What is the volt unit all about and why does 230V actually come out of a socket? TECHBOOK explains what there is to know about voltage.

    The technology we use requires electricity. However, with the many different designations for electrical energy, it is difficult to keep track of designations such as volts, amps and watts. In addition, although electricity flows at 230 volts in European sockets, this does not apply worldwide. The back of powered devices says what voltage they need to operate. This is important because if a device is plugged into an outlet that uses a different voltage, it can overheat or even break.

    What does the unit of electricity volt mean?

    Volt is a unit of measurement that indicates how strong the electrical voltage is in a power line. Basically, when electricity flows through a wire, it has to overcome a resistance in order to end up as electrical energy. A device can only be powered if enough power arrives at the end of the line.

    The greater the voltage, the greater the distance over which a power line can transport electrical energy without a great loss of energy. This is why the voltage is particularly high in high-voltage lines, for example, because far away places have to be supplied with electricity.

    So many volts come out of the socket

    In 1983, the countries in Europe agreed on a value of 230 volts, the final changeover in Germany took place four years later. However, the voltage can deviate by around 10 percent and fluctuates slightly in the power grid, so that older 220-volt devices can still be used. Not only in Germany, but also internationally, many countries have a similar voltage of 230 volts in their sockets. However, the voltage in the network can vary greatly depending on the country you are visiting.

    What happens if I connect a device with a different volt rating than specified?

    Attention: As already mentioned, the volt number is not the same in every country. here you can find out about the voltage used in the holiday country. And you should too – because if you plug a 110 volt device from the USA into a 230 volt socket, a cable fire can result.

    Conversely, if a 230 volt device is running at a lower voltage, it will not work properly or with weaker performance. But don’t worry, this problem can be solved quickly with an appropriate voltage converter and external socket adapter in your luggage. However, not all devices need such a voltage converter.

    A voltage converter is required for these devices

    Whether I need a voltage converter for my device at all depends on the device and the current voltage in the country. If it is an electronic device with its own power pack or charger, the possible voltage is often in a working range of 100 volts to 240 volts. The electronic devices such as laptops and mobile phones then regulate the current themselves to the required voltage. Electronic devices with adjustable power also work with different voltages. The information on the spectrum in which the devices can work is on the power supply unit.

    On the other hand, electrical devices such as a hair dryer that use an existing electrical voltage directly require a voltage converter. Some devices can also switch between different voltages if a manual switch is present.

    Also read: How much can you make with one kilowatt hour of electricity?

    When does a 230 volt socket overload?

    If too much electrical energy flows through a power line in a short time, it heats up more and more. If the power line is about to overheat, the fuse blows – the socket is overloaded. Overheating occurs when the amperage is too high. But what is an ampere? While volts drive current through the wire, amperes tell you how much energy flows through the wire in a given amount of time. An example: A normal household fuse can usually handle a current of 16 amps. A 230-volt socket is therefore overloaded if the current of 16 amperes is exceeded. But when does it happen that this ampere limit is actually exceeded?

    If a device draws electricity to operate, it is referred to as electrical power – and watts is the designation for this electrical power. In concrete terms, watts indicate how much electrical work a device performs per second. To calculate the power in watts, the following formula is used: volts and amperes are multiplied. Watts = Volts x Amps.

    This means that a 230 volt socket with a 16 ampere fuse can operate a maximum of one device with a required electrical output of 3680 watts. Thus, two devices that require an output of 2000 watts overload a 230 volt socket.