Can a computer bought here be plugged in to a 220v outlet?

Hi there. I’m actually asking this question on behalf of a friend who hails from South Africa. She wants to buy a notebook computer but they use different outlets there (220, I believe; correct me if I’m wrong…) and wants to know if an adaptor can be used or if it will be too much current for the computer. She’ll only buy it here if it can be used with the South African/ Australian power system.

I know nothing about this stuff and actually got lost trying to read the thread about A/C outlets and 110s and 220s, so if anyone could offer any advice, it would be greatly appreciated. Maybe even worth a coupla guanxi…

She should be able to get an adapter here no problem. When she is buying the notebook have the dealer also sell her the 220 adapter. When I bought my IBM Thinkpad here 4 years ago I told the dealer I also needed a 220 because I would be traveling to Europe. I had it within 24 hours.

Notebooks are supposed to taken to other places so it should work with any electricity. My Acer does anyway, the power supply should say 110-240V, or something like that.
I only had to worry about the shape of the plug, or get a standard mains cable with the right plug.

My Compaq Presario came with a power adaptor that claimed it could be used with anything from 110-240 volts.

I used it in the US on 110v for a few years and then took it to China - 220v - after a few months the power adaptor started to crackle and fizz, and eventually it went bang!

The computer wasn’t harmed - there was a surge protector on the line in - but it was pretty annoying all the same. I bought a new adaptor from a guy at the Nova store when I got to Taipei for NT$1800, and it works fine.

(At least, it did work fine. But I’ll never buy another Compaq.)

To clarify:

The computer doesn’t take electricity directly from the wall, it gets a supply from a little black box called an adaptor. The adaptor gets it’s supply from the wall, and should be able to use pretty much anything on offer. You have to have a cable with the right plug fitting to go into the wall, and the other end is a standard plug-in like on a portable stereo.

Check first! There’s a sticker on the adaptor saying something like ‘input 110-220v’ If it just says ‘input 110v’ then you need to get a new adaptor.

Once you have the right plug the adaptor should be able to convert whatever is available to whatever your computer needs. The adaptor connects to your computer using a thin cable with a special plug on the end that may be specific to that computer. Mine had a little thingy on it to protect against sudden surges of electricity during thunderstorms or explosions in the adaptor.

One way to test is to plug your computer into the outlet that powers the air-conditioner in Taiwan. This is usually a 220v outlet, so if your computer explodes you will know that it won’t work in South Africa.

Other things to watch out for:

Operating systems and software might be in Chinese.

You might get hit for import duty when you take it home.

Modems probably work fine, but might not be strictly legal as different countries have different licensing requirements for enything that is to be connected to the phone network.

:shock: While surfing the Compaq site to try and figure out what was wrong with mine I learned that “modems are designed for specific GEOLOGICAL [sic] areas”. Be warned!!

Notebooks should work with all kinds of AC voltages but note you can not (inter)change the adaptors with other brands/types. Thus check before you buy.