Voltage Converters and Other Things You Need to Understand When Traveling

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The world keeps getting smaller. You can step on a plane in Newark, New Jersey at 10 in the morning and get off the plane in Barcelona at 6 in the afternoon. And it's easier than ever to get along overseas. You don't even need to learn another language - there's an app for that! Wouldn't it be nice if all of your electronics and personal electrical appliances translated to foreign shores as easily as you do? Well, with voltage converters, voltage transformers and a few other tech toys, you can bring all of your favorite electronics with you and know that they'll play nice with the electrical systems overseas.

Why You Need Voltage Converters

The world wasn't always such a small place, where people moved easily from one place to another. That means that different parts of the world built infrastructure, including electrical delivery systems, using different standards. In North America, the common household electrical system delivers electricity to your appliances at 110 to 120 volts. In most of Europe and many other parts of the world, the common household current is 220 to 240 volts. Electrical appliances and electronics sold in each area are made to use electricity the way that it's delivered in that area - and they are not compatible with power sources that use other standards.

In short, if you buy a hair dryer in New Jersey and plug it into an outlet in Barcelona without a converter, it's not going to work. Not only will it not work, there's a good chance that it will never work again because the 220 volts is more than it's equipped to handle. Even worse, if you plug it into an outlet in an older building, you could very well short out the electricity to the whole hotel. That's not going to make you popular with hotel management - or the other guests.

What Converters Do

Just like the name says, voltage converters convert the voltage delivered from the power source into a voltage that your electrical appliance can use without frying itself. Depending on the kind of voltage converter you buy, it will either pump up the volume by increasing the voltage from 110 volts to 220 volts or step down the voltage from 220 volts to 110 volts. You simply plug your appliance into the voltage converter, plug the converter into the wall and - voila! Just like a translation app, it translates the voltage into the kind that your hair dryer, coffee maker, curling iron or battery charger can use.

Voltage Converters, Voltage Transformers, Step Up and Step Down - Huh?

There are several different kinds of converters and transformers, and it's important to choose the right one for your appliances. When you start throwing around words like voltage transformers and step up and down voltage converter transformers, it all starts to sound so confusing that you may be tempted to just buy a new hair dryer rather than mess with it. Really, it's not that hard. Here's the Cliff Notes version.

Voltage transformers and voltage converters are technically two very different things, but many online websites use the words interchangeably. Generally, if the device you want to power uses an electric motor, you want a voltage converter. If it uses electronic chips and circuits, you want a voltage transformer.

If you're going from a country that delivers electricity at 110 volts to one that delivers electricity at 220 volts, you want a step up voltage converter. If you're going from a country that delivers electricity at 220 volts to one that delivers electricity at 110 volts, you'll need a step down voltage converter.

You can avoid all the confusion by buying a step up and down voltage converter transformer, which does it all - and most of the time, will do it all automatically without you even thinking about it.

You can learn more about voltage converters and voltage transformers at a site that sells electronics and electronic equipment, and choose exactly what you need for your travels.
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