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European power conversion
Old 12-06-2002, 06:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I will be going to Austria and Venice in March for carnival, but I am not sure of the best way to power my laptop and recharge the batteries for my D60. The power converter that I purchased is nothing more than a plug adapter. It does not step down the volts from 220V to 110V. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Re: European power conversion
Old 12-06-2002, 06:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Joe

Check the rating on your laptop -- most don't need power conversion. You just use the adaptor and plug it in! My Gateway worked that way when I was in Paris for a while last year.

On the battery charger -- I don't know about Canons but all of the manufacturers sell in Europe. I'd be willing to bet you could buy a European charger for the same batteries. Although check the rating on the charger -- some of those are multi-rated as well.

Best of luck!

Bob

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Re: European power conversion
Old 12-06-2002, 07:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Joe! Welcome to Garage Glamour!!

I'd use a "step down" transformer for electronics to be sure you don't burn up your unit. The plug adapter you mentioned does nothing more than allow you to plug into the wall outlet..it doesn't convert power. If your electronics have a 240/120 switch that should work, but I'm not sure enough to risk trying it.

I've got a Franzus travel model we have used in Europe and China to power laptops and recharge camera batteries. If you want to borrow it I'll send it to you (if I can find it.) I'll look for it this weekend.

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Re: European power conversion
Old 12-06-2002, 08:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Funny this came up. When I was recently in Berlin, I fried my Quantum battery charger, but my Nikon D1X battery charger seemed to work, although it was acting kinda funny. Good luck.

 
 
Re: European power conversion
Old 12-13-2002, 01:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'd hate to be responsible for your equip, but anything that has a transformer plug should function in Europe with a simple plug adapter. My battery charger for my Powerbook, for example, works fine there, as do my hard drive and CD burner and so forth. I did not, however, bring any lighting gear with me save AA battery operated stuff (my Vivitar). Everything I needed in terms of lighting I had to rent, which was a big, big pain in the ass. But nothing got fried.
 
 
Re: European power conversion
Old 12-13-2002, 01:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You can buy virtually anything Canon in Europe. I bought a Canon body in Berlin a couple of months ago right after I had a body give up the ghost on me during a shoot. I had no trouble finding it. It did cost about $200 more than it would've at B&H, but that's life when you're in a pinch...
 
 
Re: European power conversion
Old 12-13-2002, 09:17 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Joe -

I'm no engineer, but I have some familiarity with the issue since we use equipment manufactured in a variety of countries.

Most (all?) European countries use 240 V, 50 Hz, power. I believe that there are a variety of connectors, according to the standards of the country. The US and Canada use 120 V, 60 Hz.

Devices which use a transformer may or may not work with a simple plug adapter, depending on how conservatively designed they are. Most would not, and many could be destroyed by the attempt.

Devices which do not use a transformer will most likely be destroyed by trying to use them with a simple plug adapter.

A step-down transformer would help quite a bit, but some (few) devices still won't work because the 50 Hz doesn't allow quite the same efficiency in conversion as the 60 Hz does. I can also imagine that some circuits may use the power line frequency to get a timing signal, and those would run slow.

Your safest course of action is to contact the manufacture of the device(s) you're taking and asking them directly.

Enjoy the trip.
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Re: European power conversion
Old 12-13-2002, 09:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I want to echo Bob Warren's comments. Many power supplies have multiple ratings. You need to read the ratings very carefully before you try to adapt the unit to european power. Many switching power supplies are usable on 120 or 240 volts without any modification. Some have switches to select 120 or 240 volts. Most "wall warts", little black plug in transformers, are one voltage only. Radio Shack had some universal ones that could be used with 240 or 120 and had interchangeable tips. When using a transformer, you need to be certain that it is big enough to handle the load that you are going to connect to it. Most adapters give current ratings for input and output.

Another approach is to try to get 12 volt adapters for everything that you use. I have a 12 volt adapter for my notebook, a Canon 12 volt charger for my Canon NiMH batteries and a Powerex 12 volt charger for AA NiMH batteries. The Canon and Powerex both have a 120 volt wall wart and a 12 volt cigarette lighter cord.
You can find Powerex at www.zbattery.com .

If you aren't certain of something, ask specifically about that unit. It is impossible to give specific advice without knowing the details. Beware of store sales people. They are often technically innocent.

Good luck.

Bill
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Re: European power conversion
Old 12-13-2002, 09:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Technically Innocent.....I love that...when I stop laughing IM gonna adopt it if ya dont mind...





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Re: European power conversion
Old 12-13-2002, 04:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Be my guest.

I was at a loss for a term to describe well meaning people who simply have no knowledge of the subject at hand.

Thanks.

Bill
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