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If you're confused about voltage converters and transformers, we've compiled a list of facts that will make them simpler to understand. Here are the most common questions that people ask, along with the answers. What Do Voltage Converters and Transformers Do? Voltage transformers and converters change the voltage of the current coming from a wall outlet so that it can be used for electrical appliances or consumer electronics that require a different voltage. When Would I Need a Voltage Converter or Transformer? Electronics and electrical equipment are designed to use electricity at a certain voltage. If the voltage is too powerful, it can fry the electrical circuits and destroy the equipment. If it's not powerful enough, the equipment won't work. Different countries have different standards for their electrical outlets. North America and a few other countries provide 110-120 volts in most household currents. Most of the rest of the world provides 220-240 volts. If you travel outside the U.S., you may need a voltage transformer or converter to power any electronics that you carry with you. Likewise, if you bring electrical appliances from overseas into the U.S., you may need a voltage transformer or converter to use them in the U.S. How Do I Tell Which Voltage Converter I Need? You need to match the voltage and wattage needed for your appliance in order to power it without damaging it. Every electrical appliance or consumer electronics item has a label that tells you the voltage and number of amps needed to power it. Many also list the amount of watts that it pulls from the circuit. If the wattage isn't listed, you can calculate it by multiplying the number of volts by the number of amps. What is a Step Up and Down Transformer or Converter? Cheaper transformers can only convert electricity in one direction. For instance a step up converter transforms power from 110V to 220V while a step down converter transforms from 220V to 110V. A step up and down converter or transformer can convert electricity in either direction. Usually, you'll have to set the converter for the right setting, but many high-end transformers automatically sense the needed voltage and adjust accordingly. Do I Need a Converter For Each Appliance I Plug In?

No. You can plug several items or appliances into the same voltage transformer by using a surge protector. But you'll have to do a little math to make sure that you don't damage the transformer or your electronics. Add up the wattage of all the appliances you want to plug in and make sure that it doesn't exceed the wattage of the transformer. Try to keep the total wattage output about 20% below the highest amount the transformer can handle in order to account for power fluctuations. What Kind of Appliances Can I Plug Into a Voltage Transformer? You can use a voltage transformer or voltage converter with nearly any small appliance or personal electronics item, including electric shavers, hair dryers, cell phone chargers, MP3 players, stereos, televisions, DVD players and recorders or coffee makers. Choose a converter for appliances, such as hair dryers, curling irons or coffee makers that have a heating element and pull a lot of wattage. Transformers are suitable for electronics, such as DVD players, televisions and battery chargers, which have electronic circuit boards.

Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the world's MOST popular internet marketing companies on the web. Learn more about Voltage Converters.

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FAQs About Voltage Converters and Transformers  

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