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International Power Cord - Things to Consider While Purchasing One
"Once a year go someplace you've never been before"
You might have read this quote multiple times.
Most of us wait for summers, so we can go to different destinations and have life-changing experiences. This summer too you might have been traveling if we were not facing this pandemic.
But, let's not lose our hope. Maybe we will be planning our next trip soon.
If you are planning an international trip of course after this pandemic comes under control, you will need to make sure that you are packing all necessary things. But, in the middle of all these, there are chances of you forgetting one necessary thing i.e. power adapters.
While purchasing international power cords, you need to make sure that it matches the destination's plug standard. You need to have the right adapter so you don't end up frying your hairdryer.
There are various types of plugs and adapters like iec c7 power cable, USA 3 pin NEMA, and many others. Before purchasing any cables, you need to make sure that you check the labels to avoid the risk of purchasing the wrong adapters.
There are some important variations in the standards among countries, in some cases even the states or cities of countries.
These differences include:
Outlet and plug shape
Let's see each of them in brief:
There are two standards of current i.e. Alternating Current and Direct Current. I hope you must remember the famous war of Tesla and Edison during which the US standard came to existence.
Edison was supporting DC whereas Tesla was supporting AC. Both of them had some advantages over the other. The benefit of AC is that it is capable of traveling farther distances among power stations and because of that, AC standard got accepted only in the US.
Of course, not all countries accept AC nor do all our devices. There are batteries and other internal devices of many electronics that require DC power. For example, laptops use DC power but have a brick that converts AC power to DC power.
Voltage is the force using which electricity travels. There are different standards of these international power cords. But, the common standards for travelers are 110/120V in the US and 220/240V in most parts of Europe.
Before purchasing any type of International Power Cords make sure that you understand the capacity of your devices.
AC power means how often the current alternates each second. Mostly, the standards are 60 hertz in the US and 50 hertz in other parts of the world.
In most cases, hertz doesn't make a difference in performance, occasionally it can cause problems with the devices that use the timers.
There are various types of plug shapes available in the market. Most of the travelers choose from the four common types of adapters. The International Trade Administration divides them in four different alphabetical shapes i.e. A, B, C, D and so on. You can always go online and check which one of these four is right for your trip.
Going further, you must be thinking, is it sufficient to have a power plug adapter? Instead of carrying different adapters.
Then my answer is No.
You can purchase USB adapters and use your USB-C cord with a USB-A plug. But, for other devices, you need to look at the back of your device where you will see the UL listing and other information. For laptops, the information is on the power adapter.
The UL listing will provide you information about current, frequency and voltage your device can handle. If you are traveling to the country which is perfect for the specific standards then you will need only one right plug shape.
Usually, there are three types of devices:
- The ones which comply with only one standard
- Dual mode devices that comply with two standards (switching between 110V and 220V)
- Those compatible with a wide range of standards
To convert devices into dual modes, you need to have a flip switch or move a slider.
Now, comes the real question:
Do you need an adapter or a converter?
I would say, what to use and where to use completely depends on the place you are traveling to. Let's say you are traveling with a single voltage device to a country that has a different voltage, then here you need a voltage converter. If you travel from a place that has low voltage standards to the place which has high voltage standards then you need a step-up converter. If it's the other way around then you need a step-down converter.
Note: Do not use the converter with your laptop or else you will end up damaging it.
If working with a laptop then in the rarest of the scenarios you will need to have a converter for AC to DC conversions. But, in most cases, your laptop already has the brick which takes care of power conversions. If the need arises for you to purchase it, then you can always pick them from your destination country.
While planning your next trip and thinking about IEC c7 power cable, converters, or cables don't forget about packing other important stuff. By the time you are still planning your next trip make sure to stay home and stay safe.