Electrical adapters are used to convert the attributes of incompatible devices or electronics into ones that will work with the power source. While some adapters modify power or signal attributes, other options only adapt to the physical form of one electrical connecter to another.
Adapters are sometimes referred to as AC power adapters or AC adapters, as they convert AC voltage to usable types of electricity for a specific item. For instance, adapters are often needed when traveling abroad with electronics, as the American plug shape differs from other parts of the world (i.e. Italy, France, Japan, Germany, Israel, Iceland, China, and more). However, most plug-and-travel adapters don’t convert electricity – instead, they allow for dual-voltage appliances or transformers to be used in virtually any country.
There are various types of electrical adapters, each designed to convert a specific voltage or wattage to power the device. Power adapters are not universal, meaning each is rated to handle a certain output. Further, the differing adapters of various devices cannot be combined or transferred, as the external battery will not function.
The most common types of adapters include:
As with any heavy-duty electrical device, the proper precautions must be observed for safe operation. Electrical surges (temporary interruptions) are possible, which can result in a fire or electrocution. Relying on adapters is only recommended in certain scenarios – if your home or business has outdated plugs, it’s best to replace the outlets entirely to avoid any associated risk of adapter use.
Auto-grip adapters make for a simpler, more efficient installation process, securing cords as part of the setup. Meanwhile, neoprene gaskets are made of neoprene rubber, which:
Each electrical adapter has a maximum amount of voltage that it can handle. Your device and electrical adapter must have matching electrical ratings, meaning the adapter’s output voltage and current should equal that of the device. If electrical ratings don’t match, the device will not work with that adapter, but a voltage converter or transformer could be effective. Using the wrong adapter could also result in device malfunction.
Because there is no one-size-fits-all option for electrical adapters, you must carefully weigh your choices depending on the requirements of the device. For example, you may benefit from the following types of electrical adapters:
Here is the key difference between these adapter types:
In electricity, alternating currents (ACs) have a flow of electrons, and the direction of the flow alternates at set intervals. External power supply products, like an AC adapter, AC/DC adapter, or AC/DC converter, are often encased like an AC plug. These options can be used with technology, which doesn’t possess its own internal components that generate the right level of voltage and power. In these cases, adapters make a continuous circuit of electricity so the device can be powered.
Unlike adapters, converters modify the electronic device’s voltage to work with the given power supply. Adapters merely change the shape of the plug so appliances can still be powered, regardless of the type of wall outlet. Your choice between the two depends on your intended use and the type of devices to be powered. There are a few considerations to keep in mind:
No – in fact, it’s very dangerous to use an power strips with an electrical adapter. These should only be used when plugged directly into a wall outlet – not into an adapter or converter. Failing to follow this safety rule can result in electrocution, fire, and other dangerous consequences.
Whether you’re traveling outside of the USA to Europe, Australia, or Asia, or you have varying volts and wattage needs, HomElectrical has an ever-growing inventory of electrical supplies, including adapters. Learn more about our products and warranties by browsing our inventory.
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