Monday, October 26, 2009

American electricity in Singapore

This little box is my life.

It controls whether I blow dry my hair, get to play Wii, use 99% of my kitchen appliances or get to use my computer at all.

It is the magic box that converts the British system of 220V electricity to our modest US system of 110V electricity. It is my favorite thing in our Singaporean house.

Without it, I would cry. A lot.

We have about six of these magical boxes in our home. For two kids from Kansas who never planned to live abroad, that means that we have six plug-ins in our entire house.

Yeah. Imagine living like that.

Because we have only five items that are made for Singaporean outlets/voltage systems, this means most all of our stuff is for US voltage systems. That was a fun realization. The five things we finally cracked down and bought were the only items we couldn't get around not re-buying upon our move here. There are just some things that aren't meant to be plugged into an inverter.

A hair straightener is one of them. Hair straighteners get really pissy when you plug them into an electricity inverter. I learned that the hard way when I came to visit. My hair was not anywhere close to straight that whole month.

So anyways, this is a post merely to thank Uncle Sam for giving us inverters. I tend to be a little hard on Uncle Sam sometimes.

And sometimes I'm sorry.

Not so much today, but some other times I am.


FISH said...

Your computers should be okay to use on 220. If it's a desktop, just move the switch on the power supply from 110 to 220. The laptop should step-down automatically. You'll just need the prong adapter for the plug and then you can be free from the voltage regulator. If you get adventurous, go to Sim Lim and get a replacement cable so you don't need to mess with the adapters. That's what we did for our Wii and laptop. Worked fine. :)

Brad Farless said...

I can second Fish's suggestion. I got an adapter and plug my laptop directly into the wall with no problem. Your desktop should have a little switch on the power block that will let you switch it over to 220V.

Other than that though I completely understand. Here's a real doozie for you though. In the Philippines, the power is 220V, BUT... they use outlets just like our US ones. Imagine the confusion and forgetfulness there...

Also, it seems to me that most Singaporean homes don't have a lot of power outlets anyways. The last place I had where we were renting a whole condo, each room only had two outlets.

Megan said...

Thanks guys for the pointers. We have the prong (Singaporean) plug adapter for our netbook, but since we have the inverters, I decided that there was no need to buy the other adapters. Yes, I'm that frugal. :) It drives my husband crazy.

Until I came here though, I had no idea that the latest technology could just switch over like that. It's really cool.

Brad, woah. I bet it's a pain to get things to work in the Philippines. I would totally forget and end up frying half of our appliances.

Do you guys have power outlets in the bathroom? We definitely don't and it's a constant source of frustration. My American friends can't believe that there's none. (They also can't believe that there's no aircon in the kitchen or bathroom for that matter either.)

Brad Farless said...

I've lived in two different places here and neither one had an outlet in the bathroom. It's seriously frustrating and makes no sense at all.

I'm also dismayed by the lack of central air conditioning. I've lived in apartments in NYC that only had a window unit, but they were small apartments and that window unit could cool the whole thing. In houses as big as these you'd think central air conditioning would be a standard. Electricity is so expensive here though that I guess it's not economically feasible. Weird how that works.

FISH said...

Both my bathrooms have electrical outlets and they are both 110/220 volt. Pretty handy. We use them to charge camera batteries, etc. And, of course, my electric razor.

Megan said...

Fish, I am totally jealous. I won't even let people look into our back bedroom because there's two big extension cords extending from the the far wall all the way into the bathroom. It's a sad sad sight.

Brad Farless said...

Damn it Fish! I'm so jealous now! What part of Singapore do you live in? Maybe consider moving again. He he he.

Megan, don't feel bad. My bedroom has only one outlet, so I have an extension cord running the length of the wall around to the other side of the room where the desk and bed are. The wall nearest to the outlet is covered by built-in closets.