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Am traveling from USA to São Paulo. Will it be possible to use cell phone charger, razor, etc without some sort of electrical converter and/or outlet adapter?

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Some useful answers below and I'll add a tip: I suggest take an extension block/socket bank from your country in your luggage so that you can plug this into the adapter if it has only one socket (many do). That way, you can run several devices off one socket and not need several conversion/adapters. –  therobyouknow Mar 11 '13 at 13:17
    
I've made adapters myself by replacing the connector on a power strip. –  MSalters Mar 26 '13 at 13:50
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Watch out with your razor! Most electronic devices such as computer and phone power supplies and chargers are dual voltage, but electrical appliances like hair dryers and razors are still commonly single voltage. A razor may have a voltage switch rather than automatically handling either voltage. I blew up an electric razor when I came home from a trip and forgot to reset the switch. –  hippietrail Oct 18 '13 at 3:56
    
@therobyouknow they're two names for what I call a 'power board' that I haven't heard before. I still keep asking where the 'power point' is though when overseas and only get blank looks in return :) –  Sam Oct 31 '13 at 23:41

4 Answers 4

Brazil has a new outlet standard which is the IEC 60906-1. You can easily buy the adapter in Brazil and you can still find some outlets like the ones in USA, specially at old places. The voltage at São Paulo is 127 V and the frequency is 60 Hz.

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the outlets don't vary between regions in the country, but a new standard has been "invented" pissing everybody off because it's unique to Brazil, not seen in any other country...very clever!

So if you go to a newer property or if it's been recently renovated, you see a deep outlet that looks like this:

IEC 60906-1 (NBR 14136) plugs and outlet
Photo thanks to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.

If you have this standard, there's no other choice but to buy a local adaptor.

If it's an old one, you'll have both the flat US plug and the round european style ones in the same outlet, which means you'll be able to use your appliances without a problem.

Sao Paulo has 110v.

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Any idea what the new standard is called or where you can buy a US adapter in advance? –  flighttime Jul 11 '13 at 14:45
    
IEC 60906-1 (Brazilian NBR 14136) (Type N). It looks an awful lot like a Swiss plug (Type J), but apparently they're incompatible. Yay for "standards", there are so many to choose from! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… –  jpatokal Oct 18 '13 at 3:56

Short answer: most likely you'll be able to use your devices in most places, but, just in case, bring a simple US-Europe power adapter like this:

US-Europe power adapter

Long answer: Brazil had always used both US and European power plug standards, but since 2011 ISO 60906-1 is the only acceptable one, i.e. now it's not allowed to sell the old plugs/sockets in stores. So you still see a lot of sockets from the older standard but new buildings use only the new one.

The only big issues with the new standard are the third (ground) pin, which is positioned differently than other common standards, and the plugs of devices rated higher than 20 A, which use a 4.8-mm pin diameter (and therefore don't fit in the normal socket). Devices like chargers and razors won't be affected if they use the adapter from the picture above.

Also keep in mind that the mains frequency is always 60 Hz, while the voltage can be either 127 V or 220 V, depending on the city and state. Be careful: in cities where the voltage is 127 V people sometimes take 2 phases from the mains to make one 220 V outlet, but in that case there's usually a very clear warning stuck on the wall.

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Here is a good site where you can check on the type of power used in different countries and the outlets. Wikitravel will also usually give you good information.

In Brazil it seems that different parts of the country use different voltages and outlets. Some are 110V and use the North American outlet, and others are 220/240V and use the European outlet. The site above gives more details.

Sao Paulo appears to be 110V North American.

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