standard. Furthermore, one of the protocols governing the reunification of Germany provided that the DIN and VDE standards would prevail without exception. The former East Germany was required to confirm to the Schuko standard. It appears that nowadays most if not all of the Eastern European countries use the Schuko standard.


 

TYPE G

(mainly used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Malta, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong)

This plug has three rectangular prongs that form a triangle. British Standard BS 1363 requires use of a three-wire grounded and fused plug for all connections to the power mains (including class II, two-wire appliances). British power outlets incorporate shutters on line and neutral contacts to prevent someone from pushing a foreign object into the socket.

The British domestic electrical system uses a ring circuit in the building which is rated for 32 amps (6 amps for lighting circuits which are usually spurs). Moreover, there is also a fusing in the plug; a cartridge fuse, usually of 3 amps for small appliances like radios etc. and 13 amps for heavy duty appliances such as heaters. Almost everywhere else in the world a spur main system is used. In this system each wall socket, or group of sockets, has a fuse at the main switchboard whereas the plug has none. So if you take some foreign appliance to the UK, you can use an adaptor, but technically it must incorporate the correct value fuse. Most would have a 13 amps one, too big for the computer for example. BS 1363 was published in 1962 and since that time it has gradually replaced the earlier standard plugs and sockets (type D) (BS 546).

British plugs are no doubt the safest in the world, but also the most hulking and cumbersome. That's why people often make fun of them saying that British plugs are mostly bigger than the appliance they're connected to...


 

TYPE H

(used exclusively in Israel)

This plug is unique to Israel. It has two flat prongs like the type B plug, but they form a V-shape rather than being parallel. Type H plugs have got a grounding pin as well and are rated at 16 amps. In 1989 Israel standardised on a new version of the type H socket: the holes were made round in order to accommodate type C plugs as well. The slots for the prongs have widenings in the middle specifically to allow type C prongs to fit in. The flat-bladed type H plugs (lower picture) are currently being phased out in favour of round-pinned ones (upper picture).


 

TYPE I

(mainly used in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Argentina)

This plug has also a grounding pin and two flat prongs forming a V-shape. There is an ungrounded version of this plug as well, with only two flat V-shaped prongs. Although the above plug looks very similar to the one used in Israel (type H), both plugs are not compatible. Australia’s standard plug/socket system is described in SAA document AS 3112 and is used in applications up to 10 amps. A plug/socket configuration with rating at 15 amps (ground pin is wider: 8 mm instead of 6.35 mm) is also available. A standard 10 amp plug will fit into a 15 amp outlet, but a 15 amp plug only fits this special 15 amp socket. There is also a 20 amp plug whose prongs are wider still. A lower-amperage plug will always fit into a higher-amperage outlet but not vice versa. Although there are slight differences, the Australian plug mates with the socket used in the People's Republic of China (mainland China).


 

TYPE J

(used almost exclusively in Switzerland and Liechtenstein)

Switzerland has its own standard which is described in SEC 1011. This plug is similar to C, except that it has the addition of a grounding pin. This connector system is rated for use in applications up to 10 amps. Above 10 amps, equipment must be either wired permanently to the electrical supply system with appropriate branch circuit protection or connected to the mains with an appropriate high power industrial connector.


 

TYPE K

(used almost exclusively in Denmark and Greenland)

The Danish standard is described in Afsnit 107-2-D1. The plug is similar to F except that it has a grounding pin instead of grounding clips. A type C plug fits perfectly into a type K socket. The Danish socket will also accept either the CEE 7/4 or CEE 7/7 plugs: however, there is no grounding connection with these plugs because a male ground pin is required on the plug. Because of the huge amount of E/F plugs in Denmark, the Danish government decided to make it legal to install type E instead of type K sockets from 2008 onwards.


 

TYPE L

(used almost exclusively in Italy and randomly found throughout North Africa)

The Italian grounded plug/socket standard, CEI 23-16/VII, includes two styles rated at 10 and 16 amps. They differ in terms of contact diameter and spacing, and are therefore incompatible with each other. The plugs are similar to C except that they are earthed by means of a centre grounding pin. Because they can be inserted in either direction at random, they are unpolarised. A type C plug fits perfectly into a type L socket. Nowadays there are also "universal" sockets available, which look exactly like type F sockets (with grounding clips), but also have a grounding hole in the middle.


 

TYPE M

(used almost exclusively in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho)

This plug resembles the Indian type D plug, but its pins are much larger. Type M is rated at 15 amps. Although type D is standard in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Namibia, type M is also used for larger appliances. Some sockets over there can take both type M and type D plugs. Type M is also used in Israel for heavy appliances such as air-conditioning circuits (in cases where wall-mounted units are plugged in to a dedicated socket) and certain types of washing machines.

 

* Argentina has standardised on type I sockets and plugs. Type C plugs and power points are still commonly found in older buildings.

** Type G plugs and sockets are used in the north as well as the south of Cyprus, whereas type F plugs and receptacles are only found in the north of the island.

*** The official South African socket and plug standard is type M. Nevertheless, appliances with a type C plug are still very commonly found and used with a plug adapter. The older type D plugs may also be found.


 

What do you need to use your appliances abroad ?

Plug Adapters

They do not convert electricity. They simply allow a dual-voltage appliance, a transformer or a converter from one country to be plugged into the wall outlet of another country. The plug of a Continental European appliance will not fit into an outlet in a foreign country without an adapter.

Converters

Converters and transformers both step up or down the voltage, but there is a difference in use between them. Converters should be used only with "electric" products. Electric products are simple heating devices or have mechanical motors. Examples are hair dryers, steam irons, shavers, toothbrushes or small fans. Converters are not designed for "continuous duty" and should only be used for short periods of time (1 to 2 hours). Additionally, most converters can only be used for ungrounded appliances (2 pins on the plug). Converters must be unplugged from the wall when not in use.

Transformers

Transformers also step up or down the voltage, but they are more expensive than converters and are used with "electronic" products. Electronic products have a chip or circuit. Examples are radios, CD or DVD players, shavers, camcorder battery rechargers, computers, computer printers, fax machines, televisions and answering machines. Transformers can also be used with electric appliances and may be operated continually for many days. The advantage of converters, however, is that they are lighter and less expensive.

Computers are electronic devices and therefore they must be used with a transformer, unless they are dual voltage. Fortunately, most laptop battery chargers and AC adapters are dual voltage, so they can be used with only a plug adapter for the country you will be visiting.

Transformers are sold in various sizes based on how much wattage they can support. Therefore one must pay careful attention to the wattage ratings of the appliances to be plugged into a transformer. The wattage rating of the transformer must always be larger than the wattage rating of the appliance to be plugged into it (plus a 25% buffer to allow for heat build-up in the transformer or converter). When plugging multiple items into a power strip, then into the transformer, you must calculate the combined wattage of all appliances and the power strip, then add an additional 25% to that total.

The appliance’s voltage and wattage requirements are listed on the manufacturer's label located on the back or at the bottom of the appliance. In some cases, the voltage and amperage will be listed, but not the wattage. If this is the case, simply multiply the voltage by the amperage rating to find the wattage rating (e.g. 230 V * 1 A = 230 W).

Below is a list that gives an idea what the wattage of common appliances is. Use this as a guide only. Always check your appliance first !

  • 75 watts: small, low-wattage appliances such as radios, CD players, heating pads, and some televisions.
  • 300 watts: larger radios, stereo consoles, electric blankets, sewing machines, hand mixers, small fans and most TV sets.
  • 500 watts: refrigerators, hair dryers, stand mixers, blenders and some stereo equipment.
  • 750 watts: projectors, some sewing machines and small electric broom type vacuums.
  • 1000 watts: washing machines, small heaters, some coffee makers and vacuums.
  • 1600 – 2000 watts: dishwashers, most appliances that have heating elements such as toasters, electric deep-frying pans, irons, and grills.
  • 3000 watts: heaters and air conditioners.

Transformers and converters only convert the voltage, not the frequency. The difference in cycles may cause the motor in a 50 Hz appliance to operate slightly faster when used on 60 Hz electricity. This cycle difference will cause electric clocks and timing circuits to keep incorrect time: European alarm clocks will run faster on 60 Hz electricity and American clocks will lose some 10 minutes every hour when used in Europe. However, most modern electronic equipment like battery chargers, computers, printers, stereos, DVD players, etc. are usually not affected by the difference in cycles and adjust themselves accordingly the slower cycles.


Why can only “electric” appliances be used with a converter, and not “electronic” ones ?

The difference between a converter and a transformer lies in how the device converts voltage current. Alternating current power is supplied in alternating bursts that are in a shape called a "sine wave".

To reduce 230 V to 120 V, for example, a convertor delays the start of the sine wave such that the average voltage (actually the root-mean-square) over a full wave is lowered. The high voltage peaks are unfortunately still present and this is what destroys electronic equipment, usually because the resultant voltage is rectified to the full pre-converted value. Appliances such as light bulbs and heaters don't care about those peaks and many motors also are tolerant of them.

A transformer, on the other hand, alters the amplitude of the waves. This is a critical difference because electronic devices cannot cope with high voltage peaks which are still present when lowering voltage by means of a convertor.

The converter's delaying of sine waves is a relatively simple and compact function. The transformer's alteration of sine waves is a relatively sophisticated function and requires more space. As a result, transformers are generally larger, heavier and much more expensive than converters.


Trick to know the local voltage

In case you forget to check what the local voltage is in the country you’re going to: here’s a small trick. Just take a look at the glass of an ordinary light bulb or stop at a supermarket and note what is printed on a light bulb packet!

 

Original source: http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity.htm

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