Why are electrical converters killing my razors/computer?

The last time I lived abroad, I used normal electrical outlet converters to use things like electrical razors and my laptop. I killed two razors, and my laptop no longer works for more than about twenty minutes when it’s unplugged. Why is this, and what sort of converter should I get when I depart again next week?

Thanks and have a good one.

were your razors dual voltage? You do realize that Europe runs on 240V @50Hz, compared to the US, which runs at 120V @60Hz, right? Many things (most laptops, actually, and some razors) are dual voltage, and will work just fine with just a plug adapter. If it ISN’T dual voltage, you will fry the circuitry plugging it into a European outlet. To run 120V items in Europe you need to buy a transformer that is rated to the power output of your device. (For about $30 you can pick up a 75W one, but that will only be good for low drain laptops, charging razors, etc…it will blow out if used with a hair dryer or iron or the like).

To check whether your items are dual voltage, look at the information panel on either the AC adapter or the back of the device. If it says anything between 110-130V, and that’s it, it is for US voltage only and must have a transformer to be used in Europe. If it says 110-220V or the like, it is dual voltage and will work with just a plug adapter.

The laptop’s run time may be coincidental to its overseas use - the battery may have simply come to the end of its useful life. Laptop batteries seem to be good for on average, two years or so.

I’ve had laptop battereis go belly-up in 18 months and not even hold enough charge for the thing to boot, and some are at four years old and still holding an hour’s charge.

One of our tech support guys here at work told us that, if we were using our laptops while plugged in a lot, to remove the batteries while using them on AC power. According to him the laptop would constantly be trying to keep the battery topped off (since they drain a bit even if you aren’t using them) and that would shorten the life of the battery.

I thought that was only a problem with the older Ni-Cad style batteries, but I don’t see how it could hurt to try anyway.