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I'm a Canadian citizen travelling to Europe for the first time and was worried about the difference in voltage between the two regions. Currently, I plan to bring a travel adapter (not a voltage converter) and a power strip which I bought recently. The power strip is marketed as something without surge protection, but at the same time it has overcharge protection and overvoltage protection. As well, I am confused by the power rating which states 125V, when I'm planning to use it with 220V, is this a potential hazard? Would this power strip + adapter combination be alright for Europe? Sorry for my bad physics knowledge and thank you so much in advance.

Specifications of the Power Strip: Power rating: 1250W (125V 10A), USB power rating: 15W (5V 3A), USB port input: AC 100-240V 50/60HZ.

The power strip in question can be found here: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B073ZCG3JR/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1

  • 1
    Note that won't plug into a UK mains power socket. – Weather Vane Mar 10 at 20:20
  • What are you going to be plugging in? Is it all chargers for mobile devices/computers, or is there something else you are planning on plugging in? – DJClayworth Mar 10 at 20:26
  • @DJClayworth just chargers, mobile devices and laptops rated for 100-240V – user264985 Mar 10 at 20:27
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    @WeatherVane Which is why they're bringing an adapter along. Plug the adapter into the mains, and then plug the strip into the adapter. – StrangerToKindness Mar 11 at 14:32
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    Your tag says "Europe", but the plug in the power strip will not work in mainland European countries (looks like a UK plug?) – Dhara Mar 12 at 12:00
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It's worth treating this as 2 separate devices - a USB charger, and a power board.

The USB charger is simple - it'll work fine in Europe. It specifically states that it'll handle 100-240 volts, which means that it's designed to work in all European countries (plus all other countries around the world!)

The power board itself is a different story. It states that it's rated for "1250W (125V 10A)". Power in European countries is ~220 volts, not 125 volts, so the question becomes can I use a power board designed for 125 volts in a country that uses 220 volts, and the answer is 'maybe'.

Without getting too deep into electrical theory, the difference between a piece of wire (which is basically what this is) that is designed to handle 125 volts and one that is designed to handle 240 volts is the thickness of the insulation around the wired. Google will tell you why this is the case, but simply put the higher the voltage passing through a piece of wire, the thicker the insulation around the wire needs to be.

Given the types of loads you will likely be using with this board, odds are that the insulation it includes is "good enough", although it may or may not actually meet the European legal requirements for 240 volt insulation.

Presuming you only intend to use low-power devices like mobile chargers and laptops then I would not expect you to have any issues with this device, but technically it may not meet the legal requirements to use it in Europe, and could potentially be a safely risk as a result.

The question of why would it states that the USB charger in the device supports working on 240 volts when the board itself is only rated at 125 volts is something you would need to ask the manufacturer...

  • 19
    The problem is that the fuses, PTCs and varistors may not be rated for 240VAC. It could mean, for example, that the fuse cannot properly stop an over-current @240VAC, which is quite dangerous. – gstorto Mar 10 at 21:16
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    Agree with @gstorto. A typical 240VAC group will be fused at 16A, so it's entirely capable of melting a powerstrip that's rated for 10A. – MSalters Mar 11 at 15:02
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    "it works until it catches fire" is not really useful advice. – Borgh Mar 11 at 15:53
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    @djsmiley2k The thickness of the wire isn't relevant for the voltage, only the current. There's no (substantial) difference in that sense between plugging this into a 16A circuit in Europe than a 15A circuit in the US. As amps is driven by the load, I'll stand by my previous comment "presuming you only intend to use low-power devices..." – Doc Mar 11 at 22:25
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    This answer almost suggests "giving it a go", which I cannot fathom why you'd come close to suggesting. Do not take chances with electronics, ever. And I can't believe that I had to bold that just now. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 12 at 1:15
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Since the power strip voltage rating is too low for European voltages, leave it at home. It might be fine, might not, and peace of mind is worth at least $50.

There are purpose-built travel power strips that are rated for Europe. Google 'travel power strip' (without the quote marks).

Here's an example:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I5R1LNO/

Note: This adaptor isn't for high-power use. If you want to plug in a high-power thing e.g. hairdryer, you should use a hairdryer rated for 240 VAC, and a simple plug adaptor, and plug directly into the European wall.

  • 1
    indeed, just buy one on arrival that has some USB connectors on it and plug your charging cables into that. Saves a lot of hassle and is likely cheaper too. – jwenting Mar 11 at 6:09
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    That will work, if the OP doesn't need North American style electrical plugs on the power strip. But if those are needed, it can be tricky finding them in Europe. – Jason Mar 11 at 7:45
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    There are power strips that have "universal sockets" on them suck as amazon.com/dp/B079MLP3GY (just a random one I just find, not recommending that specific product whatsoever). But this kind of strips is easier to find than a specific type of strip (US or EU or UK etc.). Just need to make sure the cable of that strip would work in the country you'd be traveling to (so shouldn't be a problem if you buy them in the country you travel to). – Dan Mar 12 at 14:54
9

For a product like this with conversion to USB, switches and protection I would not use it outside its rated input. Much simpler to buy a product rated for 240V.

If all your chargers are 240V input rated then the easiest way is to buy enough plug adapters for the number of devices you need to charge simultaneously. One charger with multiple USB outputs and a travel adapter for it, and a second for a laptop charger (assuming that charger is 240V rated).

6

You don't need that much hardware for regular electronic gadgets.

I (canadian) only bring a couple of plug adapters and a couple of cables (usb and apple).

All my gadgets (phone, watch, kindle, laptop, camera chargers) are all rated 110-220v.

I've been (recently) to France, Italy and Spain and did not have any problems.

6

It is basically a complete unknown whether that would work with 240V AC or not, for example it has a switch, who knows what's that rated for. There are any number of power strips on Amazon (example there's a table for related devices, look at those too) rated for 240V, go with those.

However, if you don't need a ground (which very often you don't) then the MOGICS Bagel / Donut and its spiritual successor (and licensee), the upcoming Maru (& Masa) Kickstarter is vastly superior to these devices because of their size and international adapter.

3

Your power strip is rated at 125V and has overvoltage protection. 230V is clearly an overvoltage for a 125V device, so your strip should not work.

  • So it'll be fine to hook up to a 500,000,000V transformer then? – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 12 at 1:17
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit I don't get your comment. Of course it's not OK to hook up a 125V device to a 500MV transformer, at least to the side featuring 500MV. Does my answer imply otherwise? – Dmitry Grigoryev Mar 12 at 7:59
  • well except this strip's specifications do NOT claim to have such overvoltage protection. – DaveM Mar 13 at 19:14
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The seller of that specific item has since answered a question stating that "The Voltage Range of this power strip is 100-240V". Assuming you trust the seller / manufacturer claims the voltage shouldn't be a problem for the power strip itself, though of course you'll need to ensure that all devices you plug in to it are rated for 240V.

  • Not only that, also the overvoltage protection seems to be gone now. – Dmitry Grigoryev Mar 11 at 14:09
  • @DmitryGrigoryev Funny since your answer is predicated on its existence – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 12 at 1:18
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Yes, because that's what the question says. – Dmitry Grigoryev Mar 12 at 7:56

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