8

My voltage converter has only one 110V outlet. Is it safe to plug a 3-outlet 110V power strip to the voltage converter?

  • The voltage converter is a 1100W step down 220V to 110V converter:

  • 2020 Professional DOACE 2200W Voltage Converter, All-in-One Travel Converter Step Down 220v to 110v with Power 10A Dual Adapter 4-Port USB UK/US/AU/EU International Plug Converter

[UPDATE]: Thank you for the advice thus far. To improve the question:

  • I want to deliver power to an HP EliteBook 8460p and peripherals (mouse, keyboard).
  • The intended location is Manila, PH.
  • All peripherals plug into the laptop (NOT into the converter).
  • NO printers.
  • A 65 Watt external AC adapter is also included.

Thanks again for your kind assistance.

  • 3
    What kind of devices are you planning to plug into the strip? – lambshaanxy Feb 29 at 5:41
  • 1
    If the strip plugs into the top of the adaptor so it is physically unbalanced, i.e. it can tip to one side, or form a see-saw (US teeter-totter) then IMO no, it is not safe, because plugs might partially disconnect and cause arcing etc. It would be safer if the strip has its own power lead so that the power strip may sit securely on a flat surface. Don't attempt to draw more than the rated power - which is the total, not for each socket. – Weather Vane Feb 29 at 8:28
  • to add to @petergreen's answer: on the Amazon page, all examples they give are like curling irons, hair dryers, etc so it is very likely to be thrystor based. I'd stay away from that thing. – Thomas Feb 29 at 19:15
  • What kind of devices do you plan to connect to it and do you plan to use it in adapter mode or converter mode? These kinds of cheap converters have very significant limitations and it's very important that you fully understand them before you use them and don't let people who don't understand their limitations use them. – David Schwartz Mar 4 at 6:40
  • If the only thing you want to plug in is your laptop, and everything else is powered by the laptop, then why do you want a power strip in the first place? – Nate Eldredge Mar 6 at 19:22
5

Plugging the power strip into the converter is not a problem. The problems may start when you plug things into the power strip.

In an edit you mention wanting to power up a (laptop?) computer. Most laptop computers accept 100 to 240 volt and do not need a converter. I have even seen warnings not to use a converter on those.
You will find the power input range on the plug or the block in the lead.

If your computer does not accept the wide range voltage input it might be cheaper to replace the lead with block, which is already a kind of converter. It converts from the mains to what your computer actually uses.

| improve this answer | |
8

Broadly speaking, there are three types of device that can be used to "convert voltage". I am listing them from worst to best.

The worst are thyristor-based phase-cutters: these reduce the RMS voltage, but they do not reduce the peak voltage, using them with anything other than a resistive heating load is a BAD idea.

In the middle are autotransformers. These provide a proper waveform, but there are two problems with them. Firstly, if a wire breaks inside the unit while under light load they can expose the load to full input voltage. Secondly, if the supply is connected with reverse polarity (many countries do not have polarised sockets, so this is not uncommon) then the live to neutral voltage will be reduced, but the "neutral" terminal of the output will be at the input voltage relative to ground.

The best, but unfortunately the bulkiest and most expensive, are isolating transformers.

Unfortunately, many power strips contain "surge protection" between the live/neutral and the earth which is set to activate at just over the normal operating voltage. If such a power strip is plugged into an autotransformer that is connected to a reverse-polarity supply or plugged into a thyrister based converter then smoke is likely to result.

So if you are going to use a power strip with an autotransformer, then you need to make sure it either doesn't have surge protection between L/N and earth or that the surge protection between live and earth is suitable for 230V usage. With a thyrister based converter things are even worse, you need to either ensure there is no surge protection at all or all the surge protection is suitable for 230V use.

Assuming your device is https://www.amazon.com/Professional-Converter-International-Converters-Countries/dp/B07MZQ8DQV there is no way that device is large enough to contain a 2.2KW transformer. So either it's a crappy thyristor based converter or the 2.2KW rating refers only to the adapter part of the product and the voltage converter part has a much lower rating. Unfortunately the information printed in the unit is too small for me to read in the Amazon photo.

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  • Interestingly, the converter part seems to have a higher power rating: 26W–2000W, whereas the adapter supports 0W–1920W. There are additional restrictions, though: "Converter Mode CAN NOT work with electronic controlled devices that are controlled by digital chips that has auto shut-off, timer, temperature control, pulse, touch screen function, CAN NOT work with dual voltage appliances 100-240V, such as Cell Phone, laptop, CAN NOT work with low-wattage appliances (0-25W), such as Hair Clipper, Electric Shaver, Electric Toothbrush and Dental Flossing Machine, waterpik." – Jörg W Mittag Feb 29 at 16:23
  • 1
    "Converter socket only work with Conair/ Revlon/ BaBylissPRO brands of single voltage 110V/120V (straightener/ flat iron/ curling iron), can’t work with other brands of 110V/120V (straightener/ flat iron/ curling iron)" – Jörg W Mittag Feb 29 at 16:25
  • Also, interestingly, the device seems to have an IEC 60320 C14 power socket, but then instead of trusting the user to supply a (whatever standard the country they are traveling in uses)-to-C13 cable (which are readily available anywhere, worst case you unplug the TV in your hotel), they supply these super-flimsy plug adapters. – Jörg W Mittag Feb 29 at 16:35
  • 2
    If that's for use in the UK, the plug adapter supplied fails safety standards and is illegal to import and use. It has no fuse complying with BS 1362. The plug pins are unsleeved and fail BS 1363. UK socket circuits are protected at 32A. A fuse in the plug is essential to protect the cord. – Owain Feb 29 at 20:13
  • @Owain But it has a CE stamp! :) J/K, you are exactly right. That cheap Cheese junk is bad news. And I know it's not the good kind of cheap, those sellers hace figured out they can ask about 80% of the price of safe/legal product. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 1 at 1:38
4

There are several possible failure points in this stack. Provided these are resolved in a manner satisfactory to you, using these two devices together will be OK:

  • The power converter's specifications are accurate. Not all spec claims are valid and true.
  • The power converter's plug and socket are of standard design, and internally wired correctly.
  • The power strip's plug, cord, and sockets are of standard design, and internally wired correctly.
  • The plugs to be plugged into the power strip are likewise of standard design and internally wired correctly.
  • The current to be drawn from the power converter - i.e., the total consumption of the power strip (which may have some internal circuitry) and whatever other power-consumers are plugged into the power strip - must be less than the amount of power the power converter can deliver.
  • The power converter can deliver its rated power for whatever time the loads will be connected to it.
  • The converter and power strip are (as Weather Vane correctly observes in a Comment) in a stable physical arrangement.

The answers to some or all of these matters might be unclear. If that's the case, you'll choose to proceed (or not) depending upon your judgment regarding the apparent quality of the devices, their reviews by other users, the brand name under which they are sold, and the possible consequences to these two devices and anything plugged into them if something goes wrong.

EDIT: @Peter Green has posted an answer as well, which provides excellent additional information about assessing the voltage converter. I upvoted his answer.

| improve this answer | |
  • Plugs being wired correctly doesn't help you if the country you are traveling to has unpolarised sockets........ – Peter Green Mar 1 at 12:59
  • @Peter Green True, but if you're traveling in such a country and want to plug in, you'll run that risk anyway. And if you travel in an polarized-socket location, you're better off. – DavidSupportsMonica Mar 1 at 18:14

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