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I live in the Philippines. The power outlets at home have 10A/250V label on them except for the air conditioner outlet that's 20A/250V. I have a computer monitor, CPU case and printer from Germany. They're all 16A/250V, and I plugged them to an extension wire that's 16A/250V as well. But the extension wire doesn't fit in the outlets here cuz it's round so I used a 10A/250V adapter from the Philippines. So is it okay to plug the thing in a 10A/250V outlet at home? Is it even okay to use 10A/250V adapter for a 16A/250V extension wire which has three 16A/250V appliances?

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    I highly doubt that each of those is 250V/16A. That's 4KW each. There's no way a monitor draws anything near that. Same with the printer. Maybe the computer if it's a big server but I doubt that too! I don't know who put 16 amp plugs on those, but I doubt they need them. Also, if you plugged three 4KW devices into your 10 amp (2.5KW) outlet, you would have either tripped your breaker or burned your house down! Why don't you edit in the manufacturers and model numbers of everything into your question and we'll figure out how much power they are realy rated for.
    – DoxyLover
    Jun 30 at 5:49
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    Germany does not have 250 Volt. The have 220 Volt. I have to see a CPU that uses 16 Amp. Must be some super computer. 1.6 Amp is more likely.
    – Ruskes
    Jun 30 at 6:29
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    There should be plates on each piece of equipment, stating the voltage , c/s and power in Amperes it needs. Use that as your reference point. None of them will pull 16A, more likely 1.6A, so power rating is quite safe.Not sure that 50c/s will match well with 60c/s. Best check with manufacturers if not sure.
    – Tim
    Jun 30 at 8:22
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    It's 230V 50Hz in all of Europe (and large parts of the rest of the world) btw. 220V hasn't been the standard since 1987.
    – MiG
    Jun 30 at 9:28
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    @MiG - the European 'standard' of 230V is a nominal figure; +10% - 6% (ie. between 216.2 volts and 253 volts is legal). Jul 2 at 10:17

5 Answers 5

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The values on the plugs & sockets are for the maximum that the plugs & sockets can support, not what the devices will use.

A device that consumes 16A at 250V is using 4000W or 4 kilowatt. This is sufficient to power a large electric heater & far more than would ever be required for most consumer devices, from computers to dishwashers. The only thing that might come close is a cooker.

So long as your voltages match [which they do] and the computer equipment is capable of supporting both 50 & 60Hz - for which you would have to check the actual equipment not the plugs [there will be information close by where the mains power goes into the devices] - then you are fine.

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    @EdBeal - there's an element of common sense to apply here. If you wanted to plug a 4-bar electric fire in it, sure, that's going to be an issue. I come from a country where all the plugs are the same, so it's more common to plug a 10A extension into a 13A socket - same rules of common sense would apply to anything you plug into that combo.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 30 at 9:07
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    I only turned it around because it's simply not possible to do it the other way here. All sockets are 13A, but not all extensions are [nor can you buy a domestic 20A extension]. You still need the same amount of common sense either way round.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 30 at 9:22
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    The OP is using an over-spec extension on low amperage equipment. Both extension & socket are over-spec for this requirement. They're just over-spec by different amounts. So long as they're not going for the 4-bar heater or a big aircon unit, all is fine.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 30 at 9:26
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    Sure. Specialist gear. We're not talking specialist gear, or the OP would know more about it. Computer/monitor/printer says 'domestic' right through, like a stick of rock.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 30 at 9:30
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    A lot of guessing going on here, but I think OP's equipment is an ordinary domestic computer, I think the plugs and sockets are all rated for their respective maximum capacity, not the computer's, and I think the plug mismatch is not because of different plugs for 10A and 16A, but because OP has German 16A plugs that just don't fit Philipine outlets, and is using an adapter that happens to be rated at 10A. IMO this is all OK if my assumptions are correct. A different approach would be to cut off the German plugs and install Philipine ones, but what would that achieve?
    – jay613
    Jun 30 at 13:02
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GROUNDING!

This will work, it may be dangerous:

German 16A plugs ("schuko") are grounded. Devices that are equipped with them require grounding connection.

As far as internet goes, in Philippines they use 3 types of plugs:

  • 2 flat prongs (no grounding)
  • 2 round prongs (no grounding)
  • 3 prongs - one round and two flat. This one has grounding.

If your adapter is 2-prong from the philippines-side, it does not provide grounding.

On the other hand, devices that require grounding are generally unsafe when not grounded - a fault inside may expose dangerous voltage on outside-facing parts.

In short, make sure that your Philippines to Germany adapter is grounded.

p.s. as the other answers suggest, the power rating on plugs and sockets are not an issue for you.

Even the most power-hungry printer will draw as much as 5A. The computer and monitor combined will hardly draw 2A (and most probably as low as 0.5A).

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TL;DR If the device cords are removable then swap the cord. If they are not removable then it gets complicated...

There are two different types of power cables on consumer electronics:

Permanently Attached

A permanently attached cable has a particular plug on it, which you are, generally speaking, required to use. This will usually* limit a given device to use with a particular voltage range (e.g., 110V - 125V for NEMA 5 or 220V - 250V for NEMA 6) and also set a maximum current (e.g., 15A for NEMA 5-15, 20A for NEMA 5-20). I am not as familiar with the equivalent standards for outside the US/Canada, but the concept definitely applies elsewhere.

A permanently attached cable can lower the cost for a manufacturer ever so slightly, but at the same time it limits sales around the world as a different cable needs to be built in to the device for sale in (at a minimum) US/Canada vs. Europe. For a device that requires a particular limited voltage range (e.g., many laser printers are built differently for ~120V use vs. ~240V use) it has a real advantage of minimizing the possibility of a customer damaging the product by connecting it to the wrong power source.

Using a permanently attached cord that doesn't match your local configuration is at a minimum and inconvenience but can be quite dangerous, particularly for high-power appliances. The typical options include:

  • Plug-in adapters that simply change one plug configuration to another. Typically used for traveling. Not recommended for permanent usage. Provides no protection against misuse.
  • Replace the entire cord/plug. On some devices this is relatively easy (e.g., classic in the US is 3-wire vs. 4-wire dryer cords) but on typical consumer electronics this is often nearly impossible as the devices are often not designed to be repaired in any way.
  • Adapters designed to convert voltage if needed, manage current (fuses or circuit breakers), etc. Designed properly, these are very safe but not so cheap. Designed poorly...
  • Hack together your own solution. Not a great idea unless you really know what you are doing.

Removable

A removable cable typically uses one of a few standard connections on the device (computer, printer, monitor, laptop brick, smart phone, etc.) and an inexpensive cable to connect to AC power. The most extreme case, arguably, is USB-powered devices, as they can be supplied with a standard cable (e.g., USB A to micro-USB) and a different adapter based on the destination country. (I actually received a phone recently which came with a European USB adapter. No big deal - I just use a US USB adapter instead.)

Some typical connector types include:

  • C13/C14 - Typical for desktop computers, monitors, printers, etc.
  • C15/C16 - High temperature, and therefore often used for high power, big brother of C13. Sort of like NEMA 5-15 vs. 5-20.
  • C5 - "Mickey mouse" - typically used on laptop power bricks.

See this Wikipedia article for a lot more details.

Each type has, to a varying degree, stated current and voltage limits. But the key is that if you have, as is typical, a computer using C13/C14 connectors, the other end of the cable can vary depending on whether it is destined for use in US/Canada, Europe, India, etc. So if you move a computer, monitor, etc. of this type from the US to Europe (or vice versa) all you need to do is replace the removable cord with the proper one for the new location and, if the power supply does not automatically switch between voltage ranges (if they are different in the two locations) flip the appropriate switch to do so.

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Yes, probably.

As long as your computer, printer and monitor each use less than 16 amps it is ok for them to have 16 amp plugs on them. As long as they use less than 10 amps, it is ok to use a German to Philipine plug adapter that is rated for 10 amps. As long as they are rated to use the voltage and frequency in your country, you can use them there. The question to ask is whether your equipment’s power usage is less than the ratings for the plugs, cables and plug adapters.

Hopefully if you were running a data center or a bitcoin mine you would have mentioned it in the question. The answer is probably "yes".

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If it is a standard computer setup, it will not draw more than 500W under full load, that is merely 2 amperes.
So, yes, it is safe to plug it into 10A socket.

To find the maximum power draw of equipment, look at the label on the device itself, not the cable. For screen and printer, it will be on back side of the unit. For computer, you may have to look inside case, at the power supply unit (because these most often dedicate whole back side for ventilation, so power rating must go elsewhere). If you have the model or part listing for the computer, you can check the power supply rating there.

The part confusing you, is the fact that cables are rated 16A. This is pretty normal, because same cable could be used for variety of loads, up to specified 16A, but does not mean the device itself draws 16A. The unfortunate fact is that 16A cables & sockets in some countries have different shape than 10A ones, so indeed you need to use the adapter to plug them in. As long as you don't put any devices drawing 16A on that cable, it is safe.

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