How to Use a US Laptop in Europe

by Quinten Plummer

Many US laptop users traveling to Europe run into a dilemma when they realize that their US laptop is incompatible with European power outlets. The problem is that US electronics are designed to work on a standard 120 volt alternating current (VAC)--making them incompatible with the 240VAC standard. Use the tips listed here to solve your foreign power issues.

Purchase a European AC travel converter from your local electronics store. Stores that focus on accessories and components will offer you the most variety.

Check the wattage of your laptop and compare it to the wattage of the AC converter. Your laptop's wattage must not exceed the converter's maximum voltage, though the laptop may be below the converter's maximum.

Plug the converter into the European outlet. On the back of the converter, you will notice an American outlet. If you purchased a duel wattage converter to power more than one item type of item, ensure that the proper wattage is selected. Most duel wattage converters have a switch on the back or sides to toggle between different wattage.

Plug your laptop's power cable into it and then turn your laptop on. Check for a lit LED light on the back of the converter as evidence of the presence of power in the outlet.

For powering your laptop in a European automobile, a standard US car charger will do. The circuitry inside of both European cars uses the voltages--12 or 24--and use a direct current (DC).

Warning

  • Be wary of products that simply convert the plug's head from an American to European style--these do not feature a transformer and do not convert electricity.

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About the Author

Quinten Plummer began writing professionally in 2008. He has more than six years in the technology field including five years in retail electronics and a year in technical support. Plummer gained his experience in music by producing for various hip-hop acts and as lead guitarist for a band. He now works as a reporter for a daily newspaper.

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