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totallyl confused about outlets/convertors

i see at the rick steve's site there is an outlet thing for the uk. but my son mentioned that this only worked at a few places he went, and he needed some kind of conversion thing along with the outlet thing for it all to work. as you can tell, i know nothing about all this, and when i went to best buy, i don't think they knew anything about it either. can anyone tell me exactly what we will need for charging our camera and camcorder?

i can buy the thing from the rick steve's store with the correct prongs for the uk - but i need something else also, right? - julie

Posted by
1 posts

Because the United Kingdom has a different voltage, any electronic items must be converted to that voltage. So, you will need a voltage converter along with the prong converter. Your applience may have a switch on it that converts the voltage. Check that first before buying any extra items.

Posted by
8700 posts

Voltage in the US is 110-120. Voltage in Europe is 220-240. If your charger can handle dual voltage, it will say so: 110-220 or 120-240. If it can, then you will need only a plug adapter like the one sold in the RS travel store so the prongs will fit in UK outlets. If it won't, then you'll also need a converter so your low voltage appliances will handle the higher voltage in the UK. But there are both low watt converters and high watt converters. The high watt ones are for things that heat (like hair dryers). For a detailed explanation of all this, go to www.voltagevalet.com.

Posted by
19 posts

You need a voltage converter as well as a prong converter. You can usually purchase these together at a travel store. Not only does your appliance need to fit in the outlet but it must use the same voltage, hence the need for a voltage converter.

Posted by
15 posts

I got all of the special adapters and converters for a trip to europe last year but but didn't have to use them during the trip. Almost all of the hotels that do any tourist business have a single 110volt outlet with US style plugs in the room, usually in the bathroom. It is fine for charging a phone, razor or laptop.

Posted by
505 posts

I would count on that - I've never seen a US style socket in any European hotel. The one in the bathroom is for razors ONLY, and using it for anything else can fry your electrical appliance and/or damage the plug.

Many, if not most, camera/phone/computer chargers do not need voltage converters - you just need the plug adapter to fit the UK sockets. Just look at the appliance - if it says 110/220 or 120/240v, you don't need a voltage converter.

Kate

Posted by
265 posts

The razor outlets found in bathrooms are normally due to safety regulations with reduced power. It will not fry your appliance, but it will not be able to deliver more than a couple of watts, not enough for a hair dryer, but fine for a battery charger or - a razor! Look at your appliance: most battery chargers, mobile phone chargers etc. say "Input: 100-240 V AC" or something similar. These work in Europe without convertor, you just need the adaptor.

Posted by
160 posts

I bought an all-in-one travel converter from Radio Shack. It's a bit bulky, but it contained the US plug-in and Euro prongs and converted the voltage in one self-contained unit. I used it to charge my iPod in Scandinavia, and my nephew (where I got the idea) used his to good effect in Germany.

This was back in 2005 - hopefully they still sell them. Might be worth a look, but you may have to check the web for an equivalent in case RS discontinued them.

Posted by
389 posts

Just FYI, ipods are made to be used in every country in the world, they don't need to have the voltage converted. They sell the same iPods in Europe with a different plug. Great design.

Posted by
12787 posts

OK so if I understand this right, the battery charging unit for my Olympus digital camera, which says "Output 100 - 140V, does not need a converter, just the two-prong plug, right? Connect this plug to the prongs on the changer and plug it in?

Posted by
1003 posts

Wait, sorry, I just re-read what you said. What you need to look at is the INPUT range - which needs to say 100-240v or similar. Then you just need an adapter like you described. Sorry for the confusion!

Posted by
12787 posts

Oh for.... I typed my stupid message wrong. My battery charger reads 'INPUT - 100-240V" , which means I just need an adaptor and not a convertor? Sorry - running a bit short of sleep today.

Posted by
473 posts

Kathy - That's right, you just need an adapter, not a converter. Keep in mind that the UK uses a different set of plugs than mainland Europe.

Posted by
1 posts

I want to Thank those who replied to this question because it solved my problem before my departure, 8/1/07. Both my camera & cell phone charges say 100-240v so all I need is the plug adapters for UK and EU.

Unfortunately, my curling iron won't adapt but I have a funny story from my last trip that may help some women out there who still use them. London 2005 - First hotel curling iron works fine at a setting of 8 (just like home). Next I move to an older hotel. Not realizing I now need the converter, I curled up a hunk of hair and to my surprise it HALF of that hunk of hair was still on the curling iron. As the tour bus was due to pick me up momentarily, I wisely decided to stop doing the remaining hairs. The next day I just turned the curling iron setting to 4 and all was well, but I had to laugh.