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
China's New Standard:
China's new standard socket accepts 3-pin China/Australia plugs
and 2-pin European plugs (4.0 or 4.8mm diameter pins) and US
Some hotels (in China) include a multi-socket that also accepts
type G plugs (UK and Hong Kong). They do not accept Type D (India)
and Type M (South Africa) plugs.
Note that the marking "UPS" means the receptacle will be powered
continuously even after you leave your room.
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).
Most mobile phone/camera chargers have non-polarized plugs. For
travel use, non-polarized plug is much preferred.
Note: You cannot use a
polarized US plug in Taiwan/Japan/China that use non-polarized
For travel use, non-polarized plug is much preferred. If you only
have a polarized plug (such as those found on extension cords) and
you must use it for world travel, grind the thicker pin to the same
width as the other pin to ensure compatibility. Only do that at your
own risks and perils. Disclaimer.
Type C (Europlug)
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 Type G (UK, Hong Kong),
Type I (Australia) or Type A (USA Canada Mexico) sockets.
Note that Europlug has a current rating of 2.5 Amperes (i.e., for
small appliances and devices only).
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
travel in Europe plus many other countries [except Type G (UK Hong
Kong), Type I (Australia) and Type A (USA Canada Mexico)].
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) gives a perfectly tight fit for
Type E and Type F sockets. It is designed to carry higher current
loads (16 Amperes).
Portability issue: Schuko plug (due to its 4.8 mm diameter pins)
cannot be inserted in 4 mm diameter sockets (Italy, Switzerland,
Brazil, Israel [4.4 mm], South Africa IEC60906-1 [4.5 mm]). This
makes Schuko plug adapter much less versatile than Europlug adapter
India (D) and South Africa (M)
India uses Type D sockets which is not compatible with Type
G, I, A, C. There is an unintended (accidental) physical
compatibility between Type D socket and Europlug. However,
it is not advisable to force 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
extreme desperate situation, 4.8mm diameter Schuko plug offers an
approximation to the Type D plug. Disclaimer.
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 accepts Type C Europlug.
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.
Chargers for camera and mobile phones
(US Canada Mexico) One method to handle camera charger and mobile
phone chargers is to use an extension cord:
Due to available of high quality (and fast charging capability) USB
chargers from Aukey and Anker; and SEIWEI USB chargers for selected
camera batteries, I found the following charging method is more
compact on trips.
Last revised 2017-03-25
© 2017 Nicholas Fong