Foreign Electricity Information
What You Should Know About Traveling Overseas With Electrical Appliances.
Electrical appliances built for use in North America are designed to operate on 110-120 volts AC (Alternating Current). Most of the world, however, operates on 220-240 volts AC. To use your favorite 110-120 volt appliance while traveling overseas you need to convert foreign 220-240 volt electricity to match your 110-120 volt appliance's voltage requirement. Failure to do so could severely damage or destroy your appliance.
The device made for this purpose is called a voltage converter. Voltage Valet™ offers both the transformer type and solid state type of voltage converters for use with a wide range of electrical appliances.
How To Find Voltage And Wattage Ratings On Your Appliance
To determine the correct model voltage converter or heavy duty transformer you need, you must know the voltage and wattage requirements of your appliance. You can find this information listed on the appliance manufacturer's label located on the back or bottom of the appliance or in the specifications section of the appliance owner's manual. The label or manual will show the input voltage (100, 120, 220, 240 written as: 120 volts, 120V, 120 volts AC, or 120VAC), the wattage (100 watts or 100W), or the amperage (0.5 Amps or 0.5A or 500mA).
IMPORTANT NOTE: If only the amperage rating is shown, multiply the input voltage by the amperage rating to find the wattage rating. Volts x Amps = Watts or 120V x 0.5 A = 60W
Cycles - 50 Hz vs. 60 Hz
North American 110-120 volt electricity is generated at 60 Hz. (Cycles) Alternating Current. Most foreign 220-240 volt electricity is generated at 50 Hz. (Cycles) Alternating Current. This difference in cycles may cause the motor in your 60 Hz. North American appliance to operate slightly slower when used on 50 Hz. foreign electricity. This cycle difference will also cause analog clocks and timing circuits that use Alternating Current as a timing base to keep incorrect time. Most modern electronic equipment including battery chargers, computers, printers, stereos, tape and CD players, VCR/DVD players, etc. will not be affected by the difference in cycles. IMPORTANT: Voltage converters and heavy duty transformers do not convert cycles.
Converters and Transformers
Two Types Of Voltage Converters -- Transformer Or Solid State. Which Type Do You Need?
Transformer type voltage converters can be used with any electrical appliance that meets the transformer wattage rating requirement. Transformers can either increase (step up) or decrease (step down) voltage. To use a 110-120 volt North American appliance in a 220-240 volt country you need a step down transformer.
Solid State type voltage converters can ONLY be used with non- electronic heating appliances. They will damage motorized or electronic appliances. Solid State converters will only decrease (step down) voltage.
European Shaver Sockets
CAUTION: The 220-240 volt AC electrical outlets found in many foreign bathrooms are only for use with low wattage appliances rated at 5 to 10 watts maximum: i.e. electric shavers, oral hygiene devices, contact lens disinfectors etc. Using your hair dryer or other high wattage appliance on this outlet, even with a voltage converter, can blow the main fuse or circuit breaker and may damage your converter and appliance.
Surge Protectors, UPS Systems
WARNING: Do not use North American 110-120 volt surge protectors or UPS Systems (Uninterruptable Power Supplies) with overseas 220-240 volt AC electrical systems, even with a step down voltage transformer. North American electrical systems are not wired the same way as overseas electrical systems and damage could result when using these devices.
A Few Reminders
Voltage converters and North American appliances will not operate on Direct Current voltage (volts DC).
In a foreign country, always check the type of electrical current (AC or DC) and voltage (100, 120, 220, 230 or 240 volts AC) before using your converter or dual voltage appliance.
Read all instructions and always check the appliance you plan to use with a converter for voltage requirement, wattage rating, and type (motorized, electronic, heating, etc.), and be sure that the appliance is operating properly before you leave.