I have a son going to Australia (for a semester at Macquarie University) next week and am still unsure if he will be able to use his 120v/60hz gadgets on 240v/50hz using the adapter he bought here. The adapter looks like it doesn't change the voltage just the blade configuration. What do the receptacles look like for Sydney? Where would he buy a transformer and adapter in Sydney? Thanx.
Ralph, Having done the same and similar journeys some times I would say yes in general but some equipment will need a stepdown transformer to use the Aussie juice. For example, most laptop computer power supplies - even those sold in the States - will happily run of 240V with a change of plug/through an adaptor. Some stuff - like the odd hairdrier will have a screwdriver operated switch to change the select voltage - we had one of these from Walmart. Other US stuff tends to be not so flexible - just check the voltage plate on it. For this he will need a step-down transformer that you can buy at Radioshack. Just check what wattage is required. He can fit an Aussie plug when he gets there.
That covers most of the kind of stuff a kid would carry in their suitcase for a year out. Frequency is only a problem for big white-goods which he wouldn't be taking and also remember that TV systems etc are different so there is no point taking even a small TV receiver/video if it isn't international (ie can take a PAL signal) and most US stuff is not.
Indeed, to reinforce Wolfgang's point, the US phone would need to be "tri-band" to pick up to Aussie frequencies and the cost of using that US phone for him in Oz would be very expensive - both to receive and send. Might be better for him to look for a cheap pay-as-you-go when he gets there.
Thank you all for the info. The son brought the converter kit over yesterday and showed it to me. It does have the transformer with the European two round pins an inch apart. No earth ground and a selector switch for high/low watts. I don't see it working very well on a wall outlet because the two prong transformer plugs into the two prong Australia configuration / \ and the load gets plugged into that. At least he has something to hold him over until he gets something better. Is this the only topic on the international front? I haven't been to Germany, Austria, or England since '65. Has it changed much? I was only ten and the memories are fading. I just got a passport this month, maybe I'll head back.
Be wary that some so called voltage converters, particularly high wattage ones, use a triac to drop the voltage as per a light dimmer. These chop the incoming 240V waveform to produce 120V rms. However, the output is not a sine wave. Heating type appliances are fine with this, but something full of delicate electronics is best used with a transformer type adaptor. In any case, step down transformers are very easy to get in Australia from places like Jaycar and Dick Smith which have stores all over the place.
Where would he buy a transformer and adapter in Sydney?
There is a company all over Aussie called Jaycar Electronics, this would be the best place to go for electronic stuff, and they have people there that actually know what it is they are selling. Avoid Tricky Dickies like the plague, you have been warned.
(Sorry, never saw Aussies post above)
Last edited by Trumpy; 07/04/0802:52 AM. Reason: Last bit