Outlets in South America can be rather difficult when trying to plug in/charge your domestic electronic devices. When it comes to electricity there are two things that you need to know; first the voltage & frequency and secondly, the type of plug to be used.
There are two major types of voltage, 120v and 240v. 120v covers a range of 100v-127v and 240v covers a range of 240v-240v. If you plug in a machine that can’t support one or the other then you might just witness your very own fireworks display.
There is a simple reason why there is a variance in electricity around the world and it has to do with the history of how electricity evolved around the world.
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When electricity was first invented, the entire globe utilized 120v. Due to the fact that it’s more efficient to carry double the voltage over long distances, the Europeans decided to switch to 240v. This, in turn, causes fewer drops in electricity and voltage which can damage and ruin electronics.
At the same time the United States wanted to switch to 240v as well but decided against it due to the cost to replace all the electrical appliances. The United States is essentially stuck in the 1950’s and have started to counteract the problem by wiring new buildings with 240v split in half. Brazil is the only country that currently runs the two different types of voltage.
Luckily for consumers most electronics today are able to support both frequencies and voltages. The only thing that we have to worry about is the actual plug to use. Before they started creating universal voltage & frequency electronics it was requirement to carry those bulky and super heavy voltage converters. You remember that right? Now we only need adapters so we can plug our electronics into those other plugs around the world. The birth of universal electronics for travel has arrived!
First, you need to check whether your appliance is able to support the electricity in the specified country. Laptops and smart phones are now built to support any electrical voltage and frequency around the world. Look at the actual plug of your appliance, an example would be that small box looking object that comes with a laptop plug, and focus on the section that reads “input”. If it works everywhere it will read 100-240V~50-60hz. If the plug does not read that way you need a voltage converter.
Second, are the outlets to use. If you are traveling to South America here are the plugs and voltages for each country:
Electrical Outlets in Argentina-220v:
Electrical Outlet in Brazil 110v: (American plugs are very common in Brazil as well)
Electrical Outlets in Bolivia 230v:
Electrical Outlet in Chile 220v: If you have the top plug it will work with bottom plug