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Power Strips

Hi,
Would you advise someone who is studying abroad to pack a power strip? Are they allowed through security/tsa?

Posted by
25551 posts

Does it have a rating of 100-250 VAC?

Does it have any electronics?

What concern do you think the TSA would have?

Posted by
5888 posts

I would advise that person to buy one when they get there.

Posted by
1068 posts

I have taken (travel) power strips with me in the past and TSA has never had a problem with them. If it were me, I'd go to my destination and see if I wanted one. If I did, I would buy it there.

Posted by
4860 posts

As noted, a power strip with no batteries in it is of no interest to security. But a big steel object in a carry-on or backpack might draw attention at the x-ray security line, ending up with no problem, but a delay. Even if plastic, the wires inside will show.

Besides not saying what country you are coming from, there are lot of technical issues you haven't addressed. I can imagine an American student who has a bundle of modern electronics (phone that is certain to work abroad, computer, music players, camera, GPS) wanting to have multiple American outlets to plug them into at once. But that requires careful checking to see that EVERY power supply, wall-wart, or "brick" you have says "100-240VAC" on it. If you have just one device that isn't compatible with the local power, you'll eventually forget and plug it into the power strip you brought from home. Or a visitor from down the hall who doesn't know any better ...

If you're lucky, it will just be destroyed. If unlucky, sparks and a fire, or worse.

Posted by
544 posts

Wait and buy one over there. That way you can get one with the length of cable and number of outlets you'll want.

Posted by
7 posts

I carry on a powerstrip with me on every flight I take, especially to Europe. There are never enough receptacles at our destination for the things we need. It's certainly never been a problem.

Pam

Posted by
7 posts

So the flight is from the US to the UK, and most of the devices say 100-240V AC 50/60Hz. In this case, I think I only need an adapter. The plan was to take one adapter and one power strip so that some electronics could charge.

Posted by
3522 posts

See this discussion from the England forum: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/england/power-problem. As you scroll down the page, all the ins and outs of adapters for the UK are described. The way I read it is that to get the right kind, you should buy them there.

I'm also a part of the "buy your power strip there" camp, too. That will require adapters for each thing you plug into it, unless some of those things are lamps or whatever. But with extra adapters, you can plug your devices into any UK receptacle in the room instead of limiting yourself to only those on the power strip.

Others who might answer here actually live in England, so they can comment on what I have to say next. The power in parts of London can be wired somewhat oddly. We experienced a situation where some restaurants had it, some did not, some apartments had it, some did not, all on the same street or in the same building.

Posted by
31271 posts

dnz,

To begin with, I would not recommend buying a power strip in Europe, since it will have European outlets. Therefore you would need a Plug Adaptor for EACH outlet. Also, if you buy a power strip in Europe and then need to use it in the U.K., you'll need another Plug Adaptor to connect it there. This makes for a very clumsy and awkward solution.

You can use a power strip purchased here although it MUST NOT contain any surge suppression, RFI filtering or extra circuits! Only a very basic unit can be used (basically just wires and copper contacts). With this solution you will only need ONE Plug Adaptor specific to the country you're visiting.

If you only need a few extra outlets, one model you can use is THIS compact power bar, which is rated for use on both North American and European electrical systems.

Posted by
25551 posts

most of the devices say 100-240V AC

and as for the rest, how are you handling that?

Posted by
21158 posts

Ya, I don't like the phrase - "most" What to the others say? And just how much are your bringing? And skip the idea of taking any high wattage devices such as hair dryers, etc.

Posted by
1719 posts

Sure why not take one, just don't put it in your carryon. They won't really care what's in your checked bag.

Posted by
7 posts

Hi,
Out of all of the devices I have, I will only be taking a few. Of the few I plan to take, all say 100-240V AC 50/60Hz. I apologize for any confusion.

Posted by
607 posts

Instead of a powerstrip, we packed a 3 to 5' extension cord. The outlet end allowed me to plug in up to three devices. I taped on a euro adaptor on the prong end so as not to lose it. Much lighter than a powerstrip. In fact, we packed two on our last trip

Posted by
17930 posts

The euro adapter plug with two round (4.0mm diam) pins is only rated by codes for applications drawing less than 2.5 amps (575 watts at 230 volts). So add up everything you might be using on the extension cord or power strip. If it over 575 watts, you must use a grounding adapter (and the power strip must carry the ground. I think today they all do.) In most countries on the continent, except Switzerland and most places in Italy, this is the type of adapter you must use for over 2.5 amps.

Also, be aware that you should not use any device that has a "polarized" US plug (one blade wider). In most instances, European receptacles are NOT polarized, so essential safety features can be lost.

BTW, I think if you need a power strip, you are bringing along too many electrical/electronic devices. Do you really need that many, and do you need to charge each one of them each night? I bring along a netbook which has a three-prong, grounding US plug, and a grounding Schuko plug adapter. It also has three USB ports, one of which I need for the mouse, but that still leaves me with two ports from which I can charge batteries or small electronic devices while I use the computer.

Posted by
8889 posts

Nobody has mentioned insulation so far. OK, your appliances can take 220 V 50 Hz, but can the power strip?
If you bring a power strip from the USA it will be designed for 110V, which means thinner insulation (less plastic) around the wires both inside and leading to the plug. There should be a good safety margin, so you should be OK, but there is a small risk of a short circuit.

Note, this is not the same as the current (amps), which as discussed above will be minimal for electronic devices and in many cases will be less at 220V than would be the case at 110V.

Power (watts) = volts x amps. So if you double the volts you half the amps (and vice-versa).
More Amps needs more copper to conduct it.
More volts needs thicker insulation.

Posted by
17930 posts

Chris, I found this information about testing of electrical devices (including extension cords),

"The components, which are connected to the AC line and are typically found in appliance and technology products, have working voltage specifications of 120 to 300 VAC. Yet UL in their specifications 982, 1010 and 1082 for appliances, and 60950 for Technology Equipment (ITE) often require 100% testing at thousands of volts. The voltages used? Typically 1000VAC + 2 times the voltage of operation. This means that 1240 VAC is regularly applied to products with 120 VAC rated working components and 300 VAC wiring."

Posted by
1719 posts

Regarding the question about too many gadgets, my last trip really drove home just how much things have changed and how everything in our lives is now powered by rechargeable batteries. Which is much better for the earth, but not so good when juggling chargers. Used to be things ran on AA batteries and you could always find them when you needed them.

Do you need to use a charger every night? Heck yeah, with my latest Android phone you unfortunately do. And just to be safe, I charged the battery in my camera every night. That's not something you can deal with in the field. As far as charging Kindles and iPads, they typically last a while so don't need the charge. But at least every other night, just to be safe.

The other option is to just take fewer chargers and plug your gadgets into and out of them as they fill up.