World Travel Guide 1

WORLD
TRAVEL GUIDE – OVERVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL ELECTRICITY


This
world travel guide is intended strictly as an introduction to
international electricity and how it affects a traveler’s use of
electrical appliances. For
more in depth information, click here


There
are 3 major electrical differences between the US/Canada (and a few
other countries) electricity and the rest of the world:



  1. Voltage
    – The voltage in US/Canada is generally in the 115 volt range
    and the rest of the world will be generally in the 220/230/240 volt
    range


  2. Outlet
    (receptacle) Configurations – The outlets in other countries
    are completely different than those you find in US/Canada and many
    countries have more than one possible configuration.


  3. Frequency
    – The US/Canada frequency is 60 Hz. (hertz) while most of the
    220/230/240 volt countries have a frequency of 50 Hz. This
    difference is not generally a big issue for a tourist or business
    traveler.



What
do these international electricity differences mean to a traveler?



Voltage


US/Canada
appliances, for the most part, are designed and manufactured to be
used at just 115 volts. If one of these is plugged directly (without
a voltage converter or transformer) into a foreign 220/230/240 volt
outlet. It will probably, at best, be ruined immediately.


The
good news is that many appliances are what they call "multi-voltage"
or "dual-voltage". If you have an electrical appliance that
you want to use in a foreign country (where the voltage can be
220/230/240) and the appliance is multi-voltage (says input 100-240
volts) or dual voltage (says input 125/250 volts) you usually (if in
doubt, verify with manufacturer) only need a plug adapter. The input
voltage (watts or amps and frequency, also) information can usually
be found on a charger but it could be anywhere on the appliance often
on the main body of the appliance where it can be difficult to read.


If
the appliance is not multi voltage or dual voltage, you will need
either a solid state voltage converter or transformer with the
appropriate watt capacity rating. You will need to know the watts or
amps required by the appliance in order to get the correct
transformer or voltage converter





Outlet
Configurations





Regardless
of whether you need a transformer or voltage converter, you will
always need a plug adapter. That is a given. Our World Electric Guide
is a list of all the countries in the world. The list shows the
voltage and frequency of each country and when you click on the
country name, it will show which plug adapters are needed in that
country. Many countries have more than one possible configuration, so
don’t be alarmed to see multiple possibilities.


The
list shows both grounded and ungrounded plug adapters. Grounded plug
adapters are needed needed for your grounded appliances and
ungrounded adapters can be used with your ungrounded appliances.
Grounded appliances have 3 pins on their plugs and ungrounded
appliances only have 2 pins on their plugs. Ungrounded plugs are
often polarized meaning one of the 2 pins is wider than the other.
Most countries outside the US and Canada do not have as many grounded
and polarized outlets so you may need both in order to be prepared


The
outlets in Japan, Mexico, and these countries **
are very similar to the outlets in U.S. however, they do not
have as many grounded (3 pin) and polarized (one flat pin bigger than
the other) outlets. The voltage in Japan is 100 volts and the
frequency is 50 Hz in some areas and 60 Hz in others. Mexico has a
voltage of 127 volts in most areas but varies widely (higher or
lower). There is no practical solution to this voltage situation so
we recommend contacting your destination to find out if you are going
to have problems with your appliances or not. They would know for
sure and it could save buying something you may not need



Frequency





Frequency
refers to the alternating current (AC) and is a component of
electricity that is created at the generating plant. The US/Canada
frequency is 60 Hz. (hertz) while most of the 220/230/240 volt
countries have a frequency of 50 Hz. This difference is not generally
a big issue for a tourist or business traveler.


Usually
frequency is only an issue with AC motors (vacuum cleaners, blenders,
and other appliances with rotating components) and some older
electronic technology. Some AC motors are dual frequency (50/60 Hz.)
and unaffected by the difference. It should say somewhere on the
motor.


DC
(direct current – doesn’t alternate) motors are also not
affected by differences in frequency. Many appliances have rotating
components but the motors are DC such as many VCR, tape players,
high-end turntables, and many others like that.


There
is no practical solution to the frequency problem. An AC motor that
is strictly 60 Hz. Will rotate 17% slower in a 50 Hz. Country and it
will also run a little hotter. The slower rotation will affect
performance and the increased heat will shorten the life of the motor
by varying degrees depending on the appliance. These AC motor
references include compressors on refrigerators, freezers, air
conditioners, etc.


**List
of countries with outlets that are very similar to the outlets in U.S
and Canada but they do not have as many grounded (3 pin) and
polarized (one flat pin bigger than the other) outlets. It is best
to contact your destination to find out for sure if you are going to
have problems with your appliances.


Bahamas,
Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guam, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica,
Japan, Mexico, Micronesia, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Palau, Puerto Rico,
Saba and Saba (St.Eustatius), Taiwan, Trinidad, Tobago, Turks/Caicos
Islands, United States of America, Venezuela, and Virgin Islands


Click
on the world travel category below that best describes your
situation, concerns or applications for more information:

WORLD
TRAVEL GUIDE #1 – Help! What do I really need?



A
quickie, "down ‘n dirty", analysis of your situation


WORLD
TRAVEL GUIDE #2 – In-depth analysis of your needs



An
elaboration on the more abridged world travel guide #1 but still easy
to comprehend


WORLD
TRAVEL GUIDE #3 – Quick overview of International Electricity Issues



This world travel guide is important and contains some very helpful world travel information but it may be more information than you need or want. It includes the issues of surge, frequency, and outlet configurations that may affect you as you travel the world.


WORLD
TRAVEL GUIDE #4 – To and from certain countries with electrical
standards similar to the U.S.


Many
countries, especially in Central America and Caribbean, have
electrical standards very similar to the U.S. and Canada. The
following countries have some special requirements: Bahamas,
Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guam, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica,
Japan, Mexico, Micronesia, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Palau, Puerto Rico,
Saba and Saba (St. Eustatius), Taiwan, Trinidad, Tobago, Turks/Caicos
Islands, United States of America, Venezuela, and Virgin Islands


WORLD
TRAVEL GUIDE #5 – Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ



You
are not alone in your confusion about International Electricity and
what it means to you when you travel. This world travel guide
contains some very common questions that should prove helpful in
determining what you actually may or may not need.


WORLD
TRAVEL GUIDE #6 – Relocating to 220/230/240 volt countries with
US/Canada 110/120 volt household appliances



World
travel guide you will want to review if moving US/Canada 110/120 volt
appliances to a 220/230/240 volt country. This world travel guide
covers those issues necessary for you to decide which appliances make
sense to be relocated with you.

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