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PLUG-A Non-Grounded Travel Plug Adapter for Japan and Latin America ("Type A" JIS C 8303/NEMA 1-15)

  • Model #: PLUG-A
  • Manufacturer: Generic/Non-branded
  • Allow 1 business day (M/F) to ship
  • Usually ships from: Apex, NC Warehouse
  • Qty discount: 20+ at $5.99 ea.
  • Qty orders may require 3-4 days additional lead time


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This plug adapter changes the shape of an appliance's plug so that can plug into a "Type A" Japanese JIS C 8303 or North American NEMA 1-15 socket. The receptacle end of the adapter can accept non-grounded 2-blade U.S. plugs (either polarized or non-polarized) and non-grounded 2-pin European "Europlug" style plugs. The plug end is a "Type A" North American NEMA 1-15 plug. The adapter's blade contacts are 6.4mm tall, 1.5mm thick, and are spaced 12.7mm apart. The plug is non-polarized and non-grounded, which can be very important.

The plug end of this adapter looks very much like a U.S/Canadian plug. If my appliance is American or Canadian, why would I need this adapter?
You might not, but there are two potentially very important reasons why you may: grounding and polarization. If your plug has one or both, and the socket doesn't, then the plug may not physically be able to fit into the socket. In the case of a North American appliance plug, grounding is accomplished by the third, round pin beneath and below the two vertical blades on the plug. Polarization is accomplished by the left vertical blade being taller than the right, so that the plug can't be inserted upside down.

In the U.S. and Canada, all sockets installed since about 1962 have been both polarized and grounded. There is a receptacle for the third, round pin and the receptacle for the left blade is taller than the right. So there's no problem there.

But in Japan, even today, most sockets do not have a receptacle for the grounding pin. You can see an example of this in the picture of the Japanese socket below. Some Japanese sockets do accept the third pin, but most do not. If your plug has the third pin, it won't be able to plug into most Japanese sockets.

As for Central and South America and other areas which adhere to the North American NEMA standard, in many areas the electrical infrastructure may be very old. The installed sockets at any given specific location, even over four decades later, may predate the adoption of one or both of the grounding and polarization features of the current North American standard. Older sockets may not be able to accept the taller left blade and/or the third, round grounding pin. In either case, this will prevent you from being able to plug in.

So what it boils down to is this: If your appliance has a North American plug, this adapter serves as a "just in case" fallback. Should you find that either grounding or polarization prevents your appliance from plugging into the Japanese or Central/South American socket at your specific location, this adapter addresses those issues and allows you to plug in. You may not need it. But for many travelers, it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

This travel plug adapter is compatible with "Type A" Japanese JIS C 8303 and North American NEMA 1-15 sockets. Although the two standards are technically different, they are practically interchangeable, and are grouped together under the general, unofficial "Type A" classification.

PLUG-A Socket Compatibility

But is this all I need? Or do I need a voltage converter/transformer?
Well, that depends on what you need to plug in. Japanese/North American sockets are used in a number of different countries whose electrical infrastructure are standardized at several different voltages. The sockets are the same shape, but they can supply 100 volts (in Japan) or 110-120 volts (in North America) or 220-240 volts in some Latin American countries which adhere to European voltage standards. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for the voltage being supplied by the socket, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.

But adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same voltage the socket is supplying. North American sockets supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts, far lower than in most of the rest of the world, but higher than the 100 volts in Japan. Consequently, North American appliances are generally built for 110-120 volts. But that doesn't mean that your specific appliance isn't already compatible with other voltages -- it may very well be..

So how do I know whether or not my appliance is compatible with multiple voltages?
Short answer: The only way to know is to check, and there's absolutely no getting around that crucial step. Electricity is nothing to mess around with, and assuming can be bad news. If you're wrong, you could "fry" your appliance, or worse yet, start a fire.

That being said, generally speaking, most modern "digital-age" appliances (especially ones that run on batteries) are being built to be compatible with all worldwide voltages, from 100 volts in Japan to 240 volts in the United Kingdom. This usually includes things like laptops, PDAs, cell phones, digital cameras, digital camcorders, many portable video game devices, digital music players, etc. More and more personal grooming items like hair dryers curling irons, shavers (especially cordless ones) and such are being built to be compatible with multiple voltages as well, but most of them aren't.

"Conventional appliances" like kitchen items, audio/video equipment, vacuum cleaners, lamps and lights, and most bath appliances are not compatible with multiple voltages. Again, the only way to know is to check. A common misconception is that there's any such thing as a "standard" electrical input for appliances. There's not. They're all different.

How to find your appliance's voltage info

Okay, so how do I find this info for my specific appliance?
The electrical input specifications will appear on a label on the appliance itself, or on its charger or AC adapter if it uses one, near where the brand name and model number appear. Look for the word "input." As a last resort, you could check the back of the manual, but 99 times out of 100, it will be on the appliance's or charger's label. The input voltage is usually abbreviated to "V" and it should look something like this:

Input: ~100-240V 50/60Hz 65W -- This means the appliance is compatible with multiple voltages. This item can be brought just about anywhere in the world, and any difference in voltage is basically irrelevant. The appliance (or charger) adjusts itself to whatever voltage it receives. The only issue is whether or not the plug can physically interface with the socket. The appropriate travel plug adapter is all that's needed.

---or--- Input: 115/230V 50/60Hz 200W -- This means that the appliance can be switched between 110-120 volts in North America, and 220-240 volts in other parts of the world. This is common of desktop computers and some hair dryers/curling irons/etc. You probably have to physically flip a switch somewhere, but as long as that switch is in the proper position and you have the appropriate plug adapter, you're fine.

---or--- Input: 120V 60Hz 2.8A -- This means that the appliance is only compatible with a single voltage, in this case, 120 volts. If the socket is 220-240V, then an adapter by itself isn't enough, because travel plug adapters do not change the voltage supplied by the socket. Plugging it in with just an adapter can "fry" it (if you're lucky, that's all that will happen) because the voltage is too high for the appliance to handle. To use this appliance safely, the voltage needs to be changed from 220-240 volts to 110-120 volts by way of a voltage converter or transformer.

Firstly, it's important to understand that many countries do not adhere to a single standard for electrical plugs and sockets. This is especially true of developing countries, where they basically use whatever they can get. If a British or French or U.S. construction company comes into a developing country and constructs a new building, in many cases nobody's going to stop them from installing British or French or U.S. sockets, even if that's not "the standard." As a result, in many countries any number of different socket types might be used. They could vary from region to region, city to city, street to street or even building to building. Crazy, but true.

So with that in mind, please understand that just because a country is listed here as using the Japanese JIS C 8303 or North American NEMA 1-15 socket type, that doesn't necessarily mean it's the only type used there. It's entirely possible that you might never even encounter this type of socket, even if the country is listed here. They may only use it in a different area, way over on the other side of the country. They may have very recently phased it out. They might use it right down the street, but in a building you don't plan to visit. We do the best we can, but it's an inexact science, and things are constantly changing and evolving. We do not and cannot make any claims to 100% thoroughness and accuracy.

That being said, the Japanese JIS C 8303 (North American NEMA 1-15) socket is used in the following countries:
American Samoa / Antigua and Barbuda / Aruba / the Bahamas / Barbados / Belize / Bermuda / Brazil / Canada / the Cayman Islands / Colombia / Costa Rica / Cuba / Ecuador / El Salvador / Guam / Guatemala / Haiti / Honduras / Jamaica / Japan / Liberia / Mexico / Micronesia / Montserrat / Nicaragua / Okinawa / Panama / Peru / the Philippines / Puerto Rico / Saint Kitts & Nevis / Tahiti / Taiwan / Trinidad and Tobago / Venezuela / the Virgin Islands

Attach a plug adapter to the power cord of any electrical appliance which is already compatible with the voltage being supplied by the socket. The adapter changes the shape and configuration of the electrical contacts, allowing you to plug into a different kind of socket.

Using a travel plug adapter

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