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Laptop Voltage in Ireland?
February 11, 2010 8:26 AM   Subscribe

Need a tech-savvy traveler, or voltage geek: my boss is taking a new Lenovo laptop to Ireland next week. Does she need a voltage convertor or just a plug adapter?

Also, the plug adapters I just bought only have two progs on the input. What's that all about?

I'd prefer not to get a long-distance call saying "Um, my laptop is on fire".

I've seen some reassuring things, and some alarming things, and would love to hear from someone who'd plugged in a US laptop in Ireland without a resulting explosion.

Thanks!
posted by Erroneous to Travel & Transportation around Ireland (18 answers total)
 
Most notebooks have a charger that can handle 100 to 240 volt. The only part you need to worry about is a converter plug - US to UK. You can buy one at a dollar store, or almost any electronic store for less than $20.
posted by bright77blue at 8:30 AM on February 11, 2010


Almost certainly your boss just needs the plug adapter. Look on the power cord for the laptop, on the block in the middle of it. It'll say 120-220V or something like that. As long as it says it handles 220V, all you need is the plug adapter.
posted by ish__ at 8:31 AM on February 11, 2010


I used a Lenovo laptop in England and used the AC adapter. It was US plug to AC adapter, no voltage converter.

The two-prong adapter you have won't work. You need a grounded adapter. This is the one I used.
posted by cooker girl at 8:36 AM on February 11, 2010


Oh, one more thing: look at the AC adapter (the big black box-looking thing) on the power cord for the laptop and make sure it says something like 100-240V and 50-60Hz. That way you know it'll be good in the UK.
posted by cooker girl at 8:39 AM on February 11, 2010


I was also in England, and only needed the adapter. The power brick is sophisticated enough to handle the different voltage. Have him check his other devices though, like his cell phone charger.
posted by ThatRandomGuy at 9:53 AM on February 11, 2010


Electral Outlet.org has a nice grid of voltage, frequency, outlet configurations, and comments where suitable. Then check the power requirements of the things you plan on plugging in, as they may be able to handle a range of voltages and/or frequencies.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:57 AM on February 11, 2010


Since you already have your US-UK plug adapter, you can get a ground lift at any hardware store to take care of your third prong.
posted by Wulfhere at 10:15 AM on February 11, 2010


Brilliant. She just brought me the laptop: the brick says 100-240v, 50-60Hz. And, surprisingly, the plug is two-prong (non-grounded), which means I can give her the plug adapter I bought this morning. Looks like it'll work just fine.

Thanks so much for the assistance, folks.
posted by Erroneous at 10:25 AM on February 11, 2010


American laptops sometimes only have two prongs, presumably because some American buildings don't have grounded outlets (like my 1930s dormitory). I bought one laptop with two prongs there; second laptop had 3.
posted by jb at 10:32 AM on February 11, 2010


Oh, I didn't see that you wrote "input" initially. I'm sorry. Yes, use the grounded adapter that you have and you'll be fine!
posted by cooker girl at 12:13 PM on February 11, 2010


Just to be sure, the adapter you need should look like this

The one cooker girl linked to above is NOT correct (it's for mainland European sockets).
posted by Long Way To Go at 12:34 PM on February 11, 2010


Is Ireland on the UK standard for outlet shapes, or the European? There's no difference in voltage between the UK and the Continent, as far as I know, but I haven't been to Ireland myself and they do some things the British way and somethings the Continental way.

In case you were wondering, most electronic equipment does not need a full-on voltage adapter (just the plug-shape adapter) when going overseas. Many electronic devices already have an adapter to translate between AC (alternating current?) and DC(direct current?) -- like a computer, an mp3 player or a cell phone -- and most of those adapters are just standard the world over with just the plug end changing. So they are designed to work with any AC between 100v and 240v. It's always a good idea to check, of course. My husband and I bought a voltage adapter for the occasional British thing that wouldn't work in the US (and a vice-versa one), but didn't need anything but plug adapters for computers, cell phones, mp3 players, etc. We sure wish it was possible to have brought our lovely English kettle home with us, but that would have required an adapter and taken forever to boil, what with being designed for 240 volts. My mother-in-law still uses her English sewing machine in Canada, along with a massive brick of a step-down adapter (they are much smaller 20 years later).
posted by jb at 1:24 PM on February 11, 2010


Sorry, I should have differentiated between a plug-shape adapter, and a voltage converter or transformer (Just didn't know the right words).

Also, there are a stupidly large number of different plug shapes in the world.
posted by jb at 1:31 PM on February 11, 2010


If your boss arrives in Ireland at a decent hour, she can go to an airport shop and get the plug she needs. They're less common here, very common there.
posted by theora55 at 2:25 PM on February 11, 2010


Is Ireland on the UK standard for outlet shapes, or the European? There's no difference in voltage between the UK and the Continent, as far as I know, but I haven't been to Ireland myself and they do some things the British way and somethings the Continental way.

Ireland is on the UK three-pin outlet standard, and on the same voltage. Result of close proximity/vestige of history as part of the kingdom, I'd expect. Plus Northern Ireland and all that.

As an aside, I'm not sure what else we Irish might be doing 'the Continental way'. Care to elucidate?
posted by macdara at 4:43 AM on February 12, 2010


Mostly the funny Euro money, and winning Eurovision semi-recently. I've never actually been to Ireland. But if you told me that they drive on the right in the republic, this wouldn't surprise me. I guess I never assume the republic does what the UK does.
posted by jb at 5:07 AM on February 12, 2010


I guess I never assume the republic does what the UK does.

Fair enough, but really we have profoundly more in common with our British neighbours than we do with anyone else in Europe -- from electricity standards to the road system (though speed/distance is metric here now) to the TV we watch, the media we consume, etc.

Sure we have the Euro currency, and it's interesting to see the continental coinage appear in our pockets occasionally, but that's not much of a connection.

I'll end on that note before I'm chided for chatfilter!
posted by macdara at 3:59 AM on February 16, 2010


Ah - it sounds like Canada and the US. We're really very close to the US in exactly all the ways you note: " from electricity standards to the road system (though speed/distance is metric here now) to the TV we watch, the media we consume, etc" could be said about Canada and the US just as much as Ireland and the UK. But just like Canada and the US, I'm always very aware that they are two different countries.

And I think chatfilter is fine at the end of questions : )
posted by jb at 9:42 AM on February 16, 2010


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