Maybe you are planning to travel overseas, and you are worried about plug compatibility between your prized electrical devices and what’s available in the country you plan to visit.   Or, perhaps you are moving overseas for a temporary assignment that could last several years. What will you do about your plug-in devices once you arrive there?

Or, maybe you simply purchased (or are considering purchasing) equipment designed to be used in another country.

One thing is for certain. Electrical compatibility is about more than just the plug styles! Please don’t make the mistake of considering only plug styles. The commonly available plug adapters won’t be enough if your prized device needs a different voltage and frequency than what will be available there. It might be good to do a brief refresher on the topic!

Somewhere on your device there is probably a tag that indicates the required voltage for the device. It’s not always in an obvious place. It might be in small font, and perhaps less than legible. If you cannot find it, do a quick search on the device’s model number and look for the specifications. A quick glance at the tag or the specifications, and you are sure to find the ratings, in a format similar to this example:

Power Requirement: 115V AC, 60Hz, 25W

What does the above rating mean?

Voltage.  The first item listed is the voltage, which in this case is 115V AC. The issue most of us are familiar with is Voltage, often abbreviated Volts, or simply “V.” Every plug-in device will be AC (alternating current) rated. Voltage is the potential difference present at the power plug terminals, which is what causes power to be delivered to your prized device. Some devices will indicate 100-250V, which means that your device is “Universal” and can work on any voltage standard across the globe. But, many will not be universal. Too low and your device will not activate. Too much, and your device will very likely be damaged.

In general, the way the world is divided with respect to voltage is as follows:

North America: 115V AC

Rest of the World: 230V AC

Some exceptions do exist. For example, Taiwan is 115V AC, as is Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia. So, it is best to check!

Frequency.  The next term in the rating is the intended Frequency for the device. Frequency is the number of times that the electric current switches polarity per second, expressed in a standard called Hertz, or abbreviated Hz. On devices with motors that turn or vibrate, frequency will determine the speed at which they operate. Some devices will indicate 50/60Hz, which means it can operate at either 50Hz or 60Hz and perform well. But, many devices are designed for ONLY one frequency or the other, but not both.

Again, the way the world is divided with respect to Frequency is as follows:

North America: 60Hz

Rest of the World: 50Hz

Again, some exceptions exist. Taiwan is 60Hz, as is Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia. Half of Japan is 50Hz and the other half is 60Hz. So it is always prudent to check!

Please do not make the mistake of overlooking frequency.  Some equipment can overheat or be damaged by operating it at the wrong frequency.  But most of the time, it will operate erratically, or simply operate at the wrong speed.  And, the wrong speed could be a major problem, for example, if the device is a clock, turntable, tape player, high-performance clipper, or anything else with a motor that turns or vibrates.

Power.  The last term in the rating is the power the device requires to do its job, expressed in Watts. When you go to select a power converter, you will need to know this since the power converter must be able to deliver this much power, or more. If the converter does not have a rating greater than this number, then it will not reliably operate your prized device.

KCC Scientific products are available which will solve ALL of the issues above. First, our products are provided and equipped with the proper plug conversions. Second, they will convert the voltage to what you require. Just as important and often overlooked is the frequency. Our products provide the frequency conversion you need as well. We have products capable of more than 200 watts, so you should be able to find a KCC Scientific converter to suit the device you are trying to power, once you find yourself in your new home across the globe.