Electrical Outlet and Voltage Information for El Salvador
There are certain things that a person must be informed of before staying in a foreign country like El Salvador. Some of these things are the kind of plug and electrical outlet present in that country, the voltage used by the gadgets, and the kinds of adapter that might be needed.
In El Salvador, which is a densely populated country in Central America, the primary sockets are the North American non-grounded (Type A JIS C 8303 or NEMA 1-15) and the North American grounded (Type B NEMA 5-15) plug and electrical outlet. In terms of voltage, it is similar to United States of America (USA) and Canada, which is 110-120 volts. For electronic gadgets and appliances that use 220-240 volts, a plug adapter and a step-up transformer must be used in El Salvador. On the other hand, if the appliance or electronic gadget was made in Japan and it uses 100 volts, a Japan to U.S. reducer transformer is needed.
People bring their electronic gadgets and appliances with them for convenience and communication during their travels. Some of the commonly brought gadgets in trips to El Salvador as well as other countries are laptop computers, battery chargers, mobile phones, mp3 players, hair dryers, and curling irons. To make the most of these electronic gadgets in El Salvador, an electrical outlet would be needed so a traveler must be prepared with the needed adapter in case the plug type and the electrical outlet do not match.
Type A NEMA 1-15 North American Non-Grounded (Japanese JIS C 8303)
The NEMA 1-15 is mostly found in North America and in the east coast of South America as well as parts of Central America like El Salvador, and is used in smaller devices that do not really need a ground connection. The NEMA 1-15 is also known as the Type A North American/Japanese 2-blade Electrical adapter plug and electrical outlet, it also has the technical name North American 15 A/125 V ungrounded. The NEMA 1-15 is a flat blade attachment plug that uses two flat parallel pins or blades. Older designs allow the blades to be inserted in either way; however, contemporary NEMA 1-15 plugs are designed with the neutral blade wider than the live blade in order to insert the polarized plug in a single way into the electrical outlet. The new design of the NEMA 1-15 changed so much that it will not fit in the old type of NEMA 1-15 electrical outlet. There is also another socket that is commonly used in El Salvador, the JIS X 8303 Class II (Japanese 15 A/100 V ungrounded) which is similar to NEMA 1-15 with the only difference of stricter dimensional requirements for the plug housing, marking, and mandatory testing and approval.
With the NEMA 1-15 adapter, the receptacle end will accept any standard household plug in El Salvador, aside from the Type M South African SABS1661 plug, which is also known as the Old British BS-546 Large plug. The blades of this adapter, that is usually needed by tourists when they are spending some time in El Salvador, are 6.4mm tall, 1.5mm thick, and are spaced 12.7mm apart. The NEMA 1-15 plug is also non-polarized and non-grounded which is very important. Although the NEMA 1-15 looks similar to the plugs of U.S. and Canada and the appliance and electronic gadget might be manufactured in the said countries, an adapter might still be needed because of the grounding and polarization requirements in El Salvador. In the NEMA 1-15, grounding is done by the third, round pin located beneath the two vertical blades on the plug. On the other hand, polarization is done by the left vertical blade being taller than the right one. If the plug has grounding or polarization and the electrical socket does not have one, it would be physically impossible to insert the plug into the electrical socket. If this happens to a tourist in El Salvador and there is also no adapter present, that person might not be able to use his or her electronic gadgets and appliances.
Type B NEMA 5-15 North American Grounded (Japanese JIS C 8303 Class I Grounded)
The Type B NEMA 5-15 is often used in North and Central America as well as Japan, and it is also present in El Salvador. It is a class I plug that has two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin, rated at 15 amps. Similar to Type A NEMA 1-15 plugs, the NEMA 5-15 is also one of the most dangerous plugs in the world because the prongs are not insulated. The black covering that is supposed to cover the plug body is lacking hence if the plug is pulled halfway and the prongs are still inserted in the electrical outlet, there might be some accidents like electrocution.
The Type B NEMA 5-15 is also compatible to any standard household plug in El Salvador, except the Type M South African SABS1661 (Old British BS-546 Large) plug. The Type B NEMA 5-15 has blade contacts 6.4mm tall, 15mm thick, and are spaced 12.7mm apart. The grounding pin, on the other hand, is 4.8mm in diameter and although the Type B NEMA 5-15 is grounded, it is not polarized.
When the shape of the electrical plug of the appliance or electronic gadget does not match the electrical outlet in El Salvador, an adapter will be needed. However, the adapter only alters the shape of the plug and enables it to be used with the electrical outlet. If the voltage of the appliance or electronic outlet does not match the voltage used in El Salvador, voltage converters like network-resistor converter, transformer, or the combination voltage converter should be used.
Aside from El Salvador, other countries that use the Type A NEMA 1-15 and Type B NEMA 5-15 plug, electrical outlet, and adapter are American Samoa, the Bahamas, Micronesia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Guam, Guatemala, Japan, Liberia, Jamaica, Okinawa, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela, Aruba, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Cuba, and the Virgin Islands.