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Do I need a voltage converter or just a plug adapter
April 14, 2005 7:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be traveling from the US to Italy and Greece. Do I need a voltage converter or just a plug adapter to power my PowerBook and Minolta battery charger?

I know that Apple sells their own plug converters, so I assume that their power adaptor is rated for 240. Is the front part rated for 240 as well which means that I just need a plug adaptor, or do I really need their special mono-tasker for that?

I also want to be able to charge my camera battery. The charger is a Minolta Lithium-ion Battery Charger BC-400. On the back it says the input is rated for AC 100-240V, 50-60Hz, 15-20VA. Am I right in thinking that I can just use a plug adaptor for that too, or do I need a voltage converter?

If I do need a converter, which one should I get? Most of the ones I've found say they work for 50 to 1600 watts, but I've heard that battery chargers often draw less than 50 watts.
posted by willnot to Technology (8 answers total)
 
You don't need a voltage convertor. Any plug adaptor will be fine, even if it involves running 240v through the US plug.
posted by cillit bang at 7:54 AM on April 14, 2005


Yeh, your charger will be fine. I did this in Ireland last summer. (The powerbook charger has the same ranges, right?)

You might need a plug converter, but if where you're staying has "shaver plugs" (native current and voltage, but with holes for exery type of plug), you can plug your chargers right into that with no problem.
posted by easyasy3k at 9:36 AM on April 14, 2005


When I went to Germany I charged my iPod and camera battery by simply using an adapter, no voltage converter necessary. Both devices had labels reading 120 - 240V. The iPod charger comes apart. Instead of the US 2 blade configuration, the European models get the 2 pin Euro outlet configuration, otherwise it's the same white cube.
posted by fixedgear at 9:37 AM on April 14, 2005


When I went to Nairobi I FRIED MY BRAND NEW PALM PILOT in 5 seconds even though I was using what I thought was a good adaptor/converter (from Brookstone) and it never worked again. Be careful!
posted by tristeza at 9:39 AM on April 14, 2005


Powerbook adapters can handle the changing voltage/frequency fine. I used my old powerbook in both the US and Belgium with no ill-effects. Same for gen 1 ipod adapter. As fixedgear noted, you can get things that actually adapt the plug directly on the ipod brick, and you can swap out the bit that goes from the wall to the adapter on the powerbook adapters as well. I wouldn't know where to go to get the replacement ones, though. I'd invest in a decent plug convertor, and just use that for all your devices. If you need to charge the ipod and powerbook at the same time, just daisy chain them. Recent model powerbooks (maybe old ones too, but I'm pretty sure it's a newish feature) will still power the firewire port, even when they're asleep.
posted by heresiarch at 12:48 PM on April 14, 2005


The PB's charger is designed for the conversion. I got poor performance in France with an additional converter in the mix before I realized it was redundant.
posted by o2b at 1:20 PM on April 14, 2005


Apple stuff can go off either voltage, but not everything you lug around can. So take advantage of this fact by charging everything you possibly can off of USB. Your Mac becomes your portable power station. Zip Linq cables work very well for this.
posted by yesno at 3:02 PM on April 14, 2005


i don't know much about electricity, but i spent a year with a powerbook (titanium) in taiwan with no convertor, and the laptop worked fine throughout the year, except that the cord overheated and split, and then the paint started chipping off. not sure if the paint was from overheating or high humidity, but i wouldn't trust another powerbook to not fall apart with different voltage. my powerbook still runs fine two years later, but it's not pretty.
posted by scottreynen at 10:16 AM on April 15, 2005


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