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Showing 1-10 of 2,282 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,406 reviews
on October 28, 2012
After reading other reviews, it seemed like a good idea to test this device here at home before relying on it overseas. This is easy to do if you have access to 240v at home, but you may want someone familiar with electrical devices to help.

Since some reviews mentioned heating as an issue, I tried it with no load for half an hour, observing only 10 degrees increase in temperature. Next was a 40 watts light bulb as the load, then 75 watts, then 100 watts. At 100 watts, the outside case warmed up to 161 degrees after an hour, which isn't too bad. However, the temperature never really stabilized, indicating that heat buildup could be an issue if running near the full rated load (200 watts), especially for extended times. I don't think it would be a problem with less than 50 watts or so of load.

I took the case apart and found it had no ventilation holes to allow the heat to escape. If you are running near the full rated load, you may want to open the case (with the unit disconnected!) to allow the heat to escape if you plan to run if for longer than 20 minutes or so.

Another thing -- the power rating of 200 watts is valid only for a purely resistive load, such as a light bulb. The rating for other loads, such as a motor or battery charger, with a 'power factor' less than one, would be less than 200 watts since such loads require more current for the same power. The rating of 200 watts at 120 volts for a resistive load translates into 1.66 amps of current. It is the current (amps) that should be observed as the maximum for all loads.

The product description says `Fuse Protection' but I did not see a fuse inside the unit.
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on May 11, 2015
"Simran SMF-200 Deluxe 200 Watts Step Down Voltage Converter for International Travel to AC 220V/240V Countries". I bought this product for a trip to Spain, needed to run my laptops and to recharge phone, camera, laptop batteries, etc.

Note that the power supply for my laptop is rated as having a 120-240V input. Many power supply "bricks" are thus rated, in principle letting them plug directly into a 240 volt supply (Spain). Thus in theory, I could have plugged my laptop directly into the Spanish outlets. However, reality does not always respect theory, so despite its nominal 120-240V input, I had concerns about my power supply overheating or burning out if I plugged directly into the Spanish receptacles. So instead, I plugged the Simran SMF-200 into the 240V wall, then my laptop power supply into the SMF-200, knowing that if anything blew out, it would be the SMF-200 converter, but my laptop and its adapter would be safe. Some of my other devices, such as my camera battery charger, have only a 120V input rating, so the stepdown converter was mandatory.

To use this device, I plugged it into the Spanish wall receptacles. I then plugged my PC power supply (2-prong American) into the outlet on the SMF-200. To use or charge several devices at once, I first plugged a portable multi-outlet power strip into the SMF-200. My peak usage was to simultaneously run my main laptop, charge the battery on my secondary laptop, charge a camera battery, and charge a smartphone.

For my needs, this product worked perfectly. If your needs are the same, then this review is a "recommend".

Reviews on Amazon are mixed, only 52% 5-star, and 20% 1 & 2-star. The common negative thread seems to be the device not working after a while, smoking or fizzling out. It seems like many (but not all) complaints came after using hair dryers or other "appliances". I think these comments reflect the limitations of this device and inadequacies of the product description. It is good for certain uses, not good for others. Buy it and use it for the wrong purpose, and it will break and seem like a worthless purchase.

Here is what I noticed. When plugged in but not charging or running anything, the SMF-200 was slightly warm (as expected, like any transformer or power brick). When running my laptop, it was even warmer, more so than expected for a normal power brick running off of 120V, but consistent with expectations for a voltage down-converter. However, it was not unusually or dangerously hot, and I never sensed that it was overheating. However, I would worry that if trying to run a hair dryer or some other non-digital crude electrical device, that it would get excessively hot.

This device cost $13.65 from Amazon - cheap. That does not imply that it is cheaply made, just that it is a minimally engineered item made with a minimum of inexpensive parts. It is solid and heavy, the outer case sturdy and well fit. Inside, I imagine it is just another power brick, a simple transformer with a 240V input and a 120V output. Among electrical devices, it is about as low tech, basic, and inexpensive as anything there is. This is not a pejorative "you get what you pay for". You get exactly what you pay for as long as you understand what you paid for, a bare bones no frills transformer that probably delivers its nominal specs but with no margin or safety factor.

Two things to keep in mind: (1) Hair dryers and other devices with crude electric motors create power spikes that might overwhelm the nominal specs of the SMF-200. (2) A transformer generates waste heat, and as you put more load on it, it gets hotter. Cheap transformers generate more heat (efficient low loss transformers are more expensive). Furthermore, if the device is not designed to dissipate waste heat, it can overheat, damaging insulation or other coatings, then smoking then shorting out dead, even before reaching its nominal power rating. That would seem to be the case with the SMF-200. Running a hair dryer for 5 minutes on this thing will probably cook it, as reported in the many negative reviews.

This device is not meant to run hair dryers and other "appliances", nothing with a heating element or an AC motor, nothing that exceeds the power rating of the SMF-200. I would suggest that you keep net power draw to no more than 80% of rated capacity (200 x 0.80 = 160 watts). Also, when I used it, I plugged in then promptly unplugged it when not in use. I had it plugged in for many hours at a time, but never just for standby or because I had forgotten it (which can burn out cheaply made transformers or bricks).

One Amazon review mentioned dismantling the item to find that "ground" on the three-prong receptacle was not attached to anything. Spanish receptacles seem to have only two prongs, so it is not surprising that the third prong slot is a "dead end". However, it does serve the purpose that if the plug on your device has a third prong, then you can at least plug it in and get power (plugging a three-prong male plug into a two prong female receptacle just isn't possible). However, if your device was designed with a third prong ground, there was probably an important safety reason for doing so, so electric shock safety is another factor for not using higher power crude electrical devices with the SMF-200 or anything that has a three prong plug.

For me, this product worked properly, without fault or concern, for the purposes I used it for - running a high performance laptop and charging other items. It got me through my trip worry free, my devices and my work sessions unhampered due to lack of electricity. Furthermore, I had confidence that my devices and their primary power supplies were protected. If your needs are the same, I think this product will work equally well. If you need to use electrical rather than electronic devices (hair dryer for instance) or else high power electronic devices such as a desktop PC, then you are taxing the limits of this device. If you overload the SMF-200 by approaching its nominal power rating or by using crude electrical appliances, either your devices will "brown out" or else the SMF-200 will overheat then burn out.

If you need to use electrical or higher power devices, you should probably heed the advice of the negative reviewers and look for another more expensive item. Its performance for my needs was 5-star. The marginal product description and documentation (and lack of a clear explanation of what it can and cannot do) do not invalidate what it can do, but it all creates unnecessary hardship for those who buy the SMF-200 with false expectations, so that knocks it down to 3-star. They could have added a circuit breaker or thermal overload switch to protect the device and thereby the investment of those who buy it, but in the end, it is just a cheap device that works well within its limited range but will disappoint many people who have other needs. If you are reasonable in your usage, I think it averages out to a 4-star rating.
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on February 17, 2017
I have used this device on four separate European vacations and so far, so good. I bought as part of a bundle which included a small power strip and an adapter. I use is to recharge my camera batteries, phone and power my laptop. I try not leave it plug in all night because I do worry about overheating (though this has not been an issue at anytime). Packing for my fifth trip now and this item is a must in my bag. The only true complaint is the bulkiness and the weight. Other than that - no problems at all at this point. I do recommend this product if using small electronics. I don't think it works for hair dryers and things of that nature.
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on December 6, 2016
Most people likely will never need this item. Contrary to the item name/description here, phones, computers, tablets, readers, fitness trackers and other devices are typically designed to charge in a range from ~100-240v. This means that all you need is a plug adapter to convert your existing plug to be compatible with the outlets in the country you are traveling to, not this step down transformer. When you have a device, however, that must be stepped down to be able to use it, this converter is awesome. I use an electric razor that requires 110v. In the past, I've burned out two of them utilizing the 110v razor outlets that many countries have in their bathrooms. I should've known something was up both time as the razor just didn't sound right when operating it using those outlets, but needing a shave, I pressed on, and destroyed two razors in the process.

I purchased this converter in the hopes that it would prevent me from ever having to replace my electric razor again, and that I wouldn't have to resort to a blade while traveling. It did not disappoint! Immediately upon turning on the razor the first time after plugging it into this unit, I knew the problems of the past were gone. The razor sounded exactly as it did when plugged in in the US.

You can not go wrong with this unit if you are one of those folks that actually needs a step down transformer. Unless you need it for a high wattage item like a hairdryer of a curling iron. This until isn't designed for that kind of wattage, so you'll have to look elsewhere.
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on September 10, 2014
the system is a simple ONE coil transformer (instead of a primary coil insulated from the secondary coil). That means that one of the outputs could be on 240V towards ground- in 50% of the cases. This depends on how the input plug is in the 240 V output. From the outside this an not be determined. I am astonished that this can be sold to the public.
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on April 5, 2009
This transformer has worked admirably so far. I used it on a trip to India, and it worked well. It doesn't make any noise while in use, and it seems to stay reasonably cool. Not like I'm drawing all that much wattage through it, but it seems to be just fine.

Just a few quibbles:

1. The 110-volt North American plug offered on the front of the unit has a spot for a grounding prong, but the unit itself is not grounded. I still cannot fathom the logic of that design choice. Especially in India, where European plugs are *required* to have a grounding prong. You can't get a plug like this one into the outlet without one; the outlets have an internal safety device that only opens when a grounding prong is inserted into the outlet. Sadly, the only way I could get this to work in India was to insert a pen in the grounding prong hole to release the safety and then insert the plug into the power holes.

2. The only justification I could find for not having a grounded unit is that the unit is fuse-protected. But they don't tell you what kind of fuse is required, and the fuse is located *inside* the unit, such that you would need a screwdriver to open the unit to replace the fuse. If it is going to be fuse-protected, the fuses must be user-replaceable, and need to be easily accessible without the use of tools, which I'd rather not carry around with me when I'm traveling internationally. (See EDIT below)

As far as the usability goes, it works as designed: it takes 230-240V power and steps it down to 110V power, offering you a North American power outlet. It's reasonably small and lightweight in comparison to some other transformers, but that's because it handles a much lower wattage. You have to be careful about the application that this will be used for: works well for laptops, phone chargers, electric razors, etc, but don't plug anything into it that draws over 200W, like your curling iron or hairdryer, as you'll fry the transformer instantly. And the lack of a grounded power plug and the internal fuse are poor design choices which nearly limits the functionality of the unit to the point where it's almost worth it to pay a little more for a better-designed unit.

For the price, it was worth it for me. Just make sure you understand the application for which it will be used before you buy it.

EDIT: I found out two new things about this unit that are very interesting.

1. There is NO INTERNAL FUSE, regardless of what the documentation says. Opening the unit up and poking around clearly reveals this.
2. The grounding prong hole on the front of the unit is not connected to anything on the inside; the unit does not ground the item plugged into it, nor does it attempt to.

So not only is the grounding plug on the front misleading, so is the documentation. As I mentioned earlier, for the price, it does what you'd expect. In other words, you get what you pay for.

EDIT 2: Some very smart electrical engineers told me that this unit has a "thermal fuse" which should, in theory, trip if the unit begins to overheat. It is self-resetting, so when it cools it should reset. Doesn't change the commentary regarding the grounding prong hole and the unit not being electrically grounded.
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on March 24, 2017
Purchased this over a month ago in anticipation for my trip to Brazil. Traveled with it last week. It is small, like a half of a mason's brick and very heavy for its size. Plugged it in, led light turns on but upon attempting to power items, it does not function properly. Devices (smartphone, tablet) did not charge. Further, other 100v devices did not operate properly. As I could only test it in another country and it was purchased way in advance of my trip, I had no recourse to return- my bad for trusting the device and its reviews were good. Ended up leaving it in the trash not willing to pack this heavy brick in my luggage for the return trip.
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on August 14, 2016
I bought this for my wife to use with her straightener and curling iron during a trip to Ireland. It worked great and was much cheaper than buying another straightener and curling iron. My only issue, and it was my fault, is the plug on this unit isn't for the outlets in Ireland. Luckily, I also had a universal power adapter which adapted this plugs to the Irish outlets. Had I not already had an adapter, they were 4 euro in most touristy stores.
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on April 29, 2015
Took on a trip to Israel recently, and it lasted just a couple of uses before the pop, ozone smell, smoke, and fried circuitry. Terrible piece of equipment. Even without the faulty construction, the unit is large and heavy - not efficient for traveling with limited space. We simply threw it in the trash rather than haul it back for a possible return.

What's worse is that we needed a converter for the rest of the trip, and had to buy a ridiculously overpriced one locally as we had no other option. This piece of equipment cost us another $40+ by putting us in a bind far from home.

My advice - pay a little more and get a reliable converter! Don't take the chance.
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on August 29, 2016
Reiterate points made by Bill Stein in his review, which I didn't read before ordering because I was in a hurry. Misleading documentation and challenges of use.
Just because a step-up transformer steps up the voltage, doesn't make it a good product. Design needs to take other matters into consideration.
Biggest shortcoming: for a product used for travelling abroad, the unit is SUPER HEAVY!!!. It weighs a ton! I went to Kohls and bought a Samsonite unit, albeit for 3 times the price, but save a ton of weight addition to my travel bags.
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