Boulder City Magazine® May 2007 Issue
by Ihla Crowley
Dealing With Electricity
Nothing seems to be more confusing or frustrating than trying to figure out how to deal with our electrical appliances while traveling abroad. I don’t claim to understand it fully, but will try to explain a little about it in the simplest terms possible.
Boulder City Magazine®
|First, in the U.S. we are supplied electricity by our local power company at 110 or 120 volts and 60 Hz (or Hertz). European electricity is generally supplied at 220 volts with a frequency of 50 Hz. Some localities have 110 volts, but don’t let that fool you. They still use a 50 Hz frequency, which could cause you problems. So, to use our electrical appliances abroad, some hardware is needed in order to plug in without electrocuting your machine, and maybe yourself.
Hair dryers and irons (the most common culprits), run at high wattage, so a converter may be needed. I say ‘may be needed’ because some of the appliances have a dual voltage switch, and some of the newer tech devices accommodate dual voltages. Check for a switch or instructions. If not, a converter will reduce the 220 volts to 110. Although many razors and battery chargers work without a converter, you should check that it is marked 50/60 Hz, and not 60 Hz, or you can run the risk of burning it up even when using a converter.
You will also need plug adapters because European plugs are different than ours. And they vary from country to country. For instance, the British and Irish use a three prong plug, and the outlets on the continent accept plugs with 2 round prongs but that varies, too.
Still confused? Me too. But I’ve solved the problem by purchasing a ‘kit’ that contains a converter and several plug adapters. The converter has a little switch on it that indicates high or low voltage, and each plug is labeled with the country it can be used in. You can find these kits in travel catalogs and luggage stores, and I found an inexpensive set at K-Mart a couple years back.
A good site to learn more about this is www.enjoy-europe.com. From the home page, click on Chapter 11, Electricity In Europe. And there are a few more details at www.driftersister.com.
Catch the wind…
Taste the rain…
And touch all of your tomorrows…
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