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We are headed to Italy from the US. We plan on packing light but with an 8 year old (and an amateur photographer), we will be taking the following items. I've read that a lot of newer electronics work on 110 or 220 voltage. You just need the adapter (ie, no power converter required).

Will we need to get a converter for any of the following items?

  • iPhone 4
  • iPad 2
  • iPod Touch
  • Nintendo 3DS
  • Sony A55 DSLR (the charger)
  • Kindle Fire
  • Kindle (original)
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Have you checked the power supplies? –  Karlson Mar 23 '12 at 20:25
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3 Answers

There are essentially two ways to check if your appliance or its charger work on 220V. Usually the fine print on the adapter will give the range, saying something like: "Rated input:AC 100-240V". If the voltage of the country falls in the range specified, you will be fine.

If you can't find the voltage on the charger, try downloading the instruction manual for the charger. Most companies have the manuals online. Somewhere it should also have the input voltage specification.

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If it's a device meant for travel and it's modern the odds are high that it supports 50-60hz/100-240V power. Always check by examining the power markings on it, though--if there are no markings figure it's 60hz/120V. The only thing I travel with that needs a converter is an electric toothbrush, everything else accepts anything out there.

Note that you generally have to check the powerpack, not the device itself. The only thing on your list I have is a Kindle--look at the plug itself, between the prongs. You'll see it's rated for anything.

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If there's any piece of equipment that you're in doubt about, plug it on a voltage converter. Step-down converters start around $10; beware that cheaper models won't support much load (one electronic device should be ok for even the most basic models, but not all of them on a power strip). If your converter does both directions, make sure to set the switch correctly, otherwise you could fry your device.

Converters may be cheap, but they're heavy (1–2lb). Most electronic devices are sold worldwide, and manufacturers like to ship the same device everywhere except for the power cord. Even power supplies built into the plug often support both voltages. So there is a good chance that all your devices do work on 220V, but be sure to check first.

If any of these devices charges over USB, make sure you have at least one USB charger. I've never seen a USB charger that cared about input voltage, but that doesn't prove that none exists.

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When in doubt plug it into a TRANSFORMER, not a converter. Mechanical or thermal appliances (razors, irons, hair dryers, etc.) will work with a converter, but electronics will not. Fortunately, it is relatively rare to find electronics from major manufacturers that are not dual voltage these days, as a transformer is quite a bit bulkier than a converter. –  choster Jul 7 '12 at 2:44
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