CPAP use in Europe Part 1

PART 1
Wow, I didn’t expect all the private messages I got about using a CPAP in Europe. But I’m glad to know there are others like me who use CPAP’s and want information about this medical issue and how to deal with it while traveling abroad.

Here’s my two cents to share with everyone. If you need more specific info, email me privately.

Like all electronic devices, if your CPAP is rated for 110-240v, all you need is an adapter for the country you’re visiting. If it’s 110v only, you will need a transformer and an adapter.
Look at the writing on the power brick or back of the CPAP. My Puritan Bennet Goodnight 420S is dual voltage. (I got this CPAP for traveling and camping because it is lightweight, quiet and runs on 12volts.)

I recommend carrying a lightweight extension cord, because I found in several hotels abroad that there were no electrical outlets near the bed or the lamps by the bedside were connected directly into the wall (and no plug available). In one UK hotel, I asked them to provide me with a long extension cord and they did.
Posted in several parts because of website length limitations.

Posted by derek
Walnut Creek, CA
67 posts

PART 2
On the overnight train from Rome to Paris, my first class cabin did NOT have an outlet.
There was an outlet near the sink for shavers and a written warning not to use this for any other type of electrical device. I did not want to risk plugging in my CPAP.

Instead, I used an external laptop battery made by Valence Technology called the N-Charge VNC-130. I bought it on eBay brand new, sealed in box for around $100. It retails new for around $250.
Next, you will need to purchase a specific laptop to N-charge adapter in order to
to charge and re-charge the N-charge.
I just happened to have an Apple Powerbook, so I purchased the N-charge Apple Powerbook adapter (again on eBay, brand new sealed, around $20.)

THEN, you will need Valence Technologies – optional 12volt charger. (around $12 on ebay- brand new) This attaches to the other end of the VNC-130 and can be used to charge cell phones, ipods, and other 12volt electronic devices.

GO to Part 3

Posted by derek
Walnut Creek, CA
67 posts

Part 3

And that’s what makes this all work. Your CPAP must be able to run on 12 volts. The PB Goodnight 420S is a 12volt device. Its normal A/C power brick is a transformer that reduces to power from 240 or 110 to 12 volt.

I can’t take any credit for thinking up this solution. Here is a website where I got the idea for the battery setup:

http://www.episteme-software.com/cpap.html by Peter Resnick. “CPAP, Batteries and Planes.” Dated 2004.

A fully charged N-charge battery gave me 2 nights of power to sleep. I would only use it for one night on battery on the train or plane and recharge the next day at the hotel or apartment.
On a first class train sleeper, I could spread the setup anywhere I wanted. I put the battery in the netting on the wall next to the bunk bed and the CPAP on the bed by my pillow. I have a picture of it, if you want to see it, email me with your email address.

Go to Part 4

Posted by derek
Walnut Creek, CA
67 posts

PART 4
Using the battery on the airplane was a bit more challenging. I set up the battery and CPAP on the tray table, reclined my seat, put on my mask. But I was self-conscious and embarrassed using the CPAP, so I put a blanket on over my head and CPAP to hide, and the blanket blocked the air intake. Also every time I turned the wrong way, my body hit the tray table, the N-charge adapter plug fell out of the CPAP causing me to wake gasping for breath! I had a terrible time sleeping on the plane. If you are traveling in luxury class, with wide seats or sleeping pods, this set up shouldn’t be a problem.
I packed the battery, cpap, hose, mask, extension cord, adapters, instructions, etc. in a laptop bag because the battery is around 13 inches long. At the airport security screening, I had to explain that the item was not a laptop and that it was a medical device and was an exception to the 1 or 2 bag carry-on rule. The fat security screeners knew what a CPAP was .
GO to PART 5

Posted by derek
Walnut Creek, CA
67 posts

PART 5

(I guess they were sleep apnea sufferers too), but I had to take the battery out of the bag and run it through the x-ray separately.

I also researched British Airways website and found the airline knew what a CPAP was and no special arrangement were needed to use it on the plane. If I was traveling luxury class on BA, my seat would have a powerport and I could use a special airplane power adapter ($80) to power my CPAP. But I was traveling steerage with the rest of us, so I had to provide my own battery power.
You must CHECK for other airlines policies. Call them and ask or research their website.
Some airlines wouldn’t let me plug my CPAP into their powerports even if one were available.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to reply or email me. I'm sure others have the same questions.

Posted by scott
nj, nj, usa
1 posts

A new smaller CPAP made specifically for travel was introduced about 4 months ago. The product is 1.7 lbs
and can be used with 110V or 220V. The product is being offered on a website called www.cpap.com
The product is the Silent Traveler by Probasics /
zzz-pap Hope this information helps.