The real beauty of auto-detecting power converters is that they're so easy to use. Without an auto-detecting power converter, if you were on an extended multi-country trip and wanted to use some electronics from your home, you'd have to almost become an apprentice electrician. You'd have to know everything about your numerous travel gadgets' power needs, plus everything about the power supply in the countries you were traveling in. Finally, you'd need a converter for each location -- and you'd have to keep them all straight.
An auto-detecting power converter combines all of those power converters into one easy-to-use gadget. Because outlet sizes and shapes vary from country to country, most auto-detecting power converters have attachments that allow the power converter's wall plug to be configured to fit whatever voltage of current is at hand. Once the converter is set up to fit the wall socket, you simply plug it into the wall and plug your gadgets into the converter -- like you might use a power strip at home.
When shopping for an auto-detecting power converter, it's a good idea to look for one that works in as many different regions as possible. Also, having one with a surge protection feature is a must, especially if you travel to areas with frequent power surges or interruptions in power. Finally, consider the number and type of gadgets you usually travel with. If your power converter only has one outlet slot, you'll only be able to use or charge one of your gadgets at a time. You'll probably want to get a converter with two or three power slots so you can use multiple gadgets simultaneously. Some auto-detecting power converters also have USB ports, which makes charging gadgets like MP3 players easy.
When you're packing for your next trip abroad, you should feel free to bring as many of your gadgets as you like -- just remember to also bring an auto-detecting power converter so you can actually use them.
If you'd like to read more about travel gadgets and other related topics, follow the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Leading Outdoor Technology Supply, LLC. "Power Inverters and How They Work." (Jan. 27, 2009) http://www.4lots.com/power_inverter/how_power_Inverters_work.htm
- Ledwich, G. "DC-DC Converter Basics." 1998. (January 27, 2009). http://www.powerdesigners.com/InfoWeb/design_center/articles/DC-DC/converter.shtm
- National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. "Alternating Current." 1995. (Jan. 27, 2009) http://www.magnet.fsu.edu/education/tutorials/java/ac/index.html
- Tech-faq.com. "What is a Power Converter?" 2008. (Jan. 27, 2009) http://www.tech-faq.com/power-converter.shtml
- TEMCo US. "Frequency Converters." 2006. (Jan. 27, 2009)http://www.hzfrequencyconverter.com