Most people cannot describe their happiness when they are traveling. Who wouldn’t be especially when you are going on a vacation overseas? But did you know that not all of your electronic devices will work in other countries without having any power issues? Yes, some may work, some may not. You might ask,  “Why?” Because different countries have different voltage standard. For better understanding, let us first discuss basic electricity.

What is the meaning of Voltage? You definitely have seen a multitude of warning signs, particularly on electricity poles, that call people’s attention to items or operations that could be dangerous for them. Most of the time it includes the amount of voltage it contains, for example, DANGER 1000 Volts.

So, let us define voltage. Voltage is the electromotive force or the electric potential energy difference between two points (often within the context of an electrical circuit) per unit of charge, expressed in volts (V). For a more simpler explanation, let us consider one illustration. Think of a water stream coming from a water reservoir. The quantity of water coming out is the electric charge, the water flow represents the electric current and the pressure of the water flowing will serve as the voltage. How is this connected to our topic about your device?

Your electronic devices like your phone or laptop will not work without the electric current. That is exactly the reason why you need to plug your device into a wall socket. Through that, a potential difference is established between the wall socket and the laptop charger, letting current to flow to the laptop.

You have to make a note regarding the value of standard operating voltage in countries. Let us take the United States as an example, the standard voltage is around 120 Volts, while in India, it is around 230 Volts. How about other countries besides the United States and India? They may also have a wide array of various voltages.

The question is, why do they have different standard voltages? The answer, every country use what they felt was best for them, suitable for their country, and what they can handle. So how can you be sure that your device will work abroad?

First, you have to do research about what plug shape do they use in the country you are going to visit. Make sure that you have the appropriate plug shape for you to be able to plug your electronics into the power outlets. Good thing, you can easily buy fairly cheap adapters that you can use when you travel.

But there is another thing to consider, as said earlier, different countries also use different voltages of electricity. For precise measurement of the current’s amount, Current Shunt Resistors are recommended. So, if you plug in a device that isn’t rated for the outlet’s voltage, it can possibly be seriously damaged. For this part, you will be needing a converter. A converter enables you to use your electronics with the proper voltage from outlets in the country you’re visiting without the risk of damaging your device. Just make sure you are using a converter with the right wattage for your device.

If you are one of those backpackers who loves traveling around the world, be sure to know the type of adapters and converters you’ll need to purchase ahead of time. Bon voyage!

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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