The 150-Country Auto-Detecting Travel Adapter and Converter

by Dave on August 13, 2007 · 30 comments

I received Hammacher Schlemmer’s 150-Country Auto-Detecting Travel Adapter and Converter ($50 shipped) in the mail a few days ago. I bought it because it included a USB port, and I had hoped to be able to charge my camera and mp3 player with it.

At first, I was amused by the puzzle like nature of the various configurations. My amusement dissipated when I realized my mp3 player wasn’t charging when I hooked it up. The AC part worked just fine. So, I’m back to square one if my goal is to take one travel adapter.

Creative offers its own travel adapter (sans AC connection), however the thought of carrying two sets of adapters around with me seems silly.

 travel adapter and converter    travel adapter and converter

About the Author:

is the author of 1720 posts on Go Backpacking.

Dave is Editor and Founder of Go Backpacking and Medellin Living, and the Co-founder of Travel Blog Success. Follow him on Twitter @rtwdave or Google+

The Travel Blog Success community offers practical resources and personal support to help you build a better travel blog.

Whether you treat blogging as a hobby, or dream of building a location independent business, you'll learn what's required to create a name for yourself in the online travel world.

Benefits of Joining:

  1. Personal support from Dave, including site critiques and tips on negotiating advertising deals.
  2. Ability to learn from others' mistakes, and save yourself time, energy and money.
  3. Chance to network with other travel bloggers of all levels, from around the world.

Click here to learn more.

Categories: Gear & Gadgets, Planning

30 Comments

Chris Mitchell August 13, 2007 at 2:20 pm

Hi Dave

are you planning to take your laptop too? I think you may well need more than one adapter iso. I travel with 2 cameras and a laptop and a cellphone and they are all hungry for juice – usually at the same time. It can be really frustrating having several gadgets that need power but only adapter to use between them. Maybe get another cheapie model before you go.

Reply

Dave August 14, 2007 at 2:04 am

Hey Chris –

Nope, I don’t have a laptop, nor do I plan to travel with one. I’m only planning to bring my digital camera and mp3 player.

I’m glad to hear I won’t be the only one carrying around 2 adapters.

Reply

Chris Mitchell August 22, 2007 at 1:32 am

out of interest – what will you do with all the pictures on your camera if not putting them on a laptop? I imagine your memory cards will get full pretty quickly. Will you ruthlessly delete bad pix, or have a *lot* of memory cards?

Reply

Dave August 22, 2007 at 2:00 am

If I’m staying with a couchsurfer with broadband internet access, I’ll upload the photos straight to Flickr (and probably be done with it). If I don’t have that luxury, I’ll burn CD’s at internet cafe’s – mailing one home and keeping a copy just to be safe.

Reply

Chris Mitchell August 13, 2007 at 9:20 am

Hi Dave

are you planning to take your laptop too? I think you may well need more than one adapter iso. I travel with 2 cameras and a laptop and a cellphone and they are all hungry for juice – usually at the same time. It can be really frustrating having several gadgets that need power but only adapter to use between them. Maybe get another cheapie model before you go.

Reply

Dave August 13, 2007 at 9:04 pm

Hey Chris –

Nope, I don’t have a laptop, nor do I plan to travel with one. I’m only planning to bring my digital camera and mp3 player.

I’m glad to hear I won’t be the only one carrying around 2 adapters.

Reply

Chris Mitchell August 21, 2007 at 8:32 pm

out of interest – what will you do with all the pictures on your camera if not putting them on a laptop? I imagine your memory cards will get full pretty quickly. Will you ruthlessly delete bad pix, or have a *lot* of memory cards?

Reply

Dave August 21, 2007 at 9:00 pm

If I’m staying with a couchsurfer with broadband internet access, I’ll upload the photos straight to Flickr (and probably be done with it). If I don’t have that luxury, I’ll burn CD’s at internet cafe’s – mailing one home and keeping a copy just to be safe.

Reply

Stu August 13, 2007 at 3:54 pm

mm your mp3 didnt charge over usb? mmm. is it supposed to? If it is, sounds like it might be a faulty adapter.

If it provides a usb port on the power adapter then it should be supplying power to the mp3…

does it charge your camera? if it doesnt charge your camera Id send it back for replacement.

also remember, charging over usb is slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow.

Reply

Dave August 14, 2007 at 2:09 am

Well, the mp3 manual says not to connect it to a USB hub, which I’m guessing is effectively the adapter. I can see myself getting the Creative adapter, and leaving the attachments behind because I’ll just plug it into the Hammacher Schlemmer one.

It almost makes me wish I bought a player and camera which takes AA or AAA batteries. I guess it’s a trade off though. A little extra weight and inconvenience for less cost on the road.

The mp3 player supposedly takes 6 HOURS of charging via USB connection to computer, thus the need to use an AC adapter.

Sadly, my camera doesn’t have any kind of battery indicator, so I won’t really know how much it has charged. :sad:

Reply

Stu August 13, 2007 at 10:54 am

mm your mp3 didnt charge over usb? mmm. is it supposed to? If it is, sounds like it might be a faulty adapter.

If it provides a usb port on the power adapter then it should be supplying power to the mp3…

does it charge your camera? if it doesnt charge your camera Id send it back for replacement.

also remember, charging over usb is slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow.

Reply

Dave August 13, 2007 at 9:09 pm

Well, the mp3 manual says not to connect it to a USB hub, which I’m guessing is effectively the adapter. I can see myself getting the Creative adapter, and leaving the attachments behind because I’ll just plug it into the Hammacher Schlemmer one.

It almost makes me wish I bought a player and camera which takes AA or AAA batteries. I guess it’s a trade off though. A little extra weight and inconvenience for less cost on the road.

The mp3 player supposedly takes 6 HOURS of charging via USB connection to computer, thus the need to use an AC adapter.

Sadly, my camera doesn’t have any kind of battery indicator, so I won’t really know how much it has charged. :sad:

Reply

Jim August 15, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Hi Dave. This product should work fine to charge you iPod. I have one as well, and haven’t had an issue. I’ve used it in Hong Kong , and also here in the States, just to have a non-computer source to charge my iPod. There are two lights on the adapter– you need to make sure that the red USB LED light is lit and that the charge icon on your iPod is indicated. If these aren’t happening you might have a defective unit. You can exchange it with Hammaacher for another unit.

Reply

Jim August 15, 2007 at 9:56 am

Hi Dave. This product should work fine to charge you iPod. I have one as well, and haven’t had an issue. I’ve used it in Hong Kong , and also here in the States, just to have a non-computer source to charge my iPod. There are two lights on the adapter– you need to make sure that the red USB LED light is lit and that the charge icon on your iPod is indicated. If these aren’t happening you might have a defective unit. You can exchange it with Hammaacher for another unit.

Reply

Jim August 15, 2007 at 2:58 pm

Sorry, forgot to mention, that it can charge other USB devices, not just iPod. So as long as your mp3 or camera has USB charging capability and you bring with you the right USB cable for your device, it should work. But if it doesn’t exchange it.

Reply

Jim August 15, 2007 at 9:58 am

Sorry, forgot to mention, that it can charge other USB devices, not just iPod. So as long as your mp3 or camera has USB charging capability and you bring with you the right USB cable for your device, it should work. But if it doesn’t exchange it.

Reply

Konrad August 26, 2007 at 4:21 am

If you need to plug in several devices via the power plug, can you hook up a power strip to the adapter?

Reply

Dave August 26, 2007 at 4:58 pm

Konrad – I’m not sure if the adapter is set up to handle the load which would be created by a power strip. It’s set up to stop working if it’s overheating, so I guess it could always be tested out. It would mean another thing to carry though, so I’m leaning toward just buying the Creative adapter too.

Reply

Konrad August 26, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Good point Dave. I’ve ordered one, so I’ll check the specs regarding load, if it’s on the box (couldn’t find it on the website). I’ll also give it a test with a power strip before I leave for my trip. Thanks! :)

Reply

Konrad August 25, 2007 at 11:21 pm

If you need to plug in several devices via the power plug, can you hook up a power strip to the adapter?

Reply

Dave August 26, 2007 at 11:58 am

Konrad – I’m not sure if the adapter is set up to handle the load which would be created by a power strip. It’s set up to stop working if it’s overheating, so I guess it could always be tested out. It would mean another thing to carry though, so I’m leaning toward just buying the Creative adapter too.

Reply

Konrad August 26, 2007 at 12:10 pm

Good point Dave. I’ve ordered one, so I’ll check the specs regarding load, if it’s on the box (couldn’t find it on the website). I’ll also give it a test with a power strip before I leave for my trip. Thanks! :)

Reply

Laura October 1, 2007 at 9:04 pm

Hi Dave…

Not sure if you’ve resolved this, but here’s a cool gadget:

It should charge your USB powered devices. Internal voltage is 90 – 240V. You’ll just need the appropriate adapters to fit the thing in to the wall: http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/travelpower/9124/

I’m dealing with charging issues for my trip as well, but I’ll have my beautiful and teeny laptop with me (w/ a dual-power charging iGo plug & adapter.) I need my gadgets on the road!

I just bought this battery charger (my camera and MP3 player run on AA and AAA batteries, respectively) so this might come in handy for me — maybe for you too?
http://www.energizer.com/usbcharger/language/english/download.aspx

Both gadgets are dirt cheap, too, so it doesn’t hurt too much to try ‘em out.

Good luck!

Reply

Dave October 1, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Hi Laura –

Thanks for the suggestions. Actually, I did get the charger I wrote about, though it starts to hum after a few minutes of charging, which I find a bit worrisome, and probably annoying for bunkmates. I wasn’t convinced my mp3 player was charging via the USB port so I actually sprung for a travel charger specific to my mp3 player, which just arrived today, and works well. I’m starting to see the drawback of not using devices powered by AA or AAA batteries. Too late to do anything about it now though!

Reply

Laura October 1, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Hi Dave…

Not sure if you’ve resolved this, but here’s a cool gadget:

It should charge your USB powered devices. Internal voltage is 90 – 240V. You’ll just need the appropriate adapters to fit the thing in to the wall: http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/travelpower/9124/

I’m dealing with charging issues for my trip as well, but I’ll have my beautiful and teeny laptop with me (w/ a dual-power charging iGo plug & adapter.) I need my gadgets on the road!

I just bought this battery charger (my camera and MP3 player run on AA and AAA batteries, respectively) so this might come in handy for me — maybe for you too?
http://www.energizer.com/usbcharger/language/english/download.aspx

Both gadgets are dirt cheap, too, so it doesn’t hurt too much to try ‘em out.

Good luck!

Reply

Dave October 1, 2007 at 6:58 pm

Hi Laura –

Thanks for the suggestions. Actually, I did get the charger I wrote about, though it starts to hum after a few minutes of charging, which I find a bit worrisome, and probably annoying for bunkmates. I wasn’t convinced my mp3 player was charging via the USB port so I actually sprung for a travel charger specific to my mp3 player, which just arrived today, and works well. I’m starting to see the drawback of not using devices powered by AA or AAA batteries. Too late to do anything about it now though!

Reply

Ronald July 24, 2008 at 3:18 am

Nice ,but i like universal ac adapter if it do not go overheat and burn users
whatever ,it is easy and convenient
via http://www.sourcingmap.com/laptop-adapters-c-1355_1758.html
you will like it

Reply

Ronald July 23, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Nice ,but i like universal ac adapter if it do not go overheat and burn users
whatever ,it is easy and convenient
via http://www.sourcingmap.com/laptop-adapters-c-1355_1758.html
you will like it

Reply

Jeromy Vannice October 29, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

Reply

Anonymous February 17, 2011 at 7:19 am

This adapter is very convenient for users. It’s worth to have one.

Reply

Leave a Comment


Comment Policy: Please use your real name. If you use your company name or keywords instead, it'll be deleted. If it is your first time leaving a comment, or you include a URL, it will be held for moderation. Other than that, please keep it polite and respectful.

Previous post:

Next post: