International Travelers - AC adapters knowledge base

Assumptions:
-that all your mobile phone/camera chargers have 2-pins plugs.
-that all your chargers are "dual-voltage", i.e., they can operate either on 110 volts or 220 volts.

There are four (4) major types of AC receptacles used around the world, see this picture.

Type G (UK) 

  

Used in UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Belize, Kenya, etc. Type G is known as British Standard 1363 [BS 1363].

Type I (Australia, China)

  

Used in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and old China.

China

China's sockets accept 3-pin Australian plug, 2-pin Australian plug, 2-pin Europlug (either 4.0 or 4.8mm diameter pins) and 2-pin US (non-polarized) plug.
Some hotels in China and airports furnish "multi-receptacle" that accepts type G (UK) plug in addition to above. These universal receptacles can accept Type G, I, A, B, E, F, Europlug and Schuko plug.

Universal

It is common practice for receptacles in China hotels to be disconnected from the grid when you leave the hotel room or turn off the lights to sleep. The marking "UPS" in China hotel means the receptacle will still be powered even after you leave your hotel room or go to sleep.

Type A (USA, Canada, Mexico)

Type A is used in USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, China (China's new standard)
There are two Type A versions:
The "polarized" version has one pin wider than the other pin (e.g. USA, Canada, Mexico).
The "non-polarized" version has both pins of identical width (e.g. Taiwan, Japan, China).

  

For travel use, non-polarized plug is absolutely important.

Type E, F (Schuko plug) and Type C (Europlug)

For this group of plugs and receptacles, pins are round and spaced 19 mm apart.
There are two variants:
4.8 mm diameter conductor pins: Germany, Korea, Spain, Russia, Indonesia, France, Poland, Bangladesh, Denmark, Thailand, etc.
4.0 mm diameter conductor pins: Italy, Switzerland, Brazil, Chile, etc.

Type C plug, widely known as Europlug (CEE 7/16 Standard) is designed to work with Type E, F, H, J, K, L, N, O sockets in over 135 countries. Europlug has a current rating of 2.5 Amperes (small appliances), this is adequate for mobile phone or camera chargers.
Europlug design details: Europlug has a 10 mm insulated section and the pins are slightly bend towards each other at the free end.

  

Europlug adapters for traveling in Europe

     

Schuko Plugs (4.8 mm diameter pin)

Used in Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Korea, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Indonesia, France, Belgium, Poland, Bangladesh, Denmark, Greenland. It is designed to carry higher current (16 Amperes).

Portability issue of Schuko adapter for world travelers: Schuko plug (4.8 mm diameter pins) cannot be inserted in 4 mm diameter sockets such as Italy, Switzerland, Brazil, etc. It is not a suitable choice for world traveling, except in Germany, Korea, Spain, Russia, Indonesia, France, Poland, Bangladesh, Denmark, Thailand.

South Africa (M)

South Africa uses Type M sockets which is not compatible with Type G, I, A, C.
South Africa is adapting IEC 60906-1 standard which happily accepts Type C Europlug.

India (D)

India uses Type D sockets which is not compatible with Type G, I, A, C. There is an accidental physical compatibility between Type D socket and Europlug. However, it is a bad idea to use a Europlug in Type D sockets because Type D sockets are designed to accept 5.1 mm diameter pins whereas Europlug has 4 mm diameter pins. Sparking and fire may result. In extremely desperate situation, 4.8mm diameter Schuko plug offers a better approximation fit to the Type D plug.


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