This plug adapter changes the shape of an appliance's plug so that can plug into a "Type D" Indian ("Small" 5 amp BS-546) socket. The receptacle end of the adapter can accept any standard household plug type from any country, except the "Type M" South African SABS1661 (Old British BS-546 "Large") plug. The plug end is a "Type D" Indian ("Small" 5 amp BS-546) plug. The adapter's live and neutral pins are 5mm in diameter and spaced 22mm apart, and the grounding pin is 7mm in diameter. The plug is polarized and grounded.
This travel plug adapter is compatible with "Type D" Indian ("Small" 5 amp BS-546) sockets. This is an old British standard which is still the primary household socket type in India, Nepal, Namibia and Sri Lanka. It can also be encountered in some locations in several other countries as well, despite not being "the standard" in those countries. The "Type D" Indian plug and socket is not to be confused with the "Type M" South African plug and socket. In pictures, they look very similar, but the South African type is much larger than the Indian type, and they are physically incompatible.
Since the "Type M" large South African and the Indian "Type D" small versions of the old British BS-546 standard are so closely related, often confused, and often both used in the same areas, it is strongly advised that if you're going to a place that uses one of these two types, you should bring an adapter for both types unless you're absolutely sure that your specific location will be wired with only one of the two.
But is this all I need? Or do I need a voltage converter/transformer?
Well, that depends on what you need to plug in. "Type D" Indian ("Small" 5 amp BS-546) sockets generally supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, 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 220-240 volts 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. 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 the higher voltage -- it may very well be.
So how do I know whether or not my appliance is compatible with 220-240 volts?
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.
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 "Type D" Indian ("Small" 5 amp BS-546) 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 "Type D" Indian ("Small" 5 amp BS-546) is used in the following countries:
Bangladesh / Benin / Botswana / Ghana / India / Kenya / Kuwait / Macau / Madeira / Maldives / Namibia / Nepal / Nigeria / Pakistan / Qatar / Somalia / Sri Lanka / Swaziland / Tanzania / Yemen
This socket is also still sometimes used in the United Kingdom for centrally-switched lighting circuits.
Technical Line Drawing
Specifications are subject to change at any time without notice.