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I have been told that step down converters and/or transformers reduce 240 v to 110 and to 40-60 mega herz. A missing part is the wattage diffeence. Some converters and/or transformers
work with wattage of a particular strength. Otherwise, one risks the appliance. I have an iPhone, iPad and iPod plus and HP computer. Does anyone know the wattage for the Apple products? I called Apple and the local Apple store. I love Apple and don't want top say bad things but one of the people who should know say the information about wattage was confidential and that I need to buy one of the converters on sale at their store. Any opinions or information. As a sideline, when I first went to Europe in the mid60's, one was dependent upon meeting people at the coffee house or while hitchhing who passed one information about different things like food and lodging. Steves has done a good thing with the Helpline for which I am particularly grateful. Thanks Ross Carter

Posted by
18620 posts

"40-60 mega herz"? a Hertz is 1 cycle per second. Household power, here and in the EU, operate at hertz, cycles per second. In Europe it is 50 Hertz; here it is 60 Herz. Only computer processors operate in mega-Hertz. Neither converters nor transformers change the frequency (Hertz) of the power. What Apple told you was a lie to get you to buy something. The specs can't be confidential; they have to be printed on the device. Look at the power supply. It probably says something like, "input, ~100V-240V 50-60 Hz". This (100V-240V) is called dual voltage. If so, you don't even need a converter. I haven't seen an electronic device (computer, camera) for years that wasn't dual voltage. I didn't even know Apple sold voltage converters. What they do sell are over-priced (probably because they are white and match the shape) plug adapters. No plug adapter, Apple or otherwise, depends on the wattage, at least in the range we are talking about. You can buy an inexpensive plug adapter that will work at ACE hardware (or other places) for a couple of dollars. Rick sells them here. For more information, see my web page.

Posted by
1525 posts

The Apple sales person may or may not have been trying to sell you something you didn't need. They might have simply misunderstood your question since you seem to be a bit unsure of yourself, too. All Apple and Apple-imitator charging products I have ever seen in the last 6-7 years have been dual voltage - meaning that it can handle either 110 or 220 volts. In that case, all you need is the pin-shape adaptor - costing a dollar or so on this site or your local store. Bring more than one in case you misplace it. They are small and light. More importantly - speaking generally - almost all electronics of the past several years will likely be dual-voltage. About the only commonly-used electric items that still require "conversion" with that clunky and heavy little brick of a converter are items with a motor (like a plug-in-only electric razor) or things that produce heat (like a curling iron). Items like a hair dryer that have both often overheat and blow out the converter. Or put even more simply, products that use very little electricity and operate by charging a built-in battery will likely be dual voltage. Products that use more electricity are likely to not be, and require a converter. Of course, there are numerous exceptions. Look for the indicator "110/220" on the plug or box that it came in.

Posted by
9363 posts

Ross, as Lee says, every piece of equipment you mentioned is already designed for world operation. All you will need is an inexpensive plug adapter to make your US chargers fit the Euro sockets. That's it.

Posted by
6200 posts

Note that some hairdryers sold in the US have a flat switch with a slot (for a coin or screwdriver) that points to either "120" or "240". That's another form of "dual voltage". Because it involves a switch (as opposed to being inherently dual voltage, like the while cube that comes with an IPad), you have to get in the habit of checking the switch before you use it. It's not the manufacturer's fault if you burn out the device because it's set wrong.

Posted by
813 posts

I have a Macbook Pro that I purchased in the US. In Europe I plug it straight into the wall with just an adapter that changes the configuration of the plug from American style to Euro style. It works fine, no wattage/transformer converting necessary. Hope this clarifies your question a bit.