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I am travelling from Hong Kong to Ireland. In Hong Kong type G (220V, 50Hz) plugs and sockets are used. While the plugs and sockets in Ireland are also type G, they have different voltage (230V, 50Hz). Just wondering if I can use my Hong Kong chargers without using a adaptor in Ireland.

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Mains power is not like a precise lab instrument with strict voltage ranges. The European Standard EN50160 (this is a draft, the standard is an expensive download) for example prescribes +-10%, the UK standard prescribes +10% -6% in the power supply (search for "frequency and voltage at supply" in the standard without quotes) so 230V in reality is a wide range of 207-253V. Your 220V device will be just fine, it is usually built to much wider tolerance. Europe have standardized from 220V-230V-240V systems to 230V around 1990-2000 and there were no widespread problems.

Most chargers are 110V-240V anyways where the numbers are the "middle" of the voltage range anyways. It's not like 241V will immediately burn out a 240V device.

The only time a typical traveller realistically have a voltage problem is when you have a heating element and even then only between 110V and 230V systems. I have destroyed a dual voltage kettle by forgetting to switch it from 110V to 230V.

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    +1 -- the standardisation was only nominal so the actual voltage coming out of the wall didn't change when the UK went from 240V to 230V. – Chris H May 27 '16 at 15:23
  • @ChrisH According to Wikipedia, Australia also did this. – David Richerby May 27 '16 at 19:58
  • Having plugged meters into various outlets I can definitely confirm seeing a variation beyond the 5% that 220V vs 230V represents. The only thing that notices it are incandescent lights--they still work, it just changes their brightness a bit. – Loren Pechtel May 28 '16 at 0:11
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    @DavidRicherby That's interesting. I am Australian and I am completely unaware of that. Everything here is still described as 240V. There are parts of WA that go well over 250V at times. – user207421 May 28 '16 at 0:13
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    @EJP It's usually described as 240 in the UK, too. – David Richerby May 28 '16 at 2:36
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Well, I can lend you my experience living in a somewhat rural town, less than 300m from the power plant and right next to a factory.

I'm Italian, so the nominal voltage would be 230V at 50Hz.

First off, being so near to the plant most of the time the line voltage was closer to 250. I've even seen 260 on a few occasions.

But then there's the factory. Sometimes the lights would dim so significantly that it took your eyes a few seconds to adjust - right at the same time I could hear heavy machinery spooling up next door.

I checked the voltage a few times out of curiosity and I've seen it go all the way down to 190V.

Give it 10 seconds for the power plant to adjust output and everything went back to normal.

I haven't noticed electronics failing more often than normal or anything like that.

Your charger is going to be fine.

  • Just as a remark: You are very unlikely to be connected directly to the power plant via a 230V line, even if it is only 300m away. There is probably a transformer station nearby that hooks into the high voltage network and supplies you with the 230V mains. That way, you still get electricity even if your local power plant is shut down for some reason. Also, the drop in voltage is most likely due to the fact that heavy machinery needs a lot more power to start up, and drops to lower levels once it is up and running. – Jens Neubauer May 29 '16 at 11:40
  • Yeah, I hadn't considered the spool up power for a very large engine. As far as being connected directly to the plant, I probably wasn't, but I suspect the transformer station was set to only switch to the main grid if the plant was shut down or on manual operator intervention. – Demonblack Jul 6 '16 at 10:34
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I live in Ireland and was in Hong Kong earlier this year - I had no problem doing it the other way. I can't say for certain, but I'd be very surprised if it proved problematic.

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    FYI: Supplying a device with too low voltage is actually never a problem. (Your case.) The other way round, however, is pretty dangerous and can destroy a device. – idmean May 27 '16 at 17:47
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    @idmean That's not true. Undervoltage can damage some types of equipment. Anything with a motor is one example. – J... May 27 '16 at 17:53
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    @J... Of course, but I had the impression that most normal business devices are protected against undervoltage, but I may be wrong. Still the statement in the answer is somewhat careless. – idmean May 27 '16 at 17:57
  • @idmean Indeed. Generally, though, running anything outside of its specified operating range, over or under, is careless - you should neither expect it to work, nor should you expect it to not cause damage. – J... May 27 '16 at 18:01
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    Compressors can be damaged by undervoltage, so if you're packing a bar fridge for all that Guinness it could be an issue. – Spehro Pefhany May 27 '16 at 19:17
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This isn't a direct answer to your specific question, but here in Australia, mains power is 240v, and I've seen many appliances labelled with voltages ranging anywhere from 210v to 255v which work without any problems. It's also quite common to see ranges like 220v-240v and 220v-250v on appliances sold in Australia, for use with our 240v power supply, probably because most appliances aren't manufactured in Australia, but imported from countries that presumably also export to other countries with different voltages. I don't think it needs to be exact, but you would definitely run into problems where the ratio is closer to double, like using 110v instead of 220v or vice versa.

  • Australia's mains is 230V according to this comment – phuclv May 29 '16 at 1:37
  • Similarly to the UK, only the officially stated voltage changed, not the actual voltage. 230v +10%/-6% is 216.2v-253v, and the 240v coming out of the wall fits within that range. – Jivan Scarano May 29 '16 at 1:56

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