Discover How To Keep Your Electronic Devices Charged While Traveling Overseas


Istanbul, Turkey

If you’ve ever been to Europe before, you know they use a different type of electricity and plug. Some electronics will work, some will not. And I hope to give you a few hints.

Because I worked installing and servicing commercial and industrial fire alarm systems in the U.S. for forty years, some of this will be a little embarrassing.

Just a week ago, I arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, and I came prepared with a power converter to keep my computer and phone charged. Knowing that most of the world uses 220 volts, using electronics from the U.S. (120 volts) could lead to disaster.

Well, guess what happened? The first day here, I overloaded my converter, and it died. Here I am, trying to write a blog and keep in touch, and I can’t charge my computer, phone, or camera battery. Ouch! I went into panic mode. Do I ship something from the U.S.? Should I buy new electronics for Europe? I didn’t know what to do.

Welcome to the internet!

I spent a bit of time on the internet looking for alternatives when suddenly I came across a page that said, most electronics made today will work with either 220 or 120 volts. So, being an electrician, I picked up the little USB charger unit that plugs into the wall, which I use in the U.S. (Pictured above), and it clearly says, input voltage 100 to 240 volts.

So I bravely plugged in my camera battery charging unit and waited for smoke. But to my surprise, the charging light lit up and stayed lit. Then I tried my phone. And sure enough, it started charging, too. So the moral of the story is… I wasted money on a power converter.

The difference between a power converter and an adapter.

A power converter changes the power from one voltage to another voltage. In my case, converting 220 volts down to 120 volts. This is something that those little USB plugs already do. They convert 100 volts and 220 volts down to five volts. Which is what most electronics use to charge throughout the world. ( This doesn’t mean all electronics will work; you have to check them!)

In the rest of the world, you need an adapter to plug into the wall. Turkey uses a type ā€œCā€ plug, which has two round prongs similar in shape to the U.S. Ground plug. So, an adapter plugs into the C-type plug and has a U.S.-type plug on the other side (Pictured above).

There are actually fifteen different types of plugs in the world. The U.S. Plugs are referred to as type A and Type B. Type A has two flat prongs, and type B has two flat prongs and a round prong.

So, as I have suddenly learned.

For most electronic equipment, you don’t need a power converter you need an adapter. I guess an old dog can learn new tricks.

Until next time, enjoy life’s journey.

Joe OBrien

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