Tip: Different voltages within the US and the rest of the world - do you need a transformer?
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
Unfortunately, we live in a world with so many different standards. Different laws, right or left-hand drive, meter or yards and plugs of different shapes and sizes. Still, most of these differences are not dangerous and more or less superficial in many cases.
But something that can permanently destroy electronic, electrical, and computer devices is the different voltage standard.
We say dangerous because it does result in burnout or a tiny explosion in some rare cases. So here is what we need to know about these various standards.
Two main standards
Yes, two is the correct word. More or less. The few voltage standards are in order of 110 V, 115 V, 120 V, 127 V, 220 V, 230 V & 240 V. Operating at either 50 Hz or 60 Hz.
But noteworthy are the two primary standards, 120 Volts, and 230 Volts. You could also safely say the two real range standards are 110-127 Volts and 220-240 Volts. And you would not be wrong. If you were to go to Europe, for example, most of the countries would be sporting a 230 Voltage standard. With America or the US sporting the 120 Voltage standard.
Say you are a US citizen. Or maybe you shopped and had a product from the United States shipped to your house in London.
Here is what will happen. You will find your travel adapter and plug your device, in this case, a hairdryer or a curling iron into your socket. You smell smoke and then nothing. Worst case scenario, a fire erupts from your device. Even worse, it explodes near your face.
Not forgetting your safety, your device destroyed.
Like a PlayStation with a 110-127 V adapter, or even worse, you are an ex-pat from the US or you are here on a working visit and you bring along your laptop. You plug in your laptop, and your adapter starts smoking and may catch fire.
US citizens are at a higher risk of this scenario, since most appliances and adapters may have a limit of 110-127 Volts. Coming to other parts of the world, they may face a higher voltage than what your electrical or electronic device is designed for — increasing the risk of damage. A transformer is crucial.
Step up and step down transformer
We have to admit; these transformers are heavy and for a good reason. All those copper coils inside do affect weight. It is metal, after all. So what this device does is flip the voltage. So if it detects the power coming through as 110 Volts, it will convert it to 220 Volts. And vice versa.
You need to research or at least ask the hotel staff what the voltage standard in the country you are in is. To make sure. Some hotel rooms do have plugs with a different voltage level for your convenience too.
After referring to this ticket and comparing it to the country that you are in, you can determine if you need to bring your massive transformer along. After all, you can plan this before the flight.
It is always good to be prepared. These types of damages are not covered by warranty and could be very painful. Thank you again and we hope this tip blog has helped you out! IT Block wishes you a beautiful day ahead.