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Why is there no universal travel adapter available for type A+B+C+D+E+F+G+H+I+J+K+L+M+N+O ? (http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/map.htm#) e.g. a smart device that checks the country it is in and adapts the voltage and the pins with some kind of universal socket.

Or does it exist somewhere? (independent of costs)

(I was looking for an adapter of type D+M and found a gazillion "universal 150+ countries" adapters but none that are really universal) (did not find even one that would support both D+M).

Update

I think this question is not uncommon with customers. But somehow this question is no-where to be found on any of the most famous Q&A sites, which is surprising. So from the answers here-under I see confirmation but still no definitive answer.

  • Known: a lot of companies sell world adapters, countless internet sites selling these for "any country", most of them cover the same 150+ countries in the regular regions. Confusing for travellers because often no description is given only a picture. As far as I know no world adapters exist. With as example Type D+M in whatever world adapter out there, and the examples below confirm: it does not exist
  • Known: Differences in voltages/frequencies and local safety regulations already apply to existing travel adapters often sold with additional devices and often not. So although no perfect current market. It seems this variable is independent of the question since " it is already so that the market sells unsafe devices"
  • The main reason given for not existing is mentioned as a business reason, but without any business research or reference it is hard to quantify. The "why so many" information pages out there (e.g. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/why_so_many.htm) covers the " why it historically grew like this in countries " but does not answer the question on why no-one sells a device that is true universal adapter because "any market" has an upper and a lower side so I would expect that somewhere some company would sell a 100% solution on the upper side of the market.

So the answer seems "buy one (or more) for each specific region, no generic adapter exists because of probably business reasons, but no references or research in this market is known. It is not known how much it would costs and it is not known how customers would be interested. It would need to cover A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,M,O single plugs together with a transformer and possible frequency conversion and taking into account safety regulation. Time will tell if anyone ever will create such a product."

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – JonathanReez Mar 10 '17 at 16:12
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    Why is really a business question, not a travel question, and has to do with the fact that countries that use the more obscure types (e.g. H, J, K) typically also use one of the more common ones (A,C). In countries where multiple plug types are used, it won't be hard to find either an adapter or a compatible socket. The market for a single universal adapter is next to zero, then, because such a thing would be so unwieldy as to be impractical; better to just carry multiple adapters. – choster Mar 10 '17 at 16:34
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    Adapting the voltage is an issue, because that requires a large and heavy transformer. And the size of that transformer will vary depending on the load it has to handle: the small ones commonly used for travel aren't suitable for heavy use. It's also often completely unnecessary; frequent travelers can usually arrange their devices such that everything they need is dual-voltage. Carrying around a big transformer is awful if you can possibly avoid it. – Zach Lipton Mar 10 '17 at 20:52
  • Nobody's pointed to this one yet? Surprising. – JDługosz Mar 11 '17 at 0:51
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Electrical sockets and plugs have more attributes than just the arrangement of pins, the distances between them, pin length and pin form. The different types of sockets and plugs are not only commonly used with, but also designed for different voltages, power limits and different safety requirements. It is simply not possible to safely adapt between arbitrary sockets and plugs unless you know exactly what you are doing, and to be frank, a common consumer does not know what he is doing when dealing with electricity.

Let us for example take a look at the type D and type M connectors. Type D connectors are designed for a maximum current of 5A, while type M connectors are designed for a maximum current of 15A. If you have a type D socket and an appliance with a type M plug, even with a physically matching adapter, you may risk that the socket is overloaded if the appliance draws more than 5A. That may have many interesting side effects, the socket or the wiring may catch fire, or melting insulation may allow access to live conductors and cause electrical shock.

  • Besides, many multi-adapters can be configured (sadly) to put live mains on exposed pins. Hello, death-dapter! – UnrecognizedFallingObject Mar 10 '17 at 23:31
  • @UnrecognizedFallingObject It is also a common misconception that touching live conductors with household voltages is lethal. It's usually not. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Mar 11 '17 at 20:20
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    The "death-dapter" line is a reference to bigclivedotcom on YouTube (I know that you're more likely than not to survive an accidental 60 cycle shuffle at household voltages) – UnrecognizedFallingObject Mar 11 '17 at 20:48
  • Since travellers buy type XXX>D travel adapters and then travel to e.g. namibia or south africa and plug it in type M sockets, I think this is a general comment on existing adapters? – edelwater Mar 12 '17 at 15:53
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    @TorEinaeJarnbjo I think in most countries “usually not lethal” is not an endorsement that will satisfy a consumer electrics safety test. – Calchas Mar 12 '17 at 17:52
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I am aware of one such adapter, called Adapter 1, by an American company called MOGICS. Unfortunately it only accepts US plugs:

enter image description here

Otherwise there are plenty of plug adapter kits on Amazon:

enter image description here

It's quite a bit more bulky but I'm guessing you're not constantly moving between distant parts of the world, so one at a time should be more than enough. You may also consider getting a new plug adapter whenever you fly into a new country - they're usually ubiquitous at airports.

  • I can't see in the detail or video of the "adapter 1" if it supports type D and M from the pictures it seems it does not. – edelwater Mar 12 '17 at 15:57
  • @edelwater then buy the kit I've linked to, it has a type D adapter included – JonathanReez Mar 12 '17 at 16:09
  • @JohanthanReez I already bought seperate D and M ones (and a box full of other ones), still wondering why no vendor has a kit or device for 100% coverage, independent of price and including all safety regulations around a type and country. – edelwater Mar 12 '17 at 16:19
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    I have the same question and same as edelwater wondered why the heck NOBODY cares about about - there is zero info. It's super hard to find the way because nobody specifies what is not supported. A world map of for each adapter would be so useful but is nowhere to be found. What is the adapter that supports the MOST countries? I ended up buying the SKROSS PRO World & USB but I am very disappointed it is still not compatible with South Africa, India etc - all for 40$ – divB Nov 9 '18 at 9:12
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Adapting the voltage would require a transformer; they are available and heavy and for most electronics it's not necessary. Kettles and similar heating elements, Oral-B wireless chargers for toothbrushes and such are not dual voltage.

As for the plug shape since you linked grounded plugs as well the answer is really easy because there is only one (perhaps copied by the Chinese and relabeled by Tumi and perhaps others but still) plug shape adapter which can convert grounded adapters universally: the Skross World Traveller Pro. OK, I lied it's a series and Skross also has a Pro Lite series but these are basically the same. Look at the specs and all the shapes it allows for:

enter image description here

It has two parts, first it converts everything to a Schuko:

enter image description here

then it converts a Schuko to everything:

enter image description here

these parts are available and usable separately -- but they can be put together to form a single adapter:

enter image description here

It's ingenious quality Swiss engineering.

If you want two poles only then the Mogics Bagel + adapter that JonathanReez partially linked is indeed the best.

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    This one does not seem to support neither type D nor type M sockets or plugs, as the OP is specifically asking about. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Mar 11 '17 at 20:13
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    Indeed it does not support these countries e.g. South Africa / Namibia / India as far as I can read in the details. There are not un-occasional world traveler destinations. – edelwater Mar 12 '17 at 15:43
  • @edelwater skross.com/en/product/91/world-adapter-muv-micro.html - this one supports India as well, but not South Africa. – JonathanReez Mar 12 '17 at 16:12
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    @JonathanReez yes so this is exactly what I put in my question: these world adapters are no world adapters. – edelwater Mar 12 '17 at 16:22
  • I am sorry but this Skross is the height of current technology as far as universal adapters are concerned. The D and M plugs are ridiculously oversized and quite possibly can't be accommodated by anything universal. Look at how long it took to get to grounded adapters, Skross patented the sliding universal adapter in 2002 for two pole connections and AFAIK this model here only came out in 2013. Their most recent innovation seems to be the light version which seems like going the opposite direction you wanted... – chx Mar 12 '17 at 17:18
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From what I can see, the O plug is only used in Thailand ?

The internet say you could use a C, E and F plug. So, look for those kind of adaptor ?

http://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/thailand/

  • I'm looking for an adapter that will work in any county I travel to ranging from Africa, Europe, South America, Asia and the US without having the think about what adapter I shall take. I was wondering if ANYONE EVER made such a thing. – edelwater Mar 10 '17 at 14:45
  • I assume Thailand make some adaptors for their plugs ? You could use a specialized O type adaptor in conjunction with a universal adaptor ? – Max Mar 10 '17 at 14:49
  • I'm not travelling to Thailand, I'm traveling all over the place, I was looking for a some kind of universal travel plug. – edelwater Mar 10 '17 at 14:51
  • Thailand doesn't use the Type O. Thailand's sockets accept both the US flatpin (A) and the Euro round pin plugs (C). The sockets look like this: koh-chang.cz/images/zasuvka_thai.jpg – user13044 Mar 10 '17 at 15:40
  • @Tom is incorrect. Only higher-priced accommodation in Thailand has the multi-type sockets illustrated in the photo he linked to. Other, usually cheaper places have the Type O and Type C sockets. – Neil Apr 14 '17 at 20:48

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