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Electric current in Mexico same as USA? Transformer needed?

NJ
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553 posts
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Electric current in Mexico same as USA? Transformer needed?

Do I need to get a converter for my electric stuff or is the current and plugs the same as here in the states?

Cozumel, Mexico
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1. Re: Electric current in Mexico same as USA? Transformer needed?

Electricity in Mexico is the same as in the U.S. and Canada, 110 Volts, 60 Cycle. You do not need a transformer or converter. Some older places may not have 3 hole ground receptacles with ground so you might want to bring one of those inexpensive adapters that go from a 3 prong plug to a 2 hole receptacle. They are readily available in Cozumel as well.

Have a great vacation,

RotarianDavid

Ruston, LA
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2. Re: Electric current in Mexico same as USA? Transformer needed?

Ditto what David said.

When we bought out house it had all two prong outlets and nothing was grounded. All 110 AC 60 cycle. just like here in the states.

When I put in a new breaker box with a ground rod everything got grounded three prong outlets and lots of 220 outlets for the AC units.

If you're not sure what your hotel has certainly take an adapter plug which will run you less than a dollar at WalMart. A lot of the newer hotels have the three prong outlets but some of the older ones still do not.

We forgot to take one on a trip to Costa Rica a few years ago and we had a room with the two prong outlets. I had to cut the ground plug off to be able to charge my camera battery and strobes.

Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: Electric current in Mexico same as USA? Transformer needed?

The simplest solution is to carry an adaptor that allows plugging modern 3 pin plugs OR polarized plugs into the old 2 pin wall outlets that were used in Mexico up to just a few years ago, and as pointed out may be where you will stay. There is some confusion re 2 pin plugs which have become common now replacing 3 pin versions on many devices. 2 pin polarized plugs have one pin that is 1/4 inch wide & one 5/16 inch wide one, while the old wall sockets only have 1/4 inch tall slots so that can also prevent them being plugged in. Take a look at this photo for more help. and if you intend to take many things that might need plugging in then a modified power bar (some are made with 2 X 1/4" pins) can be the answer.

…webshots.com/photo/2598095240035448548BRZUCU

Cozumel, Mexico
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4. Re: Electric current in Mexico same as USA? Transformer needed?

cicopo,

This might be of interest to you and other Canadians.

While doing a bit more research on the internet regarding this electrical plug issue, I found out that the adapter for three plugs to 2 prong plugs is banned for sale in Canada because of safety reasons.

So, I guess that if a Canadian is going to need one in Mexico they will be purchasing it in Mexico unless they have an old one laying around the house.

Rotariandavid

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Electric current in Mexico same as USA? Transformer needed?

That's why I recommend making one from something like the cube tap I took the photo of, but if you start with something with 2 pins & a D shaped pin you may need to file the wider pin to the same width as the narrow one or it still won't work even if you remove the D shaped ground pin.

One another note I meant to take a tester last trip but forgot, as I suspect many of the buildings that now have 3 pin wall outlets still have the old wiring and if so the ground pin isn't actually working as designed. Having seen how things are wired there (and having worked in that trade) I can't help but think they simple added new outlets to old wiring for our convenience.

NOW RE THE SAFETY ASPECT OF THE ADAPTOR. If you remove the ground pin (a safety device) to use a wall outlet without that third hole it is only a safety issue in very rare cases, such as items that still have metal outer cases or bad wiring etc. You may have noticed that many of todays appliances such as hair dryers & our battery chargers, laptop power transformers etc now have polarized 2 pin plugs. Unless your device is blowing circuit breakers or fuses at home there is very little risk of using it via that adaptor if you need to, and I am betting that in many of the hotels or resorts there the ground still isn't actually wired behind the face plate we see. Just because it has 2 slots doesn't mean they are actually wired to the building's electrical system.

If is any doubt DON'T use an adaptor for an appliance that requires the 3 pin wall outlet while standing (or sitting ) in a puddle of water. Although the movies make like 110-120 volt circuits are instant killers they are not, and most of us have been shocked by them with no serious harm, just a big surprise.

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Electric current in Mexico same as USA? Transformer needed?

SORRY. It should read "just because it has 3 slots it doesn't mean they are wired to the building's electrical system"

Cozumel, Mexico
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7. Re: Electric current in Mexico same as USA? Transformer needed?

cicopo,

You are correct, just because a plug has 3 holes it doesn't mean that it is grounded. My own house in Mexico is a perfect example of that. My place is only about 12 or 15 years old and it was not wired for grounded receptacles.

I still must say the easiest solution for visitors in Mexico it to purchase one of those cheap adapters in Chadraui or one of the hardware stores. Chadraui is probably better because they have them handing on the display in their electrical aisle. I don't know how I would explain that in Spanish at any of the hardware stores. haha

RotarianDavid

8. Re: Electric current in Mexico same as USA? Transformer needed?

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