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Old 22.08.2008, 17:26
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Converters/Adapters

I'll be living in Bern for some months, and I was planning on buying an international converter, but I heard that Switzerland's electrical wall outlets are different from the rest of Europe (and most converter packages have one for Europe in general). I haven't laid my eyes on anything to convert U.S. plugs into Swiss plugs yet. Do I buy the converter/adapter once I'm in Bern, Switzerland? Is it really different from the Europe plugs to begin with? What do I do? I definitely need an adaptor for a laptop, and another one that I can use for hair dryers/cellphone chargers/miscellaneous stuff..
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Old 22.08.2008, 17:58
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Re: Converters/Adapters

There are adapters available at any of the electronic stores (e.g. InterDiscount) that do take a US plug and can fit into a recessed Swiss socket. But they are ugly, very large and expensive (CHF40).



I have three in the house for computer, I pod speaker dock and another appliance. You can buy them in the USA for about half that price at Best Buy or Circuit City.

I have looked for alternative solutions but there are none that I can find. You can buy a Swiss plug at a major electrical store or a place like Hornbach (costs about CHF 1.00) and then cut off the US plug and re wire. But then you're faced with doing the same thing when you go back to USA and if you're uncomfortable with wiring things yourself it can be a hassle.

Finally for some electronic items (e.g. Apple laptops) you can easily and inexpensively buy a new adapter.
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Old 22.08.2008, 17:59
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Re: Converters/Adapters

Importing electrical equipment - ins & outs
Plugs of the World
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Old 22.08.2008, 18:16
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Re: Converters/Adapters

Having lived in various countries, I have a wide selection of plugs and adaptors. I have found the WES4.6-E320 IEC from http://www.europlugs.com (direct link: http://www.europlugs.com/Wonpro_cata...fig_WES4.6.htm) attached to a local power cord solves the plug problem once and for all.
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Old 10.01.2010, 14:28
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Re: Converters/Adapters

per the link and the power strip, is this a power strip you plug in for Switzerland and you can plug ALL your US plugs into the same strip? If so this is awesome. Is there a place to buy this locally?

Also, for electrical experts out there, I read somewhere that I have to add up all the watts on my power strip I think? For example, things that use 50W, yet a few are plugged into the same strip then I have to add them up? Maybe I am mistaken.

replies would be helpful thank you!
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Old 10.01.2010, 14:45
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Re: Converters/Adapters

For anyone bringing in goods from the US, please note that Europe runs on 220-240V, not 110V as in the US. If you simply use an adaptor, your electrical goods will, quite simply, blow up.

Some items (laptops and mobile phones) are generally designed to run on 110-240v, and will work with nothing more than an adaptor. Others (desktop PCs) have a voltage switch on the power supply. Flip that, add an adaptor, and you're good to go.

Other items (toaster, hair dryer) are designed to work only on 110V. To use these here, you'll need a transformer. It'll weigh as much as a cinder block and cost several hundred $$$. It's usually cheaper to replace your goods once you get here, especially if they draw a lot of power.

The long and short of this advice is: check, then double-check, anything you want to use here before you actually plug it into the wall.
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Old 10.01.2010, 14:48
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Re: Converters/Adapters

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per the link and the power strip, is this a power strip you plug in for Switzerland and you can plug ALL your US plugs into the same strip? If so this is awesome. Is there a place to buy this locally?
You buy a normal US power strip (before you leave the US), then once you are here you either:

1) cut off the plug and rewire using a Swiss plug (about $1 at any electrical shop, 3 screws and about 5 minutes work)

or

2) Add a US-to-Swiss adapter to the US power strip (effective, marginally less safe, a little more bulky and expensive)

Because we've lived around the world, we've accumulated a collection of these power strips. Depending on which room you're in, it may be English-to-Swiss, US-to-Swiss, or Euro-plug-to-Swiss!
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Old 10.01.2010, 15:41
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Re: Converters/Adapters

I have a heavy power converter and the instructions say to switch from 220 to 110 to select 220 on the switch. Well these instructions are stupid since does that mean that I move th switch to 220 and then it's hidden and 110 is what is then showing, or do I make it so that 220 is visible on the switch?
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Old 11.01.2010, 14:55
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Re: Converters/Adapters

My US Power strip says 110V only, so if I put it in 220V will it still work effectively?

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You buy a normal US power strip (before you leave the US), then once you are here you either:

1) cut off the plug and rewire using a Swiss plug (about $1 at any electrical shop, 3 screws and about 5 minutes work)

or

2) Add a US-to-Swiss adapter to the US power strip (effective, marginally less safe, a little more bulky and expensive)

Because we've lived around the world, we've accumulated a collection of these power strips. Depending on which room you're in, it may be English-to-Swiss, US-to-Swiss, or Euro-plug-to-Swiss!
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Old 11.01.2010, 14:59
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Re: Converters/Adapters

Provided it's a cheap, simple power strip, it would work fine. If there's any jiggery-pokery in there (eg, surge protection, etc), all bets are off. You're looking for something really simple like this:

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Old 11.01.2010, 15:00
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Re: Converters/Adapters

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I have a heavy power converter and the instructions say to switch from 220 to 110 to select 220 on the switch. Well these instructions are stupid since does that mean that I move th switch to 220 and then it's hidden and 110 is what is then showing, or do I make it so that 220 is visible on the switch?
It's set to 220 when the '220' is visible.
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Old 11.01.2010, 15:05
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Re: Converters/Adapters

If your appliance is 110/220, there's always these:


http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.3529
Price: $0.87





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Old 11.01.2010, 15:08
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Re: Converters/Adapters

I bought these for my three pronge US appliances/CPU/TV. Works like a charm...

http://www.stayonline.com/detail.aspx?ID=328

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Old 11.01.2010, 16:52
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Re: Converters/Adapters

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I bought these for my three pronge US appliances/CPU/TV. Works like a charm...

http://www.stayonline.com/detail.aspx?ID=328


You have to be careful with those - they have a really cheap regulation circuit from 230->110 - its OK for lights and things but stuff that needs a coherent phase, such as a washing machine, will see a degradation in its operating lifetime
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Old 11.01.2010, 17:25
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Re: Converters/Adapters

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You have to be careful with those - they have a really cheap regulation circuit from 230->110 - its OK for lights and things but stuff that needs a coherent phase, such as a washing machine, will see a degradation in its operating lifetime


These don't change voltage? I thought there was nothing more inside them than a few bits of copper conduit?
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Old 11.01.2010, 17:40
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Re: Converters/Adapters

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These don't change voltage? I thought there was nothing more inside them than a few bits of copper conduit?
Ah sorry - they look like the cheapo voltage-changing ones - still you are not doing your non 230V equipment any favours.
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Old 11.01.2010, 22:20
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Re: Converters/Adapters

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Ah sorry - they look like the cheapo voltage-changing ones - still you are not doing your non 230V equipment any favours.
Why not? All my equipment is dual-voltage, I do not have any transformator. It is just a simple plug

Most of the plugs sold here are two prong US input only...
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Old 11.01.2010, 22:22
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Re: Converters/Adapters

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Why not? All my equipment is dual-voltage, I do not have any transformator. It is just a simple plug

Most of the plugs sold here are two prong US input only...
These plugs won't pose any problems to dual voltage devices. All they do is make the connection between your plug and power.
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