Customer Reviews: Simran SMF-200 Deluxe 200 Watts Step Down Voltage Converter for International Travel to 220V Countries Ideal for Laptops, Cameras, Phones, iPads etc
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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 June 27, 2008
If you are going to Europe and want a step-down converter, this will do the trick. I used on my trip to Spain. It's not as big as others.

I used it to charge my camera & iPhone and it worked great.

My girlfriend also used it for her hair straightener and that worked fine as well. Other girls on my trip used a simple adapter and ended up frying their straighteners and/or burning their hair.

So ladies, make sure you buy a converter and not a simple adapter! :)
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on August 5, 2008
Perfect for electronics (I used it for my laptop and my Blackberry)! I left it plugged in for several weeks with no overheating issues. Also, the "pigtail" plug is perfect: Most transformers have the plug attached and can be very heavy and clunky when hanging from a socket.
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on October 29, 2009
I received this device today and am quite disappointed in it, as it's only rated for 2 amps, is heavy, and the advertisement on the website doesn't state the amperage. So, buyers beware!

To explain my extreme disappointment, you should understand what the traveling and power conversion requirement is and how it works. US/Canadian power is 110/120 volts, and Europe/The Rest of the Universe is 220/240 volts. That's approximately twice what our US/Canadian devices can handle; so you have to get a power converter to step the voltage down to something your devices can handle without getting fried into expensive doorstops or paperweights...or burning your lodgings down with you in them!

The simple solution to the problem is to buy a power converter. But various converters are rated for different outputs. The one I'm reviewing is rated for 200 WATTS maximum, or 1.6 AMPS. This is barely sufficient for my laptop, which has an input power requirement of 1.5 amps. (See your device's power supply for the INPUT AMP REQUIREMENT.) And you can forget a hair dryer - not enough power available!

And because I did not know how the conversion of numbers (from watts to amps) worked, I got caught with my proverbial shorts down when I bought this item.

Watts are a measurement of consumption. The wattage of a device tells you how much power it requires. But you likely have amperage requirements on your device power how much wattage or voltage do you need in the converter?

It's simple math, thank goodness. Here are the formulae, which I wish I had earlier:
WATTS / VOLTS = AMPS. So, if you have a 200watt converter, you divide by the volatge (120) and get the result of 1.6 amps.
WATTS x AMPS = VOLTS (not particularly useful, as voltage should be constant)

And, now that I know what to look for, I have found far better options than this item for approximately the same price.

(A big thank you to my electrician friend who explained this to me.)
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on December 28, 2008
Took this on a 2-week trip to China and used it to recharge my iPod and camera batteries. Worked flawlessly. Nice that it has a long plug so it's not hanging on the outlet. Kind of heavy (feels like half a brick) but otherwise perfect.
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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 June 8, 2009
We took this to France. We had been told that we didn't need it for our laptop, because the laptop comes with a transformer. But after plugging the laptop in with only the converter it started to flicker. So we used this baby with the transformer on it and it took away the flicker. Also used it for charging camera batteries and my curling iron. I was really confused reading all the reviews and what I should buy for our trip but this was a lifesaver.
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on October 23, 2008
I bought this product in 2002. Its still running for six years. I've kept it turned on for days together. Never heats up and has never let me down. Wonderful product.
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on December 5, 2009
Connected 80 Watt appliance in Europe and the converter burned in 2 hours. I bought a new 200 Watt in Europe but different brand and used it for the rest of time.
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on August 12, 2009
This product worked flawlessly. It's small, well built and tough. However, it's not fused! I read several negative reviews. Nearly all of them complain it burned out trying to provide MORE POWER (over 200 watts) than it's built for. This is perfect for (most) laptops, camera and cell phone chargers. It WILL BURN OUT trying to push blow dryers, curling irons, multiple external peripherals to a laptop, etc. Volts times amps = watts. It will only support 110 volt devices that draw at TOTAL of 1.8 amps or less. Read your labels before buying!!
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