Electrical Outlet and Voltage Information for Haiti
A person who wants to visit the country of Haiti must have some basic information before going there. Some of these are the standard voltage, electrical outlet, and type of plug used for the appliances and electronic gadgets.
In Haiti, the standard voltage used is 110-120 volts while the primary types of electrical outlet are the Type A NEMA 1-15 / JIS C 8303 Non-grounded, Non-polarized and the Type B NEMA 5-15 Grounded, Non-polarized. It is important to know which plug and outlet to use so that using electronic gadgets and appliances in Haiti will be safe for everyone. When the voltage of the electronic gadget or appliance is not compatible with the voltage of the electrical outlet, this could cause some damage to the electronic gadget or appliance and in worst cases, this might even cause fire. Another concern is the shape of the electronic gadget’s plug and the shape of the electrical outlet in Haiti. These two must be compatible since, if not, the connection of the electronic gadget or appliance to the power supply would not be possible.
To solve these incompatibilities, there are different kinds of adapters that would alter the shape of the electronic gadget or appliance’s plug so that it would be able to fit with the electrical outlet in Haiti. These adapters are usually bought in hardware stores and will surely come in handy for one’s trip to Haiti.
There are different kinds of voltage converters. These are used when the voltage of the electronic gadget or appliance is not compatible with the voltage of the electrical outlet present in Haiti. Examples of voltage converters are the network-resistor converter, the step-up and step-down transformer, and the combination voltage converter. There is also a type of combination voltage converter ideal for travel. This comes with a fuse so that a tourist visiting Haiti would be able to just select the type of voltage conversion that he or she needs.
Type A NEMA 1-15 / JIS C 8303 (North American Non-grounded, Non-polarized)
The NEMA 1-15 is mostly found in North America and in other parts of South America like Haiti. This is used for 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 either way; however, contemporary NEMA 1-15 plugs in Haiti are designed with the neutral blade wider than the live blade allowing just one way of plugging and ensuring that the polarized plug is inserted appropriately 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 in Haiti. With the NEMA 1-15 adapter, the receptacle end will accept any standard household plug in Haiti, 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 are 6.4mm long, 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 the U.S. and Canada and the appliance and electronic gadgets might be manufactured in the said countries, an adapter might still be needed because of the grounding and polarization requirements in Haiti. In the NEMA 1-15 plug and electrical outlet, 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 does have grounding or polarization and the electrical socket does not have one, it would be physically impossible to insert the plug into the electrical outlet in Haiti. If this happens to a tourist in Haiti 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)
The Type B NEMA 5-15 is often used in North and Central America as well as in Japan, and it is also what is used in Haiti. It is a class I plug that has two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin, rated at 15 amps. In Japan, this kind of plug and electrical outlet is the standard. Similar to Type A NEMA 1-15 plugs, the NEMA 5-15 in Haiti 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 with any standard household plug in Haiti, except the Type M South African SABS1661 (Old British BS-546 Large) plug. For the specifications, 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. Although the Type B NEMA 5-15 is grounded, it is not polarized and must be used with care in Haiti.
In countries like Haiti, United States, and Mexico, the NEMA 5-15 is standard, as well as in the areas of northern South America particularly in countries like Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil). Some Asian countries like Taiwan and Japan uses the NEMA 5-15 too. Additional features of the NEMA 5-15 used in Haiti is that its ground pin is longer than the live and neutral blades so the electronic gadget or appliance connected to the NEMA 5-15 is grounded before the power is connected. Both blades also carry current are are narrow allowing the ground pin to enforce polarity.
One must remember that if the the wrong plug is inserted in the wrong electrical outlet or the voltage does not match, there could be some real damage to the appliance or electronic gadget. In worse cases, this might even cause electrocution. It is important to know the proper voltage, electrical outlet, plugs, and adapters to use when visiting Haiti and other countries because sometimes these electric requirements vary depending on the location. If the voltage of the appliance or electronic gadget to be used in Haiti does not match its 110-120 volts requirement a tourist in Haiti would need a voltage converter. There are three kinds of voltage converters available: the transformer, the network-resistor converter, and the combination of these two.
For laptop computers, cameras, mp3 players, and battery chargers in Haiti, the recommended voltage converter to be used is the transformer as it has a lower maximum watt rating of 50 to 100 watts and it could be used continuously although it could be heavy because of the large iron rods and copper wires inside. The resistor-network converter could support 50-1600 watts and are often used for a short period of time in Haiti and in light-weight electrical appliances like hair dryers and iron.