When going to other places, having your iPad charging station to make sure your tablet is always charged is a no-brainer. However, do you always have qualms about plugging your lightning USB cable and other devices to your hotelâs electric outlet, fearing that it might explode or cause a short circuit of some sort? Well, here is a rundown of things you should look into before taking that plunge and inserting that plug:
Why are there different voltages in different places?
The reasons are more or less historical. It was Thomas Edison, as in the scientist, who insisted that appliances should run on 110 volts (DC). It was then Westinghouse, as in the electronics company, that convinced him to switch from DC to AC so that transformers can be used. Thus, 110 V (AC) became the standard in North America. Europe started with 110 volts as well, but at 50 Hz, since they adhere to the metric system. However, after the Second World War, voltage was doubled to 220 V because with higher voltage meant lower usage of copper. African and Asian countries just followed the standards set by those that colonized them.
Thus, now, Canada, the US, and Mexico, as well as other Central American countries like Honduras and Panama, are the only ones using 110 V. The rest of the world use 220 V, and some other countries have unique voltage requirements like Japan (100 V), India (230 V), and Kenya (240 V).
What can be the effect of plugging appliances in different plugs?
It should be noted, though, that small changes in voltage does not damage your appliances. Thus, some American homes have 105, 115, or 120 V and you wonât experience any exploding gadgets. However, beware of things that have different voltages and do not turn on if they are plugged. For example, a Japanese piece of equipment that is specifically cleared for 100 volts can overheat (and even burn out, meaning the insides of the gadgets, wires and all, can be fried) if plugged into a 120-volt plug.
If an appliance with 120 V is plugged into 220 V outlet, the power the appliance draws may quadruple. This should cause the heaters, the lights and motors to blow out after only a short moment of operating the device. These devices may emit smoke and have melted fuses. Moreover, electronics with single inputs will most probably get damaged, with components of its power supply burned out.
On the other hand, when a 220 volt appliance is plugged into a 120 volt outlet, the effects are less dramatic. The power drawn by the appliance will be only -¼ of its requirement, making the device work improperly. For example, the screen of a laptop may be very dim or the device may turn on, but nothing will come out. Some equipment may work, but very slowly and not with a lot of power. Electronics that have single inputs will probably not work, but will not be seriously damaged at the same time.
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