This plug adapter changes the shape of an appliance's plug so that can plug into a "Type I " Australian AS 3112, Chinese CPCS-CCC or Argentine IRAM 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 I " Australian AS 3112 plug. The adapter's blade contacts are 6.5 × 1.6mm, and the phase and neutral blades are angled 30° to vertical at a nominal pitch of 13.7mm. The plug is polarized and grounded.
This travel plug adapter is compatible with "Type I " Australian AS 3112, Chinese CPCS-CCC and Argentine IRAM sockets. Although the three standards are technically different, they are practically interchangeable, and are all grouped together under the general, unofficial "Type I" classification.
But is this all I need? Or do I need a voltage converter/transformer?
Well, that depends on what you need to plug in. Australian/Chinese/Argentine 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 Australian/Chinese/Argentine 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 Australian AS 3112 (Chinese CPSC-CCC/Argentine IRAM) socket is used in the following countries:
Argentina / Australia / China (mainland, excluding Taiwan) / Fiji / New Zealand / Papua New Guinea / Tokelau (the Union Islands) / Uruguay
Technical Line Drawing
Specifications are subject to change at any time without notice.