(Almost) All You Need to Know About Electrical Convertors and Adapters in S
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Sep 17, 2012 10:53 AM Last Post By: malvolio
Sep 14, 2012 4:32 PM
(Almost) All You Need to Know About Electrical Convertors and Adapters in SFirst of all, some nomenclature: a convertor changes the voltage (and sometimes even the frequency) of electricity. An adapter just makes it possible for your plug to connect at all to the local socket; it doesn't change any aspect of the juice you're getting.
Throughout South-east Asia, you'll typically find multi-standard sockets. That is, if you have a two-pin plug, like the Europlug or the standard German, French, or Italian plug, or the British "shaver" plug, or the standard American two-bladed plug, you can fit it in there. Well, not "fit", but you jam it in there and wiggle it around and be careful not to pull it out, it'll work. Some places even accept heavier-duty American ground (two blades and pin) plugs. The only thing you need an adapter for is those big British BS-1363 plugs and I can't imagine what you'd be carrying that would have one. An electric chair?
Adapters: you don't need them
The converter. Most of South-east Asia (maybe all) uses 220 volts, just like most places. If you're American, you probably only use 220 for your clothes dryer, which I would recommend you leave at home anyway. Do you have to worry about this difference?
No. Almost anything electronic will accept both 110 and 220. If you have something old, you should look on the case for a note that say either "110V" or "110V-220V"; only use the latter.
Maybe. 110V resistance-heated devices -- irons, teapots, steamers, that sort of thing -- will "work" in 220V. In fact, they might work too well. They heat up faster and more with the higher voltage, so depending on how you feel about dying in a hotel mattress fire, you probably want to watch them carefully while you've got them plugged into the Asian line.
Yes. Anything with moving parts, motors, fans, will be sensitive to the voltage (and in some cases to the frequency). Check the case and the manual, but if in doubt, don't use it. The exception is the fans on electronics (like laptops and video projectors); these are driven by the internal power-converter of the device and will work fine at 220V.
Converters: you don't need them
Special note for Myanmar: all the foregoing is true, but it scarcely matters. Electricity is so unreliable in most of the Union, it's barely worth bringing anything that has to be plugged in. If you happen to be in your hotel room while the power is on, go ahead and jack in, but if the power goes out again, unplug: there will be all kinds of weird surges when the power comes back on that'll shorten the life of your device. Do not just leave things plugged in "in case" the power comes back on. The only exception might be a battery-charger that's not part of the device, where you actually pull the battery out of the device and stick it in the charger; those are safe to leave in in the hopes of catch a little charge by luck.
Other than that, you probably don't have to worry about this subject at all. Whatever you are bring with you will probably just work.
Sep 15, 2012 7:50 AM
Does Myanmar have the two prong Euro plugs or the three prong British ones. I need to charge camera batteries and am not sure which cord to bring. I've seen conflicting reports.
Also, are you a friend of Alan Orange?
Sep 15, 2012 4:08 PM
That is, some (most I think) outlets are the multi-standard ones that you can wedge pert-near any two-pin or two-blade plug into -- but not, of course, the three-pronged British Standard 1363.
Some more accept some weird Chinese-made plug. A few accept the 1363 and nothing else. Whether that's residual loyalty to the Raj, Burmese whimsy, just whatever was left at the hardware story, or something else altogether, I have no idea. But the confusion is a good metaphor for Myanmar as a whole. 150 languages, more than 100 "nationalities", a dozen armies of independence, sure, why not have three or four incompatible plugs?
If I were you, I'd just bring the two-prong plug. It will work in Thailand and most outlets in Myanmar -- if there's any power at all, that is.
I like to think of myself as a friend to all, but I've never met Alan Orange.
Sep 16, 2012 9:50 AM
Sep 17, 2012 10:53 AM
Eventually, you have to make your own call.
Don't forget though, everything you bring, you have to carry. That sounds like a small thing, until the bus lets you off a kilometer from your destination and it's 40°C in the shade and there's no shade and your pack-straps are cutting into your shoulders and every gram of every book and gadget and piece of clothing you brought "just in case" is like a thorn digging into your skin...
I don't know if I'm an expert but I know I don't know anyone named after any citrus fruit at all.
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