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Can't charge UK-purchase phone with UK plug in Universal adaptor

I bought a "universal" adaptor that has a USA plug, A Europe plug and a UK type plug but that is not the issue. The issue is the "universal" socket in the adaptor. I have a phone my friend purchase in the UK. It has a UK number. Supposedly, I can buy sim cards in Italy and Switzerland and use the phone in those countries but I cannot use it if I cannot charge it. When I plug the UK phone charger into the adaptor, it is a loose fit but the prongs do stay in. When I plug the adaptor into the wall here in the USA, it lights up just fine but the phone remains dead. I tried powering it up based on a manual I read online...nothing.

Brand of phone is Alcatel...candy bar type basic phone. I will not be bringing my own phone as it will not work in Europe anyway. I have purchased a phone card for $20 to be safe that I can supposedly use at pay phones and hotels.

Thoughts?

Posted by
907 posts

At worse a new charger can be had for $7 in europe.
Someone with a mutlimeter could check whether the glitch is in the adapter or the charger.
If it was fresh from the box if the battery needed installing check its fitted right.
If you have another US charger try that direct the output is the same,5v
If you are taking a netbook/laptop you can charge via that with a data cable but its slower,assuming its a mini usb fitting which is near universal.

Posted by
9110 posts

Take the phone with you to Radio Shack.

Try a UK to US adapter. Then try a UK to continental adapter.

Buy what works -- probably both since it sounds like you have a bum universal. Next time keep it simple and don't buy junk that tries to do more than one thing.

Posted by
4688 posts

If you have time before you leave, I'd try getting a UK to US adapter and seeing if it will charge with that. I've found those multi-use versions don't always work so well.

Posted by
31471 posts

lisa,

There are several possible reasons you could be having problems. That's difficult to say without actually looking at the items (and testing with a Multimeter as Richard suggested). Some thoughts......

  • Charger ratings - have you checked the input voltage ratings on the Charger. If it was obtained in the U.K., it may only be designed for 220 VAC. Could you check the charger and post the input voltage ratings?
  • Bad contacts - the receptacle side of the "universal adaptor" may not be making proper contact with the charger. Try Ed's suggestion and obtain basic Plug Adaptors at Radio Shack (or wherever) and see if that works. I'm not a big fan of the "universal" adaptors and prefer the cheap and simple approach.
  • Faulty battery - if the battery hasn't been charged for awhile, it may be completely flat and unable to accept a charge.
Posted by
907 posts

On rereading,I assume the LED is on the charger?
Just looked at a fistfull of UK chargers all have been 100-240v., so I'm more coming round to Kens battery as likely snag

Posted by
238 posts

Thanks everyone. The battery is in correctly and tight. But, maybe it is dead. The Universal adaptor does not seem to be a good fit for this UK plug so I guess I would have to go to Radio Shack and see if they have what I need. Or...I can just buy a world phone for $30. It supposedly will work in Switzerland and Italy and supposedly comes with another universal adaptor but it also comes with a 60 day guarantee so if it does not work at least I get money back. The calls are expensive but I plan to use a phone card or Skype whenever possible anyway.

Posted by
31471 posts

lisa,

You can check the battery by switching the phone on. If it powers up, then the battery has at least some charge remaining. If it's completely flat, I'd suggest paying a visit to Radio Shack, as they sell both Plug Adaptors (albeit grossly overpriced) and may be able to supply a new battery for your phone.

It would really help to have some idea of the input voltage ratings on the Charger. Could you post those?

If you'd like to obtain some cheap and simple Plug Adaptors, have a look at Magellans website.

Posted by
238 posts

The charger has a UK plug (meaning it does not work in a USA socket) and voltage written on it says 100-240 V.

The Universal is one that a lot of people said they used with much success (reviews on the website I bought it from). But just to be safe, I also bought smaller adaptors for Switzerland and Italy (the countries I am going to) from Magellen's.

I am thinking of buying a 30 dollar cell phone that is advertised to being able to work in both countries. Comes with adaptor and 60 day money back guarantee. I want the least amount of stress ;-)

Posted by
31471 posts

lisa,

Thanks for the information. It sounds like the Charger should absolutely work, provided you can connect it to outlets in this part of the world.

Which $30 cell phone are you considering? You might consider looking at the travel phone firms as most offer inexpensive phones and multi-country SIM's. These often come with a U.K. number, but consistent calling rates throughout western Europe, and many offer post-paid billing (calls charged to a credit card) so no need to top-up.

Posted by
1817 posts

I have a UK bought phone that I've used in Europe for years.
I have never been able to charge it up here; I think something to do with its voltage.
I do have a good selection of different adapters, but nothing works.
I can charge it up in the UK, Italy, Turkey, etc just fine.
So don't worry; take the phone with you, plug it in to charge as soon as you get to your hotel in Europe, and it should be fine in a few hours.

Posted by
31471 posts

On further reflection, it's possible that your phones aren't charging as the charger may be designed for operation ONLY on 220 VAC electrical systems. That would be easy to confirm by simply checking the "INPUT VOLTAGE" ratings listed on the charger. If the spec's indicate 220 VAC, 50 Hz, then the charger will only work in Europe.

That's more likely with chargers purchased several years ago, as most current products of that type are designed for "world operation" from 100-240 VAC. I have a couple of Camera chargers that were purchased in Europe within the last few years, and they work just fine here (with a Plug Adaptor of course).