International Travels - AC adapters knowledge base
This document tries to illustrate the appropriate AC adapters for
transient (travel) use of mobile phone chargers and camera chargers
Assuming that all your mobile phone/camera chargers have 2-pins
Assuming that all your chargers are "dual-voltage", i.e., they can
operate either on 110 volts or 220 volts.
Assuming that all your chargers are "low power" devices, drawing
less than 2.5A on the 110 V or 220 V input side.
A complete list of AC receptacles/plugs around the world can be
found at http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/
There are four (4) major types of AC receptacles used around the
world, see this diagram.
Type G (UK)
Used in UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Dubai,
Qatar, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Belize, Kenya, etc.
Type G is known as British Standard 1363 [BS 1363].
Type I (Australia, China)
Used in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and
Note about China sockets
See the picture below, China's sockets accept 3-pin Australia
plugs and 2-pin Europlug (4.0 or 4.8mm diameter pins) and US
Some hotels in China include a "multi-receptacle" that accepts
type G plugs (UK and Hong Kong) in addition to Europlug, US, and
Australian plugs. See the picture below.
The Europlug /US receptacle may require excessive force
to insert a plug into it, risking physical damage to your
The safest way is to use the Type I Australian adapter. See the
Important note: the marking "UPS" means the receptacle
will be powered even after you leave your hotel room or go to
sleep. It is very common for receptacles in China to be
disconnected from the grid when you leave the hotel room or turn
off the lights to sleep. Your mobile phone and camera batteries
will not be fully charged if you are not careful about the "UPS"
Type A (USA, Canada, Mexico)
Type A is used in USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand,
Malaysia, China (China's new standard)
There are two Type A versions:
The "polarized" version has one pin wider than the other pin (e.g.
USA, Canada, Mexico).
The "non-polarized" version has both pins of identical width (e.g.
Taiwan, Japan, China).
For travel use, non-polarized plug is a must.
Warning: You cannot use a
polarized US plug in Taiwan/Japan/China that have non-polarized
Type C (Europlug) and Type E, F (Schuko plug)
For this group of plugs and receptacles, pins are round and spaced
19 mm apart.
There are two versions (variants):
4.8 mm diameter conductor pins: Germany, Korea, Spain, Russia,
Indonesia, France, Poland, Bangladesh, Denmark, Thailand, etc.
4 mm diameter conductor pins: Italy, Switzerland, Brazil, Chile,
Type C plug, widely known as Europlug
is designed to work with Type E, F, H, J, K, L, N, O sockets in over
Note that Europlug is not compatible with UK, Australia or USA
Note that Europlug has a current rating of 2.5 Amperes (i.e., for
small appliances), this is adequate for charging mobile
A proper Europlug has a 10 mm insulated section and the pins are
slightly bend towards each other at the free end.
Some manufactures skip details such as the 10 mm insulated section
and the 3.8 mm Ø narrow section.
Some manufacturers make parallel, 4 mm diameter conductor pins,
without insulated sections, these can be dangerous in terms of shock
Type C Europlug adapter enables you to use
the receptacles in most countries in Europe.
Note: Sockets that accept thicker 4.8 mm diameter pins are used in
Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Korea, Spain, Portugal, Russia,
Indonesia, France, Belgium, Poland, Bangladesh, Denmark, Greenland.
Check with http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs
for a complete list of countries using Type E or F or K sockets.
A Schuko plug (CEE 7/7 standard) is a perfectly fit for Type E and
Type F sockets. It is designed to carry higher current loads (16
Portability issue for tourists: Schuko plug (4.8 mm diameter
pins) cannot be inserted in 4 mm diameter sockets in Italy,
Switzerland, Brazil. Israel uses 4.4 mm pins, South Africa
IEC60906-1 uses 4.5 mm pins.
This makes Schuko plug adapter not a suitable choice for traveling,
except in Germany, Korea, Spain, Russia, Indonesia, France, Poland,
Bangladesh, Denmark, Thailand.
South Africa (M)
South Africa uses Type M sockets which is not compatible
with Type G, I, A, C.
South Africa is adapting IEC 60906-1 standard which happily accepts
Type C Europlug.
India uses Type D sockets which is not compatible with Type
G, I, A, C. There is an accidental physical compatibility between
Type D socket and Europlug. However, it is a bad idea to use
a Europlug in Type D sockets because Type D sockets are designed to
accept 5.1 mm diameter pins whereas Europlug has 4 mm diameter pins.
Sparking and fire may result. In extremely desperate situation,
4.8mm diameter Schuko plug offers a better approximation to the Type
D plug. Disclaimer.
Some airports and hotels installed "multi-receptacles" that accept
plugs from Type G, I, A, B, E, F, Europlug and Schuko plug.
Multi-receptacles accept plugs around the world except Type D
(India) and Type M (South Africa) plugs.
Charging system for tourists
Due to available of high quality (and fast charging capability) USB
chargers from Aukey and Anker; and USB chargers for camera
batteries, I found the following charging method is easy to deploy
Last revised 2019-01-09
© 2019 Nicholas Fong