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Power Outlet Shape Adapter Advice

Old Feb 10, 2016, 12:36 pm
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Last edit by: chx1975
First decide whether you need two or three prongs. Even if your current adapter is three prongs take a long hard look at the laptop charger market for a replacement non-grounded adapter. You will save weight and a ton of hassle by not needing a three prong cable and/or adapter. We have a USB C charger wiki which includes the Innergie 60C, a 60W two prong tiny charger for USB C and with an optional cable legacy laptops as well.

Also consider whether your chargers have replaceable AC cords, the so called "figure eight" and "mickey mouse" cords are replaceable; they are readily available on eBay for any nation and it might be a better solution than the original cord + a shape adapter.

Now for plug shape adapters. The current best choices are: MOGICS Bagel/Donut because it's a powerstrip/USB charger/adapter combo and still small enough. Also ran: Gocon Alpha because it's flat. The Wonpro Nano would be good because it's two plugs and very small but it is becoming less and less usable in Europe.

In detail:
  1. MOGICS has a donut shaped travel power strip, it comes in two variants, one for US plugs only (Donut) one for universal plugs (Bagel). The Donut is pointless, the weight gain is minimal, and it's only marginally thinner, just get a Bagel. Both has two USB ports. Also, their travel adapter while much less universal (US to UK/EU/AU only) is really small, together with the Bagel universal enough and fits inside a grounded Schuko outlet. Bagel weight with case and MA-1 adapter: 6.15 oz. MA-1 alone: 0.92oz. If two USB sockets is enough this is your best choice. Bonus: they have the smallest MicroUSB cord you'll ever see. They licensed their unique shape to the Mara and Masa Kickstarter, once it arrives I will add it to this wiki, until then it's in the USB C wiki.
  2. The often mentioned Kikkerland is again a totally pointless product. It's a knockoff of an older version of this Japanese product. Either buy the real one or purchase a Chinese knockoff for even less money. There are many knockoffs on Amazon.com for even more money. Note: the original had some problems with the UK now this has been addressed with an added switch. The knockoffs don't have this switch. Knockoff weight: 1.82oz.
  3. The Wonpro Nano was very good but less so now, read on. Yes it's not flat but it's small enough to be pardoned for it especially because you can plug two devices in. It's quite probably a Nissyo NP-10 knockoff but since the Nissyo is unavailable outside of Japan I can't be bothered. I had more success with this in the UK than the one above but that was before they added the switch so they are now probably even. The way the plug unscrews for the EU plugs allows for a very small physical size. For a while this was a favorite but a fatal flaw has been disovered: some grounded Schuko sockets have child-proof socket shutters built in (and this is now widespread) and these screwed out legs can't unlock the shutters. Some countries, including Portugal, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, require these which causes almost all power strips now to include them further decreasing the utility of this converter.
  4. Another useful powerstrip is the Road Warrior 47. Weight: 4.14oz. Especially with this weight the only advantage is being flatter than the Bagel.
  5. If you need a three pole travel power strip try the Voltage Valet PS2 Travel Power Strip.
  6. Any unwieldy big brick style plug adapter with sliding out plugs is for the kettles. Exception is the Skross World Adapter PRO because it's an absolutely unique three poles adapter (not counting Chinese knockoffs). Yes, Tumi also sells an adapter like that but if you look closely you'll find the Skross logo on it Weight: 6.56oz but if you need to convert something with three prongs you have no choice.
  7. Finally, boycott Monster. They are a tax evading patent troll, don't fund them.
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Power Outlet Shape Adapter Advice

Old Oct 19, 2016, 9:40 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Boogie711
I'm currently in Singapore, which uses the UK style plug, and typing this comment on a laptop which is plugged into the Kikkerland and into the wall.

All I can tell you is that it works, I have two of them, they ride around with me because they are ridiculously flat and light and take up no space, and they work better than a few of my huge, bulky "dedicated" adapters I have floating around at home.

As you were. (Edited to add - I don't actually have the Kikkerland, I have the dx.com version, which is the same thing with different colours.)
I have the Kikkerland and its cloned cousin, Neo. The K input slots don't receive the flat 180 degree UK style live pins, so useless for travelers from type G countries; however, unlike the Neo, it has a retractable earth/ground pin for Chinese sockets that require one to open the shutters.

Argentina, as I understand it has sockets that take both Australian/Chinese slanted pins, and Europlugs as well; the tips of the slanted slots are rounded European shape.
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Old Oct 19, 2016, 10:59 am
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So you have never had an issue with the round pin contacts mating with the rectangular contacts in the British plug?

Now I wonder if I should save a few bucks just buy a simple europlug adapter. (I can jam anything into the ground hole to circumvent the shutter). Then another small adapter for the Australian/chinese angled plugs. That should cover me for the world.
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Old Oct 19, 2016, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by Dubai Stu
I'm heading Buenos Aries next month. I see that they have plugs matching European continental power and also plugs matching what looks like Australia. Are they both regularly in use? Is it like the guides that show a South African style adapter as a secondary outlet for the UK because you might find such a plug in the basement of some farmhouse in the Devon?
When I was in BA, I did not see any Australia type plugs. They were all the round pin european type
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Old Oct 19, 2016, 11:19 am
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Originally Posted by eng3
Now I wonder if I should save a few bucks just buy a simple europlug adapter. (I can jam anything into the ground hole to circumvent the shutter).
You should not do that. You'll be risking making your body part of a 32-amp, 240-volt circuit -- enough to power a welder, burn off a finger, or kill you.

Last edited by ajGoes; Oct 19, 2016 at 11:23 am Reason: Correct the amperage.
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Old Oct 19, 2016, 11:31 am
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I should not do which part?
If a europlug adapter can cause a short, I'd be interested in how the adapter is any different.
As for the ground hole, the ground carries to current so there is no risk. When you use the adapters, you are doing exactly the same thing, jaming something in there to circumvent the shutters.

and which country has 32A 240VAC circuits? They must spend alot on wiring
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Old Oct 19, 2016, 11:41 am
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Originally Posted by eng3
I should not do which part?
If a europlug adapter can cause a short, I'd be interested in how the adapter is any different.
As for the ground hole, the ground carries to current so there is no risk. When you use the adapters, you are doing exactly the same thing, jaming something in there to circumvent the shutters.

and which country has 32A 240VAC circuits? They must spend alot on wiring
Most outlets in the UK are connected to a 30- or 32-amp fuse or circuit breaker. It's actually a relatively cheap way to distribute a lot of power to smallish numbers of outlets, as the Brits use a ring main which supplies power through two 2.5mm (about 10 AWG) conductors, one from each side of the outlet. This allows the use of really powerful electric heaters, which was an important consideration when the system was adopted.

Modern UK plugs and outlets are designed so it's impossible for your finger to touch a hot pin. The metal part of the pin is too short to extend past the faceplate when it's in contact with the hot socket. [ETA] UK plugs incorporate a 13-amp fuse so the power cord can be relatively light. [/ETA]

If you jam something into the ground hole to open the shutter, then insert a Euro-style plug, the hot pin will be exposed before the plug is seated. Combining this with fumbling with something to defeat the shutters means a nontrivial risk that your finger will touch the pin.

Last edited by ajGoes; Oct 19, 2016 at 2:38 pm
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Old Oct 19, 2016, 12:35 pm
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What devices exactly will you be plugging into those British sockets?
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Old Oct 20, 2016, 9:18 am
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Originally Posted by Points Scrounger
What devices exactly will you be plugging into those British sockets?
laptop, phone charger, shaver charger. All 2 prong.
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Old Oct 20, 2016, 9:03 pm
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Originally Posted by eng3
laptop, phone charger, shaver charger. All 2 prong.
Kikkerland + Road Warrior (GoCon) should be fine.
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Old Oct 20, 2016, 9:13 pm
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Originally Posted by eng3
When I was in BA, I did not see any Australia type plugs. They were all the round pin european type
Thanks. That is what I thought. I always pack one universal adapter in my carry-on in cases of unexpected layovers in places I didn't plan on, etc.
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Old Oct 22, 2016, 3:18 am
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MOGICS Bagel works. It's amazing.
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Old Oct 22, 2016, 7:25 am
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Originally Posted by Points Scrounger
Kikkerland + Road Warrior (GoCon) should be fine.
Looking further into this, I didnt realize that the prongs expand and change width for the British outlet. So my musings from before don't really apply.

I notice there are several versions of the GoCon. Alpha, W2. The Alpha seems to come with a lock switch to allow all three prongs to be inserted at the same time into a british outlet for ones that require that. Has anyone run into an issue with other versions needing to be able to use this type of outlet?
Also it comes with a plastic cover to cover up the ground prong. This feature doesnt seem very useful.
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Old Oct 23, 2016, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by eng3
So you have never had an issue with the round pin contacts mating with the rectangular contacts in the British plug?

Now I wonder if I should save a few bucks just buy a simple europlug adapter. (I can jam anything into the ground hole to circumvent the shutter). Then another small adapter for the Australian/chinese angled plugs. That should cover me for the world.
I know of a few people reliably using the europlug into a british socket trick, I've used it a few times (we once had a british power strip, with a swiss plug plugged into a swiss wall socket, feeding power to a mix of british and european laptops...). It's best to use something plastic in the earth pin, but you can remove it as soon as you've put the europlug in.

Of course you shouldn't actually do this ; ), but it works. Of course one should be careful and not use a metal implement for the earthing pin just in case the wiring is bad (and keep your fingers away from the pins...).

I have a skross adapter which does theoretically support every place on the world, but it's bulky which is annoying: it doesn't always work if there's not enough space on the wall, and I had trouble using it with sockets in China (to be fair, I had difficulty even inserting a normal US two-prong phone charger - this was for combination sockets that offer chinese, US and european sockets all in one).
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Old Oct 23, 2016, 9:49 am
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Just wrapped up a trip with stop/layovers in multiple countries and in multiple configurations.

The dx.com/kikkerland adapter is fantastic. It works on every plug I've ever run into - UK, Australia, Singapore, Philippines, Switzerland, Italy... it's never NOT worked.

And unlike some of the bulky adapters out there, it takes up next to no space in my bag. I brought some "dedicated" adapters on this trip, and not only did they take up too much space, the connections were flaky. Ended up tossing them aside and using only the Kikkerlands.
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Old Oct 23, 2016, 2:34 pm
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Originally Posted by televisor
I know of a few people reliably using the europlug into a british socket trick, I've used it a few times (we once had a british power strip, with a swiss plug plugged into a swiss wall socket, feeding power to a mix of british and european laptops...). It's best to use something plastic in the earth pin, but you can remove it as soon as you've put the europlug in.

Of course you shouldn't actually do this ; ), but it works. Of course one should be careful and not use a metal implement for the earthing pin just in case the wiring is bad (and keep your fingers away from the pins...).

I have a skross adapter which does theoretically support every place on the world, but it's bulky which is annoying: it doesn't always work if there's not enough space on the wall, and I had trouble using it with sockets in China (to be fair, I had difficulty even inserting a normal US two-prong phone charger - this was for combination sockets that offer chinese, US and european sockets all in one).
When I lived in Dubai (UK style elctricity) this was commonplace. I did it myself on occasion but didn't love to do it.
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