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How Do I Choose the Best Electronic Converter?

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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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Electronic converters are necessary anytime one needs to transform a current of electrical energy. This conversion offers a change in voltage, current, or frequency. Smaller devices such as cell phones run on milliwatts, while larger items such as HDTVs run on megawatts. When choosing the best electronic converter, it is important to recognize where you are in the world, what type of device you are charging or running, and which combination of AC and DC the device needs for application.

First, consider the type of device that needs the electronic converter. The two basic types of electric plug-ins are 2-pin and 3-pin. International electricity is different everywhere you go. Europe, Australia, and China use mainly 2-pin. The UK and USA use both 2-pin and 3-pin, but their wall outlets most often fit both. The most common power voltage outlet across the world is 220 volts.

Check the power requirements on your electronic device before purchasing an electronic converter. For laptops, a dual voltage power converter may be necessary depending on where you are. If you are looking to charge your device in the car, you’ll most likely need an AC/DC power adapter that plugs into the cigarette socket.

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Next, consider what country you will be in when charging your device. In the USA, Canada, and Central America, 110 to 120-volt wall sockets are basic. In Central America, converters are widely available in proper retail shops as well as street vendor markets. Is Asia, especially Southeast Asia, power converters are available everywhere, and many street vendors will know what you need if you show them.

If you are traveling to multiple countries on different continents, a multiconverter kit, also known as a hi/lo transformation converter/transformer kit, is a great option to cover all bases of power conversion. These packages come with four to six pieces and are accompanied with a soft case for organization. USB cords can also be a viable way to charge small devices off your computer or laptop.

Multiconversion kits fit nearly all 2-pin and 3-pin electrical outlets. This device has a switch that turns from high to low. High mode operates on appliances over 50 watts, while low mode operates on appliances under 50 watts. Low mode works for items such as cameras, camcorders, cell phones, and cell phone chargers. The high mode is used for nonelectric items like space heaters.

An AC/DC, or rectifier, converter is the most widely produced and is most likely the one you will need if you are looking to charge something like an iPod or small mobile device. It is also used in battery chargers, TVs, and most small to medium-sized electronic devices. DC to AC is known as an inverter. There are also AC to AC and DC to DC converters. If a device is supplied with batteries, you will likely need a DC to DC electronic converter to charge the batteries.

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