However the purchase of a plug adapter doesn't help to eliminate some problems, like voltage disparity. Many electrical appliances are designed for use in Japan and North America and can cause fuse when brought to Europe. The reason lies in the voltage differences. In Japan and the USA the voltage is 100-127 volts, while in Europe it is between 220 and 240 volts. Originally Europe used 110 volts, but it was increased in order to get more power without voltage drop. The USA refused the idea of increasing voltage, as it could entail the replacement of all electric appliances and hence large spending. If fact all American buildings are supplied today with 230 volts divided in two 115 between hot and neutral wire.
There are certain differences in shape between the North American and European plugs. For this reason European plug adapters are necessary whenever you bring electronics from America to Europe. Many European countries use the standard two round pin plug, which may be earthed in different ways. The common combination is when the live and neutral pins mate and earth pin don't. Such plugs are common in all European countries with the exception of the United Kingdom and Ireland. American two-pin plug has two flat parallel pins and is considered to be ungrounded. Such type of a plug is standard in North America on devices, which doesn't require a ground connection, like lamps. American grounded plug has three pins: two flat parallel pins and a round earthing pin. It is common in most homes of the USA and Canada. American plug adapters, also known as "ground lifts" are used to insert a grounded plug into an ungrounded socket.
European plug adapters are needed to transform the North American electronics and make it work in Europe. They let the plug to be inserted into the socket. European plug adapters may vary from very simple, which connect a plug to socket without changing what is passing through, to complex, which change what is passing through. The latter include transformers that adapt electrical current from high to low voltage. Europe uses 220-240V current, while it North America 120V current is common. If your electronic appliance doesn't have adapter to cover both currents a voltage converter is needed. However it is not usually applied to digital camera battery charges and computers.
Whenever you purchase American phone, phone adapter required, which makes possible to insert the phone line into the phone outlet. Phone adapters vary by country.
Earth connection on European sockets is often unreliable, voltage and frequency may vary depending on location and time. That's why it is advisable to take precautions as far as electronic appliances are concerned. The protection of a BS 1362 plug fuse is needed if you want to connect equipment to British wiring. The adapter must suit British Standards.
The purchase of European plug adapters is a better solution than the modification of the plug or socket, which is a hazardous business. The modifications, which may seem safe, can endanger property and life.