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Charging iPhones and other devices

Do I understand correctly that iPhones are dual voltage and I can just plug them directly into the UK or EU outlet with the block charger that came with them and the correct plug adaptor?

If I purchase a dual voltage power strip that has USB ports, can I charge an external phone charger and my fit-bit without a voltage converter? I guess I'm asking: if the power strip accepts the UK higher voltage, does the USB port take care of supplying the correct (weaker?) charge to devices that can be charged via a USB connection? I see several on Amazon that have surge protection and overcharge protection and I intend to get a good one, not the cheapest available. Any advice on good brands would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. I'm not a techie and I really don't want to fry my external charger or my fit-bit. OR blow the circuits in the hotel!

Posted by
4686 posts

Yes, I'm sure any new iPhone and device chargers are dual voltage now. That wouldn't have always been true a few years ago. All you need is a simple plug adapter.

Yes, you can charge your phone with a USB power strip, but know that it may not charge as fast as using the iPhone charger.

I usually take a couple of plug adapters as well as a "power block" thing that adds a few simple extra outlets on the end of the plug adapter. Some people take a cheap extension cord to achieve the same thing but make it easier to access hard-to-reach plugs in hotel rooms.

Posted by
908 posts

Yes, all you need is an adaptor. I'm finding more and more hotels and airports worldwide that have USB port plugs so you don't have to use an adaptor. I've never had to worry about a surge protector but I haven't stayed in any really old hotels or hostels.

Posted by
5019 posts

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's the charging block (aka "wall wart") that needs to be dual-voltage, not your phone. The original, Apple OEM charging blocks that come with all iPhones and iPads have always been dual-voltage since the first models (careful with super-cheap-o third-party charging blocks sold in convenience stores and everywhere - some may not be).

Almost all small consumer electronics that have been sold in the last 10 (20?) years are dual voltage (not things that heat up - those will result in a nice, dramatic display of mismatched voltage which can have nasty consequences). Do check where it says in teeny tiny print what the "Input" rating is. If you see "Input 100-240V" then you're good to go.

You just need an adapter for the plug shape. "Universal" adapters have proliferated (I believe Rick sells one, which I have not tried), everybody has a favorite. I like this one (or if you must have integrated USB plugs, this variant).

Posted by
30932 posts

Rather than buying a "dual voltage power strip", a more efficient method might be to use one of the multi-port USB travel chargers such as THIS model. This is designed for use from 100-240 VAC so will work fine in Europe.

You will of course need Plug Adaptors specific to the countries you'll be visiting. The UK and continental Europe use different Plug Adaptors. You didn't say which countries you'd be visiting but a set of Plug Adaptors like THIS kit should cover most of the bases. I'd probably add one or two of THESE as well.

Happy travels!

Posted by
42 posts

Thank you, Ken. The USB multi-port is a great idea. Getting back to part of my original question: My external charger and fit-bit are not dual voltage. Will the multi-port safely deliver a proper (weaker/trickle) charge to these US voltage devices? That's the question I can't seem to get answered.
Thanks!

Posted by
30932 posts

dremr,

Could you elaborate on what you're referring to as your "external charger". I'm not sure what you're referring to?

Regarding the FitBit device, their website provides this information - https://help.fitbit.com/articles/en_US/Help_article/1799 . I don't own a FitBit but these appear to charge via standard USB chargers, so the multi-port charger that I linked in my previous reply should work fine.

"Will the multi-port safely deliver a proper (weaker/trickle) charge to these US voltage devices? That's the question I can't seem to get answered."

All USB chargers operate by converting line voltage (either 115 VAC / 230 VAC) to 5VDC. According to the "Input Voltage" spec's of the charger I listed, it's designed to operate with an input voltage range from 100 to 240 VAC. Therefore it will work just fine in either North America or Europe (with appropriate Plug Adaptors of course).

I normally don't leave travel gadgets plugged in any longer than necessary to charge them, and don't leave anything connected if I'm going to be out of the room touring all day.

Hope this helps.

Posted by
1017 posts

Disclaimer: I haven't tried this myself (but will next time we travel).

Someone mentioned that most flat screen TVs have a USB port on the back, which can be used to charge your phone.

Posted by
42 posts

Thanks, Ken. You answered the question I was trying to get at:

"All USB chargers operate by converting line voltage (either 115 VAC / 230 VAC) to 5VDC."

So- the hub will convert power coming into it to the appropriate USB "strength".

What I am calling my external charger is a small battery pack that is pre-charged and carried in case the phone battery goes dead:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L9F95RO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Thank you to all who answered my question!

Posted by
17642 posts

Most electronics are NOT dual voltage. Dual voltage refers to a device, like a shaver or hair dryer that has ~115V elements that can be switched from series (for 230V) or parallel (for 115V). Electronics, like USB "chargers" (they are really voltage converters), accept anywhere between 100VAC to 240VAC (and probably more voltages outside that range, but worldwide, voltages are all in the range of 100V to 240V - Perth used to use 250V, but is now 240V - so that's the range they show) and convert it to 5VDC. So USB chargers are actually multi-voltage, not dual voltage.

BTW, most "universal" adapters are ungrounded (the UK adapter has a plastic ground prong, and are therefore limited by code, at least on the continent, to appliances drawing no more than 2½ amps (less than 600W) and are unsuitable for hair dryers.

Except for Switzerland and older Italian buildings, most receptacles in Europe are now the German Schuko type F or the modified French Schuko type E, which are grounded, and most plugs of those types fit either.