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  1. #1
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    Power adaptors - traveling to Japan

    I am traveling to Japan in August and wanted your recommendations on power converters. My usual power needs when traveling is one standard plug in for my CPAP machine as well as USB ports for my iPhone/ipad and watch. Does anyone have any suggestions about a converter that has enough power for my CPAP machine?
    A30 - Original Halcyon/UV MB - Aubergine/NWS LCB - Original Halcyon/Wasabi! MCB - Steel dyneema/Wasabi! STT - Wasabi! SE - NORDIC/Solar TT - Sitka

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  2. #2
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    Are you sure it needs a converter, not just an adapter? If so, do you know whether it can take 50 or 60Hz?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouncing View Post
    Are you sure it needs a converter, not just an adapter? If so, do you know whether it can take 50 or 60Hz?
    I didn't know there was a difference! :-)
    A30 - Original Halcyon/UV MB - Aubergine/NWS LCB - Original Halcyon/Wasabi! MCB - Steel dyneema/Wasabi! STT - Wasabi! SE - NORDIC/Solar TT - Sitka

    TB Newbie First factory visit - 9/21/2018

    Heartís desire: a S19 or S25 in original NORDIC.

  4. #4
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jessmakes View Post
    I didn't know there was a difference! :-)
    It should say on the power adapter for the machine.

    And the difference is this. You know alternating current (AC) that alternates between positive and negative? Some countries, like the US, are 60 times a second. Europe is 50 times per second. Japan couldn't make up its mind and actually uses both depending on where you are.

    For some mechanical devices, it matters. For most electronics, it does not.

  5. #5
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    Power adaptors - traveling to Japan

    I was in Japan last month. I plugged in my iphone xr charger - no problem. After charging phone, I used same charger to charge my camera batteries - just used a different cord with the micro usb end that connects to my battery charger tray. My charger only accommodates one charge cord at a time.

    I stayed in hotels in Mito, Nikko, Tokyo and the Yokohama area.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    Japan is 50 hertz on the East side (Tokyo) and 60 hertz on the West side. The voltage also is about 10V lower in Japan than the US at 100V. I would say 90% of US electronics or more should work with no issue as they have a two plug socket that physically is compatible with the two prong plugs used in the US (you may need an adapter if you have a three prong plug). However, if you have sensitive equipment, you should check the labels to ensure electrical compatibility. For instance, I have a Microsoft Surface Book and it has a power adapter says 100-240V and 50/60HZ, so it's fine in Japan with no need for a transformer and no need for an adapter. Almost all electronics have these electrical labels. Hope this helps.

  7. #7
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    Most of the information in this post is given in various other replies.

    Quote Originally Posted by bouncing View Post
    Are you sure it needs a converter, not just an adapter?
    If you're an American, you don't need an adapter in most locations. Japan uses the same plug types as America. (unlike other parts of Asia)

    Quote Originally Posted by bouncing View Post
    If so, do you know whether it can take 50 or 60Hz?
    You may need to know this, as Japan's power system is both 50HZ or 60Hz (again, if you're American - America is 60Hz).

    Gifu/Nagoya westward is 60Hz, while east and north is 50Hz. The power frequency has a moderate effect on the output power, but I'd wager that it isn't a big effect compared to the voltage differences. (Think about the folks in Japan who travel from place to place - I don't think I've ever seen a native travel with a converter.)

    Japan's electrical system also runs at 100V, instead of the (again, if you're American) American standard 120V.

    Most modern electronics with wall adapters utilize "switching" power supplies which are built to automatically convert both voltage and frequency to generate the proper output power. You can see notes to this effect on the power bricks (they will list an input voltage range and an input frequency range.) I've been able to use 99% of my devices (phone chargers, USB chargers, computers, light electronics, etc) with neither and adapter or converter (as I'm from the US and the plug matches.)

    Some items use "resistive elements" - like hair dryers, curling irons, kettles, etc. At worst, these items will not heat up or operate properly ... but at worst, they can burning out or otherwise be damaged due to operating out of design parameters.

    This is also true of items that do not include resistive elements, but do not utilize a switching power supply - some items with motors, appliance, etc.

    Japanese plugs do NOT have the different sized common prong like American plugs ... where one prong is wider than the other; sometimes I've had issues with that, but most of my items now have same-sized prongs.

    The upshot is that if you're talking about modern electronics, you're probably fine with no adapter or converter (if American) or a plug adapter (if you're not American.)

    Other stuff sensitive to voltage, you'll need a step up converter (if American) or a plug adapter and applicable converter (if not American). Your CPAP machine may fall into this category, but a lot of them have capable power supplies that can handle 50-60HZ, 100-240V input.

    Here's an article that provides additional details, written from a North American perspective:
    https://tokyofromtheinside.com/electricity-ac-japan/

    BTW, distilled water in Japanese is 蒸留水 - jouryuusui(jo with a long o), if you don't speak the language and need to pick some up. You can get it in most drugstores and many grocery supermarkets. As per the post below, it looks like you could need a Yakkan Shoumei (medical import certificate) for your CPAP machine, but I haven't ever brought one in personally.

    Hope you enjoy your trip!

    If you're wondering why Japan wouldn't have a standard power distribution frequency, this is an interesting read: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20...e-power-grids/
    Issue does come up from time to time, as it prevents efficiently rerouting power during weather events and so on.
    Last edited by squaredot; 04-07-2019 at 04:30 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by squaredot View Post

    BTW, distilled water in Japanese is 蒸留水 - jouryuusui(jo with a long o), if you don't speak the language and need to pick some up. You can get it in most drugstores and many grocery supermarkets. From what I can tell casually browsing around, you do not need a Yakkan Shoumei (medical import certificate) for your CPAP machine, but I haven't ever brought one in personally.
    There was quite a bit of discussion about needing a yakkan shoumei for CPAP machines on Tripadvisor a while back, and it seems that it is needed.

    https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/ShowTo....html#93957487
    A30 in original halcyon/wasabi. Side Kick in verde/northwest sky and cloud/viridian, Pop Tote in Mars Red, Travel Cubelet in Mars Red, A30 packing cube backpack in northwest sky, large travel tray in sitka, packing cubes, pouches and cubelets

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denises View Post
    There was quite a bit of discussion about needing a yakkan shoumei for CPAP machines on Tripadvisor a while back, and it seems that it is needed.

    https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/ShowTo....html#93957487
    "lol" I'm glad that post has the suggestion to read all the way to the end of the official form samples. I certainly don't know much about respiratory treatment equipment, but it does seem like a "KPAP" machine is similar to a "CPAP" machine. The Japanese government is very interesting about what they do and don't consider covered by YS requirements.

    Misinformation indeed; I spent ~20-30 minutes browsing around this AM (in fact, reading a number of posts on TA) and didn't see those specifics. I must've been reading older posts. I'll edit my original post! Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Definitely better to be safe! I shudder at the thought of having to deal with some official who's just 'doing things by the book' at the end of a major flight with the potential to be stuck in a pickle.
    Last edited by squaredot; 04-07-2019 at 04:34 PM.

  10. #10
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    Yes, the person who said to look at the last page is Japanese and a physician, and I would definitely trust her advice on this.
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  11. #11
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    By the way, while you are in Japan, you might think about picking up a three-way extension plug made by Panasonic. They're small--a bit larger than a credit card and about a half inch thick--the plug part swivels for maximum versatility, and you can plug in three items (one on each side, and one to the front) . I've never seen them in the US--but they really come in handy when you need to charge several items but your hotel room only has a single available outlet.
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  12. #12
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    The "fine print" on the backside of the adapter will tell you the operating voltage range and frequency. The USB wall plugs usually look like this:

    Input: 110-220 VAC 50-60 Hz
    Output 5V, 2.1A

    I can't think of anywhere that adapter won't work. And it doesn't matter what you plug into the adapter, the output is USB appropriate no matter the input.

    The only time to worry about a device itself is if you plug it directly into the main voltage without a wall adapter or power brick, in which case the device itself will have the same "fine print" telling you what voltage range it will work with, usually on the underside or back. Generally, only devices with motors are voltage-frequency dependent, but with globalization, even those tend to be multi-voltage. In some cases, there is a switch on the device itself to go from 110v to 220v, I had a Norelco razor that did that. Just make sure you switch it!

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