Charging netbooks overseas

I'm planning to take my netbook along on a bike/barge trip to the Netherlands this summer to take advantage of the free wifi on the barge. However, the converters I have seen that correspond to the netbook's voltage all state not to be used on computers. What brand of converter have people used successfully, and what is the price range to purchase one? Thanks.

Posted by Patricia
Milwaukie, Oregon
178 posts

That's what I did initially and got a cheap converter like you mentioned. The converter said specifically NOT to use on computers. That's why I asked.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12952 posts

Read the page on my website concerning voltage in Europe.

You very probably don't need a voltage converter, but if you do, there are two types. One type, for low power (watts) usage, is a transformer. It converts the voltage from around 230V to around 115V, which is suitable for input to your computer's power supply. Because of the low power requirement, a transformer can be used.

For high power applications (hair dryers, curling irons), a transformer would be too heavy. Converters for high power use a solid state system, but it produces a waveform that is unsuitable for electronic devices and can damage them.

That's why you have to get the right type of converter.

I think all netbooks today will accept "dual" voltages (European and U.S.). The power supply for my netbook (Acer) has a grounded plug (the one with the round pin in addition to the two flat blades). My plug adapter is narrow and fits over the blades with clearance for the grounding pin (which doesn't connect to anything). They do sell grounding "modified-Schuko" plugs for use in the Benelux, Germany, and France.

BTW, if you do use a converter, you probably need an adapter with it, anyway. Most converters are designed to fit into a flat receptacle, but most European receptacles are recessed, so an adapter is needed to bridge the gap between pins on the converter and the pin holes in the bottom of the recess.

Posted by Patricia
Milwaukie, Oregon
178 posts

Thanks for the help. You were right, Steve. I was looking for the wrong thing. My netbook has 100-220V so should work fine with a plug converter, which I already have. Appreciate your input.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21435 posts


As the others have mentioned, the first thing to do is to check for the Input Voltage ratings on the Charger / Power Supply for your Netbook (the ratings will probably be listed in VERY fine print - use a magnifying glass if necessary).

If the ratings state 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz then all you'll need is an inexpensive Plug Adapter (the style for continental Europe has two round pins). If the ratings are as stated above, you will NOT need a Voltage Converter.

It's highly likely that the cheap Voltage Converter you had uses solid-state voltage conversion and as you found these are NOT recommended for use with computers OR OTHER solid-state devices such as computer power supplies. For electronic products, a transformer type Voltage Converter is the appropriate unit to use.

Hope this helps.

Happy travels!

Posted by John
San Diego
2 posts

I just got back last week, I took my Acer Aspire netbook. All I needed was a plug adapter, I traveled eastern Europe and the UK with no problems. I got the adapters fro like $5 each at the luggage store in the mall.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3082 posts

I spent 3 days in Paris looking for an adapter before finding the right one. I wish I had bought one at home. They had adapters at the airport for about $7.