Kensington Universal Power Supply in Europe?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Charles Goodman, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. I wasn't sure where to post this. If someone has a suggestion for another
    newsgroup, I'd greatly appreciate it.

    I just bought a Kensington 120W AC/DC power adapter (model 33197). I'm
    wondering if it will work in Europe (France/Belgium) simply with a plug
    adapter and I'm having some doubts about the information given to me by
    Kensington. I called them twice and sent one email and got the same answer
    each time (it will work), but I always had the sense the tech. didn't really
    understand what I was asking.

    The main device (the power supply) is flat. About 4" by 6". There is a
    detachable cable that's about 6 inches long that has the electrical plug on
    one end. The main device (the power supply) is marked for 120V and 240V.
    However, detachable plug/cable says ~125V 2.5A. There is no mention of 240V
    on the plug/cable. I'm worried that a simple adapter won't be sufficient.
    Has anyone purchased this, or another Kensington power supply and used it in
    Europe?

    A couple of years ago, I had a Targus universal power supply. It too was
    marked for 120V/240V and I pluged it into the wall of my UK hotel room
    simply by using an adapter. There was a big POP and half the floor lost its
    power. I found out later that the plug that connected to the power supply
    ONLY worked on 120V. There was a DIFFERENT plug for 240V that connected to
    the same power supply. Its because of this experience that I'm being so
    doubtful.

    I head to Europe on Thursday and would greatly appreciate any help/advice.

    Regards,
    Charles Goodman
     
    Charles Goodman, Sep 21, 2005
    #1
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  2. Charles Goodman

    Ericp Guest

    On Tue, 20 Sep 2005 20:44:44 -0400, "Charles Goodman"
    <> wrote:

    >I wasn't sure where to post this. If someone has a suggestion for another
    >newsgroup, I'd greatly appreciate it.
    >
    >I just bought a Kensington 120W AC/DC power adapter (model 33197). I'm
    >wondering if it will work in Europe (France/Belgium) simply with a plug
    >adapter and I'm having some doubts about the information given to me by
    >Kensington. I called them twice and sent one email and got the same answer
    >each time (it will work), but I always had the sense the tech. didn't really
    >understand what I was asking.
    >
    >The main device (the power supply) is flat. About 4" by 6". There is a
    >detachable cable that's about 6 inches long that has the electrical plug on
    >one end. The main device (the power supply) is marked for 120V and 240V.
    >However, detachable plug/cable says ~125V 2.5A. There is no mention of 240V
    >on the plug/cable. I'm worried that a simple adapter won't be sufficient.
    >Has anyone purchased this, or another Kensington power supply and used it in
    >Europe?
    >
    >A couple of years ago, I had a Targus universal power supply. It too was
    >marked for 120V/240V and I pluged it into the wall of my UK hotel room
    >simply by using an adapter. There was a big POP and half the floor lost its
    >power. I found out later that the plug that connected to the power supply
    >ONLY worked on 120V. There was a DIFFERENT plug for 240V that connected to
    >the same power supply. Its because of this experience that I'm being so
    >doubtful.
    >
    >I head to Europe on Thursday and would greatly appreciate any help/advice.
    >
    >Regards,
    >Charles Goodman
    >

    Charles, you do push the little switch by the 120/240 volt across
    don't you, to 240?
     
    Ericp, Sep 21, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. My power supply doesn't have a switch. I gather it is self switching.
    Again, my biggest concern is with the little plug/cable.

    Thanks,
    Charles


    "Ericp" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Tue, 20 Sep 2005 20:44:44 -0400, "Charles Goodman"
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>I wasn't sure where to post this. If someone has a suggestion for another
    >>newsgroup, I'd greatly appreciate it.
    >>
    >>I just bought a Kensington 120W AC/DC power adapter (model 33197). I'm
    >>wondering if it will work in Europe (France/Belgium) simply with a plug
    >>adapter and I'm having some doubts about the information given to me by
    >>Kensington. I called them twice and sent one email and got the same
    >>answer
    >>each time (it will work), but I always had the sense the tech. didn't
    >>really
    >>understand what I was asking.
    >>
    >>The main device (the power supply) is flat. About 4" by 6". There is a
    >>detachable cable that's about 6 inches long that has the electrical plug
    >>on
    >>one end. The main device (the power supply) is marked for 120V and 240V.
    >>However, detachable plug/cable says ~125V 2.5A. There is no mention of
    >>240V
    >>on the plug/cable. I'm worried that a simple adapter won't be sufficient.
    >>Has anyone purchased this, or another Kensington power supply and used it
    >>in
    >>Europe?
    >>
    >>A couple of years ago, I had a Targus universal power supply. It too was
    >>marked for 120V/240V and I pluged it into the wall of my UK hotel room
    >>simply by using an adapter. There was a big POP and half the floor lost
    >>its
    >>power. I found out later that the plug that connected to the power supply
    >>ONLY worked on 120V. There was a DIFFERENT plug for 240V that connected
    >>to
    >>the same power supply. Its because of this experience that I'm being so
    >>doubtful.
    >>
    >>I head to Europe on Thursday and would greatly appreciate any help/advice.
    >>
    >>Regards,
    >>Charles Goodman
    >>

    > Charles, you do push the little switch by the 120/240 volt across
    > don't you, to 240?
    >
     
    Charles Goodman, Sep 21, 2005
    #3
  4. Charles Goodman

    PC Guest

    "Charles Goodman" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I wasn't sure where to post this. If someone has a suggestion for another
    >newsgroup, I'd greatly appreciate it.
    >
    > I just bought a Kensington 120W AC/DC power adapter (model 33197). I'm
    > wondering if it will work in Europe (France/Belgium) simply with a plug
    > adapter and I'm having some doubts about the information given to me by
    > Kensington. I called them twice and sent one email and got the same
    > answer each time (it will work), but I always had the sense the tech.
    > didn't really understand what I was asking.
    >
    > The main device (the power supply) is flat. About 4" by 6". There is a
    > detachable cable that's about 6 inches long that has the electrical plug
    > on one end. The main device (the power supply) is marked for 120V and
    > 240V. However, detachable plug/cable says ~125V 2.5A. There is no mention
    > of 240V on the plug/cable. I'm worried that a simple adapter won't be
    > sufficient. Has anyone purchased this, or another Kensington power supply
    > and used it in Europe?
    >
    > A couple of years ago, I had a Targus universal power supply. It too was
    > marked for 120V/240V and I pluged it into the wall of my UK hotel room
    > simply by using an adapter. There was a big POP and half the floor lost
    > its power. I found out later that the plug that connected to the power
    > supply ONLY worked on 120V. There was a DIFFERENT plug for 240V that
    > connected to the same power supply. Its because of this experience that
    > I'm being so doubtful.
    >
    > I head to Europe on Thursday and would greatly appreciate any help/advice.
    >
    > Regards,
    > Charles Goodman
    >





    Charles

    I would read the cable is only rated at 125v/2.5A but the powersupply is
    rated at up to 240v
    Ergo the cable needs to be rated at 240v to meet safety (and legal)
    requirements.

    I find it interesting the cable shorted on your Targus supply, in all the
    years I've handled electronics I can't recall a 125v cable shorting on our
    230v.
    Having said that I am 'not' advocating you use it anyway.

    So either find another cable that has a 240v rating.
    or
    Get a written guarantee from Kensington that the cable will stand 240v when
    plugged thru an adapter to 240v.

    The most likely course for you is to wait until you get to UK and buy a
    suitable cable, provided of course the socket it plugs into on the power
    supply is one of the 'common' ones.

    Cheers
    Paul.
     
    PC, Sep 21, 2005
    #4
  5. Thanks, Paul. Sound advice.

    Charles

    "PC" <> wrote in message
    news:vE2Ye.13301$...
    > "Charles Goodman" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >>I wasn't sure where to post this. If someone has a suggestion for another
    >>newsgroup, I'd greatly appreciate it.
    >>
    >> I just bought a Kensington 120W AC/DC power adapter (model 33197). I'm
    >> wondering if it will work in Europe (France/Belgium) simply with a plug
    >> adapter and I'm having some doubts about the information given to me by
    >> Kensington. I called them twice and sent one email and got the same
    >> answer each time (it will work), but I always had the sense the tech.
    >> didn't really understand what I was asking.
    >>
    >> The main device (the power supply) is flat. About 4" by 6". There is a
    >> detachable cable that's about 6 inches long that has the electrical plug
    >> on one end. The main device (the power supply) is marked for 120V and
    >> 240V. However, detachable plug/cable says ~125V 2.5A. There is no mention
    >> of 240V on the plug/cable. I'm worried that a simple adapter won't be
    >> sufficient. Has anyone purchased this, or another Kensington power supply
    >> and used it in Europe?
    >>
    >> A couple of years ago, I had a Targus universal power supply. It too was
    >> marked for 120V/240V and I pluged it into the wall of my UK hotel room
    >> simply by using an adapter. There was a big POP and half the floor lost
    >> its power. I found out later that the plug that connected to the power
    >> supply ONLY worked on 120V. There was a DIFFERENT plug for 240V that
    >> connected to the same power supply. Its because of this experience that
    >> I'm being so doubtful.
    >>
    >> I head to Europe on Thursday and would greatly appreciate any
    >> help/advice.
    >>
    >> Regards,
    >> Charles Goodman
    >>

    >
    >
    >
    >
    > Charles
    >
    > I would read the cable is only rated at 125v/2.5A but the powersupply is
    > rated at up to 240v
    > Ergo the cable needs to be rated at 240v to meet safety (and legal)
    > requirements.
    >
    > I find it interesting the cable shorted on your Targus supply, in all the
    > years I've handled electronics I can't recall a 125v cable shorting on our
    > 230v.
    > Having said that I am 'not' advocating you use it anyway.
    >
    > So either find another cable that has a 240v rating.
    > or
    > Get a written guarantee from Kensington that the cable will stand 240v
    > when plugged thru an adapter to 240v.
    >
    > The most likely course for you is to wait until you get to UK and buy a
    > suitable cable, provided of course the socket it plugs into on the power
    > supply is one of the 'common' ones.
    >
    > Cheers
    > Paul.
    >
     
    Charles Goodman, Sep 21, 2005
    #5
  6. Your comment about the older Kensington makes no sense. The plug would
    be different for 110 and 240 volts, but only mechanically, not in a way
    that would either enable or prevent proper operation, or that would
    "blow" the supply. There is more to it than that, and more than you
    understand.

    I cannot comment on your specific device, but ALMOST all laptop power
    supply are both "universal" (work on any voltage from about 90 volt to
    about 260 volts, either 50Hz or 60Hz) and, today at least, do so with no
    external switching. Check the label of your unit for it's input voltage
    rating. If it goes to 240 volts, then all that you have to worry about
    is the plug/cord (and a range switch if there is one, but I haven's seen
    one on a laptop supply in about a decade).


    Charles Goodman wrote:

    > I wasn't sure where to post this. If someone has a suggestion for another
    > newsgroup, I'd greatly appreciate it.
    >
    > I just bought a Kensington 120W AC/DC power adapter (model 33197). I'm
    > wondering if it will work in Europe (France/Belgium) simply with a plug
    > adapter and I'm having some doubts about the information given to me by
    > Kensington. I called them twice and sent one email and got the same answer
    > each time (it will work), but I always had the sense the tech. didn't really
    > understand what I was asking.
    >
    > The main device (the power supply) is flat. About 4" by 6". There is a
    > detachable cable that's about 6 inches long that has the electrical plug on
    > one end. The main device (the power supply) is marked for 120V and 240V.
    > However, detachable plug/cable says ~125V 2.5A. There is no mention of 240V
    > on the plug/cable. I'm worried that a simple adapter won't be sufficient.
    > Has anyone purchased this, or another Kensington power supply and used it in
    > Europe?
    >
    > A couple of years ago, I had a Targus universal power supply. It too was
    > marked for 120V/240V and I pluged it into the wall of my UK hotel room
    > simply by using an adapter. There was a big POP and half the floor lost its
    > power. I found out later that the plug that connected to the power supply
    > ONLY worked on 120V. There was a DIFFERENT plug for 240V that connected to
    > the same power supply. Its because of this experience that I'm being so
    > doubtful.
    >
    > I head to Europe on Thursday and would greatly appreciate any help/advice.
    >
    > Regards,
    > Charles Goodman
    >
    >
     
    Barry Watzman, Sep 21, 2005
    #6
  7. Virtually all power cables are rated to 220 volts (250, actually). I
    don't buy Paul's advice as the actual root cause of what happened.

    A more likely cause is that the cable was shorted, and would have blown
    even if you had connected it to 110 volts. Could have happened in the
    suitcase, perhaps you stressed the cord in packing it or wrapping it.
    And if that is the case, it would have happened even if you had just
    plugged in the cord without it even being connected to the supply. The
    cord may have been the culprit, but most likely not because of the
    voltage, but simply because "it was that cord's time".


    Charles Goodman wrote:

    > Thanks, Paul. Sound advice.
    >
    > Charles
    >
    > "PC" <> wrote in message
    > news:vE2Ye.13301$...
    >
    >>"Charles Goodman" <> wrote in message
    >>news:...
    >>
    >>>I wasn't sure where to post this. If someone has a suggestion for another
    >>>newsgroup, I'd greatly appreciate it.
    >>>
    >>>I just bought a Kensington 120W AC/DC power adapter (model 33197). I'm
    >>>wondering if it will work in Europe (France/Belgium) simply with a plug
    >>>adapter and I'm having some doubts about the information given to me by
    >>>Kensington. I called them twice and sent one email and got the same
    >>>answer each time (it will work), but I always had the sense the tech.
    >>>didn't really understand what I was asking.
    >>>
    >>>The main device (the power supply) is flat. About 4" by 6". There is a
    >>>detachable cable that's about 6 inches long that has the electrical plug
    >>>on one end. The main device (the power supply) is marked for 120V and
    >>>240V. However, detachable plug/cable says ~125V 2.5A. There is no mention
    >>>of 240V on the plug/cable. I'm worried that a simple adapter won't be
    >>>sufficient. Has anyone purchased this, or another Kensington power supply
    >>>and used it in Europe?
    >>>
    >>>A couple of years ago, I had a Targus universal power supply. It too was
    >>>marked for 120V/240V and I pluged it into the wall of my UK hotel room
    >>>simply by using an adapter. There was a big POP and half the floor lost
    >>>its power. I found out later that the plug that connected to the power
    >>>supply ONLY worked on 120V. There was a DIFFERENT plug for 240V that
    >>>connected to the same power supply. Its because of this experience that
    >>>I'm being so doubtful.
    >>>
    >>>I head to Europe on Thursday and would greatly appreciate any
    >>>help/advice.
    >>>
    >>>Regards,
    >>>Charles Goodman
    >>>

    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>Charles
    >>
    >>I would read the cable is only rated at 125v/2.5A but the powersupply is
    >>rated at up to 240v
    >>Ergo the cable needs to be rated at 240v to meet safety (and legal)
    >>requirements.
    >>
    >>I find it interesting the cable shorted on your Targus supply, in all the
    >>years I've handled electronics I can't recall a 125v cable shorting on our
    >>230v.
    >>Having said that I am 'not' advocating you use it anyway.
    >>
    >>So either find another cable that has a 240v rating.
    >>or
    >>Get a written guarantee from Kensington that the cable will stand 240v
    >>when plugged thru an adapter to 240v.
    >>
    >>The most likely course for you is to wait until you get to UK and buy a
    >>suitable cable, provided of course the socket it plugs into on the power
    >>supply is one of the 'common' ones.
    >>
    >>Cheers
    >>Paul.
    >>

    >
    >
    >
     
    Barry Watzman, Sep 21, 2005
    #7
  8. Charles Goodman

    Peter Parry Guest

    On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 03:14:20 GMT, Barry Watzman
    <> wrote:

    >Your comment about the older Kensington makes no sense. The plug would
    >be different for 110 and 240 volts, but only mechanically, not in a way
    >that would either enable or prevent proper operation, or that would
    >"blow" the supply. There is more to it than that, and more than you
    >understand.


    A number of older power supplies used the power cord as the voltage
    selector by having the PSU end of the lead wired differently for
    cables fitted to 110V cords and those with 220V cords, so plugging
    the "110V" lead into 240V via an adapter would do as described. The
    system was far from reliable and quickly went out of fashion.


    --
    Peter Parry.
    http://www.wpp.ltd.uk/
     
    Peter Parry, Sep 21, 2005
    #8
  9. Yes, you could have a 3-prong plug, and different cords, and run the
    110v cord to, say, pins 1 and 2 and run the 220 volt card to, say, pins
    one and 3. Effectively the cord becomes a switch.

    But while that is physically possible, I think it's an unlikely
    explanation for the situation described for the following reasons:

    1. Such a device would probably not get regulatory approval (UL and VDE
    approval).

    2. I would still expect, even in that case, that the consequence would
    be to blow a fuse inside the power adapter, rather than the dire
    consequences described in the post.

    Indeed, no matter what one did (direct short across the power line), I
    would not expect that any action by any hotel guest in a guest room
    would impact any other guests. I'd expect each room of the hotel to be
    on a separate circuit (circuit breaker, fuse), limiting the consequences
    to a single guest room.


    Peter Parry wrote:

    > On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 03:14:20 GMT, Barry Watzman
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Your comment about the older Kensington makes no sense. The plug would
    >>be different for 110 and 240 volts, but only mechanically, not in a way
    >>that would either enable or prevent proper operation, or that would
    >>"blow" the supply. There is more to it than that, and more than you
    >>understand.

    >
    >
    > A number of older power supplies used the power cord as the voltage
    > selector by having the PSU end of the lead wired differently for
    > cables fitted to 110V cords and those with 220V cords, so plugging
    > the "110V" lead into 240V via an adapter would do as described. The
    > system was far from reliable and quickly went out of fashion.
    >
    >
     
    Barry Watzman, Sep 21, 2005
    #9
  10. Charles Goodman

    Peter Parry Guest

    On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 17:56:39 GMT, Barry Watzman
    <> wrote:



    >But while that is physically possible, I think it's an unlikely
    >explanation for the situation described for the following reasons:
    >
    >1. Such a device would probably not get regulatory approval (UL and VDE
    >approval).


    Such a device certainly exists, I have a couple somewhere. If I can
    find any I'll check what (if any) approvals it is marked with.

    >2. I would still expect, even in that case, that the consequence would
    >be to blow a fuse inside the power adapter, rather than the dire
    >consequences described in the post.


    It should be, but the response time of circuit breakers is somewhat
    faster than fuses so it isn't unknown for a 13A circuit breaker to
    trip before a 5A fuse.

    >Indeed, no matter what one did (direct short across the power line), I
    >would not expect that any action by any hotel guest in a guest room
    >would impact any other guests. I'd expect each room of the hotel to be
    >on a separate circuit (circuit breaker, fuse), limiting the consequences
    >to a single guest room.


    Depends upon the hotel and country :). If it was France it wouldn't
    be unexpected for whole town to be plunged into darkness.

    --
    Peter Parry.
    http://www.wpp.ltd.uk/
     
    Peter Parry, Sep 21, 2005
    #10
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