adaptor for laptop computer cord

I plan to bring my laptop to Paris---don't need a converter, laptop works on European voltage, but will bring adaptor so that I can plug in the laptop to a French outlet. My adaptor has 2 round pins on it to connect to the French outlet, but only 2 slots to accept the American cord; however, my computer cord is grounded with the typical 2 flat slots and 1 round grounding pin. I can plus this in to the adaptor but the grounding pin just sticks out adjacent to the top of the adaptor. Is this ok, or are there adaptors that I should buy that accept a grounded American plug( 2 slots with 1 pin)?
Thanks for your help.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
4737 posts

If you plug in only 2 prongs of a 3 prong plug (either in the US or in another country), you are making a grounded appliance ungrounded. It will work, but you are defeating a safety provision of the device. Yes, you can get three prong plug adapters. Unfortunately, while the 2 prong adapters work all over continental Europe, the 3 prong adapters are often country-specific. Here's a link to an Amazon dot com page, with an adapter that works in France, Germany, and many (but by no means all) other countries: If you want to see pictures of the different kinds of plugs around the world, look at this: France uses type E, and Germany uses type F; many plugs (like the one sold through Amazon above) are combined E/F. But Italy, Denmark, and Switzerland, to name 3, have unique 3 prong plugs.

Posted by Bob
613 posts

Hi Slyvia - it will be the same situation as if you did this at home. You can use that adaptor, but the laptop will not be grounded. Yes, you could buy a three prong grounded adaptor, which would then enable grounding. Just like at home, you would then have to use an outlet that accepts the three pins; you will see both 2 and 3 pin outlets. If it were me, I would bring both a 2 prong and a 3 prong adaptor, since they take so little space. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Karen
Colorado Springs
326 posts

We have a computer with the 3 prong and have just used a two prong adaptor with no problems - in Europe, England and New Zealand. I wouldn't worry about it too much

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21467 posts

Sylvia, The Plug on my Netbook is also a grounded model, and I prefer to use it with grounded Plug Adaptors when in Europe. Plug Adaptors are not large or heavy, so it's not a problem to pack along several which will cover most situations. THIS Model should be the correct one for France. While it is possible to connect grounded appliances using only a two-pin Plug Adaptor, as Harold mentioned this is defeating some of the safety features of the product. There's a reason a grounded plug was attached to that particular product. Happy travels!

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
1186 posts

If you are staying in older accommodations you might still encounter the old French two-prong outlets. The new French plugs won't fit so you need an old adapter, easily purchased. Another useful aid in such circumstances is a short extension cord since the outlet may be inconvenient to the table where you will use the laptop.

Posted by Martin
3 posts

I have to admit I never saw a laptop power supply with an grounding pin in europe. Im just curious if this laptop is very old?
Usual today is a completely isolated switched mode power supply in a plastic box. The grounding pin is just useful when there are metallic surfaces on the power supply. If thats not the case you dont need to worry about anything.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
1091 posts

Good call Martin. Note that the cord from the power supply to the computer only has two conductors! However, you are lacking surge protection. But if you don't use a surge protector at home, you're no worse off in Europe.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21467 posts

The power supply for my Toshiba Netbook IS a switched mode power supply and DOES have a grounding pin on the input. I haven't seen a schematic for it, but there must be a reason that a grounding pin was specified in the design? I don't find it a problem to pack along a couple of grounding Plug Adaptors. Cheers!