December 7, 2009

Story Idea: Want a globalization link? Look at the plug

Living overseas for the past 25 years has made me look carefully to be sure an item I buy in the States will work in another country. And vice-versa.

The cosmetic issue is the plug size and shape. They come in a wide variety but adapters are available for all.

The real issue is the voltage.

The U.S. system is 110-120 volts. Europe and many other countries use 220-240 volts. Plugging a U.S. item into a European power line can fry the device.

That is why converters were invented. And I have a large collection of converters from my 30 years of travel.

But in the last few years just about every electrical device I have purchased has been 100-240 volts. That means all I have to do is worry about is making sure the plug fits. And adapters are cheaper than converters.
How does all this relate to globalization?

Manufacturers are no longer building electrical products for JUST the U.S. or European or Asian markets. They are making their products easily available to the rest of the world.

A laptop purchases at Best Buy in Fairfax, Va., with a plug adapter can draw power from the grid in China, France or Brazil with ease.

Trust me, even 5 years ago that was not such an easy thing to assume.

And many manufacturers are now including adapter plugs with the unit. So no need to go out and buy one.

So if journalists are looking for a link between their individual lives and the rest of the world, look no further than the power ratings on the back of your computer and look at the plug.

Story ideas could include:
  • What is safer, 110 or 220 volts?
  • Why does the US use 110 volts?
  • How this 100-240 volt availability makes travel and business easier.

And your idea?


Anonymous said...

After reading the article, I think that the lower voltage will be safer. In my opinion it will not blow out any other electrical circuit that is being used. We have to make sure that all of the circuit is the same throughout the out lets. Just my thought- JEM

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